Simple pleasures

Listening to my son sing.

Watching him play.

Watching him run.

Watching my daughter watch everything around her, a little sponge soaking it all up.

A glass of scotch and some good music.

Quiet time with a good friend.

My defense against identity theft

I came up with a simple and effective way to prevent identity theft. This evening while paying bills I basically emptied our checkbook, which to my way of thinking should be an effective deterrent to stealing my identity.

Rigid Parenting-Sometimes it is ok to adjust nap time

There are a number of topics that are ripe with seeds of discord and destruction- Death, taxes and politics are what most people normally think of. But there is another that can cause great distress, parenting. If you question a person's parenting ability you are bound to cause hurt feelings. Mind you that is not always a bad thing, some people are bad parents. It is not a question, it is a fact.

What I wonder about sometimes are the parents who go crazy if their child's schedule is adjusted. Children need structure, they need schedules it is important. But there are going to be times when your son/daughter is going to miss naptime.

Some of the parents I know seem to think that having to adjust their child's nap time is equivalent to war breaking out. I don't get it. I have two children of my own and I know what they are like when they are overtired. It sucks, but if you can't break the rules now and then there is something wrong.

It is ok to put them down at 3 instead of 2. What is the big deal. I don't get it.

Study: Women may beat men in sprint by 2156

"LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Women could be faster 100-meter sprinters than men by the 2156 Olympics, according to a study on Wednesday."

But they still will never beat us in a race to avoid taking out the trash or doing other household chores. The ordinary couch potato male may look like a sloth, but in times of need can generate tremendous bursts of speed. It is part of a Darwinian process that the species has undergone to ensure our survival.

Hope for Diabetics

Ancient herbal remedies used for centuries in Indian cooking and in preparing dishes in the far east have the potential to control diabetes and treat cancer, according to a team of London scientists.

Researchers from the department of pharmacy at King's College London say they have found scientific justification for the use of alternative medicine.

Scientists believe that the Indian curry leaf - an ingredient in many curry dishes and used in traditional Indian healing, may contain agents that slow down the rate of starch-to-glucose breakdown in people with diabetes. The tree's leaves could control the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream.

Professor Peter Houghton, who headed the research team of 20, told the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester yesterday that plants used in traditional Thai and Chinese medicine appeared to have cancer-fighting properties.

During the research six plants used in Thai cancer remedies were extracted according to traditional methods and showed "promising activity" against lung cancer cells.

The best results were found in the aquatic weed known as Ammannia baccifera from Thailand and star anise, a plant extract which tastes of licorice and is often used in Chinese cooking.

The findings also revealed that common cattle feed might contain anti-fungal properties and could be used in a cream to treat athlete's foot.

Prof Houghton said the findings from three years of research were the first step in the discovery of new drugs based on plant extracts, but warned against people with diabetes or cancer taking the plant extracts immediately.

"This is the first time many of these plants have been looked at scientifically, but it is a long way from saying they will be placed on a doctor's prescription pad," he said. "Pharmacists believe herbs are of value, but they are not completely safe. There is now a rapidly diminishing number of doctors who believe they are old wives' tales, and now see that herbal remedies must be treated with respect."

He said although it was quite possible that people who ate curry leaf regularly as part of their diet could help control their diabetes, sufferers should first consult their doctors.

"When people find a new chemical of interest, there is a one in 10,000 chance of it becoming a good medicine," he said.

"Obviously if someone is eating the curry leaf regularly and is known to be diabetic there is no harm in carrying on taking it, but if someone is going to start taking it in conjunction with other medicines they should definitely check first."

Researchers also interviewed traditional healers in Ghana to identify plants that are used to help wounds heal. The Ashanti, one of the largest ethnic groups in Ghana used a plant known as the climbing flower which was shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities and prevented infections.

But Professor Edzard Ernst, who researches complementary medicine at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, said it was important for people to realise clinical trials had not yet been carried out on the plant extracts.
"This research needs independent confirmation, and even if it all goes like a flash of lightning, which it never does, we could see something in five years," he said.

"I think it's very encouraging but I think any claims of a cancer cure or a diabetes cure are misleading to patients."

I find this all to be so very interesting. It makes you wonder sometimes how many cures are just out there waiting to be discovered.

Addiction wins

I have been wrestling with myself for some time now. It has been a mighty battle of epic proportions. It has involved night sweats, hallucinations, shaking, shivering, shimmying and flip-flopping. It even included a little shake and bake and some juke and jive.

And what is the reason behind this. What can I attribute all of this craziness to? My blog. I haven't posted a new entry because I was trying to get more work done prior to visiting my new girlfriend Bloggie. Not a very sexy name. And for that matter, not the greatest body, kind of flat and lacking tone. Her skin color is kind of dull and there is some real blotchiness.

But my, she is sexy. She get's old Jack doing things like the young boy he remembers of his youth. I sing to her, I tell her my innermost secrets. I whisper sweet nothings to her. And my little bloggie, she listens. But she is one hell of a gossip.

My bloggie can't help but tell anyone who asks about everything I have said. Come to think of it, the little slut will give the same attention to anyone. Although I should add that old Bloggie is not homophobic, she likes men and women. Really she is more like a "trisexual" because she'd do this with a dog, monkey, horse or giraffe if I let her.

Oh Bloggie, what have you done to me. You have taken my words and allowed me to imprint them upon your soul. I feel so lucky.

A Good Hug Makes a Bad Day Go Away

Not a Hallmark card, but an original Jack's Shack sentiment.

You must be bored

Sometimes I wonder just how boring my thoughts must be to other people. That of course sounds like a plea for validation. "Please Jack, keep writing, don't leave us, blah, blah, blah." And I suppose to a certain extent it is. I really like knowing that people are reading what I write.

But, the reality is that if I didn't really enjoy blogging it would be left behind, just one more hobby that couldn't keep my eye. Now that sounds bad, makes me sound like I can't focus. And that is not true. There are times that I can be easily distracted, but I have tremendous focus. Sometimes the level of concentration I can bring is a problem because I end up working on whatever the project is without any sense of the time.

When I was single it was not a big deal, but as the big family man it does cause issues. Which brings up the next point. Am I deaf or just good at ignoring people. Ask me again, I can't hear you. Yes, I can ignore you all day long. I can look right through you as if you didn't exist. It can be a good tool, but a real problem.

As I step into my chauvinist shoes let me say that if you really want to piss off your lady friend all you need to do is intentionally ignore her. Under the best of circumstances women get irritated with men for not listening and focusing on what they say. Do it intentionally and you can really get things going. Of course if you work it properly you get to makeup and that has it's own benefits, even if she is from Monkeytown.

What is nice about blogging is that you can develop a community. You can find people with common interests and share your experiences. We are communal creatures and need that kind of familiarity. Which brings up hugging. I am big on hugging and if I may brag, I give an excellent hug. It is an advantage of being built like a teddy bear.

My Torah observant friends and I have gone around the bush and back again about this in relation to being Shomer Ngiya. Moderation is the key. You can still be snius and get a hug. A good hug makes life better. Maybe I'll make that my next post.

The Apprentice

I watched The Apprentice tonight and have a few comments to make.

A) The women do not appear to like each other and seem to be more interested in beating each other up than winning.

B) The men just have a good time and it comes out, it is just easy to see that they are having fun and that translates into good things.

As a salesman I have made a conscious effort to try and avoid negativity, it just eats up your insides and destroys you. Really. It is hokey, but in my experience walking around with a smile works wonders.

I smile all the time at people. Apparently I have one of those smiles that makes you check your wallet, look at your teeth, etc. In other words, it can make you do a little double-take. I love that mischievous look and I work it because it is fun. In negotiations it makes people second guess themselves and wonder what I have up my sleeve. The best is using during a poker game.

The second question I have is why do people feel it necessary to try and describe other by race/religion/nationality when it doesn't add anything to the story. In tonight's case one of the women described two people as those "old Jewish women."

I failed to see why that was necessary. Unless they edited it out, there is no way that she could have known what their religious background was, and even if she did it didn't add to the story. All it did was raise red flags about her.

For the purpose of her story it made perfect sense to describe these two people as being "older women." They were and since there were many different people that she could have been talking about it was sensible to describe gender and age.

Had they been Black, Asian or Latino I would have had the same problem with a description that exceeded gender and age, it just was unnecessary.

It may be 2004, but the US still has racial issues. There are deep wounds that will take time to heal.

The Presidential Debates

I am irritated with both sides and their terms. I want a real debate that is not so carefully crafted. I want to see them go back and forth and watch them think on their feet.

I don't care if Kerry is taller than Bush. I don't care if Kerry sweats. Neither of these "features" will prevent them from being able to do the job. I want to get back to issues and hear more about how they intend to do things, what are their plans etc.

