Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I was thinking I ought to post an apology for not blogging more. Then I thought about how most of my recent posts have fallen into that lame category. In any case, I've been insanely busy producing a 546 (USC produces several movies each semester - all called 546). It's a romantic comedy, indy, good dialog...I think it will be a fun project to make. I like the director and I'm trying to ensure we get a cool, fun, talented group of people for the entire crew. It's interesting seeing and evaluating everyone's work. We're crewing up tomorrow, so I'll have more details then.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Hmmmmm....I have to admit I'm happy Halle is free.

Am I the only one who thinks girls are marrying DOWN these days? I mean, Halle might be crazy, but this Benet guy is a total Loser. The peak of his career was singing at the Beverly Hills 90210 high school prom. Yipes.

But seriously, Ben and J Lo...she's hundred times cooler than him, she just doesn't realize it.
This is what I'm talking about. College costs too much. The unversities all say, we can help you if you ask...but I wonder to what degree they actually do that.

4 jobs?!?
The enemy isn't America. Gee, thanks!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

What's most interesting to me is the title of this article: Are Men Obsolete.

It goes into the science of virgin birth, etc, but what's more interesting is tone of the article playing upon the cultural esmasculation that goes on every day. The traditional "masculine" traits are becoming more and more something we need to apologize for. Being protective, assertive, aggressive, quiet, and unemotional, are social faux pas...

Most, and I mean like 90%, of violent crime are acts of men against men. Prison rape in men's prisons is generally a laughable subject whereas female rape is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed. But no one gives a shit about these things. My friend from college would say to such assertions, "Yeah, but men can at least fight back and protect themselves..." as if that has anything to do with being physically assaulted.

I'm not sure why this is happening, but it's weird.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Interesting article on abortion, specifically the pro-life movement.
This is a crazy ass image I saw on CNN of all places.
Killing Art

Is fear of litigation killing Art?

The issue of over-privatization of Art in this article is a bigger problem that it seems.

Samples need to be public property. As the article points out, stories (and songs) are meant to be shared experiences...not privatized money-grubbing ventures.

It's scary to think that Public Enemy is still dealing with copyright issues today. This group, which basically started political hip hop, would simply not be able to get off the ground today. Why should big corporations and other such organizations able to afford sampling be the only one's allowed to add to public discourse? I hope the digital revolution with films can have a similar effect to Weblogs vs. Big's already been started with Napster and Kaaza...there just needs to be a middle ground somewhere.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

On another note Dan Drezner comments on the high cost of hardcover books.

Hardcovers are a ripoff. And especially for students, let alone academics. Add this to the super high price of textbooks...

Why don't publishers release a paperback from the start? Price them up a little bit if they aren't economically feasible, but the price of hardcovers are so outrageous, they're really becoming sort of elitist. Plus, writing books is well, cheap. Who makes all this money of the publishing fees? It just seems excessive.
A Documentary on eating McDonalds. Sounds interesting to me

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Kill Bill Vol 2, Theory I

Kill Bill is a filmic run-down of Republican domestic policy. It espouses a pro-life position - the Bride, AKA Uma Thurman, undergoes a life altering change and decides to abandon her life as an killer (ie abortionist) to raise her child.

The entire plot of the film revolves around the concept of Revenge - Uma seeking Revenge for past wrong-doings. Revenge or Retribution is the sole argument in favor of the death penalty that makes any logical sense and is the foundation for the position. Again, Republican domestic policy.

Additionally, the ready access to guns and knifes and other such weapons being desirable speaks to the protection of the 2nd Amendment the right to bear arms. Uma openly wears carries her samurai sword into the hotel and other such public places. If the people in the film did not have the right to bear arms, the only one who would follow the rules would be Uma - and that would be undesirable, hence, everyone should be allowed to have weapons.

Much will be made of the references to samurai and Kung Fu movies, but one also must note the many references to John Ford. Much of the film takes place in a desert landscape, including the beginning scene in which Tarantino blatantly borrows the silhouetted shot of the Bride straight from the Searchers.

