January 31, 2006

Light Blogging

My apologies for the light blogging. I have a house full of sick people so I am busy playing doctor with all of my normal sensitivity.

"I know that you are five, but you are old enough to just suck it up." Ok, I didn't say that and I didn't even think it, but apparently a few of you think that I might. Relax with the emails, I haven't drowned any kittens.

Here is what you missed tonight:

Obsessed With the Blogroll

Blogging Makes Me Hungry

The State of The Union

Blast from the very recent past:

The Many Layers of Hell

Why Do You Believe? G-d, Afterlife, Etc

The Most Time Consuming Part of Blogging

Obsessed With the Blogroll

If you have been blogging for any length of time you probably have received an email from another blogger asking for you to blogroll them. Sometimes they phrase it differently and offer you a reciprocal link exchange.

Either way the question is still the same, "will you blogroll me?" They want a link on your site that can be used by your readers to find their blog.

I am a bit of a prickly and at times moody fellow so these requests haven't always fallen upon receptive ears. Sometimes I have just done it and sometimes I don't even bother to consider it. You may recall that in the past I asked the denizens of cyberspace to tell me how many blogs you read.

It was a serious question that I asked because I have noticed that many bloggers have blogrolled an exceptional number of blogs and it occurred to me that it would be tough for them to read them all. So I spent a few moments pondering this and considering whether I thought that it made sense to have that many blogs on a blogroll.

Part of me thought that it was similar to having more than a few pairs of shoes. You couldn't possibly use/read that many consistently so after a while it seemed a bit like excess and overkill. I even read a few explanations in which the blogger suggested that the more links they offered the more that they would receive. I remember snootily thinking to myself that I would never let my ego get in the way like that blogger had.

Well, I was wrong. My ego did get involved and I began to get more involved with this than I had intended. I started paying a lot of attention to Technorati and to my stat counter. In fact I paid enough that I noticed that after a period of time some bloggers had unblogrolled me. I admit to being a little miffed by it.

I wondered what had happened. Why the hell did they keep that really stupid and boring blog. They could have dumped him and kept me. I was bent about it. And then there were the occasional blog altercations in which another blogger and I disagreed so vehemently that we had to unblogroll each other. Nice to see that you never outgrow junior high.

Anyway, after a time I grew more settled into my blogging routine and began to see things differently. I am a voracious reader. I have around seven bookcases that are jammed full of books and probably 12 boxes of books in my garage. One day while I was looking for a new book to read it occurred to me that in some respects keeping a long list of blogs on the blogroll wasn't all that different from what I did at home.

It wasn't profound, but it made perfect sense to me. The other thing I learned about the blogosphere is that it is littered with space junk. There are tons of abandoned blogs. People start them and just leave them up, hanging there, leaving you to wonder if they intend to return or not. Some of my favorites no longer exist.

And then there is the other issue. You run into blog boredom. Some blogs just stop holding your attention. I am sure that there are people reading my blog now who are ready to move onto something new. It happens. It is hard to keep your muse employed full time. They expect benefits and a pension and you are often lucky if you can offer them a simple IRA or 401k.

Apparently my own muse just quit on me. You'll excuse me for a moment as I need to go chase them down and beg their forgiveness.

Blogging Makes Me Hungry

I don't know about you, but blogging makes me hungry. I don't know why. I am not sure if this is physical or behavioral but virtually every time I sit down at the computer to blog I am hit with this desire to nosh.

Speaking of noshing there used to be a restaurant called The Bagel Nosh. I loved that place. In the good old days you used to be able to watch them make the bagels. It was kind of cool.

Now some 30 years later they have changed owners several times and come up with a new name. Somewhere along the way the food and service have gone downhill. I was very disappointed by this.

I'd write more but I need something to eat, I am starving.

The State of The Union

Dubya said several things tonight that made me happy, assuming that we make them happen. But before I speak about those I have one comment. Has there ever been a time in which the president said that the State of Our Union was anything less than strong. I can't remember it.
"Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital – but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote. The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election – and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. The Palestinian people have voted in elections – now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform – now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts. Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens."
You'll forgive me for being cynical, but Egypt is not what I call a democracy. Just ask Mubarak about term limits. Beyond that we see the rise of Hamas as potential foreshadowing of Islamic republics, elected Islamic republics. There is an ideological battle here that is playing out in front of us. But I really was happy to hear Dubya make it clear that Hamas will change their stripes or face the consequences. Will we hold true to this.

"The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon – and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions – and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats."

I am very curious to see how the rest of the world responds to this.

Beyond these points I was pleased to hear him speak about ending our dependence on oil, and his intentions to help improve education and innovation in business.

The real question now is whether these words translate into action.

January 30, 2006

The Many Layers of Hell

I can't remember who said that there are many levels of Hell, but I know that there are many and that I have been to at least a couple. The Department of Motor Vehicles, The Mall during the holidays and most recently Costco and Trader Joe's market on a Sunday afternoon.

It is common knowledge among the intellectual elite that venturing to a Trader Joe’s, home of “Two Buck Chuck” vintage wines and fine cheeses will involve solving a puzzle that is a prerequisite for entrance into Mensa. It is called parking. Some sick man/woman in their corporate office gleefully searches for store locations that cannot support the traffic that the store will bring, or so it seems.

I conducted an unscientific survey in which I drove to four stores and then polled the people there and the three dogs that were tied up in front of the stores about this. All of them agree that parking at any Trader Joe's is an exercise in treachery and guile best left to politicians or those of low moral fiber.

But food is the way to my heart, next to the miles of veins and arteries interred inside my body and I decided that my family required sustenance. As the hunter-gatherer in the household I was required by nature to dare to traverse the challenges that this entailed.

So I ask the dear reader, was I just fool hardy on this errand or is it poor customer service to ask your customers to engage in demolition derby so that they can frequent your store in hope’s of buying food. All I know is that the experience in the parking lot was merely a warm-up for what was waiting inside. As I approached the store I grabbed a shopping cart and bravely entered, armed for bear and ready for hand-to-hand combat.

Needless to say I was not surprised to find aisles packed with hungry shoppers all of whom had the same shopping list as I. Who would have thought that we all needed cheese, soy milk, crackers, cereal, chocolate, wine, juice and produce, more specifically blueberries. The same evil executive who designed the parking lot was surely chuckling as we banged and bounced off of each other’s carts and bodies. In my younger days I would have enjoyed the adventure, but now it just rubbed me raw.

After what felt like days I managed to check out and take my purchases home for deposit into the refrigerator and cupboards. But something in my skull must have been jarred during this experience, because I knew that my shopping was not done. Now I had to run the gauntlet and go to Costco.

Costco, another parking nightmare not unlike Trader Joe’s, but on a much larger scale. Costco, where I knew that the primitives would lose their minds and trample me and small children in the fight to get the free sample of the seafood dip or the greasy slice of pizza. Costco where you go broke saving money by purchasing two tons of toilet paper at a time.