And now along with all of you I get to watch bad acting accompanied by stagecraft. This is not right.

It is like finally landing that girl you had a crush on and finding out that she wears a wig, stuffs her bra, has a girdle and used to be a man. Give me some reality and cut the crap.

Another Earthquake

We just had another earthquake, at least one that was large enough for me to feel. Here is the report I pulled online:


Recent Earthquakes in California and Nevada== PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE REPORT ==California Integrated Seismic NetUSGS/ Caltech/ CGS/ UCB/ UCSD/ UNR
Version #D: This report supersedes any earlier reports of this event.This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
A moderate earthquake occurred at 3:54:53 PM (PDT) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004.The magnitude 5.0 event occurred 17 km (11 miles) NNW of Keene, CA.The hypocentral depth is 1 km ( 1 mile).
Magnitude
5.0 - local magnitude (ML)
Time
Wednesday, September 29, 2004 at 3:54:53 PM (PDT)Wednesday, September 29, 2004 at 22:54:53 (UTC)
Distance from
Keene, CA - 17 km (11 miles) NNW (348 degrees)Bear Valley Springs, CA - 24 km (15 miles) N (5 degrees)Arvin, CA - 28 km (17 miles) NE (43 degrees)Bakersfield, CA - 37 km (23 miles) E (85 degrees)Los Angeles Civic Center, CA - 152 km (95 miles) NNW (347 degrees)
Coordinates
35 deg. 23.3 min. N (35.389N), 118 deg. 37.2 min. W (118.621W)
Depth
1.2 km (0.7 miles)
Location Quality
Fair
Location Quality Parameters
Nst=067, Nph=067, Dmin=18 km, Rmss=0.24 sec, Erho=0.2 km, Erzz=0.7 km, Gp=54 degrees
Event ID#
ci14095628
Additional Information
2-degree map Topo map centered at earthquake (This link takes you offsite).ShakeMap shaking intensity maps Waveforms Did you feel it?
For more information, see http://www.trinet.org/
[ Index map big earthquake list all earthquake list glossary of terms top page ][ Did you feel it? Shake Map South ][ Data Sources Contacts ]

Profile views

Ok, it is time for Jack to take another break from work for a moment. The topic now is "profile views." The comment, is it just me or do they not seem to work in real time or anything close to that. My profile views were stuck at 703 for a couple of weeks and then shot up to 785 and were stuck again.

Now they are at 890 and have been there for quite some time. My gut tells me that it should be higher, but then again the dysfunctional unit has been wrong in the past. With any luck this will be my biggest problem this year.

Israel Divestiture Spurs Clash

This really irks me for a number of reasons. A couple of selections from the article:

"Jewish-Presbyterian relations have been in turmoil since the 2.4 million-member Presbyterian Church's General Assembly voted 431 to 62 in July to "initiate a process of phased selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel" and also decided to continue funding messianic congregations that target Jews for proselytizing."

So they are going to make lopsided blanket judgements while trying to do whatever they can to eradicate my people. That may sound dramatic, but when your family, friends and colleagues are targeted for conversion what are you supposed to say.

"The Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative advocacy group in Washington, issued a report this week saying that mainline Protestant denominations devoted 37 percent of their human rights declarations over the past four years to criticism of Israel, far more than any other foreign country."

I can accept criticisim, no person or country is perfect, but given the circumstances it seems awfully strange that Israel has received more than one third of the criticisms of this group. Where is the balance.

Blogavoidance

Do you ever engage in blogging to avoid work? Do you find yourself racking your brain or scouring the web for that one perfect topic to blog about? Do you find yourself cursing outloud because you discoved that the topic you wish to discuss has already been covered by 6,354 other bloggers, and at least six of them did a better job than you.

If you answered yes to these questions you are clearly engaged in blogavoidance, also known as suffering from blogavoiditis. There is no cure, no hope and like this post, no point.

But I do have an answer for you. For little to no money down I will serve as a guest blogger for you. I will write a piece that you can place on your little slab of the net. I do not promise or guarantee that it will be educational, informational, witty or interesting, just that you will receive it.

Remember that all donations go to rebuilding Jack's Shack and are not tax deductible. They will make you feel, just what it is that you will feel I cannot say. It could be a thigh or it could be a wing. You might even feel swindled, foolish and or silly.

If nothing else you can rest assured that I am not going to use the money on anyone but myself. I am my own favorite charity. So go ahead and consider how you can make Jack have a better day. I'll be thinking of you. :D

My picture

Someone contacted me to ask about my picture. They wanted to know which one of the three men was me. Just to avoid further confusion, I am the guy with dark hair, glasses and a mustache.

You may refer to me as Captain Spaulding.

A Sukkah that could withstand a hurricane

I am sure that the Head Heeb has his own stories of Jewish GIs and the holidays. I came across two stories today that I found interesting. The first is about a Sukkah that was built by the army for Chaplain Capt. Shmuel Felzenberg who is currently stationed in Iraq.

And the second story albeit an older one is about a Passover seder that was held in one of Saddam's palaces.The seder was organized and lead by Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson (LTC, USA), the senior chaplain for the US Army 220th Military Police Brigade.

I found it interesting because you don't find a ton of Jews in the US military. It is not for a lack of a patriotism, but a thousand different reasons. Such as in my case a problem with authority. If you ask the people that know me best what would happen if I had enlisted or been drafted they will uniformly respond with "he would have been court martialed."

I prefer to think of this as being more like a strong streak of independence.

I have a dsyfunctional digestive system

Yes, it is true. I have a dysfunctional digestive system. I am not in the mood to give you the exact title and definition. For the purpose of this post it really doesn't matter, in part because I haven't the foggiest idea where I am taking this yet.

Like a lot of my writing it is a journey in which I go whichever way the road takes me. If I head up the 101 I may stop at the Big Yellow House in Summerland, Pea Soup Andersens in Buellton or some other joint for no good reason other than I feel like it.

Although the reality is that my dysfunctional digestive system often requires me to make adjustments on the fly. I may be king, but the stomach is the cruel emperor and upon occasion it requires attention. It brooks no disobediance, when the call comes I must heed it quickly or risk a messy situation. Thus far I have proven to be the victor. The secret has been determination, the ability to thread through traffic at high speeds, the willingness to use the great outdoors and a very strong sphincter. I know, that is really graphic, but this is stinky business.

My dysfunctional digestive system has played a sizeable role in my life. At times I have skipped social events and have been late to work several times. When I was younger I was late on dates and actually missed a few. But there was no good way to say to these women that I would be happy to go out to eat, but I am not eating. As I recall from my dating days about half of them would order and then not eat anyway.

Some attribute my my dysfunctional digestive system to diet. That is only partially true, sometimes it doesn't matter what I eat, it punishes me. So to piss it off I eat all of the foods that I am not supposed to. Nothing like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

My dysfunctional digestive system is an attention whore. It is not uncommon for my stomach to rumble loudly, so loudly that people nearby can hear it. And it is not uncommon at dinner parties for the host/hostesses to worry that they have poisoned me because of the rumbling.

But there are worst things. Some of the bits that you have seen in the movies have happened to me. I have gone back to my date's apartment for a nightcap and had to suddenly rush to the bathroom. Better yet, the bathroom was occupied by the roommate and when finally available I discovered that it did not have a fan or toilet paper.

SO I know that you are asking yourself why would someone sit down without checking for toilet paper. And to my female readers I ask a similar question. How hard is it to check and see if the seat is down.

The lack of a fan has also been problematic. All that rumbling results in action, expressive bodily functions that are not "appropriate" for sharing that early in the dating process. Sometimes I have demonstrated my tremendous ability to sing loudly. Did I ever mention that, I can really belt it out. The problem is that most people find it to be more exciting to be belted rather then listen to the soft, sweet dulcet tunes I produce.

Another fine aspect of my dysfunctional digestive system is my tremendous ability to imitate a balloon. Sometime my dysfunctional digestive system blows me up like one big bloated object. Too bad it doesn't make me lighter than air, I would be pleased to float all over and my dysfunctional digestive system also provides the power to propel me forward.

Maybe I'll contact the patents office and try and determine if I am able to put a patent together on this idea. It could solve my commute problem.

War with Iran

At Rishon Rishon David writes about his thoughts on war between Israel and Iran . He posits that both Bush and Kerry must understand that Israel will not sit by and watch Iran develop nuclear weapons and that because of the War on Terror the U.S. cannot allow Israel to attack Iran.

The end result he proclaims is a US attack on Iran. It is a sensible conclusion given the circumstances we see. Iran does not acknowledge the existence of Israel. It is a primary supporter of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations that attack Israel. We even saw during the Olympics that the Iranian athlete refused to compete against an Israeli athlete.

Bush is already laying the groundwork, making sure that the Iranians understand that there will not be a compromise on their acquiring nuclear capabilities. If Bush remains in office, I would not be surprised to see something like David's suggestion of a US attack on Iran.