And in case we missed it, David Carradine is actually watching a John Wayne movie at the end of the film - which film was it? I bet Ford directed it. Westerns in general and Wayne in particular are the ultimate symbols of Republican Americanism - propagating the frontier myth of self sufficient rugged individualists fighting against the "other" Indian's and/or bad ranchers, protecting the women and children (ie Democrats and other pacifists).

This Republican party line shouldn't be a surprise to Tarantino fans. He loves Charles Bronson, another iconic Republican actor. In the extended version of Pulp Fiction there is a scene in which he breaks all people into two types: Elvis (Republicans) or the Beatles (Democrats). If there was any question where Tarantino stands, we simply need to look back to True Romance, "I'm not a fag or anything. But if I HAD to fuck a guy, and I mean, absolutely had to fuck a guy, like my life depended on it....I'd fuck Elvis." Elvis famously drove his nearly dead self to see Richard Nixon, of all people, near the end of his life.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

An interview with an Israeli filmmaker compliments of Pablo.
By the way, my man is Howard Hawks. This guy is a total badass. At the end of Hawks on Hawks, they ask what advice he gives to young directors, "I went to USC, and they gave a luncheon for me and asked me to be an honorary member of their cinema society. I got up and I said, "For God's sake, keep it funny, because the most horrible thing in the world is a beginner thinking he can get so damn dramatic that he's gonna sway people and he's gonna make a crying scene that will make them weep....Go out and work about characters. Find out about what can happen, wheat they can do. Work to get everybody that you've got in the scenario a character.

And in the end...For God's sake, see if you can't get some fun out of it."

I'm writing like a madman on masculine issues related to the post-Classical era on Hollywood. Here's an excerpt from my paper on Rio Bravo:

Martin is not the only bruised male character of the film. Stumpy, played by Classical era Western star Walter Brennan, is Chance’s other deputy. Stumpy is literally crippled and spends much of the film being taunted and cursed by Change for his uselessness. Stumpy’s main role is to feed and hold a shotgun on Joe Burdette throughout the film. While Dude’s descent was the result of falling in love with the wrong women, Stumpy’s decent is the result of age. In addition to being crippled, Stumpy is no longer capable. In the middle of the film, he nearly kills Dude in an accident, proving himself dangerous to his companions. In the end, Stumpy finds a bit of redemption, using dynamite to the rescue of the group in a shootout with Burdette’s men. Despite the moment of redemption, Stumpy is old and decrepit, hardly the depiction of the strong, silent frontiersman. In the final line of the film, Stumpy questions Dude, “You think I’ll ever get chance to be sheriff?” after Feather’s stockings fall on his head. The humor of the line sugarcoats a serious concession of Stumpy’s character. The impossibility of Stumpy ever becoming a Sheriff, i.e. protector, is laughable because of his age and lack of competence. He mocks the idea of the male, i.e. himself, as a protector. But beyond that, the line is further suggestive. Dude’s descent early in the film is the result of a woman. Stumpy, by implication, is a virgin. “You think I’ll ever get a chance to be sheriff,” could be translated to, “Do you think I’ll ever have a chance to get laid?” The implication is that while the woman CAN be the cause or of male destruction – she is not a necessary component in the loss of masculinity. In short, male impotence/uselessness/relevance is inevitable.

This brings us to Wayne. There is no greater symbol of American male masculinity than John Wayne. How does one interpret the end of Rio Bravo, Wayne acknowledging his love for Angie Dickenson? Does this imply Wayne will also descend, as Martin has earlier in the film, because of a woman? There is certainly evidence to suggest as much. Martin, jokes to Wayne, about the parallel between their romantic encounters when Feathers refuses to leave town on the stagecoach. Dude recalls the advice Chance gave him, “I remember another time a woman came through on the stage and I remember you telling me she was no good. And it turned out you were right, so naturally I expected you were an expert on these matters.” Dude stops short of warning Chance against getting involved with Feathers, but the implication is enough to question whether Wayne himself will be emasculated.

