Here's what bugs me the most. Again, The Times:

An apartment in Battery Park City that former Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik secured for his personal use after Sept. 11 was originally donated for the use of weary police and rescue workers who were helping at ground zero...
Indeed, one bedroom in that apartment looked right into The Pit --- the site of the destroyed World Trade Center. Now, there are many things I've done I'm not proud of, but it would not occur to me to use a room with a view of a sacred shrine where 3,000 of my fellow citizens perished as a lovenest. No matter your politics...would you?

Yes, this Kerik is a guy that George Bush could love--a manly man, a bold talker, and, as the Times reports, so very much like Bush:

"He was terrific about inspiring people and creating a goal, but he was often not very good about following up and getting it done," one former American official who spent time in Baghdad said this month.
Those Armored Humvees

Sometimes pictures really are worth 1,000 words. Note the guys rolling on the ground laughing at the end. (When you figure out the joke, let me know.)

The Ohio Recount

Many of you have written to ask why I don't write about the "stolen" election. My response: When I see some proof, I'll deal with it. Ok... is this proof?

This, just in, also isn't encouraging.

The Movie Sucks. What Shall We Do? I Know: Market It to the Christians

What won't these Hollywood liberals--translation: Jews--think of next?

As The New York Times reports:

In a move that appears to break new ground for Hollywood, Revolution Studios and its partner, Sony Pictures Entertainment, helped turn their "Christmas With the Kranks," starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, from a potential loser into a modest hit by using newspaper ads to highlight endorsements drawn almost entirely from the conservative televangelist Pat Robertson's "700 Club"; religious-based broadcasters Good News TV and Family Net; and the Film Advisory Board, whose aim is to promote family-oriented and children's entertainment...

The Web site, which tracks film reviews, found that "Christmas With the Kranks," about a family that outrages the neighbors by trying to ignore Christmas, scored a positive reaction from just 4 percent of the critics it monitors. "Lockstep suburban conformism enforced with fascist severity is the ugly (but admittedly sometimes funny) joke driving Joe Roth's family comedy," Stephen Holden wrote in The New York Times.

Even before the picture's release, however, Revolution and Sony had already begun plugging it in a print campaign built almost entirely on endorsements from religious broadcasters and family advocates. In one heavily reproduced quote, Gorman Woodfin of the "700 Club" says: "Tim Allen has never been funnier! An instant family classic!"The real joke about all this is not that a crappy film has grossed about $60 million--that's an everyday event in Hollywood--but that the plot is, at bottom, an insult to Christianity. A plot summary:

The Kranks' troubles begin when Blair, their only child, leaves for Peru to work in the Peace Corps, and Luther decides to save money by ignoring Christmas (including charities and party giving) and taking Nora on a luxury Caribbean cruise. At first she is aghast at his heresy, but soon she warms to the idea....The Kranks' plans abruptly change when Blair telephones from Miami to announce that she's on her way home for Christmas and with her fiancé, Enrique. Once Vic is convinced of Luther's change of heart, he mobilizes the neighborhood to pitch in and give the young couple the perfect holiday welcome-home party.
In other words: Christmas is a commercial spactacle that we skip at our peril. Jesus would weep....

The Beauty Part

The CD of the year--for Swami and his alter-ego Head Butler--is a country/gospel hybrid. Butler's 24 year-end favorites are teed up for those who like to put some personality into holiday giving.

Thought for Today

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on
--Joni Mitchell, "River," from the exquisite Blue

Should We Kill Scott Peterson?

Half a million AOL members have voted in a poll about Scott Peterson's death sentence. Seventy-five percent called it the right punishment. That's about what you'd expect in a hard-of-thinking country that has reverted to body counts as a way of measuring "progress" in a war that increasingly looks like Vietnam--only, as a reader points out, without the protesters.