OTOH, I am not convinced that Kerry will do the same. At this juncture I rather suspect that Kerry will try and bring international pressure to bear on Iran, but I am not convinced that will be effective either.

An interesting thought to consider. Russia and Israel agreed to work together to fight terror. Traditionally Russia would not work with Israel and would be hesitant to irritate their Arab allies. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Putin apply pressure on Iran on behalf of Israel. We live in strange times and stranger things have happened.

John Walker Lindh- Early freedom?

"Sept. 28 - Since his tearful confession in a federal courtroom in Virginia two years ago, the world has heard nothing from John Walker Lindh, the young Marin County, Calif., man who provoked public outrage when he was captured alongside Taliban forces in November 2001. After Justice Department officials agreed to drop more serious terrorism charges against him, Lindh, now 23, plead guilty in July 2002 to aiding the Taliban, and received 20 years in federal prison.

Now, says his lead attorney James Brosnahan, “times have changed,” and the man once reviled as the “American Taliban” has asked President George W. Bush to commute his sentence. “There comes a time after the heat of war that people look at things more fairly,” said Brosnahan, flanked by Lindh’s parents at a San Francisco press conference. “It seems a matter of justice and compassion for the president to reduce his sentence.”


I am not sure how I feel about this. I remember being 20 and doing some pretty stupid things, but none of them involved attempting to kill anyone or engage in treasonous acts against my country.

It would be unfair to not think about this and consider the possibility. But consideration and action are two different things.

Blair Makes Partial Iraq Apology to Win Back Party

"The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons ... has turned out to be wrong," Blair told Labour's annual conference, his nearest yet to a "mea culpa."
"The problem is I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam," he said. "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power."

Now who was it that suggested that Bush do something similar. Hmm....

Cat Stevens Supports Terrorist Organization

Special thanks to Bloghead for alerting us to a report from the Canadian National Post and an article<that describes Steven's speech for a "front" for a Palestinian terrorist group.

"In a videotape of the 1998 event obtained by the National Post, Mr. Islam describes Israel as a "so-called new society" created by a "so-called religion" and urges the audience to donate to the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services to "lessen the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and the Holy Land."
The Jerusalem Fund is one of four "fronts" named in a secret Privy Council Office memo that was sent to Jean Chretien, then prime minister, on May 23, 2000, discussing what it called groups that "have unsavoury links with terrorism."


Mr. Stevens' Peace Train apparently is selective in whom it stops for.

'Miraculous' Statue Washes Up in Texas Rio Grande

I am not trying to piss anyone off but, this doesn't strike me as a miracle. What would they have done if a statue of Homer Simpson washed on shore.

5.9 Earthquake shakes central California

PARKFIELD, California (AP) -- A moderate earthquake struck central California on Tuesday that was felt from San Francisco to the Los Angeles area. There was no immediate report of injuries.

We just felt a large earthquake

At 10:20 A.M. we felt a large earthquake. Preliminary reports show that it was located near Paso Robles and was about a 6.0 on the Richter scale.

Here in Los Angeles I work on the 6th floor and can say that we really felt things move. Not nearly as violent or as large as the Northridge quake, but big enough that we noticed.

Foam and feathers fly in South African pillow fight

""It was great fun and our official figure show that 806 pillow-fighters participated," said Catherine Salmon of the auditing firm KPMG who were acting on behalf of Guinness World Records.

"Unfortunately it's not a record and they are probably going to have to try again next year," she told AFP. "

Someone should have smacked her with a pillow until she was seeing double and then they would have had the record. Of course it would be embarrassing to be arrested for assault with a pillow.

Loud c-phone call leads to pregnant woman's arrest

If you resist arrest and argue with the police what do you expect is going to happen.

What would you do for money?

This is one of the most common questions you'll ever see. It is a question of values. What are you willing to do, how far will you go? Most the gameshows we see today deal with this in one fashion or another.

The people that have watched me grow know that I was the guy who would do anything. If you had something wacky to do, something gross, something a little out there it was a good bet that I might be the guy to look at. You never knew what I would do and frankly neither did I.

These days I am a little more restrained. I am a father and I have responsibilities to take care of. There are two, J & E and they are more important to me than anything you can imagine. I know, you are wondering, "when is Jack going to stop harping on his children and talk about something else?"

The answer is never. I never will because those two are the best thing that I have ever done with my life. They represent my greatest hopes and dreams and I am so very proud of them it aches, it hurts to smile as big as I do when they are near. I look like a copy of the Joker from Batman, one big grin.

And I haven't any problem saying that I hope that in some way this rubs off on other parents who for whatever reason have trouble relating to or getting along with their boys and girls. Among the saddest things I can think of are children who are neglected or abused.

Anyway my writing is similar to my speech, it is a stream-of-consciousness kind of thing and I am back to the topic of what I did or could do. I love life with a passion, when I laugh, when I truly laugh it is infectious. My whole body shakes and if I laugh for an extended period of time my stomach hurts.

And when I am angry, I feel it deep inside. I am not often sad, but that too is a deep, intense feeling. In short it is a long winded way of saying that if I feel something I usually really feel it.

There are many stories about my past that I do not want my children to hear. Some of them can be revealed in time. Some I choose to keep secret because there is a part of me that I keep for me. It is a little chunk that is Jack's and Jack's alone. When you have children it is hard to maintain your own individuality, so that part is something that I need and keep for myself.

Some stories are not fit for their ears because of their age. Some are things that were stupid and reckless and I don't want them to use my success in surviving these things as an excuse to engage in the same idiocy as their abba.

So when I look at the various games and opportunities for a person to win big money it makes me consider what I would do now. Would I go on a game in which I had to lie to others to win. Would I participate in something that made me act in a way that would take some extra explaining. Would it be ok if lying meant that I won a million dollars.

I am not a wealthy man, but a million dollars would not instantly change my life forever. It would make some vast improvements, but it is not enough for me to retire on. It is not enough to live like there is no tomorrow.

But even if it was, would I try for the money. It would be enough to ensure that my children's education was covered. I could pay off my house and have enough left in the bank to secure my retirement provided I kept putting money into a retirement account.

I am not sure, truthfully I might have to consider it. And again, it would depend on the nature of the game and what was required.

You know life was much simpler when all I had to do was earn $5 for drinking Tabasco sauce or eating a jar of mayo.

Study Clarifies Value of Stress Testing in Men's Heart Health

"Sept. 27, 2004 -- The exercise stress test is a useful screening tool for people with significant coronary artery disease. Now a major study say this test can also help predict future heart attacks in people with multiple risk factors even if they don't have heart disease."

"Read the article and be educated" he said in his most professorial tone of voice.

Genetic map to help curb ivory poaching

"Scientists have unveiled a new hi-tech weapon to help combat the illegal trade of ivory in Africa: a map.

The map describes how the genetic profiles of African elephants vary across the continent, from the dense forests of western and central Africa to the vast eastern savanna.

The team behind the map, headed by Samuel Wasser, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, says it can be used to verify where collections of ivory originated, by allowing police and customs officers to link stocks of tusks to herds known to live in a specific region.

It could also help alert officials to the emergence of poaching hotspots, where law enforcement needs to be bolstered. "

I thought that this was really interesting.

Men, Women More Different Than Thought

"Women are different than men, not only psychologically (but) physiologically, and I think we need to understand those differences," says Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (news - web sites)."

What a shock.

Tracking Software- Which Freeware is the best?

Hi folks,

I was curious to get your thoughts on what the best webtracking software is. I am interested in learning about who comes to my blog, what they do here, where they come from, how long they stay and if they are right or left handed.

None of this is for anything other than my own curiousity. What do you think of Site meter versus other programs?

Will Bush be Kerryied?

The answer seems to be yes. Bush will be "Kerryied" to the finish line by a candidate who is having a terrible time articulating his thoughts and goals. The message he is sending is getting lost in the mess, yes the MESSage is horrible.

Actually I think that he probably has more to say than what I have been hearing and reading, but it is hard to distinguish it. There is so much garbage out there that is tying up the airwaves. I don't feel like I have heard him give me anything that I can hold onto. Nothing sticks, I have little to no confidence in him.

Bush is not much better, he doesn't answer questions and just diddles around. But, the one thing that you can feel coming from him is that he is confident and resolute in his position. Now those are solid traits to have, but they are not always good. If you are executing bad policy and making mistakes you need to be able to adjust and go a different direction. I don't see that right now.

You know what would be really interesting to see, but very unlikely is this. Bush holds a press conference during which he apologizes for making some mistakes. He explains that we got stuck with bad intelligence and that led to our going into Iraq. He really is sorry, but he was acting in our best interests and did so based on that bad intelligence.