Maybe I'll post the whole thing when it's done.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Here's my horoscope according to the Onion

Gemini: (May 21—June 21)
A bizarre misunderstanding on the part of a bordello owner results in your getting flayed within an inch of your life by hot Asian teens.


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

From Variety:

Study finds piracy costs entertainment industry $15 bil


This article was updated at 7:20 p.m.

The LAPD has made the first arrests in California under a new state law that makes camcorder recording of movies a criminal act.

According to the MPAA, which lobbied heavily for the bill before it passed in September, Min Jae Joun was arrested Saturday at the Grove while recording "The Passion of the Christ" and Ruben Centeno was caught Monday taping "The Alamo" at the Pacific Winnetka Theater.

Both men have yet to be arraigned.

New law, which went into effect Jan. 1, makes using a camcorder to record a film a misdemeanor offense. If found guilty, the alleged pirates could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

"I want to thank Chief Bratton and others in Los Angeles law enforcement for helping to stem the tide of thievery of one of America's greatest assets -- motion pictures," said MPAA topper Jack Valenti. "It is my hope that this arrest will send a clear signal to others that such crimes will not be tolerated."

The Motion Picture Assn. of America estimates that more than 50 pics were illegally recorded by camcorders between May 2002 and May 2003.

Piracy problem is much broader, however, as shown by the recent guilty plea by Russell Sprague, who pirated Academy screeners from actor Carmine Caridi, and the arrest of employees at post house Lighting Media who were allegedly engaged in a piracy ring.

According to AT&T Labs, 77% of popular movies being illegally traded online were leaked by Hollywood insiders.

A new study by consultancy Deloitte & Touche found that combined piracy of film, music and vidgame is costing the entertainment industry $13.6 billion-$15.1 billion per year.

Company found online movie piracy represents lost revenue of $3 billion-$4 billion, while illegal DVDs and other hard-copy piracy cost the industry $3 billion-$3.5 billion.

A couple of comments:

1. Who would buy a pirated copy of the Alamo?
2. Can we see how D&T got their numbers? These accounting firms are so generally full of shit, plus I find it nearly impossible to believe that 15 billion a year is lost in piracy.

UPDATE: According to some numbers on the internet, the entertainment industry takes in $180 Billion a year. Yipes! That makes piracy, if the numbers are correct an 8.3% problem. That seems significant to me. I wonder historically what the amount of piracy is...and whether it's spiked recently. But overall, piracy can be viewed as a tumor to technological developments...the computer is responsible for both piracy and the DVD revolution. It's called progress folks, and we need to adapt.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Apologies for not blogging more recently. My mind has been in weird places and blogging momentarily lost it's appeal. I've been super busy with a bunch of things, namely lining up a project to produce next semester. I've found a director and narrowed it to his two scripts. I'm happy about that - one of his scripts was my tied for number one choice.

What else? Stressed about work this summer. Stressed about finishing off this semester and all the work associated. Feeling pretty good about how Bellydance is coming together, although this last set of dailies was underexposed. I'm not really sure why - I think I must have over compensated for the bright sunlight. Shooting outdoors is a pain in the ass.

Had some folks over for Easter dinner the other night and predictably it turned into a drunken ass-slapping event. I'm not sure why my little get togethers with friends, in college, post-college in SF at ZIA and Celerity, and now in film school, tend to get just slightly crazy and goofy. I don't consciously do anything to create that atmosphere, but I've noticed a trend when I host small-scale get togethers. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I remember Dina back in SF once told me this wild night on the town in SF with all these work folks getting crazy was all my fault. I never knew what exactly she meant and whether she had any evidence of my direct responsibility, but my ego led me to believe she was onto something. When I asked her why she meant, she snappily respond, "You know what I mean."