The good news is that you’ll never worry about wiping, but you may worry about wiping out your checkbook. That is assuming of course that you can get a parking space without being overcome by road rage. And assuming that you manage to win the fight to maintain composure there is still the very real chance that you may succumb to some other malady, some other shopping rage. There is only so much one person can take. You can’t be bumped and pushed a hundred times or prevented from reading the description of that new fruit drink they are offering. Heaven forbid, you might miss out on taking advantage of the deep discount they offer for a trough of butter.

Why oh why do the folks in Kirkland not understand that we want, no must have parking attendants in the lot, turn signals on the carts and signal lights on the aisles. How much more bruising can a person’s lower back take before Kirkland understands that shopping carts need padding.

Because the tragedy of this is that while you can shop at both of these stores online you cannot squeeze the pears, nor smell the sausage or appreciate the scent of a good melon. There are still some challenges that technology has yet to overcome. Oh the humanity of it all.

Deconstructing Bin Laden

Victor Davis Hanson has a very interesting article that I encourage you to read. I have supplied the link and a couple of paragraphs. It is called:

Deconstructing Bin Laden
"We don't know whether the latest and much-discussed Osama bin Laden tape was recorded recently. But the harangue is still a valuable reflection of the current al Qaeda hierarchy that broadcast it to the world.

First, things must be going very badly for the terrorists to propose a ceasefire: "We don't mind offering you a long-term truce."

In truth, the winning side does not ask for a reprieve. Losing autocrats — whether the officers of the German army in the summer of 1918 or Hitler's cadre in the spring of 1945 — always "don't mind" sending out peace feelers in the 11th hour to salvage their power before they lose it for good.

That is not to say there won't be more sacrifices to come. The battles of the Bulge and Okinawa were the most costly for Americans of World War II, and ended just months before the Nazi and Japanese capitulations.

But examine al Qaeda's plight. Bin Laden's home base in Afghanistan is lost for good. Elites of his terrorist organization are targeted from the air even in the supposedly safe Pakistani borderlands. Plenty of al Qaeda terrorists have been killed in Iraq. Europe is suddenly galvanizing against Islamic fascism. (France even mentions the unmentionable of targeting terrorist patrons with nuclear weapons.) India has no tolerance for Islamic extremism. The terrorist sponsors of Iran and Syria are finally becoming international pariahs. And thousands of Muslims have demonstrated in Lebanon and Jordan against terrorist bombers.

Because bin Laden has failed to repeat 9/11, he oddly feels he must explain to his American targets why he has been unable to kill them. In a "Wizard of Oz" pay-no attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain moment, he offers us this: "The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures."

Second, al Qaeda's talking points seem to derive from American anti-war rhetoric, as bin Laden and Co. desperately cling to the notion that our resolve may yet crumble. Whether domestic critiques of the Bush administration's anti-terror policies are heartfelt or gratuitous, accurate or fabricated, an encouraged bin Laden doesn't care: He simply regurgitates these arguments as his own to throw back against us. Either bin Laden can't come up with any more grievances himself, or he figures that Americans are better at making his case for him."

Blog Disappointment

This is something that I suspect the majority of bloggers go through. It is a malady is best described as being upset because you spent time composing a post that you thought would be outstanding.

A post that you were certain was so good that you wouldn't have time to respond to all of the comments because you knew that within an hour of putting it up there would be at least 15 and by the end of the day there would be hundreds.

Only the exact opposite happens. You upload your post and anxiously await your first comment but there is nothing. It is like being back in high school. Your parents went out of town and left you home alone with strict instructions not to throw any parties.

Of course as soon as they left you spent a ton of time notifying everyone about the amazing 16 keg Bacchanalian festival that you have planned and no one came. And then the disappointment and depression set in.

Why, oh why are there no comments. You tried so hard to be funny, to be witty and insightful. There is a very cool picture and that clever phrase you were saving for the perfect post. You know the one I am talking about. It is the phrase that you are sure is going to become the new rage. You'll be like that girl, the one who made "Dooced" a part of popular culture. The next Forest Gump movie is definitely going to include some reference to you/it.

But unlike in Field of Dreams, when you built it they didn't come. It is time to take off that special party dress. It is time to put the collar back down on your shirt. It was cool to wear it like that in the 80's and you thought that you'd bring back the trend but now you know you just look sloppy and disheveled.

My friend, you haven't even hit the worst part of this. The worst part is that at some point you are going to stumble onto a blog in which they have produced the same post. It may not be an exact duplicate. It may not be a word for word reproduction but essentially there are only minor differences but one big distinction.

And that distinguishing feature is that those million comments you had hoped to receive are all on this other blog and there is nothing there to show that you had the idea first. Not a link, not a comment, not a simple thank you for the idea.

Maybe Kohellet was right and there is nothing new beneath the sun.

But have no fear little blogging buddy. Life is a journey in which we learn from experiences. The measure of a person is how they respond to adversity, not how many comments they get or how much traffic they receive.

Live long and prosper grasshopper and may the blogger be with you.

Their Thoughts on Hamas

Soccer Dad has put together a good roundup regarding the Hamas victory. Read it.

On a separate note Forbes reports the following:
"A Hamas leader asked the international community on Monday not to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority, insisting the money would go toward helping the Palestinian people and Hamas was willing to have its spending monitored.

Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader in Gaza, also said the Islamic militant group is ready to negotiate the terms of continued foreign aid with donor countries.

He spoke ahead of Monday's meeting of the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - to discuss the repercussions of Hamas' election victory. The United States and European nations have said they will cut off aid to a Hamas-led government unless the group recognizes Israel, renounces violence and adheres to interim peace deals with Israel."
You'll forgive me for being skeptical. I am sure that they will spend that aid just as they say they will. I am positive that they'll put on a big show demonstrating how charitable and kind they are.

Behind the scenes they'll rub their hands in glee and chuckle knowing that they don't have to be beg for as much money and will continue constructing scenarios of death and destruction.

If you ask for the two cent analysis about why they do not want to see two states living side by side it is because if that ever happens they will be forced to face a new reality in which Israel can respond to acts of violence the way a country traditionally responds to acts of war.

The accountability of their actions is far different as a state than as a terrorist group and they are well aware of it. More on this to come.

January 29, 2006

Sunday Night's Main Event

Memory- A Game We All Can Play

Sleep Apnea

Search Terms Used to Find My Blog

The erosion of anonymous Internet speech

It left an Impression on Me

Past Posts You Might Enjoy:

My Penis is Sad

Scenes From a Car

My Son & The Strip Club

Memory- A Game We All Can Play

We played a game here last year in which I asked you all to share a memory of something that we did together. I'd like to try it again.

Go ahead and leave me a comment in which you relate something that we did together. It can be anything. I look forward to reading about us.

Sleep Apnea

My father and I had a conversation the other day in which he suggested that I get tested for sleep apnea. It is not the first time that I have thought about it, but it is the first time that I really considered it.

Both of my parents have it, but it never really seemed real to me, at least as something that I would have to be worried about. I spent a few minutes wondering if it was possible and then I went online and looked it up.
Signs and Symptoms
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Loud snoring
  • Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings with shortness of breath
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
I don't feel excessively tired, at least I don't think so. I have young children and have gone through spells in which I haven't slept as much as I wanted to. It is called a child who is teething, so I never really thought much of that.