Now that we are where we are, the following is going to take place. We are taking the appropriate steps to repair the problems with the intelligence world and we are working on a plan to restore order in Iraq and anticipate that it will take X number of years.

I don't expect this to happen, and if it did I wouldn't expect it to fix all of the issues and problems. But I suspect that it would pull a lot people into supporting the admin and end some of the partisanship. Who knows, maybe it wouldn't. But what do you expect from 3 minutes of banging on the keyboard. ;)

Down go the Giants

It feels like 1988 all over again. Here come my boys.

I felt foolish

So here is my "bonehead" act of the weekend. Went to the gas station to fill up the car and managed to lose the gas cap.

In other words, I pulled the cap off, filled up the tank and then neglected to rescrew it on before I left. Might as well throw money in the wind. I hate when I do things like that.

Impotence: A Red Flag for Heart Disease

"SUNDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDayNews) -- For men, flagging potency can be a red flag that something's not right in the cardiovascular system. And experts say men who rush to fix the problem with impotence drugs may be ignoring a bigger threat to their health."

Have a heart and stand up for yourself. If your spirit is flagging and you can't get up the nerve to go find out what is bothering your ticker you are asking for a premature exit from this world.

This Evenings Choice in Music

Finale
Berlin Symphony Orchestra/Samuel Adler
A Kiss To Build A Dream On
Louis Armstrong
Always Something There To Remind Me
Naked Eyes
Tougher Then The Rest
Bruce Springsteen
Higher And Higher
Jackie Wilson
Time To Change
The Brady Bunch
I Can See Clearly
Johnny Nash
Hungry Heart
Bruce Springsteen
Keep On
The Brady Bunch
I Go To Extremes
Billy Joel
Lean on Me
Bill Withers
Good Vibrations
The Beach Boys
Dancing Queen
ABBA
One Tin Soldier (The Legend Of Billy Jack)
Coven
Under The Milky Way
The Church
Son of a Preacher Man
Dusty Springfield
It dont' Mean a Thing [If it ain't got that swing]
Duke Ellington
W*O*L*D
Harry Chapin
Yerushalayim Shel Zahav
Naomi Shemer
Burning Love
Elvis Presley
My Way
Frank Sinatra

Bob Dylan and a child's birthday party

If you are one of the 16 rotating readers here and you have paid attention to the scribbling you know that I have promised to include bits and pieces of thoughts, stories and comments about the world and my life. Nothing like a little flotsam and jetsam to pass the time.

This is a true story. I love saying that, even though it typically is a major red flag. My son is in his second year of pre-school. One of the joys of pre-school has been watching him make friends and that is how this story comes to be.

Last year while doing the birthday party circuit. I'd link to my initial commentary on this, but I am not that cool, just don't remember when I discussed it. Anyway, most of the time what you find is that all of the children in the class are invited to each birthday party. It can be costly for the parents, but it is kind of nice. You get a chance to meet the other mothers and fathers and watch your children interact with each other.

Anyway, last year we went to a party for a three year-old boy. It was a nice set up, nothing crazy. We went to a local indoor playground where they had gym equipment set up for the kids and watched them run wild in there. It was great.

So there I am standing in play area in my socks, and might I add that I remembered that no shoes were allowed so I made sure to wear my finest, white and no holes. :) As I am standing there one of the other father's points out to me that Bob Dylan is there with his much younger wife and young daughter.

A short time later we gather to sing "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy and I find myself standing next to Bob. He is tiny and weathered with a knit cap and white socks that are just like mine. Not that I really cared, but it is part of the story.

As we sing I notice that Dylan is clapping along, but he is off-key, off-beat and a step behind the rest of us. And it occurs to me. Is Bob Dylan doing this intentionally? Am I witnessing and experiencing musical genius? Or have the drugs and time killed his ability? I don't know.

The song ends and I say to Dylan "Nice party." He grunts and shuffles off for some cake. Eight months later I realize that I screwed up. I should have used that little sing-song he does to communicate.

"Hello Mr. Dylan, it is a nice party. What do you thiiiiinnnnkkk?" And of course he would have responded with some cool line or something.

That party was Positively Fourth Street.

Good News-Pearl Slaying Suspect Killed in Pakistan

"KARACHI, Pakistan - Paramilitary police killed a suspected top al-Qaida operative, wanted for alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, during a four-hour shootout Sunday at a southern Pakistan house, the information minister said. At least two other men were arrested. "

Can't say that I am going to cry over these people and their "sorrows."

Music for late night contemplation

Post Yom Kippur listening:


The Ecstasy Of Gold
Metallica
Sing Sing Sing
Californication
Red Hot Chili Peppers
California Dreamin'
The Mamas & The Papas
Ring Of Fire
Johnny Cash
You're the One That I Want
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
I'll Have to Say I Love You In A Song
Jim Croce
Need You Tonight
INXS
No Time
The Guess Who
If You Could Read My Mind
Gordon Lightfoot
The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum)
The Fun Boy Three
Suspicious Minds
Elvis Presley
Linger
Dolores O'Riordon
Seasalt
David Broza
I Will Find You (From "The Last of the Mohicans")
Clannad
Pictures of You
The Cure
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Bruce Springsteen
Do You Wanna Hold Me?
Bow Wow Wow
Ain't Got You
Bruce Springsteen
Thank U
Alanis Morissette


And just because Yerushalayim Shel Zahav and a dose of Galbi from Ofra Haza.

Islam and the Modern World

Some things are worth going back to for a second look.

http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/2004/05/islam-and-modern-world.html

The Bachelor

As I mentioned numerous times in this Blog I am a bit of a reality TV junkie. There are a number of shows that I watch, although it would be more truthful to say that some I really watch and others I flirt with.

The Amazing Race, The Apprentice and Survivor are constants. The Bachelor and The Benefactor get a little attention from me, but not a lot.

I like the race because I really enjoy seeing the world and there is something cool about watching them compete in some very cool challenges in places that I have always wanted to visit and some that have come to my attention only because I became aware of them because of the show.

The Apprentice is interesting because I think that there are some business tricks that can be learned there and the people on there are interesting to me too. Trump has an ego the size of the The Statue of Liberty and hair to match. But you don't get to be where he is without having some skill/intelligence. No need to reinvent the wheel if you do not have to.

Survivor is just fun to me. I like most of the challenges and if they do a good job the personalities can keep my eye. But sometimes they grab a bad bunch and I don't pay much attention to the show.

The Benefactor is a poor attempt to compete with Trump, so I haven't done more than give it 10 minutes or so of total viewing time.

The Bachelor catches my eye a little but not enough to be devoted. I suppose what I find interesting is how many people are willing to put their lives on display in this format. I can't see myself doing it with any intention of being serious.

While it would be fun to have 25 women chasing me there are too many potential pitfalls. The editing can make you look like a hero or a jerk. The woman you end up with is going to have the opportunity to watch you with other women, and that cannot be good. Call me a chauvinist, but I don't believe that any woman really has interest in watching her guy kiss someone else, let alone date them.

And you know that she'll be watching what you say to the others and comparing it to what you said to her. One small step and you're in female hell. Not a good place to hang out.

Above and beyond all this is whatever you do is on tape forever. I know myself and I am inclined to say and act without regard for the consequences. I freely admit it. I will jump into the fire and dance my way back out. It is not always the smartest thing to do, but it is me.

The point being that I understand that as a father my actions can impact my children and that is something that I take seriously. I will do things that they are not going to like and they will adjust accordingly, but this takes it to a different level.

That is, a show like that places you in front of millions of people. If Monica Lewinsky ever has children they are going to be confronted with some stories about their mother that may be very uncomfortable, and it will be on a large scale. That can be tough, why deal with it.

OTOH, 25 women chasing me could be so much fun. Maybe I'll pitch the producers on doing a show in Utah. That would be bigamy wouldn't it. ;)

Bad teachers are a serious problem

"Teacher Sends Boy Home With Feces in Bag

DALLAS (AP) - A teacher is on paid administrative leave after sending a first-grader home with feces in his backpack because the boy soiled the classroom floor.

The teacher apparently was frustrated with the 6-year-old student's actions so she wrapped up the waste and sent it home with the boy Tuesday along with a note, Dallas school district spokesman Donald Claxton said.

Claxton declined to identify the teacher at Gabe P. Allen Elementary School.

"It generally appears the teacher was trying to help raise awareness with the family," Claxton said. "It's just an unfortunate incident. Unfortunately, she took this course of action."

What the hell was she thinking.

The wild card has brought new vigor to Yankees-dominated baseball. Is it time to add a second one?

"The wild-card spot in the playoffs hasn’t proved to be a significant disadvantage. In nine seasons since the first wild-card entry, three wild-card teams—the Marlins twice, in 1997 and again last year, and the Angels in 2002—have won the World Series. In other words, though wild cards make up 25 percent of the postseason contenders, they have won 33 percent of the Series since they became eligible."