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Freddy Adu

Went to the new Hope Depot Soccer Field last night to watch Freddy Adu and DC United take on the LA Galaxy. About the kid, he played the whole second half, had some good touches on the ball, got a shot off, got pushed around quite a bit. He couldn't get up much for headers, but had great ball control and looked to be somewhat living up to the hype. There was a funny moment when he got the ball and it seemed like the whole place froze, including the members of both teams who just sat still and waited to see what he would do. It was bizarre. My favorite play, however, was after he got the ball taken away from him roughly by the best player on Galaxy, a#10 named Herzog, he went after him and totally gave a hard cracking tackle. Both guys went down, and it looked to me like Adu hurt himself a little on the play. I mean, Herzog is twice as big as him, but it showed that he'll hit back no matter what - which bodes well for the young man.

DC looked like a pretty good team, whereas the Galaxy for most of the game looked totally sloppy. It wasn't until the end that the game got exciting, both teams trading a bunch of opportunities in the final 8 minutes. DC scored first on a cross that got deflected back to the middle of the box and this other young guy, Cerritos, was in perfect position and hit a one touch into the goal. Then, in the 83rd minute, a Galaxy forward scored a nice shot on a loose ball in the box. The rest of the game was exciting, a bunch of missed opportunities by both teams, including a free header by the Galaxy and a shot by Adu.

And on a final note, the Home Depot Center is awesome. A soccer stadium built in the style of stadiums around the world. I like how MLS is adapting itself internationally, instead of trying to mimic other American sport models. Home Depot reminded me of the stadium on Jeju Island in Korea built specifically for the World Cup 2002.
If Film School doesn't work's my next career choice.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Wooohooo. Someone set up a great blog for USC Film Students. Awesome. I'm linking it up under my interesting blogs section.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

I think I must've gotten dumber. Just took an online IQ test and scored I rushed through and didn't write anything down, but I know I was over 140 at one point to get into the GATE program in grade school...must be all the time spent watching movies.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I've started another blog - but strictly for the purposes of archiving research articles related to the voting process.
Start the freaking kid for chrissake. It's not like MLS is hugely popular, they need the influx of fans and the fans want to see Freddy Adu.

It's been said before, but there ain't no way that kid is 14.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

What a waste of money. A war on porn. This is doomed to fail

Monday, April 05, 2004

Uh oh. I don't exactly know all the players here, but this is NOT good news.

More from NYTimes.

I guess this is what Bush I was concerned about if we were to remove Saddam - Civil War.

CNN update.

No one said it would be easy. I still don't see another option to winning the war in Iraq - if we leave, we're in worse shape than before, emboldening these fascist fanatics posing as religious leaders. I wonder if having UN help would have lessened the odds of this happening. I doubt it.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Is it just me or are things going sort of well with respect to terrorism the last couple of weeks?

There's this article with Ghaddafy's son praising the US, Israel, and criticizing Arab leaders.

There's this news. While it would have been cool to catch the guys, being dead ain't so bad.

An article about what we already knew about Saudi money.

And keep your fingers crossed, the lack of Palestinian response to Yassin's death thus far...

There was the bad news about American soldiers and contractors in Iraq - but this to me was an act of desparation by our enemies over there. And it won't work. While we are horrified and scared of such things, today we find ourselves more angry and willing to do whatever it takes to stop it from happening again versus turning our back and "minding our own business," which we've done in the past.
Eternal Sunshine

Wow! What a great movie. I've always liked Charlie Kaufman fare, but found his endings to be hugely disappointing. Finally, with Eternal Sunshine, he's figured out a way to end the film. For a minute there, it seemed like it ended and ended well. Then he starts up a whole new sequence, and I was like, "Uh, oh, here we go, another Adaptation unraveling"...but he pulled it together, and I really enjoyed the last two scenes -- the acknowledgement of future failure and despair (to me, also death), but the human impulse to go on living and loving. Simple, but true and sad and wonderful all at the same time.

I wonder if the script was this way, or whether they made the ending in editing. I could see it either way...

Friday, April 02, 2004

One of the most amusing things I've found about show business is the amazing number of truisms and clever little quotes and bits of advice that get passed off as wisdom. Here's an article compliments of my sound prof. I actually buy into a lot of it, since this is the business I have chosen, but still it's the same ole same ole nostalgia that always goes around.