As for snoring that has been a claim to fame for years. My sisters used to complain that my snoring would keep them awake. My parents compared me to a train and that was when I was 10.

I have an exgirlfriend who once confessed to a mutual friend that after we broke up she had to turn on the television to fall asleep because without my snoring it was too quiet and she couldn't sleep.

Did I mention that I have broken my nose five times.

Ok, I snore. On to the next sign/symptom which in plain English asks if I stop breathing when I sleep. And the answer is no, or so I am told. And I don't recall waking up feeling short of breath either.

I have been known to wake up with a dry mouth, but that is usually associated with running the heater and or very hot evenings. So again, I never thought twice about it.

But the old Mayo Clinic post did say:

"People with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. In fact, many people with this type of sleep apnea think they sleep well all night."

Ok, maybe there is something to this and maybe there isn't. So I checked out the risk factors and saw:

Excess weight. A fat or thick neck tends to narrow the airway in your throat. A possible indicator of obstructive sleep apnea is if the diameter of a man's neck is larger than 17 inches, or if a woman's neck is larger than 16 inches around. Fat deposits around your upper airway may be a factor in obstructing your breathing during sleep. However, thin people also can develop sleep apnea.

I have a 17.5 inch neck. It was 17 inches by the time I was 20. I didn't have any extra weight then and I still sounded like a locomotive.

Ok, this post has gone on long enough. What really irks me is feeling like I am getting older and less bullet proof. That is peculiar and that is a little strange to me.

Search Terms Used to Find My Blog

Just for kicks I like to list some of the search terms used to find my blog:
It is not my thong
Monkeying around with a shmata
aliyah musings
Karl malone hurricane katrina
schnappi the krokodil
IDF blog
Lakers
cleveland sucks
roly poly good old boys guitar music
napoleon complex
matisyahu meaning
how do you become germophobic
how to become a real ladies man
sex with monkeys
And this is just the short list. Perhaps I'll provide more later.

The erosion of anonymous Internet speech

I thought that this commentary was quite interesting. Here are a couple of snippets:

"The Communications Act has prohibited the making of telephone calls or the utilization of telecommunications devices "without disclosing (one's) identity to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications." The same law also has been clear that the term "telecommunications device...does not include an interactive computer service."

This means this law has not been aimed at Internet communications. Now comes the huge qualifier.

A small but important provision buried deep in last year's Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act, which was just signed into law, now brings the reach of the above-quoted text home to the Internet. The provision in question applies to "any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet."

What does this mean? The Communications Act provides for fines and imprisonment of up to two years for violations. But taken to a logical, if extreme, conclusion, it is possible that a person who makes a Web posting or who sends an e-mail intended simply to annoy someone else while not disclosing his or her true identity could be subject to fines and jail time.

So much for freedom of speech as well as for appropriate Internet anonymity. There is no requirement of harm to trigger the impact of this new law, and the annoyance standard raises a number of concerns."

I am still thinking about how I feel about all of this. I am a big proponent of free speech and a believer in the marketplace of ideas, but there are limits to everything. This is a topic that I hope to revisit shortly.

It left an Impression on Me

Twenty years ago we lost the Challenger. Many bloggers have shared their thoughts regarding that moment. As I think about that day I have two thoughts to share.

First, I remember very clearly being in my AP History class when the announcement was made. I remember that when I got home and turned on the television there was nothing but news about the Challenger and what had happened.

I have one other memory that is tied into this but I really can't remember when this second event happend. I am not really sure why I associate the two because one is very serious and the other is not.

That associated memory is hearing the following words:

Buckwheat Has Been Shot. I can't explain the relationship, just that it exists. I feel a little guilty about it, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't associate the two.

January 28, 2006

Saturday Night Roundup

Here is your evening roundup of what has transpired at The Shack:

From the Mailbag

Losing Touch With Friends, With Family, With Life

Hamas

What I am Listening to Right Now

Blast from the Past:

Charlie's Angels- Child of the '70s

Children

The GermoPhobe


From the Mailbag

It has been a while since I last shared some of the musings of those who frequent here so here are a few.
Dear Jackass,

I suppose that you think that you are a very funny man. The clever and sensitive man who is always oozing charisma. It is too bad that you are not him. You are just fat and arrogant. I hope that choke on a chicken bone.

-Nicole

Dear Nicole,

Is it just me or did you just finish watching an old episode of SNL. You know the one, where Belushi pretends to be Liz Taylor choking on a chicken bone. That was pretty funny. Keep on posting.

-Jack
Letter Number 2
Jack,

I really enjoy your posts. I think that you are a very talented writer. Keep up the good work.

-Michael (P.S. Can you please link to my blog)

Michael,

Thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate them. I'd be happy to link to you blog but you forgot to give me your URL.

-Jack
Letter #3
Hello Jack,

I just finished reading The Story of Two Souls and wanted to know what gave you the idea for writing that. Is it based upon personal experience.

Thanks,

Jill

Hi Jill,

Forgive me, but when I saw your name I had to laugh. Jack and Jill, they go together like Daniel and Anne. ;)

-Jack

Losing Touch With Friends, With Family, With Life

The title sounds dramatic, overly dramatic. I know it does because as soon as I put it down I crinkled my nose and made that face I make when I see something ridiculous. I probably snorted derisively as well, but I am wearing headphones and I can't hear anything other than Josh Groban and whomever follows him on my iTunes. Oh, it is Kate Bush.

Anyway, today my son the strapping young five year-old dug around in the hall closet and found some photo albums which he insisted I look at with him. It wasn't like it bothered me. I am a sentimental old fool and I love looking at pictures. Ok, let me qualify that I love looking at my pictures I am less patient about looking at others. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing them but I just don't have the same attention span for it, does anyone.

The big boy found hundreds of pictures of his old man. He saw me on the blocks at a high school swim meet. Wearing nothing more than a pair of speedos I am poised to launch myself out into the water.

Off to the side I can see friends from the swim team. Nelson, Patrick, Tony and Shannon are all on there staring at the pool. What happened to them. I haven't seen nor heard a thing about them in more than a decade.

In a different book there is a picture of me leading a hike. I am wearing a pair of shorts, a red bandana and some wayfarers. One hand holds a walkie-talkie and the other has a canteen. My son has two questions. He wants to know if I painted myself brown and when I say no he wants to know if I stopped showering. He doesn't know that his father tans easily and has been asked many times if he is mixed.

What I want to know is what happened to Ron and Danny. They are in the background of the picture. I spent hours hanging out with them. We were 19 and life was nothing but fun and promises of more fun.

There are other pictures from different times and places. High school and college memories are intermixed with some pictures of me just after college. In every set there are reminders of friendships that have died out. It is a sad thing to me and I find it hard not to be a little disappointed.

I have always been good about staying in touch. I am the guy who will keep calling. I am the friend who won't always wait for you to call me back because I know that time gets away from all of us and yet there are still all these examples of friendships that no longer exist.