It is worth considering.

A Terrible Mistake

My confession on the eve of Yom Kippur. I just made a terrible mistake, I watched pieces of the beheading videos. Initially I began to name the two men whose videos I watched, but then I decided that was wrong. It felt like I was dishonoring the other victims.

I didn't watch the whole video, just a snippet, which is really the wrong word to use. But I acted with as much sense as the moth who flies into a candle and I peeked into the dark closet and saw that there was a monster. I the child who was very much afraid of the dark looked the monster in the eye and was not physically consumed, but mentally wounded.

It hurt me to see these men and to know that their families have to live not only with the pain of their loss but the knowledge that people like me, strangers have access to these terrible films. And for that I do apologize. Just a post or so after I expressed my concern and distaste for this manner of apology, I contradict myself and apologize.

But I feel like I must say that I am sorry. I am sorry for your loss and I hope that in time the pain is diminished.

Some people argue that the people who are slaughtered this way are somehow culpable, that because they stayed when they were told to go they should be held responsible for their own deaths. I can't accept that. I cannot give them carte blance and say that they are completely blameless, but I can say that it was minimal.

If they had walked through a minefield or intentionally walked into the middle of a firefight I could lay blame upon them. But to be kidnapped and slaughtered like an animal is not the same and it is not just. And during the time in which my people believe that judgement comes I ask for forgiveness from the families and for forgiveness for what I am about to write.

I am incensed. I am angry. I am infuriated and I want justice to be served upon the heads of the animals who did this. No one deserves to die like this. This action makes my blood boil and my soul call for vengeance upon them. I feel ill and I am sorry that I watched these videos, but on the other hand it is a solid reminder that there are evil people out there.

And this kind of evil will not leave you alone, it is a cancer that should be rooted out and destroyed.

I am not one to make public pleas for prayer, but I will do so now. I ask that regardless of your faith that you please take a moment to pray for the families of the victims, to pray for the innocent people who are murdered in Iraq and around the world.

I ask that you pray for the young men/women who serve in the armed forces. I ask that you pray for justice to be served upon those who would harm us and I ask that you pray for a kinder, gentler world.

Monsters walk in the world during daylight and darkness and I am going home to hug my children and hold my family close. The children are a beautiful reminder that there is more good than evil. And there is more splendor and joy to behold.

Have an easy fast.

Asking forgiveness- I hate apologizing

It is only a short time prior to the start of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. It is a time of reflection and struggle for me. Not that this should surprise any of the 7 regular readers here as I tend to repeat myself.

One of the things that many people do is engage in contacting friends and family to ask them to forgive them if they have done anything to insult them. I find that this is hard for me on a number of levels. Let's begin with the blogging community first.

I don't fault other bloggers for posting an apology to a large group of people. Religion is a personal thing. But I also find that the blogging is too impersonal for me. For someone like myself to do that is really hard. I simply find apologizing difficult and do not want to offer it without some kind of personal touch. I figure if I am going to do it, I might as well try and give it my best shot.

Not to mention that the people who really know me and receive these apologies also know that this is not something that I do well or often and in theory should appreciate it more. Yes, that is right, if I am going to do it I want people to appreciate the effort.

As I mentioned earlier, I do not like doing it and it is very hard for me.

To me the biggest question of the day is one that can only be answered by individuals. And that is, did you try and be a better person, did you work hard to improve yourself and did you take the time to sit in the silence and look inside.

If you can say yes to these questions you can also make your own judgement and determine whether you feel comfortable with your actions. Tonight I will spend quiet time in the late evening and I will think about the entire year and try and consider what I did and where life is taking me.

I enjoy this kind of quiet reflection and find it to be very relaxing. And then tomorrow I will wake up and try to ignore the sweet aromas wafting through my neighborhood and focus on what it is I want to accomplish. And as I daven in shul I will pull my tallis over my head and create my own "cone of silence" so that even though I am part of the community I can focus that much more closely.

I wish everyone a very easy fast and am looking forward to a very exciting new year. G'mar Tov.

Singer Cat Stevens Demands Probe Into Deportation

"U.S. Homeland Security spokesman Brian Doyle said Islam had been denied entry because of "activities that could be potentially linked to terrorism."
The 57-year-old singer said Friday he wanted to clear his name and ensure nothing similar happened again.
"I was not given (and still haven't been given) any explanation as to what it is I am accused of, or why I am now deemed an apparent security threat," he said in a statement.
"We have now initiated a legal process to try to find out exactly what is going on, and to take all necessary steps to undo the very serious, and wholly unfounded, injustice which I suffered," he added. "

I am not sure that I really care one way or another about this story. I was told that I might have trouble entering certain Arab/Muslim countries since I have numerous stamps from exits and entries into Israel.

Should I be upset by this.

The Train set

My son has a train set that he loves, if it is not his most prized possession it is right up there.
He spends hours building tracks and running the trains around it. I love watching him play because I see the joy that it brings him and I am amazed at how a 3.5 year-old can be so proficient at constructing a professional looking train track. Sorry, had to kvell a little there.

The one problem with this is that he prefers to use the floor of his room to his train table as it gives him a larger area to work in. The issue is that this means that there are numerous obstacles in the dark that can hurt your feet or be broken.

I have tried to explain to him that leaving the trains on the floor is a recipe for trouble, but he refuses to accept it and I have backed off.

Primarily because I am so happy that he is so proud of his work. I cannot help but take pleasure in the joy he expresses as he plays. I come home from work and he tells me to change because "we are going to play trains and we have lots of work to do."

Two nights ago I entered his room to kiss him goodnight and there was a sharp crack. In the dark I had stepped upon a bridge and broken it. His face was a combination of anger and sadness. He yelled "that is not nice" and began to cry.

That hurt as much as any punch or injury I have ever taken. I apologized and tried to make him feel better and I think that he did. But that didn't fix the little red bridge or the spot in which I was wounded.

Both of us will be fine and there will be a new bridge soon. And life will continue, but it was a good reminder that although he may be little, some things are very important to him and deserve the same respect that we ask he give to other people's possessions.

Stomping Out Spyware

"An insidious stranger lurks hidden inside your computer, tracking everything you do and telling advertisers -- or worse! Spyware is still a problem. Here's a look at the latest tricks, and how to keep yourself safe."

I hate this kind of stuff. There should be a special punishment for these people, like having to clean all the toilets in Grand Central Station with their tongue.

MIT Works to Power Computers With Spinach

"But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) say they have used spinach to harness a plant's ability to convert sunlight into energy for the first time, creating a device that may one day power laptops, mobile phones and more."

Very cool stuff going on here.

More from the it is so stupid I am laughing column

"BERLIN (AP) — A woman doing handsprings hurled herself into two art installations at the controversial exhibition of a collection belonging to the billionaire heir of a Nazi-era arms supplier, damaging both pieces, organizers said Thursday."

Someone sign this woman up for the Olympics.

Her beauty made him crash through the ceiling

"(9/22/04 - FRIENDSWOOD, TX) — A woman's shocking discovery -- a Peeping Tom nearly crashes in on her while she's changing at the gym. It happened at a 24 Hour Fitness in Friendswood."

Ok, this probably wasn't funny to the woman involved here, but it just reeks of Three Stooges/Marx Brother's humor so I can't help but smile at it.

The Stealth Dinosaur

Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.

I need more fiber and more time off- Another list of stuff

It is Thursday morning and I am feeling spent. It has been a grueling year and a grueling week and I am tired of being grueled. I am mentally and emotionally fatigued, my head hurts and my body aches. Now if my truck broke down, my dog died and my wife left me I might actually have the makings of a great country song.

As has been written here numerous times it is the Jewish New Year and a time in which I always become more introspective about myself and where things are going. So without any rhyme or reason here are some thoughts and comments about life and the world around me

I had a disagreement with someone about the working world in which they essentially said that I should stop with the complaints and just suck it up. I can't do it, you either set high standards and die trying to reach them or you lay down in the mud. I just don't understand what is so hard to understand about that.

My children make me a better man. I am always conscious of what I do and whether I can look them in the eye. I may not always live up to the standard I want to set, but they make me try harder.

I love pizza, can't get enough of it. It is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.

This week I have done business with people in the following cities: Capetown, Chicago, San Mateo, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and London.

If I had ten minutes with Donald Trump I might be arrested for holding him down while I tried to brush his hair.

I still hate working with spreadsheets that are created by people who don't know what they are doing or how to use them.

Music played in my home this week includes Springsteen, Beethoven, The Wiggles, Enya, Metallica, Elvis, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Ofra Haza and a dozen other artists that I am just not giving PR to. In other words I am tired of typing.

I don't like either candidate for president. Neither inspire me. Is there a "Viagra" like drug I can take for the election, right now it makes me feel limp.