UPDATE: Since Variety requires registering, etc. I've pasted the article below:

What I've Learned and Unlearned in 50 years in the Business

An exec who is unwilling to put his job on the line for a project he believes in should lose his job.

One person's vision, right or wrong, is worth more than a consensus of 12. Trust passion.

Relying on other's opinions is a lazy and disastrous practice. Darryl F. Zanuck ordered readers' opinions to be removed from synopses. Barry Diller, while at Paramount, read full material -- books, plays or scripts -- before deciding to proceed with production.

When preserving your lifestyle is the main concern of your career, it's time to quit the business.

Satisfying work is never a substitute for living or loving, and yet without it life is barren.

Applause at the dailies is no guarantee of the success of a film but a better indication than no applause.

Where is it written that an over-50 director with many films to his credit is not preferable to an under-30 director with only a festival award in his resume? Same for writers.

Casting in payment for sex is a bad idea. It's been tried by some of the greats of the business and found to lead to poor performance on the screen and in bed.

Never be mean, chintzy and ugly to your secretary or she'll write a book.

Verbal pitches rarely make it to the screen and are frequently forgotten in the passage.

Nobody but the filmmakers can be trusted to form a valid opinion of a film by seeing a rough cut or reading a script. Especially marketing people. Show them the finished movie only and even then, their opinion is suspect.

Enthusiasm is the fuel of show business, especially unwarranted enthusiasm. Without it you can't go to work in the morning.

The larger number of executives in a production department, the poorer their movie. Bureaucracy dilutes the creative process -- and slows decision making to a pathetic trickle.

This is from Darryl F. Zanuck. Interesting subject matter of a movie is more important than brilliant execution. I'd rather have a fair script on a provocative subject than a brilliant one about the sex life of an earthworm. I've had both.

Being a waiter, book salesman or a dealer in a casino is better preparation for a producing career than four years in film school. The best producers often are rogues and super salesmen.

Women are better judges of scripts than men, and 12-year-olds know more about casting.

The worst preview audiences are your friends and relatives. Don't invite them.

Fame and fortune are temporary and in time will go. Stars and tycoons eventually will be forgotten. The only legacy is your care and love for your fellow man (and woman). Remember Winchell's line, "Be nice to those you meet on the way up -- they're the same ones you meet on the way down." He wasn't, sadly -- and discovered the truth of his utterance.

Scripts with camera angles and verbose stage directions are the sign of an amateur.

Booze isn't bad -- in moderation. Smoking -- even in moderation -- is. Water is boring. When health clubs took the place of bars, the quality of movies suffered. So sue me.

Meetings are the bane of the business, along with voice mail. Between meetings and dailies, it's almost impossible to communicate on a personal level with studios. Nothing is decided except in person. Finding or hearing a live human being is all but impossible.

Never entrust a business manager with your discretionary power. Anyone who makes creative decisions can decide about his investments. It's easier. How you handle your money can be fun.

Not returning phone calls is the sign of a loser. It's always easier to get the CEO or boss of a studio than an underling. That's why they're underlings.

You're only as good as your last picture -- depending on how long ago your last picture was.

Those entrusted with green-lighting pictures should become involved with the process at the beginning instead of at the end. This would save scads of money spent by development executives with only the power to say no. In films as well as in television, it is ludicrous for the decision-makers to sanction this waste.

When at first you don't succeed try, try again but if then you don't succeed give up.

No matter how successful you are as a producer you're always Willy Loman begging for your next gig.

Irving Berlin said, "The trouble with success is that you have to keep being successful." How tragically true.

Actresses (and actors) are smarter than most executives. I don't know why that is, but it is.

The best advice I've heard for those of us in this narcissistic business (of entertainment) was from movie star Barbara Stanwyck, as quoted in William Safire and Leonard Safir's book, "Good Advice." "Know when your time is up," counseled Barbara. It's the only advice I have. Hell, I knew 25 years ago it wasn't going to last. Sooner or later, the demand won't be there, and you'd better get ready for it. Get ready for the dream to fade. So I'm no longer in demand, but so what? I've had my time, and it was lovely. And I'm very grateful for it. But now I move over and make room for somebody else. What the hell. Whatever I had, it worked, didn't it?

