Thoughts about Halloween

We just returned from taking the children out trick or treating. As I have just finished inspecting my son the pirate's booty I wanted to riff off of the comments David made about Halloween at Treppenwitz.

In it David writes about a loss of innocence that accompanied the holiday as more and more parents inspected the loot from the night's haul as well as that more children were chaperoned by their parents.

It made me think about things and what has happened and I have a couple of thoughts to share about whether we have lost our innocence. I think that nostalgia always makes us wax sentimental about the past. Sometimes this leads to our viewing things through rose-colored glasses and sometimes it is accurate.

In effect I think what happens here is that I am going to straddle the fence somewhat. I think that the monsters of the night have always been here. If you read through old newspaper clippings you find horror stories of children who were raped and murdered, same as today. Psychotic behavior is not a new phenomena, it has always been there.

The difference is that we have instant information available to us, a media glut. As I write this post I know that there are people on my blog from across the US and the world. In seconds what I write here is read by people in Israel, Singapore, India, Chile and Australia. In theory I could create a media "windstorm" that sweeps the globe in as little as moments.

Which is just a verbose way of saying that with the access we have to information I think that it can make it appear that there are more incidents than there were in the past. Obviously without data it is impossible to say with any certainty.

But like any parent I worry about my children and when in doubt I err on the side of safety, so I make sure that I am along for the ride and that no candy is eaten without my approval. Not to mention the "abba tax" which mandates that I receive payment in Three Musketeers, Candy Corn and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

As I sit here with a mouthful of chocolate I am thankful for Halloween for the lessons it offers my children.

  1. Greed/gluttony
  2. Safety
  3. Community

The first point is a simple lesson about when "enough is enough." How much candy do you really need? Why is it important to share with your little sister and parents/friends.

It is a moral imperative to teach your children about safety in the home, school and the streets. Halloween gives us an easy introduction to discussing the issues that relate to safety and why it is important for our children to be informed.

My interest in community was actually inspired by a drash given by Rabbi Ed Feinstein about Halloween. In it he says

"But something remarkable happens on Halloween, something I want my kids to see: On Halloween, we open our homes to one another. On Halloween, we come out from behind solid-core doors and dead-bolts locks and electronic burglar alarms. The doorbell is met, not with a gruff "Whose there?" and a suspicious eye in the peep-hole, but with a smile and sweets. On Halloween, and only on Halloween, we pretend we are a neighborhood again...families from disparate background who share common civic values, making life together in a common space. If only once a year, I want my kids to see what it's like when fear subsides, and people trust one another enough to open their doors."

That resonated with me, the opportunity to show the children what their neighbors look like without the gates and deadbolts, the opportunity to show them that they belong to multiple communities and that there are real people that are just like them living inside. It is chance to show them a glimpse of what life could be like if we all made just a few changes in how we live and how we approach daily life.

And now it is time to partake of the benefits of the tax and a good cup of coffee.

Happy Halloween.

Farming Killer Cone Snails a Risky Affair

This is fascinating, just so interesting. I had no idea.

"But cone snails are potentially dangerous, especially the fish-eating types. There is no antidote if a person gets stung. Usually, the victim is paralyzed and can't breathe, and is immediately placed on respiratory support in the emergency room. Recovery can take several hours to a few weeks.
In unfortunate cases, a person can die within an hour of being stung. Some 30 people have been reported killed by cone snails during sea expeditions dating back to the 1930s. "

Colo. Teacher Kicks Student for GOP Shirt

Some people shouldn't be allowed out of their homes. What was she thinking.

Jack Nicholson: sex and apple pie

This one time at band camp.

Police struggle to stop naked street lovers

More On Osama Bin Laden

I am not sure how many people have read his Fatwa in which he outlines his reasons for declaring war.

There are many "interesting" points and it is worth reading just to gain a better understanding. I thought that this was particularly interesting:

"We say to the Defence Secretary that his talk can induce a grieving mother to laughter! and shows the fears that had enshrined you all. Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in lees than twenty four hours!

But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu. "

The lack of a strong response gave him the "misunderstanding" that the US was weak and that it did not have the "balls" to respond. That created a real problem. This is not meant to be a rant in which is "Rah-Rah USA" but to assist in presenting that this is not a new phenomena or issue. I really am not a fan of Bush, but it is patently false to say that all of the current problems are based upon his actions in office.

and you might look at the places he mentions by name here:

"I say to Secretary of Defence: The sons of the land of the two Holy Places had come out to fight against the Russian in Afghanistan, the Serb in Bosnia-Herzegovina and today they are fighting in Chechenia and -by the Permission of Allah- they have been made victorious over your partner, the Russians. By the command of Allah, they are also fighting in Tajakistan."


Osama wants the US out of the Middle East

Many people are starting to buy into Osama Bin Laden's propaganda about his motives and reasons for declaring war on the West. Even some of those who are more informed are beginning to think that maybe it is as simple as pulling troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

But you need to stop and consider a few things. It is relatively recent that Bin Laden began to include the Palestinians in his rhetoric. For years they were treated by him the way most of the Arab world always has, they were ignored and then fed lip service.