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening, but mostly I'd consider hammering on the hood of the guy in the Mercedes that cut me off today.

Gene Hackman, Al Pacino and Tommy Lee Jones have all been in some really good movies, but they have some really bad ones to their credit too.

I don't fear failure, but I do fear not being able to pay my bills.

Toilet paper is a necessity that you shouldn't skimp on. I hate thin toilet paper. There are moments or should I say movements that require "careful attention" and the thin stuff doesn't come close to getting it done.

Three places I'd like to be right now: The Desheh at camp, The Old City in Jerusalem, The top of Yosemite Falls.

Three places I don't want to be: Baghdad, Sierra Leone and Mecca.

Ask me later today and all of my answers may change.

It doesn't take much money to make me happy, is there anyone out there in dire need of giving away $10,000 dollars? What about $50?

Saturday afternoon I am going to read Torah again. I have been reading the same parsha since 1982. And every year just as I go to read whatever moisture that is left in my mouth dries up. It feels like I have been plowing the cotton fields with my tongue.

Two lines into it the saliva glands will start to work and I'll sound better. Thankfully the guy with the great singing voice follows me and not the other way around. I know, I shouldn't pay any attention to it, but if I ever want to start a singing career I need to do three things:

1) Develop rhythm and the ability to dance.

2) Learn how to sing.

3) Stop serving as the opening act at Karaoke bars. It may have worked for Milli Vanilli, but I am not them.

Ok, time to get back to work.


Are you neurotic about updating your blog?

Ok, confession time. I have become a little neurotic about this. The addictive nature of this is sucking me in and making me just a little crazy. Ok, I am a lot crazy and I can't attribute to anything or anyone else, it is just me.

But really, part of me is a little fermished when I don't update this thing a couple of times a day. Oh well, this should be the worst of my problems.

Cat Stevens Dogged

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former pop singer Cat Stevens, a Muslim, was deported to Britain on Wednesday after U.S. officials said his activities could be "linked to terrorism" and his name was put on a U.S. no-fly list"

Sorry, I couldn't resist making my own headline for this one.

U.K. Hostage Pleads for Life on Videotape

"The captive, Kenneth Bigley, appealed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) to intervene. "I think this is possibly my last chance," he said. "I don't want to die."

It is heartbreaking, I feel so badly about this. But, I do not believe in negotiating with terrorists. If the coalition gave in it might save this man's life, but it would jeopardize many others. And it just kills me to say it, but I just don't believe that this would do anything but hurt more people.

It must be nightmarish to be the person(s) responsible for making decisions like this.

Powell says US will never negotiate with terrorists after hostage murders

"UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The United States will never negotiate with terrorists, US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said, flatly ruling out any policy change in the wake of the beheading of two US hostages in Iraq (news - web sites).

"We deeply regret the loss of these two men who went to help the Iraqi people and my heart goes out to their families when I consider the manner of their death and I extend deepest condolences to the families," Powell said.

"But it is one thing we've learned over time, is that you can't negotiate with these kinds of terrorists," he told reporters on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly.
"You can't give in to them because all it does is incentivize them to do it again and, therefore, our policy will remain unchanged," Powell said."

Powell get's it.

Tobacco- Who knew that it could protect you.

"Cashier foils pen-wielding robberA 62-year-old gas station cashier chased a would-be-robber out of the Stefko Boulevard station early Tuesday by chucking cartons of cigarettes at him, Bethlehem police said.

The robbery happened at about 3:47 a.m. Tuesday morning when the man entered the Texaco gas station, 1907 Stefko Boulevard, wearing a T-shirt over his head and brandishing a silver pen.

He told Lorraine Roth, the cashier, to "open the cash register ... I don't want to have to kill you," Roth then threw the cartons until the man left.

Bethlehem police said they later discovered the same man had robbed a 7-Eleven at Club Avenue and Union Boulevard in Allentown."

How dumb do you have to be to try and rob someone with a pen. Unless your name is James Bond and it is from "Q" I suspect that you might be in trouble.

If I would have been the station attendant I would have used cans of diet coke to chase the guy out, but that is just me.

And on a side note, how thankful was the cashier that she didn't grab the Twinkies to throw at this guy.And yet on another side note, if I am ever in a pie shop I hope that someone tries to rob me with a pen. I can throw a cream pie with the best of them.

PA: We can't arrest those behind deadly strike on U.S. convoy

The story here is not that they cannot arrest them, but that they will not. They know who they are and refuse to do anything because it does not suit them to do so.

Blogger issues

Blogger has eaten two of my posts today. And now it staring at me, just mocking me with a sly grin. I will not be taunted by a buggy program. Oh no, they can do a lot of things at Jack's Shack. We're tolerant folks, but mocking and taunting will get my size 12 in your ass in a hurry.

Oh well, I suppose that if this is the worst of my complaints I am in good shape.

Torture- Would you use it to save your family?

Recent current events have resurrected an old argument about whether torture should be used to help protect citizens of a country. I have some opinions on the matter that I am mulling over and over. I don't think that this is as cut and dry as many would like it to be.

Here are some potential scenarios to consider:

1) Terrorists have taken people hostage and are threatening to behead them if their demands are not met. You capture someone who can lead you to their hideout, but they are refusing to speak. If you torture them you may get the information in time to save them and if you do not heads are going to roll. What do you do?

2) If you could have prevented 911 by torturing one of the terrorists, would you do it?

There are many others that I am sure you can think of. In the past I have heard people express their belief that it is better to let people die, than to allow torture. At times I have found that to be hypocritical because some of those same people think that it is ok to bomb the hell out of a country during war or use other wartime tactics.

I have to believe that people in London, Dresden, Nagasaki et al who survived the bombing might claim that experience to have been a form of torture. Not all torture is necessarily physical in nature. Sometimes the mental torture is much worse than anything you can do to a body.

In any case, I am forming and reforming my feelings about this. What do you think? Let's talk about it.

Snoopy's Arch Enemy- The Red Baron

"COLUMBIA, Missouri (AP) -- History books say that The Red Baron, the legendary World War I German flying ace, was shot out of the sky and died in April 1918. But new research suggests that his death spiral may have begun nine months earlier."

It is unAmerican to try and tarnish the legend of a superhero. Our skies have seen no finer pilot of a doghouse than Snoopy.

Computer Woes

And here we are again working late on the computer, or should I say wrestling with it. It is an unfeeling, uncaring, insensitive object that should be kicked and beaten. Not that any of that will be of any use to me, but the thought makes me smile, a little.

Ok, I am tired and I am losing the battle, but I will win this war. Sometimes I think that I should become a simple farmer and leave technology behind.

Maybe you could call this Jack's Luddite Shack.

Men who cry

Well, consider me among the less progressive out there. I don't really cry and haven't had what I would call a real crying session in a good 20 years or so.

That is not to say that I haven't shed tears, but they have been few and far between. It is not something that I do easily. I don't have any problem saying that I'd be happy to let go and let it happen, but the truth is that it doesn't seem to work that way for me.

I expect that one day the floodgates will open again, but when I cannot say.

Arabic-style writing prompts flight cancellation

If we are not careful, at some point we are going to hit a "sky is falling" mentality. But I suppose that you can never be too careful.

Thoughts for the New Year

I was surfing the net and came across some thoughts on The Lazer Beam that I found to be meaningful.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you're feeling down on yourself, think about the following points:
1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much that they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
5. You mean the world to someone.
6. If not for you, someone may not be living.
7. You are special and unique. The Almighty has no other son or daughter like you.
8. When you think you have no chance of attaining what you want, youprobably won't; but, if you trust The Almighty to do what's best for you, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get what you request.
9. Good things emerge even from your biggest mistakes.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
13. If you care about another person, tell him/her so. It's so easy to make another person happy, and you'll get back what you give.

Poor Suicide Attempts

Suicide is very serious and not something that I am laughing about or making light of, but this story was just so wacky.

Hostage beheaded

I don't mean to be callous, but I haven't read about any of the hostages fighting back. After all this time it is not much of a surprise. You would think that at least one of them would have tried to do something, anything to prevent this from happening.

CBS says it can't prove Bush documents' authenticity

"Rather: 'We have been misled'
In a separate statement, CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who was the principal reporter on the story, said, "Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers.
"That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where -- if I knew then what I know now -- I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
"But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism."

I find this all to be very troubling. It is far too important a topic to screw around with.


Israel expects slew of militant attacks before Gaza pullout

"Hamas will want to portray the Gaza withdrawal as escapism on our part, in the same way they believe we were forced out of Lebanon by Hezbollah," said a senior Israeli government official."

The situation is going to be very fluid and quite dicey. I expect to see some real nastiness.

New York

Some people are under the misguided impression that the sun rises and sets in New York. It is a nice city, but it is not nearly as important as many people think that it is.