I understand that people grow and move on. There are reasons why some friendships end but there are others that continue on uninterrupted so I know that they do not have to have an ending date. They can continue.

What I am really saying is that today as my son and I looked at these pictures I enjoyed reminiscing. It was fun to think about the good times and to laugh as remembered. What it really was is a reminder that I need to keep working at maintaining things. Tomorrow I have a few phone calls to make. It is time again to reach out and touch someone.

Hamas

By now more than a few bloggers have written about the results of the Palestinian election and their thoughts regarding it. So you ask, what does Jack have to say that is new and insightful. My answer is that I am not sure that I have anything new to provide, but that I think that it is important to say something.

The vote for Hamas is an indictment of Fatah. It is a message that is being sent to the corrupt old guard that their day is over and no longer will their way of doing business be accepted. At least that is the noble and poetic version of it. I don't totally buy it.

It makes sense to me that a vote for Hamas is a vote against Fatah but I don't believe that the people were unaware of who Hamas is and what their principles are. I agree with this:

Daniel Pipes commented on the differences between Fatah and Hamas.

On the key question of their attitude toward Israel, Fatah is willing to negotiate with Israel to gain territory and other benefits, while Hamas on principle refuses to deal with the "Zionist entity." But the difference is between them is mostly illusory, as Fatah in fact engages in terrorism and Hamas does talk to the Israelis.

For reasons that somewhat escape my understanding, on this basis, Fatah is dubbed moderate and Hamas extremist; or, in the even more dramatic terms of an Associated Press headline today, "Palestinians choose between pursuing peace or confrontation with Israel." In fact, the differences between them are merely tactical; a more accurate headline would be "Palestinians choose between pursuing more overt or more covert destruction of Israel." Basically, Hamas speaks its mind and Fatah dares not. And Hamas provides the social services that Fatah cannot because its honchos have stolen the funds."

In short there are two groups that have been working towards eliminating Israel. Their methods have been somewhat different but they still share a common goal and as I mentioned earlier I believe that the Palestinians are well aware of this.

So people can call this an indicment of Fatah but I do not see it as a renunciation of violence or a repudiation of past methods of bringing peace.

However I agree that there are some potential positives. I prefer to work with people who are transparent in their goals. Hamas is very clear about their objective. Now that they are in the hot seat it is possible that this may force them to change and take a new tact.

Will it be enough to bring peace? I don't know. I think that a little time is required before we can really make an honest assessment. All I know is that at times it really is a crazy mixed up world.

What I am Listening to Right Now

Amazing Grace/Nearer G-d To Thee
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Duel of the Fates from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
London Symphony Orchestra
The Breaking of the Fellowship (Featuring "In Dreams")
Lord Of The Rings Soundtrack
Our House
Madness
A Place Among The Stones
Máire Brennan
What's Going On
Marvin Gaye
Bhangra Fever
MIDIval PunditZ
We Are All Made of Stars
Moby
Goodbye-Goodbye (1988 Boingo Alive Version)
Oingo Boingo

January 26, 2006

Most Popular Posts

Based upon a check of stat counter here are the most popular posts of the moment:

Haveil Havalim #54 Big and Beautiful
Commenting on Comments

Charlie's Angels- Child of the '70s

Playing Games With Telemarketers

The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves

Building The Blog

Back By Popular Demand- Skills/Talent I'd like to have

What The Hell Happened to Courtesy


Women and the Look of Death

One of the hallmarks of women is that most of you have mastered the "Look of Death." You know the one I am talking about. It is that look you give to us when we pretend not to hear you ask us to take out the trash.

It is the look you give that man/woman who just cut you off. The one where lightning comes out of your eyes and smoke escapes from your nose and ears. And we just know that when your mouth opens flames are going to come shooting out.

Do you take classes on it? Do you and your girlfriends practice giving it?

I wonder.

Call Me Color Challenged

I am not a clothes horse. No one would ever call me a fashionista or accuse me of stalking designers. Clothing is a practical matter and not something that I care all that much about. Oh I want to look nice. I pay attention, enough to notice whether my shirt is wrinkled or my pants stained.

But on the whole I just don't care all that much about clothes. Comfort is my priority.

I am a Taurus and built like the bull. I frequently have a hard time buying off of the rack. I always have. When I weighed 205 I wore a 44 jacket and had a 33 inch waist. Sometimes I would have to get a 46. It always had to be tapered. Broad shoulders and a broad back with a flat stomach meant a trip to the tailor.

Pants weren't much better. My legs have always been muscular, esspecially my thighs so I always needed an easy fit pair of jeans. Not to mention that Charles Barkley and I share the same style butt. It is great for boxing out, not so great for buying jeans off of the rack, especially when I need a 29" inseam and most were 30".

Now ten years later my waist has expanded to a 38. That means that pants are something like 38' 34'. They don't make 38' 29'. Bastards. ;) My jackets are not as problematic, the tapering isn't as big an issue as it used to be, but I am working on it.

All this really means is that I am still built a bit like a truck but instead of being a small pickup it is a little bit more like a big rig. Whatever. Either I get serious about getting back into some semblance of shape or I don't. My ego is big enough to be bruised and dented by comments about being well fed, but not so big that I have felt the need to change just to avoid those remarks. In part that is the advantage to having a large frame, it is easier to hide things.

Anyhoo.

I own at least nine white dress shirts and about a dozen others in various colors that I wear in conjunction with a half dozen pairs of pants. But the sad truth is that I sometimes wish that all I had were black slacks because I am "color challenged."

Yes ladies, I am that guy who is not quite sure what goes with the blue shirt with the checks/stripes or whatever the hell you call that pattern.

I wear one of three pairs of black shoes even though I own a brown pair because I am never quite clear on how things should match. They look ok to me, but I suspect my own judgement so I tend to play it safe.

In many areas I am a creature of habit and routine and I tend to stay with what I know. But I do have an adventurous streak and it is not completely unusual for me to branch out. So I am taking inventory of my wardrobe and trying to figure out if there are new and exciting combinations to wear.

One other thought occurs to me as I ramble on here. It is tied into my post about cheap sunglasses. I always found it funny how the women of my life would look at the clothing and sunglasses that I had been given or gotten while shopping with another woman and snort derisively.

I never told them how I got those items, it is like they knew instinctively that there had been another woman and were marking their territory. Or so it seemed.

How to Dance Like a White Guy

A Few Things that Caught My Eye

Scientists follow the money to predict epidemics

"LONDON (Reuters) - A popular U.S. Web site that tracks the geographical circulation of money could offer new insights into predicting the spread of infectious diseases like bird flu.

Money, like diseases, is carried by people around the world, so what better way to plot the spread of a potential influenza pandemic than to track the circulation of dollar bills, researchers reasoned.

Researchers in Germany and the United States did just that to develop a mathematical model of human travel that can be used to plot the spread of future pandemics.

"There are some universal rules governing human travel and they can be used to develop a new class of model for the spread of infectious disease," said Dr Dirk Brockmann, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Gottingen, Germany.