David Brown has produced Broadway plays, films and television. His film credits include "Chocolat," "Deep Impact," "A Few Good Men," "the Player," "The Verdict," "The Sting" and "Jaws."

Thursday, April 01, 2004

LA Restaurant Listings

the criteria: must affordable + either be fun or tasty, or both. that's it. i'm starting a list, and taking suggestions.

1. alegria on sunset (recommended by Chuck D.)
3510 sunset
no checks or cc

2. Zankou Chicken
Sunset and Normandie
I love the chicken, but most folks are crazy about the garlic sauce. Great hummus too. The Aremenian chicken joint in LA.

3. Muchos Tacos
Vermont and Prospect
I've got soft spot for Muchos because I used to live down the street. I pretty much only get the Veggie Burrito. Be forewarned, my roommate is pretty sure he got some food poisoning there...however, I've eaten there about 100 times and not felt a thing. It has an A, which is more than I can say for most of the ones listed here.

4. Vito's Pizza
Vermont and Monroe
Well, it's closed for a couple of months for renovations, but this place has got CHaracter, with a capital CH. And good pizza.

5. Fat Burger and/or In and Out
All over the place. I'm still loyal to In and Out, but Fat Burger's are closer to my house and school.

6. La Taquiza
Figurora and 2 blocks north of Jefferson in a mall.
Our 507 hang out. Great chicken tacos. Mmmmm.

7. El Salvadorian Place
Sunset and Hyperion (across from Casbah Cafe)
I don't know the name of this place, but I really like their papusa's, which only cost about $1.50.

8. Urth Cafe
8565 Melrose at Westmont (west of La Cienaga)
Total westside joint, but it's affordable, fun, and well, Urthy.

9. Eat Well CafeSunset and Hyperion
I love this place for breakfast. Great hashbrowns. A little pricy for students....I mean, it'll cost you $10 for a big sunday breakfast with coffee, so not bad, but not cheapy.

10. Fred 62
Vermont and one block south of Franklin
It's simply a cool place and open 24 hours. One of the best things about Los Feliz.

11. Some Sushi Joint
Hyperion and ? near Trader Joe's in Silverlake
It's this little sushi joint where you can bring your own beer, I don't even know the name of it, I stumbled upon it because I was going to party near there and thought the Sushi was great for the price. I'll get the correct info.
On College acceptance

Here's an article telling high schoolers not to stress out about college.

And from Apt 11D "I've taught now at an elite university and a plebian university, and truthfully I liked the kids at the plebian university better. Sure, there were a few that couldn't write an essay or analyze a text, but for there were also some that were smarter than me. In addition to brains, they had a hunger and a drive that I never witnessed at the elite university. And because I really liked them, I bent over backwards to help them.

Perhaps I'm too idealistic about education. My friend, Margie, thinks I am. She says that her husband would have succeeded faster if he had gone to Harvard, rather than a state university. Name recognition and connections would have boosted him up the ladder faster. Perhaps. But, also maybe, he wouldn't have had the same drive, the same hunger and been undone early on by a sense of entitlement."

I tend to completely agree with all of this. Especially the part about success later in life being more about finding a love and a passion than being a well-rounded individual, the in term while I was looking into colleges.

The other thing mentioned that I think is overlooked, even in Apt 11's assessment, is the sense of entitlement among young folks. I've noticed amongst my peers, both from elite schools and from plebian schools, that a lot of them have these high fallutin notions of themselves and feel super entitled to all money, power, fame, etc. It's odd and I think somewhat more intense in our generation than in prior ones.