It is a place that has had so much hype that some people have come to believe everything and no longer understand the hyperbole surrounding it. There are so are many rich elements that make you appreciate the city and then there are all sorts of little things.

It is like looking at Trump's hair. You cannot help but wonder how such an important detail is missed over and over again. It may not be critical, but it is part of the package and it does make you wonder.

There are many other cities in the US that have all of the culture and business that you find in New York and then some.

Not to mention that aside from the finest team money can buy New York hasn't had a sports team worth mentioning in years.

Zeruel- This is for you

Het Parool: 'Syriƫ test gifgas in Darfoer'

For those of us who do not speak/understand Dutch you might want to go here and read the excerpt about Syrian special agents and Sudanese authorities using chemical weapons. It is very interesting and rather thought provoking.

100 things about me

Ok, I have debated constructing a list of 100 things about me and decided that instead of me doing it, I am going to invite you to provide your own list based upon your thoughts and impressions. It may not be accurate, or it may be right on. But it should be kind of interesting. So feel free to start posting your comments. I'll get it moving with the following:

100. I love to laugh.
99. I am a natural prankster.

Throwing a fit over being "fat."

"To get an idea of what a BMI means, consider that actor Bruce Willis at 6 feet and 211 pounds has a BMI of 29. Tom Cruise, at 5 feet 7 inches and 201 pounds, has a BMI of 31. Sylvester Stallone, who is 5 feet 9 inches and weighs 228 pounds, has a BMI of 34 and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, at 6 feet 2 inches and 257 pounds, has a BMI of 33."

I am not surprised by any of this. There are so many variables and factors to consider. It is very hard to develop something like BMI and have it be accurate acrosss the board.

Writing

Another evening comes and I sit here trying to decide what to write about. Should I pick a current event and provide my own nickel analysis. You notice that I didn't say two cents, that is because I am worth the additional three cents and I'd hate to sell myself short.

I could write about my day and revert to using this solely as an online journal of the problems/challenges that Jack faces. If I did that I'd have to provide a short summary about the scare my eight week-old daughter gave us. She is ok and that is all there is to it. Nothing like your children to put the fear of G-d in you.

But, I am not sure if any of that is all that interesting or meaningful. So let this be another tribute to Seinfeld, a post about nothing at all.

Phishing E-Mail Fraud Becoming Epidemic

"Phishing is reaching epidemic proportions. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), a vendor consortium trying to address the problem, received reports of more than 1,100 unique phishing campaigns in April, a 178 percent increase from the previous month and a 4,000 percent increase from November 2003."

This is a very serious problem and one that not enough people are aware of.

No wonder we're getting so fat

The premise of this opinion piece is that a number of large corporations have an inordinate amount of power and influence over how Americans eat. And he essentially posits that because of there is a need for legislation to try and help.

"Current public policies allow the mega-eight companies (along with the rest of the 40 largest that sell 80 percent of our groceries) to market any food in any legal manner they choose. There are no legal requirements for companies to consider the weight implications of their marketing and product activities. According to the USDA, we now eat an overweight-guaranteeing 2,700 calories per day, a 530 calorie or 24.5 percent increase since 1970!These 40 large companies, which have grown significantly in their market shares, are the source of many of these calories (fun food and otherwise). The mega-companies' market structure -- coupled with the epidemic of overweight Americans -- compels an examination by the US Congress, not for any legal wrong doing, but for their all-persuasive influence on our unhealthy eating."

I have a problem with this because what it says to me is that the general public is not smart enough to understand that they have been eating a poor diet and that there are potential repurcussions from doing so.

If there is any sort of government mandate I would think that it should be for education in the schools so that children understand the relation between their diet and health.

Doctors Ready to Perform Face Transplant

I am not sure if we are ready to face this, no pun intended. There are so many interesting arguments in support of and against this surgery. But is incredible.

They discuss using a dead person as a donor. Can you imagine the potential for a relative coming across their dead son/father/uncle/brother's face on someone else's body.

It would probably look different. The facial structure, body, eye color and hair could all be different, but how wild.

CBS News:A Source of Contention

"Sept. 27 issue - CBS insiders are increasingly worried that the credibility of the network's news division has been grievously damaged by anchor Dan Rather's persistent defense of a story which relied on questionable documents about George W. Bush's National Guard service. "This has clearly hurt us," one veteran correspondent told NEWSWEEK. Network sources describe finger-pointing within the news division, with concerns greatest among "60 Minutes" producers, who fear the issue has tainted their entire program. While CBS News president Andrew Heyward has publicly backed Rather, the network has quietly assembled a team of additional producers to work the case. Rather is privately telling colleagues he remains "confident" that the story, and the memos, will be vindicated.
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One problem is that the network has not explained where the purported Texas National Guard records have been for the last 30 years and why they happened to surface in the closing weeks of a presidential campaign. Emily Will, a documents expert approached by CBS to examine the memos, told NEWSWEEK that she was told by a CBS News producer that the network's source had received the memos anonymously through the mail. Intense scru-tiny has centered on the role of William Burkett, a former National Guard official who charged last February that he saw Bush Guard documents in a trash can in 1997—an allegation that Guard officials strongly denied. A source who worked with CBS on the story said Burkett was identified by a producer as a conduit for the documents. Three days before the broadcast, Burkett e-mailed a friend that there was "a real heavy situation regarding Bush's records" about to break. "He was having a lot of fun with this," said the friend, Dennis Adams. Burkett told a visitor that after the story ran, Rather phoned him and expressed his and the network's "full support." CBS has declined to comment on the sourcing of the network's story. Burkett's lawyer told the press his client would never "condone forgery," but did not respond to detailed questions posed by NEWSWEEK. Burkett himself refused to talk to reporters camped outside his house last week, although he did tell a journalist that since he began speaking out, unnamed assailants had killed his dog and threatened to rape his wife.Sept. 27 issue - CBS insiders are increasingly worried that the credibility of the network's news division has been grievously damaged by anchor Dan Rather's persistent defense of a story which relied on questionable documents about George W. Bush's National Guard service. "This has clearly hurt us," one veteran correspondent told NEWSWEEK. Network sources describe finger-pointing within the news division, with concerns greatest among "60 Minutes" producers, who fear the issue has tainted their entire program. While CBS News president Andrew Heyward has publicly backed Rather, the network has quietly assembled a team of additional producers to work the case. Rather is privately telling colleagues he remains "confident" that the story, and the memos, will be vindicated.
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One problem is that the network has not explained where the purported Texas National Guard records have been for the last 30 years and why they happened to surface in the closing weeks of a presidential campaign. Emily Will, a documents expert approached by CBS to examine the memos, told NEWSWEEK that she was told by a CBS News producer that the network's source had received the memos anonymously through the mail. Intense scru-tiny has centered on the role of William Burkett, a former National Guard official who charged last February that he saw Bush Guard documents in a trash can in 1997—an allegation that Guard officials strongly denied. A source who worked with CBS on the story said Burkett was identified by a producer as a conduit for the documents. Three days before the broadcast, Burkett e-mailed a friend that there was "a real heavy situation regarding Bush's records" about to break. "He was having a lot of fun with this," said the friend, Dennis Adams. Burkett told a visitor that after the story ran, Rather phoned him and expressed his and the network's "full support." CBS has declined to comment on the sourcing of the network's story. Burkett's lawyer told the press his client would never "condone forgery," but did not respond to detailed questions posed by NEWSWEEK. Burkett himself refused to talk to reporters camped outside his house last week, although he did tell a journalist that since he began speaking out, unnamed assailants had killed his dog and threatened to rape his wife."

I have a problem with these documents for many reasons, not the least of which is the timing. But what I really want to know is are we going to make the central issue here an indictment against the actions of a child of privilege. Both candidates are "guilty" of that.

And for that matter the reality is that few of our representatives if any are from backgrounds that are not privileged.

These discussions do not focus on the articulation of a coherent plan of attack to solve or alleviate the problems and challenges this country faces. Character issues are important, but really some of this is just stupid, asinine partisan politics. And that goes for both sides.

The Move to Democracy in the Islamic World

"In fact the countries that contain the largest numbers of Muslims — Turkey (70 million), Indonesia (240 million), Bangladesh (114 million) and India (121 million) — are all liberal minded and democratic. All have populations that overwhelmingly reject the terrorist jihad. All prefer their women uncovered. All find the rigidity of belief as exhibited in some of the Middle East as both archaic and uninformed theologically. For them it is the ballot not the bullet that counts."

One could ask then if the issue is only with Middle Eastern Muslims or if the problems exist throughout Islam. I maintain that this is a problem that faces all of Islam. I am hopeful that what we see here will be promoted elsewhere in the Muslim world, but that promotion is not enough.

The reality is that there are still multiple issues that come from places outside of the ME, including the Phillipines and Chechnya.