Health experts fear the H5N1 bird flu virus that has killed at least 82 people in six countries since 2003 could mutate into a highly infectious strain in humans that could cause the next pandemic.

"We can now plug in the parameter ranges that we think will apply to influenza and then simulate a pandemic that runs through Europe and see what happens," said Brockmann, who reported the findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

In addition to giving insights into how an infectious disease would spread, mathematical models and computer simulations could help to develop measures to take against it, he added."

This video caught my eye


I thought that this story was interesting too:

Scorpion Survives Inside Fossil Sample

"SALT LAKE CITY - A scorpion lived for 15 months without food or water inside the plaster mold of a dinosaur fossil, breaking free only when a scientist broke open the mold.

Don DeBlieux, a paleontologist for the Utah Geological Survey, said he was sawing open the plaster mold when the scorpion wriggled from a crack in a sandstone block.

DeBlieux is still chipping away at the 1,000-pound rock to expose the horned skull of an 80-million-year-old plant eater — a species of dinosaur he says is new to science.

The scorpion "must have been hanging out in a crack the day we plastered him," DeBlieux said Thursday.

He discovered the two-inch critter on Jan. 5 after spending two months carefully removing the plaster mold. DeBlieux said he'll spend more than 500 hours cutting the fossilized skull out of sandstone using tiny pneumatic jackhammers.

It took three and a half years to cut the sandstone block in the field, where researchers encased it with plaster. They moved it by helicopter from the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to a laboratory in Salt Lake City.

Scorpions, which eat insects, are capable of surviving for months without feeding or moving in a sleep period known as diapause, said Richard Baumann, a Brigham Young University zoologist."

The JIBs Revisited

An awful lot has been written about the JIBs, much of it criticism. I include myself among those who have offered criticism, but I have also said and still maintain that they are important. Dave deserves thanks for the hard work.

I am going to pick on one of my favorite lurkers and use his comments to make a point.
"What good is winning a JIB if the day after the voting is over a blogger is sitting there with 16 readers, no comments and 2 inbound pity links? The point of the JIBs is to increase everyone's readership while actually recognising those that are really the most widely read in their category."

January 25, 2006

The Boy Was Busy Today- Your Roundup

(In the background Suicide Is Painless also known as the theme to Mash)

There was an explosion this evening in which the posts just came flying out of me. I intentionally did not post everything that I could have because some of this material deserves a little time of its own. But it is not always easy to restrain myself this way.

Anyway, if you are just getting here this is what was covered tonight.

(Now playing the theme to Little House on the Praire. In case you are wondering I have been amusing myself with Television's Greatest Hits, Vol. 3: 70s & 80s It is sad how many of these tunes I can name)

A Very Disturbing Video- Warning Graphic
Blogroll cruisin'
Stupid Blog Mistakes
The Lock On the Stall Door
Charlie's Angels- Child of the '70s

(Now playing Ladysmith Blackmambazo singing Homeless)

And in related links/old posts to bring back out I present:

Bloggers- Do their pictures match the writing?
How Many Blogs Do You Read?
My Great Sadness

A Very Disturbing Video- Warning Graphic

ssI found out this evening that Google offers a new function that allows you to embed video in your blog so that it can be displayed. So I spent a few minutes exploring various videos and stumbled onto the video below. It is 17 minutes of footage of girls fighting.

I am shocked. I am. I am just stunned by some of this. When I was younger I was involved in some disagreements with other guys that were far more violent than shown here, but there was something distinctly different in those. It is not a matter of the obvious difference in gender.

What bothers me is the footage of so many different fights in which the onlookers exhibit indifference to the violence. What bothers me is that so many of these fights were clearly filmed by people who have little to no regard to the damage both mental and physical that is being delivered in front of them.

What bothers me are the numerous times in which I see one person being ganged up on by several people at once. It bothers me as a parent and it bothers me as a person.

What does this say about us. (Warning this is graphic)

Blogroll cruisin'

Blogroll cruisn' is hip, it is cool and it is what you do when you find yourself with a little extra time and curiosity about what the people you read do when they aren't blogging, commenting on your blog or doing whatever it is they do when they aren't at the computer.

Blogging is a bit voyeruristic, aw heck during the best of times it is quite voyeuristic. It is a little exhibitionistic and a chance to peer in the windows of those in the world around you to see what they do in the quiet and comfort of their own homes.

Through blogging I have learned many interesting and less interesting things. Some of the knowledge I have gained has been relatively intimate and probably a case of TMI.

Examples:

Blogger A discussed his preferred position for wiping his behind as well as his preference for "naked defecation." That has an interesting ring to it, "naked defecation" but let's save that for a different day.

Blogger B said that during sex she cannot orgasm unless she is on her back and thinking about her 10th grade biology teacher. FWIW, if you believe her blog she is in her mid thirties now.

Blogger C has routinely been stealing pens and paper from every office that he has ever worked in but doesn't know why and has never used any of these office supplies.

Of course there are also the posts of heartbreak and tragedy as well as incredibly uplifting stories. What this really tells me is that people are just as diverse and interesting as I have always found them to be.

I like people, I do. I may be a curmudgeon in training but I just find people to be fascinating. If I were to come and visit your home there are a number of things that I would be interested in seeing.

Primary on that list are a glance at your music collections as well as your library. I like knowing what you listen to and what you read. Out here in cyberspace one of the closest things to to it is your blogroll.

I'll peruse it and spend some time checking out the reads you read to see what it is that makes you tick and because I am curious to see if you have some undiscovered gold nugget to share.

After all if you are on my blogroll I find you to be interesting and it just might be that there is something special hiding there, or maybe not. All I know is that people are interesting and that I enjoy learning more about them.

So you really shouldn't be surprised if while you are going through your own rundown of your blogroll if you see me in places I haven't been. It may be a short visit or I may choose to set up a tent because you have turned me onto something new.

Blogroll cruisin'- it beats digging ditches.

Stupid Blog Mistakes

I am on a tear tonight, so much to say and so little time to say it all. I better include a roundup for those who might have missed a post, but I digress.

The bane of blogging is to destroy good content by masking it with stupid mistakes. Here are a couple of examples of stupid mistakes.

1) Posting inaccurate information and presenting it as being factual or truthful.

2) Blatant spelling mistakes in your headline and posts that are riddled with spelling errors.

Of these two it is the second that I dislike the most. And I am never more irritated than when I am the numbskull who commits the error. I just caught a really egregious mistake in a headline. I am surprised that no one said anything to me and don't know if it is because it was missed or they were being kind.

Ouch.

The Lock On the Stall Door

Earlier today I spent some time considering the shape and layout of this common lock on a common stall in a common public restroom. I wonder who developed this and why they chose a diamond shaped base as opposed to a rectangle or a square.

I am not an engineer, but I cannot see any structural advantage this way. If you really look at this you can see that there are many pieces that combine to make one unit. Based upon a rough guest I would estimate that there are at least there are somewhere between eight to ten separate and distinct pieces. I suspect that the manufacturer makes most of the parts, at least I would expect that they would, but maybe not.

