This week we study Parashat Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52).
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Luke Ford writes: I was telling my friends how I sold my beard to a family member for $444.
This beautiful young woman responded, “I wish I had something I could sell to make money.”
All the guys immediately cracked up because she didn’t have a clue what she was saying.
It reminds of female personal assistants who talk about “taking care of their client when he comes into town.” They don’t mean anything sexual, but that’s the way a guy’s mind reacts when he hears such stuff. “Oh, I’m taking care of John when he’s in town.”
Luke Ford writes: In my Protestant upbringing, we were taught to not push ourselves forward too obviously. Always appear reluctant to claim credit. Better to moan and groan about what a great sinner you are.
By contrast, I’ve noticed that Jews tend to feel pretty good about themselves. They’re eager to tell me about the things they’ve accomplished. They’re eager to tell me about their good deeds. How they’ve helped the rabbi. How they signed the lease for the shul. How they helped the rabbi raise money. How they did so much for Israel, for the homeless, for the community.
“Are Jews more obsessed with status?” a Protestant once asked me.
I don’t think so. I just think they’re more honest about pursuing status, honor, sex, money, love and the good things of life.
Judaism is more at peace with the natural passions than Christianity. It takes for granted that people want honor and respect and wealth and love and therefore provides ways to channel these desires into good ends.
I find Jews talk much more honestly about sex and money, for instance. They have fewer romantic notions about such basics of life.
Luke Ford writes: I’m humbled by how often my tendencies to bridle at authority interfere with my career success. I just don’t like being told what to do. It’s like I live my life in perpetual rebellion against anyone who reminds me of certain figures from my childhood.
I’m 45 and I’m still lashing out to my own detriment.
I get very humble at times and even grateful to the generosity of certain rabbis, certain teachers, certain authority figures who’ve guided me to a better life. Then my rebellious ways force them to set limits with me and I don’t deal well with these limits and I lash out and endanger these relationships.
“Nobody will tell me what to do!” That’s probably the most frequent thing I say to myself.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated student-teacher, parent-teacher conferences. I see again and again how my teachers only want to help me but I buck against their bridle. I hate that bit in my teeth. I want to race off and do my own thing, only I know that that direction leads to failure and humiliation.
So I’m going to take some deep breaths, try to let go a little bit of my instinctive rebellion, and listen more deeply to what my teachers tell me.
Luke Ford writes: I often find myself thinking, what’s behind me and what’s ahead of me? How frightened should I be about the future? How stoked should I get about the changes I’ve made in my life? Will the next half of my life be as lonely as the first half?
I find myself valuing safety, security and comfort more these days than I did 16 years ago.
I met Trey Parker (of South Park fame) at CES in Las Vegas in January 1999. We talked at the Rio bar 2 AM – 3:30 AM after the AVN Awards. He was cool. A total mentch. A good interview. Unpretentious. Funny. Insightful.
A decade ago, Trey, you said that you couldn’t point to anyone who sustained their creativity into their 30s or 40s. You’re about to turn 42.
Parker: I totally still think that. We’ve been writing “Book of Mormon” for seven years, and the best work on it was when we were still in our 30s.
Luke Ford writes: Most people respond to thinking they must accomplish a task quickly by shortening their stature, tensing and compressing their necks, taking shallower breaths, their heart racing, anxiety flying, and overall going into a version of the fight or flight reflex.
By contrast, when you think, “I have all the time I need to accomplish this task,” you will probably breathe easier and more deeply and be more likely to let go of unnecessary tension in your body.
Mead has her group pretend to juggle. This activates their primary control and they naturally come into length and width. You can’t juggle and be in a postural set. It won’t work. Their heads are moving because they have to look at the balls. They’re changing their balance and their relationship to gravity. They’re enlivened.
Later on, people ask, is this like yoga? People want to group it with something else. Alexander Technique can’t be compared with anything else. It is unique.
Luke Ford writes: In this discussion with Eileen Troberman, Alexander Technique teacher Robert Rickover (the son of the founder of the nuclear navy) names Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama as two presidents with the best use of themselves.
“We can find a really bad use one in Jimmy Carter. He was a big neck tightener. You watch sideviews of him in his big debate with Reagan, and he was scrunching down like crazy while Reagan was floating up as cool as a cucumber.
“George W. Bush had bad use. He had this weird holding pattern in his torso.”
“Politicians as a group tend to have better use.”
Luke Ford writes: I wonder if part of this has to do with the book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.
That Neil Strauss book has evened the playing field for guys as they’ve learned to talk to women in an effective way.
In today’s lousy economy, men can take comfort in knowing that there is one sought-after good that is becoming steadily more affordable: sex.
Women are jumping into the sack faster and with fewer expectations about long-term commitments than ever, effectively discounting the “price” of sex to a record low, according to social psychologists.
More than 25% of young women report giving it up within the first week of dating. While researchers don’t have a baseline to compare it to, interviews they have conducted lead them to believe this is higher than before, which increases the pressure on other women and changes the expectations of men.
Luke Ford writes: Barack Obama has long employed a different accent when he’s talking to blacks than when he’s talking to everyone else.
The guy seems like a phony to me and a panderer.
Luke Ford writes: This guy may have outdone Woody Allen in the ick department!
Report: According to the Enquirer, Freeman cheated on his now ex-wife with a number of women—E’Dina being one of them—and Freeman and E’Dina’s affair began when when she was just a teenager (and we thought this whole incestual relationship couldn’t get any worse)! But apparently now that he’s no longer legally bound to another woman, the Oscar-winner has vowed to make a “decent” woman out of his step-granddaughter and father her children!
Luke Ford writes: Like most Republicans, I am not thrilled with our choices for president.
Rick Perry is the most right-wing but he’s a lousy debater.
I hope Chris Christie gets in, even though many of his positions are not conservative, as the Washington Post reports:
Whatever Christie’s conservative apostasies, you can’t argue that he does check one big box for Republicans right now – fiscal conservatism.
But it’s also become clear that many of the attacks in the presidential race so far could find a welcome target in Christie. His ability to parry them and still win over some very finnicky conservative voters remains a very big question, no matter his debate savvy.
And given the status with which he would enter the race, it would certainly be a barrage from day one.
Luke Ford writes: On his radio show today, Dennis Prager said: “There’s a radical left-wing and radical Muslim organization at U.C. Irvine.”
“They were screaming that Israel is a genocidal state. I expect left-wing groups to say it is perfectly OK to disrupt a speaker and not allow someone to speak. Why do left-wing groups support these students?
“What is depressing is how every normative Muslim group has come out on behalf of the students. It’s religion over values. Because they are in the same religion as me, they can do no wrong.”
“You relish the right of free speech by shutting down another speaker. Suppose a Muslim came to speak at UC Irvine and students came in played whistles or a siren or the Dennis Prager show at high volume. Would that be allowed?”
Luke Ford writes: Most people find it easier to cut spending rather than increase income.
Over the past 17 years, I’ve maximized my personal freedom by cutting my expenses. I like doing what I want to do when I want to do it.
Here are some money saving basics:
* Eat at home rather than at restaurants. Do without the Starbucks coffee. Make your own. Pack your own lunch. Don’t go out drinking.
* Drop your land line and rely on your cell phone. Drop your cable and rely on netflix.
* Make a list before you go grocery shopping. Don’t do it on an empty stomach. Keep an eye on the expiration dates for perishable goods.
* Buy in bulk and buy generic.
Use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This may not work if you use a massive trash can but we use a small sized one for which the grocery bags are a perfect fit. This not only helps us save some money, but reduces our environmental foot print and avoids the kitchen from stinking from a huge overflowing trash can.