Still, there is reason to believe that there is a real opportunity for change and more progressive thought and behavior.

US Hostages Face Death

"BAGHDAD, 19 September 2004 — Kidnappers of two Americans and a Briton yesterday threatened to behead them unless Iraqi women held at two American-controlled detention facilities were freed within 48 hours. A separate group holding two French journalists said they were freeing them conditionally. In continuing violence, a suicide car bomb attack on Iraqi security forces in the northern town of Kirkuk killed at least 23 people."

And the ugliness continues. What do we intend to do to fix this problem?

Sex With The Ex

No story here, I just liked the way that sounds. Now if I married a woman named Xena I could call her "The Ex" and then it would be an ordinary story of conjugal relations between a man and a woman.

But I'd have to make it The "X" and that could be so cool we might be able to come up with a line of merchandise. Get "X" lingerie, perfume, action figures, board games, video games and more. The "X" could go on television and do the talk show circuit, write a best-selling book and more.

Although this could be bad, what would happen if the "X" became so famous she decided that she was tired of me and wanted someone new. Well then I might have to change my name to the "Y" and I could win her back with tales of a brand new variety show called the "The X & Y Factor" or something more clever.

Come to think of it I should be the "X." I always wanted to be known as Mr. X.

I am only 35, there is still time. "X" marks the spot and "Mr X" owns the spot that you want to party, play and eat at. Illusions of grandeur are fun aren't they.

A quick complaint

I hAtE ReAdiNG bLoGs tHaT lOoK LiKe tHiS.

Massive wave soaks guests at restaurant

But how was the veal?

U.N. Tells Iran to Suspend Nuke Program

And what is the UN prepared to do if this does not happen.

Man Tries to Sue Wife for 5-Day Sex Denial

There ought to be legislation to protect men against this intentional attack on our manhood and ability to relax outside of work. Maybe this is the the thing that will bring about a movement to restore concubines as a part of a solid relationship.

Oops, did I say that out loud.

So much for my ability to find a date here. ;)


There is joy in music-And more in forcing your children to listen to yours

My son is an avid music lover, but he loves his music more than he loves mine. I listened to the Wiggles, Thomas, Bob the Builder and Endless Disney tunes.

And then I retaliated with the following:

Eminem, Harry Chapin, Leonard Bernstein, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash and Simon & Garfunkel among others. He hit me with some kind of kids muzak version of recent pop tunes. It was a devastating blow and my head reeled.

But dear old dad recovers quickly and I smacked him with Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Peter Gabriel, Neil Diamond, The Dead, Led Zeppelin, David Broza and just because some Carlebach.

If I do my job he and my daughter will grow up with an appreciation for many kinds of music. And in the short term I may yet convince him to listen to something that doesn't make my head hurt.

Logical consequences

There are frequent conversations about what the consequences should be for different actions. In this case I think that this player should have been suspended for part of next season as well. MLB needs to demonstrate that they have no tolerance for this behavior whatsoever.

What kind of noises do animals make?

It seems like a simple question, rather innocuous really. What kind of noises do animals make? Dogs say bow-wow or woof-woof and cats say meow.

But if you grew up elsewhere you might have a different noise. Your dog might say something entirely different. And for that matter I do have a favor to ask. If your dog speaks I'd like to offer my services as it's manager.

I can assure you that I have a history of representing talking dogs, cats and sheep. And if you look at my employment history you'll see that I even represented a few asses as well.

Hurricane- Lion's, Tigers & Bears Oh My!

"Sgt. Skip Callaway knew the streets would look like a green snowfall, and that roofs would come off and trees would blow down. He was even prepared to find death on the morning after Hurricane Ivan hit his beachfront town.

But standing at the intersection of Route 59 and Zoo Drive on Thursday, Callaway still found it hard to contemplate just how much change a storm like Ivan demands of its primary targets.

To his right was a crumpled restaurant. Straight ahead was the Gulf of Mexico, about a half-mile farther inland than it used to be. Two-foot waves were capping where Callaway estimated street signs should have stood.

Then shots rang out to his left, beyond the flooded parking lot of a shopping center. Employees of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo were trying to find and kill their escaped alligators before any of them got too far."

Now there is a hell of a scenario. Can you imagine coming back from having been evacuated and finding an alligator or some other animal living in your frontyard.

Does your homeowner's insurance cover that? On the bright side you might have enough alligator hide to sell dozens of shoes, belts and other items that you can use to pay off your deductible.

Chechen Terrorist Shirks Accountability

Basayev took responsibility for organizing the school massacre and the two planes that were taken down.

But what chaps my hide is his blaming the Russian government for the deaths of the children.

"In the statement, Basayev blamed President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) for the tragedy which he said had been brought about by Russian special forces storming the school after two days on September 3 in an operation that had been planned from the beginning.

He said the group, who held more than 1,100 people hostage inside the school, had been demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya (news - web sites) and, in the absence of this, the resignation of Putin.

Basayev said the group had told intermediaries who came to the school that the hostages would be given food and water and the youngest children released if the Russian side began to meet their demands."

He made demands that he knew were never going to be met and it is upon his head and the other terrorists. When you go after children this way there is no excuse, none.

Organization

I have a love/hate relationship with organization. If you are organized well, life goes very smoothly. Projects are taken on and knocked off, details are handled and life just moves.

The problem is that I love being organized it, but I really dislike much of the work that is involved in being organized. It is a contradiction, I know, but that is me. I hate taking time to do all the little things that are required to be organized.

OTOH, I hate dealing with all of the chaos that comes from not being organized. What to do, what to do. Balance in life is so important.

In case you are wondering what my desk looks like, it has several piles of paper on it. But I know where to look for any paper/file you ask for and can locate them within moments.

As for my house it is not as well organized as it could be, but that in part is because of the battle we fight with my son. The little dictator is strong willed, stubborn and frankly much smarter than I am. As soon as I come up with a method of preventing him from dragging his toys all over the house, he counters it.

I am not searching for Bobby Fisher because I live with him. He is three steps ahead of me, how can this be. Ok, I am exaggerating, but I can see that I am going to have to work hard to keep up. I love the fact that he is so smart. I am sure that his little sister will be as well.

What is going to save me is that I am the wily old man, the cunning veteran of many battles. I'll fool them into thinking that I know more than I do and I'll keep this going. Ok, here I have gone and done it again, I have wandered off from the main topic. Another example of B.A.D.D.

How many email accounts do I need?

Off the top of my head I have approximately 24 different email addresses. They come from my office, university, fraternity, Gmail, Yahoo! and a couple of different organizations I belong to.

I have DSL at home and as part of the package they provide 11 email addresses. I have around three that I use consistently. One is strictly business. One is for newsletters that I enjoy reading. I don't care if they sell my address because it serves a very basic function and I can tear through it in a hurry.

Beyond that I usually take advantage of the other email opportunitie because I figure, why not. You never know what you might need them for. It is the Costco influence, buy in bulk.

In any case, out of the 24 or so I can say that I consistently use about 8. Eventually when I receive enough spam I'll rotate the old ones out and bring the newer addresses into play.

The nice thing is that they don't take up much space in my house.

Kohellet

The New Year is always a time in which I think about Kohellet and his words. It is very likely that you are familiar with them, even if you don't know it.

Thousands of years ago he coined a number of phrases that live on to this day. I am not crazy about the English translation on the site I linked to, but it will work for now. A couple of samples:

"5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he ariseth.

9That which hath been is that which shall be, and that which hath been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there a thing whereof it is said: 'See, this is new'?--it hath been already, in the ages which were before us.

17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly--I perceived that this also was a striving after wind.

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"

What I find so interesting is that we look at our problems today and we forget sometimes that so many of these problems have existed for thousands of years. They may have been somewhat different in their composition, but they were still the same.

If you were a peasant working the field you worried about being able to pay your lord. Now you worry about paying off your Visa. In the end it is still money.


Rembrandt was cross-eyed

"Renowned 17th century Dutch artist Rembrandt may have been cross-eyed, according to U.S. researchers.They say this form of stereoblindness, which occurs when someone's eyes are not aligned when looking at an object, would have affected his ability to perceive depth.

Professor Margaret Livingstone, from Harvard Medical School, and colleague outline their research in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Rembrandt was a prolific painter of self-portraits, producing almost 100, including some 20 etchings.When the Harvard researchers mapped the direction of Rembrandt's gaze in 36 self-portraits, he was cross-eyed in 35. "

I find stories like this to be fascinating. When you can use science to make educated guesses and develop sound theories about the past it just fills in so many little details.

There are a couple of other stories related to the art world that I find interesting too. They include Michelangelo may have been autistic and Mona Lisa's smile may be trick of light.

Lightning Is About To Strike

Lightning is about to strike again, not a doubt in my mind that we're going to see it live and experience in 3D. Some lips are bound to ...