There could be more than a couple of companies that do the machining and shaping of the metal into the appropriate pieces. This simple locking device might possibly be the result of the efforts of hundreds of employees, or it might be made by two or three employees of some third world sweatshop.

And there you have a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind. The world is full of interesting things, all you have to do is look.

Charlie's Angels- Child of the '70s

Here is an easy test to see if a woman of a certain age is a true child of the '70s. Turn on the theme to Charlie's Angels and see if she subconsciously assumes the pose.

C'mon ladies, you know what I am talking about. Which angel were you? Did you wear you hair like Farrah or did you have that funky Dorothy Hamil haircut.

Confession is good for the soul, so spill beans and share the goods.

And if you are really feeling nostalgic you can listen to the theme here.

January 24, 2006

My Daughter's Favorite Book

At the tender age of 18 months my daughter loves Goodnight Moon above all other books. Every night before she goes to sleep I read this to her.

We have a routine in which she climbs into my lap and waits patiently for me to begin reading. Ok, not so patiently. If abba takes time to clear his throat or take a breath she begins to urge me on, but that is ok at 18 months I don't expect her to act any differently.

This evening she changed things up for me. She climbed into my lap and said "I love you daddy." It is only within the last few weeks that she has learned to say "I love you" but tonight caught me off guard. For a moment I was choked up.

This little body was curled up against me, a tiny hand held three of the fingers of my right hand and a face showed nothing but the defintion of unconditional love. How could I not smile. How could I not hug her and promise her the world, my everlasting love and protection.

This may sound goofy, but I cannot remember the last time I felt so strong and powerful. Not in an arrogant, narcissistic or egocentric way. It was selfless and giving because my daughter made it that way, because I felt like I had to be her hero.

In that one gesture, that brief moment of time she gave so much to me. What can I say I am completely in love with 24 pounds of radiant beauty. Her eyes twinkle and like her brother she has a laugh that is infectious. Her smile just lights up her face and a room.

In a few minutes I'll go to sleep and the last thing I think about before sleep overtakes me will be that look and this special moment in time.

Commenting on Comments

I have been blogging for a little more than 18 months now. In that time I have generated a little more than 3000 posts. Yes, that is right, more than 3,000 posts. Some of those posts have been pulled down, so the number of posts that is actually live is likely to be different, but you get the general idea.

I am prolific. I have a lot of interests and a lot to say and I do stop every now and then to consider whether what I have to say is meaningful. When I consider why I got into blogging and the reasons why I come back to the same place in which I do see meaning. I blog because this gives me a running diary of my life, a place to vent and the opportunity to engage and interact with interesting people.

I try to visit as many blogs as I can, but time is fleeting and it can be a challenge. Nevertheless I make an effort. I also make an effort to comment. I am not much of a lurker. I am "lurking challenged." Some of that is because I feel a bit of an obligation to comment and not be as voyeuristic as I could be by sitting in the background watching and waiting. You took the time the write so I'll take the time to remark is the unofficial motto.

Posts that have No Comments

Early on in my blogging experience I didn't bother to visit any other blogs and I didn't have any sort of stat counter so many of those early posts are devoid of any sort of comments. There is also a chunk of time in which I used Haloscan. When I removed it I lost all of the comments that had accumulated there.

Why do I mention this? Because now when I go back to my earlier work I notice a number of things. My first thought is almost always how bad those posts were. They were just awful but as I mentioned many times I tend to dislike most of my work. The second thing I notice is whether there are any comments or not.

Posts that have no comments look like orphans to me. Sad and lonely collections of words that have received no love. They stand there in the shadows with their heads hung low and a glum expression on their collective typefaces.

As Forest Gump would say, "that is all I have to say on that for now."

I'll Skip the Train

The next time I am in China I'll be sure to skip taking this train. No diapers for me. Hat tip to Attila.

January 23, 2006

A Snapshot of Recent Posts

Here is a look at what has transpired here:

Cheap Sunglasses
Received in Email
Up At the Jewish Connection
Childhood Heart Repairs May Not Last
Haveil Havalim #54

As a point of reference these posts relate to my new post at the Jewish Connection:

You Should be A Rabbi
Moments When I feel Closest To G-d
I Yelled At G-d
Yom Kippur Thoughts and Musings
My Great Sadness

Cheap Sunglasses

"Now go out and get yourself some big black frames With the glass so dark thay won't even know your name And the choice is up to you cause they come in two classes: Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah"
Cheap Sunglasses- ZZ Top

Years ago I used to think that it would be great fun to get ZZ Top to play at the Chabad telethon. For that matter I still do. Some of you might be aware that the drummer's name is beard.

I have often wanted to grow a beard like them, something really long and "Grizzly Adams" like but up to now I have never had the patience to do so. Not to mention that that the various women in my life have always complained about my attempts to do so, especially one of my grandmothers.

Sunglasses, everyone needs them. They aren't a fashion requirement although some people see them as such. Back in the day it was a Vuarnets or a pair of Ray-Bans, the Wayfarers model in particular. In fact if you saw me during my senior year of high school I more than likely was wearing a pair just like the one in the picture. And I also admit to sometimes dressing like these guys, but more often then not I was mistaken for some Yeshiva bochur and not Jake or Elwood Blues. (I should add that
my first car was a 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger with a slant 6 engine. Not quite the Blues Mobile, but close enough for me to fantasize. But like I said it seemed that in my crowd dressing like The Blues Brothers was an invitation to ask when I had gone BT or Frum.)


For those who wonder I wanted a pair of Vuarnets, especially in junior high, but the cost was prohibitive. I never was a good enough salesman to convince my father to buy a pair for me.


Returning to the women of my life one of the things that I learned was that my girlfriends were very interested in having a say as to how I dressed and what sunglasses I wore. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a case of them saying that they wouldn't go out with me unless I dressed a certain way. I didn't date those girls and even had I wanted to I couldn't have afforded them.

No, it was a simple matter of women seem to enjoy dressing their men. They never really grow out of the playing with dolls stage, it just evolves into the "it is much more fun to play with money and real clothes than to pretend" stage.

And part of the real "fun" was the difference in taste that some of them had, but that is a different story altogether.

Skipping around because that is what I like to do when I tell these rambling, ambling what is the point tales I can tell you that I did eventually purchase a pair of Vuarnets. I think that I was 20. I loved them and so did the girl who came along with me to purchase them. But the the next three women I dated hated the way that they looked on me.

I told them each that I wouldn't part with them although I also made it clear that I would take their opinion into consideration. Maybe that was part of the consideration of why they chose to no longer date me or maybe it was my unwillingness to share my feelings other than in a dark room over a bottle of wine. I don't really know and at this point it doesn't really matter.

During the past decade I decided that it was pointless to spend a lot of money on sunglasses because inevitably someone would sit on them or they would be forgotten somewhere.

Through a series of tests I determined that there is a point at which cheap sunglasses are too "cheap" and just refuse to last. That point is somewhere less than $20. I am not really sure where because some manufacturers refuse to succumb to the siren song of cheap material and cheap labor and somehow manage to still produce quality goods that last.