I was reading the Production History file of Rio Bravo today for a research paper I'm working on. In all the notes and correspondence and writings, everyone seemed so much more polite and humble, and with the attitude, "gee, i'm just happy to be here." I get the impression John Wayne could have been just as happy being a set builder than the highest paid movie star of his time. I don't get that impression these days. In fact, I get the impression that considerably more people my age feel entitled to be a star of some sort, non John Wayne-like, but 15 minutes fame at least...and 9 out of 10 of them not only won't be - but can't be, by the very definition of what they desire. And the worst thing is that I completely get it myself sometimes and I find it so stupid. I'm not sure if it's where I'm from and who I hang around or whether it's more endemic of our entire generation.

I tell people I'm going to film school to make a career in the movies and everyone jokes that my name will be in lights someday. I guess that's maybe what I want them to think. But I know math and I know my name will most likely never be in lights. I just want to make a living making movies in one capacity or another.

I've diverged from the original point, but there is something about the sense of entitlement amongst a lot of gen x and sub gen x folks that I'm wary of. This topic will be explored again.
More Hope?

**Palestinian Boy Confesses He Was Recruited For Suicide Mission

Three hours before attempting a suicide attack against Israel, Tamer Khawireh, a
15 year-old from Nablus, confessed to his elder brother Raed that Islamic Jihad
had recruited him for the mission, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Tamer said that
the terrorist group promised him sex with virgins in heaven in exchange for
martyrdom. Crying to Raed, the boy admitted: "I want to stay here with you, I
want to be part of this life."
Islamic Jihad lured Tamer with $20 of pocket money, a new set of clothes, a cell
phone, and a pack of cigarettes. Raed found out about the cell phone and
cigarettes, and upon learning that his younger had not shown up for school, he
started questioning him. Tamer ended up admitting Islamic Jihad had enlisted him
for a suicide attack.
Khawireh is the fourth boy of his age to be arrested in Nablus in recent weeks
for planning to carry out an attack. Last week, Husam Abdu, 16, was detained at
the Huwara checkpoint south of the city with an explosive belt strapped to his
On March 16, another boy, Abdallah Quran, 11, was caught at the same checkpoint
as he was carrying a bomb in a backpack. On March 25, a Nablus girl, Reem Salah,
now 18, was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment for planning to launch a double
suicide attack along with a classmate.

This sounds like a sign that suicide bombers are getting harder to find. Something appears to be going on with the Palestinians these days and it seems completely independent of the war on terror, since we haven't officially done much with respect to the Palestinian-Israeli issue, except reiterate our same old stance of roadmap, no killing Arafat, no new settlements, etc. Thus far there's been no retaliation for the killing of Yassin, not so much because they can't - we know they can - but because there seems to be a growing consensus that the bombings haven't gotten the Palestinians anywhere. All I can say is: IT'S ABOUT TIME.

Being a Seinfeld fanatic, I sometimes get asked what is my favorite episode. I rarely have a solid answer, but one of my favorites was on this evening, "Yada, Yada, Yada." All of the plots are good in this episode, George dates a girl who Yada Yada's everything, including her shoplifting habit. Kramer and Mickey double-date women and can't figure out who likes whom. Elaine tries to help her friends adopt a baby, but inadvertently breaks up their marriage. And Jerry has issues with Tim Watley, his dentist, over the use of Jewish jokes.

My two favorite parts:

1. Jerry goes to a priest to complain about his theory that Watley converted to Judaism so he could use the jokes. The priest says,"so this offends you as a Jew." Seinfeld responds, "No, it offends me as a comedian." Genius.

2. The very end, when Jerry congratulates Robert Wagner, guest starring as Mickey's parents at his wedding, threatens to punch Jerry because he's an anti-dentite. Jerry snickers and his date, played by Deborah Messing, date consoles him by making a dentist joke. Jerry responds, "Dentists, who needs them." She says,"Yeah, and then if we could just get rid of the Blacks and Jews." Freeze frame on Jerry. So funny.

And then tonight, I noticed they had a epilogue I hadn't seen before, since the earlier ending was so perfect. At the end of the wedding, Mickey's girl admits to Kramer she wanted him the whole time. This ties into an earlier moment when Kramer attends the wedding with his date (and spurning Jerry because of his anti-dentite views).