Unfortunately I am not really sure who those guys are because the few moments of success have taken place when I purchased said glasses from the back of a van, on the boardwalk in Venice or on a streetcorner and the lack of "wrapping" has made it impossible to ID the glasses.

Throughout 2005 I relied upon a $20 pair of cheap sunglasses, only the problem is that I relied upon three pairs of them. They were all the same color/model but nonetheless I had to secure three pairs.

The first pair lasted for several months but were eaten by a ride/creature at the Magic Kingdom, I think. For all I know Goofy stole them and is busy enjoying a free pair of sunglasses.

The replacement pair survived the machinations of two young children but in a tragic even committed suicide by flinging themselves off of my head to a painful death beneath my shoe. Yes, I somehow managed to watch them fall off of my head and then stepped on them. I only wish that I had this on video because it would be worth money.

The third pair didn't commit suicide nor were they lost, they simply didn't have the will to survive and after a couple of months they were history.

And now I have a new pair of $20 sunglasses. With such an "auspicious" history of successful sunglass ventures I have had these blessed by a rabbi, priest, shaman and dumped into my son's "magic water." With any luck this pair will last more than two months.

I'll keep you posted.

Received in Email

The beauty of spam is that you receive a treasure trove of potential blogging material. Here are nuggets from some of the nitwits that have knocked noggins and nudged nonsense this way:
Dear XXXX,

My name is Jean-Claude and like you I used to have a penile that not work well. Since that shameful day in which I couldn't love me like I love her I have taken good drug to make lovin last long and hard.

Grab me and pills should help you become long and hard too so that her pleashure is replicated.

Dear XXX,

I am Thomasina Boliviana, the 23rd Demarco of Escuela Spain and the inheritor of a very large sum of money. My father, the 22nd Demarco of Escuela Spain of recent death has left me a great sum of money to which I must acquire.

The government of Escuela Spain has very much high taxes that I am trying to avoid. I Should like to use your help to prevent this burden by sharing some of my soon to be acquired wealth. Send to me your billing information and I shall provide you with a reward of which you shall proudly be happy.

Respond and reply to this endearment at will and at once so that we may discuss this transaction.

Up At the Jewish Connection

If you are interested in reading my rambling about where I am going you might want to read this post.

Childhood Heart Repairs May Not Last

I found this story from the AP to be quite interesting.
Childhood Heart Repairs May Not Last

WASHINGTON - One of medicine's greatest triumphs is hitting a snag: Up to 1 million people born with once-lethal heart defects now have grown up, a pioneering generation largely unaware that heart repairs can wear out as they approach middle age.

Few even get cardiac checkups, apparently believing they were cured as children — although a surgical repair isn't a cure. Worse, few cardiologists outside of children's hospitals have any idea how to care for these special hearts.

"The disease as an adult is completely different than the other kinds of heart disease adults get," warns Dr. Karen Kuehl, a pediatric cardiologist at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, who recently helped open one of the nation's few specialty clinics for adults with congenital heart disease.

"Here are people in their early young adulthood who have thought that they went through this (childhood surgery) ... and they were going to be fine. In fact, we don't know that," Kuehl adds. "Now we're seeing things nobody would have predicted."

Open-heart surgery for babies and young children didn't become common until the 1970s. Before then, only a quarter of "blue babies" and other infants born with complex heart defects lived beyond a year. Now, more than 95 percent of these "miracle babies" will grow up, living near-normal lives for many years.

Only recently have enough of the early survivors reached adulthood for doctors to notice a disturbing trend: Starting about 20 years after childhood surgery, the risk for some serious problems — irregular heartbeats, enlarged hearts, heart failure, occasionally even sudden death — begins to rise among people who had complex defects repaired.

Caught early, many such problems are treatable or, better, preventable. Too often, patients have serious damage or even need a heart transplant by the time someone links their survived birth defect to the new illness, says Dr. Roberta Williams of the American College of Cardiology.

How big is the risk, and who most needs preventive care? Doctors don't yet know, although pregnancy does demand extra caution. There have been no large-scale studies of survivors' long-term health, partly because so many disappear once they outgrow the pediatric cardiologist. Less than half of adults with congenital heart disease are thought to receive any regular cardiac care.

Denial plays a role. Young adults who feel well, and no longer are on a parent's insurance policy, desperately want to be normal and may not see a need for checkups.

Even if they want ongoing care, there are only about 100 cardiologists nationwide specially trained in adult congenital heart disease. Considering one in 150 babies is born with a heart defect, a soon-to-skyrocket new population of adult patients will compete for limited specialists."

If you know someone who fits into this category it would be wise to see that they get checked out. Always better to be safe than sorry.

January 22, 2006

Haveil Havalim #54 Big and Beautiful

Hi gang,

I am pleased to host the latest and greatest edition of Haveil Havalim. During this past week I have tried to provide a nice sample of the finest that the JBlogosphere has to offer. I encourage you to take some time to read new blogs and introduce yourselves to new worlds to explore.

For those of you who can't wait a full week for a new roundup might want to
check out Ezzie as he has a regular roundup that he pumps out. If nothing else he is in dire need of more tehillim as for some reason he roots for cleveland teams. And now for a definition of Haveil Havalim.
"Haveil Havalim is the carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Soccer Dad. The term “Haveil Havalim”, which means "Vanity of Vanities", is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon. Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other “excesses” and realized that it was nothing but “hevel”, or in English, “vanities.” (Thanks Ezzie and Batya)"
Politics
Elie starts us off on our roundup of some Jewish thoughts about Martlin Luther King with MLK on Zionism: Fact and Almost-Fact Steg cited Rav Abraham Joshua Heschel's remarks about MLK on this post.

Ren Reb spoke about the good doctor here and I shared my own post about him here. Read what the Jewish Atheist had to say. Or view Yo Yenta's take. Reb Chaim asks would it be so bad if in yeshiva kids were taught a little history of the civil rights movement and what King represented? I really appreciated the picture that I Still See A Spark In You had on her blog. The Orthodox Paradox is another Jblogger who shared their thoughts with us about MLK.

Life Events
Jews have Jdate but what do the fines folks in Hamas do? Ask AbbaGav about Hdate.
Speaking of dating it is pretty clear that it is going to be a while before Treppenwitz is ready for his daughter to begin dating, but what do you expect when you have female issues.

Along those lines I would counsel people to be careful around ranting women, not that there is anything wrong with that.

In the category of happy occasions The Shmata Queen's parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Want to read more about a real love story then you need to go visit Seraphic Secret and follow the tale of Robert and Karen. Shoshana's trip to Israel highlighted some of the changes that have taken place in her life over the past few years.

Westbank Mama's anniversary involved Shmatas but not the kind that the Shmata Queen uses. Elisson gives us all an education on Shalom Bayit. Ezzie is another blogger who like the Shmata Queen fled the mistake by the lake for nicer pastures. This week he enjoyed a quiet Shabbos. The great blogger meetup of 2006 hasn't occurred yet, but two famous JBloggers enjoyed a nice meal together. The Meme of Fours has infected many including: House of Joy, The Shmata Queen, The Jewish Freak, and Mommy's Going Meshuggah.

On a different tack altogether Shifra has offered an explanation for why men can't shower until the last minute but sadly neglected to answer why women need 19,876 pairs of shoes. Not to mention why 17,987 must be black. Lab Rab has a response to all of this.

I wonder if Elster has returned from the holy city of Miami. Once upon a time I used to drink close to 20 cups of coffee each day, now I rarely have it because my body just doesn't like the caffiene . A Simple Jew has his own reasons for his withdrawal. Read about it at
Caffeine Detox - Part III.

Take a deep breath before you read the next two posts. Treppenwitz has a very touching story about some of the women in his family and his daughter's progression to maturity. Elie shares a beautiful tribute to his son Aaron.

On my own blog I shared the story of a dream I had.

Judaism

One of these days I do want to meet
Reb Zalman Shachter-Shalomi. He sounds so interesting to me. Rachel has met him, want to know where and under what circumstances, read her post Witnessing my First Smicha, there. Rachel also blogged about being visible and the feeling she has putting on a kipah.

Back at the Shack I rambled on about moshiach and then Chaim picked up the ball and ran with it. Continuing down this path I also posted a few thoughts about being banished from Gan Eden.
At NY's Funniest Rabbi you can read about Shmot: The Painting of Moshe.
Orthomom has an interesting post about Charedi art. A Simple Jew has a guest post regarding the authenticity of the Zohar.

In a very special guest post at the Muqata Lab Rab writes about his song Do The Daily Daf. He even gave me a part to sing which probably means that he is deaf, but I digress. On a very different tract Modern Orthodox woman has a post relating to the halacha related to revirgination. Barefoot Jewess says that she loves those who question. Speaking of questions you might wonder about the Internet and rabbinic bans. Batya shared her thoughts on parsha Vayechi.

A Simple Jew offers us a Guest Posting From Rabbi Dovid Sears: The Authenticity of the Zohar.
Frume Sarah's world explores teaching and intelligence. Tanisha has a new feature on her blog called Jewish Fridays.

First there was speed dating and now there is speed davening. He is not a crumb, he is Krum as a Bagel and he is interested in MBP and Slifkin. Krum also has a disturbing story of out of control Charedim. Have you ever been curious about what happened to the Essenes. Well, Absolute Celibacy just might give you a clue.

On a different tack Shira Salomone is conservatively flippin out and Shanna is wigging out. On a different bat channel Irina asks about the davening dilemma. Toronto Pearl wrote about the Shabbos Queen. Akiva blogged about Hints and Prophecy.

Israel
Cosmic X links to a story that slams Israel's Israel's supreme court ruling regarding Jonathan Pollard. Unorthodox Jew blogs about Yigal Amir's request to artificially inseminate his partner. Treppnwitz shared some thoughts about Hebron as did Akiva. Allison also wrote about Hebron and the 'intifada' taking place there.

Soccer Dad blogged about Norway and their finance minister. Life In Israel asks Why Call Her Haredi? Elie says that he was inspired by a few posts to share his own Aliyah Contemplations. Batya is not a believer in Kadima. My Obiter Dicta posts about Jerusalem and his concerns about international guarantees. Yeshayah 62:1 spent time discussing demographic issues in Israel and the US.

If you are looking for a roundup of politics in Israel take a gander at Mere Rhetoric or stop by the Head Heeb. Elder of Ziyon offers Israel a roadmap to use with Hamas. Yourish blogs about The Guardian's Take on Hamas,The Mad Zionist wants to make sure that people understand that it is homicide and not suicide, Sometimes a bus ride is more than a bus ride, just ask Nathan.

Here is a new blog that looks interesting to me: "A Jewish "Settler" resident of the modern Jewish community of Shilo which grew up beside the site of ancient Biblical Shilo exchanges email messages with an Arab, resident of the village of Turmosayya, located in the valley beneath Shilo. Is there a place for true dialog between the two?"

Elder of Ziyon offers The Logical Song. Ze'ev has an interesting post about Israeli patriotism. He also thinks that Olmert needs to be watched carefully. Soccer Dad brings you Headlines from Israel. While still traveling through the Holy Land Batya has a post regarding Loyal Citizens who are in Danger. Where else but in Haveil Havalim would you find a GunsNRoses reference to Israel. Customer service in Israel? Who would have ever believed that this is not one of the many myths associated with the land. Click here.

Miscellaneous
Robbie faced the tin chair of death, but I wonder if we was wearing Bluetooth jewelry.
Chaim takes issue with Hollywood award shows but he was interested in discussing Elie Wiesel on the Oprah Winfrey show.

My Bald Sheitel writes about some of the fears a pregnant woman has in Tears in Heaven and after reading this post I understand better why she might be concerned now.

Penny Stock had what many of us concert goers want, All Access Passes.
Irina writes about being between two worlds and her interest in the Jblogosphere. And then she follows it up with her comment Says Who! Ezzie blogged about Utter Genius.

Daled Amos and Yourish both spent time reminiscing about their teaching days. Psychotoddler provides an excellent example of what can go wrong when doing laundry. Westbankmama has been having Escher moments. Jewish Blogmeister shares the story of bringing Shabbat to our appliances.

Knocking on the Golden Door educates us all regarding Yiddish Semantics while Yitz provides a post about THE YAHRZEIT OF THE "BNEI YISSASCHAR" and his music.

Batya had a busy trip to NYC where she was honored. Biur Chametz made it to Texas. Have you ever eaten a Squinerapple? I haven't either, but it sounds interesting. The Bruce Dickinson made an appearance on my blog because sometimes everyone needs more cowbell.

If you are looking for new blogs to read you should stop by a Whispering Soul and read the profiles he has compiled of various Jewish bloggers. And if you find yourself suffering from insomnia Mirty is ready to offer her patented oven test cure. Or maybe you might want to read about Annabel and the cradle episode.

Daled Amos has an interesting post called Science Vs. Religion. If you are looking for a new hobby you might consider speaking to Sushi Kiddush. Boker Tov Boulder provides the full text of Bin Laden's latest screed.

On a lighter note I provided a quick snapshot of the music I blogged to. And on a darker note Daled Amos wonders about the dark side of Dr. Seuss. Don't upset AbbaGav or he might sick his gang on you, those Geeks are dangerous. It really is Gnome Matter. Is Jack Bauer Jewish?

Is it just me or does Dear Dr. Bean sound like an advice column. Some bloggers would probably be upset that Aussie Dave uses the force when he goes bowling. ;)

A Special Announcement- Hear Ye, Hear Ye. I am pleased to announce the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

One more note. As I mentioned before there are many fine blogs out there and I offer my apologies if you were not included this week, so I strongly encourage you to reach out and offer your words/comments/insights for the next HH.

If you are interested in submitting a post for the next Haveil Havalim contact the fine folks at Kesher Talk. Email Judith at admin-at-keshertalk-dot-com. If you want to host Haveil Havalim contact Soccer Dad at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.

(linked to the Ubercarnival at Truth Laid Bear
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