And now he includes them because it is one device that he can use as a wedge to cause trouble. Did you notice that he has not stated any sort of acknowledgement of Israel's right to exist. Did you notice that Arafat does not claim any relationship or desire to be aligned with him.

Amidst all this talk there are some other considerations. Do you remember what kind of rule the Taliban instituted in Afghanistan. It was not an open progressive society. It was in many ways among the more backward and repressive societies. It is kind of a contradiction given the historical contribution of Islamic scholars to math and science.

Bin Laden's message is as benign as Hitler to Chamberlain and Europe. He looks to buy time for himself and his minions so that he can work on bigger picture items of pushing the return of the Islamic Caliphate and a goal of one day seeing the West and the world become part of one giant Islamic nation.

He is a solid salesman of snake oil, but his vinters brew poison and do not offer real gestures of conciliation or hope. It is like the story of the frog and the scorpion. If you allow the scorpion to ride your back you will be stung.

Bin Laden Says He Ordered 9/11 Attacks

"Bin Laden suggested Bush was slow to react to the Sept. 11 attacks, giving the hijackers more time than they expected. At the time of the attacks, the president was listening to schoolchildren in Florida reading a book.
"It never occurred to us that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face these horrors alone," he said, referring to the number of people who worked at the World Trade Center.

"It appeared to him (Bush) that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thank God," he said. "

None of this surprises me. Osama is not stupid and is very specific in the messages he sends. They all have a design and purpose. This is further proof that he is not isolated or removed from the media as he parrots comments made about Bush. Need I remind you that it was Michael Moore who pushed this angle first.

As for my own interpretation, here is what he hopes to achieve with this note:

1) He wants to be a modern Saladin to Muslims and will use this as a recruitment video.

2) He wants to taunt Bush.

3) He is trying to instill fear and terror in America.

None of those are profound, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention them.

Even the Victors Ought to Mourn- Withdrawing from Gaza

I think that this is a very powerful piece. Here are some very powerful excerpts.

"Even those of us who (however unhappily) favor the disengagement can, and must, understand this sense of betrayal. Because these Israeli citizens were encouraged by Labor no less than by Likkud to build homes in Gush Katif, and they did so with exemplary dedication. Because, our protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, we are withdrawing under fire. Because Ariel Sharon effectively promised these people that this would not happen, and they supported him with that assurance in mind. Because homes will be destroyed, communities dismantled, playgrounds abandoned, synagogues emptied, batei midrash razed. Because those who left Yamit (in the Sinai, when it was returned to Egypt, and was then destroyed by Israeli bulldozers) could at least console themselves with the knowledge that it was land for peace, while this week, we could not point to anything that we were getting in return for our evacuation.

Because there are cemeteries in the Gaza settlements, where these citizens have buried their parents and their children. And what should happen to those graves? Shall we disinter the children killed and buried there, and force those people to relive once again the torment of those funerals? Or shall we leave the graves there, even as the Palestinians move in, pretending that we don't recall the desecrations of Joseph's Tomb in 2000, or of the Mount of Olives before the Six Day War?

Sadly, we hear little validation of the settlers' angst from those who favor the withdrawal. Where is the grieving on the "left" for a human tragedy of enormous proportions? Have we become so embittered that we feel nothing for those whom we must dislodge? Is that what statehood has wrought?"

Yotz'im me-azah, matchilim le-daber," proclaimed the other side. "Leave Gaza, and Start Speaking," as if there were anyone with whom to speak. What was intended to be a declaration of hope, struck me as naive, as Pollyannaish, as a reflection of precisely what is wrong with those with whom I agree that we need to leave, but who see our part of the world with an optimism I do not share. The arms-smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza will continue, and Israeli papers warned this week that Palestinians may have smuggled in weapons capable of bringing down a plane. (The Ben Gurion airport isn't that far from Gaza.) The firing of Kassam rockets will also continue, that we know. The IDF will be in Gaza long into the future. The residents will leave, but our forces will not be able to. Ironically, "yotz'im me-azah, matchilim le-daber" confirms the sense of futility which has Kfar Darom in its grip. We are leaving out of desperation, because too many of us are dying, not because we have a peace partner."

and

"This week was cause for mourning. Because of what we did. What we had to do, and will have to do. And because, as the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's murder reminds us, though we may have taken the first steps to save our bodies, we have a long way to go if we are to repair our souls."


Ray Charles

I went to 5 of his concerts. I'll definitely go see this movie.

Ways to drive Single Women Crazy- Discuss Soulmates

Hello Men,

If you were a fly on the wall listening a to a conversation among single women you would witness many things, including the love/hate thing that women have with us. And please note that some really do love to hate us. I need an icon to play a little ba dump da sound with these bad jokes. ;).

As a man who has been married and off the market for a while I have been a witness to a number of these conversations. I didn't always want to be a part of it, frankly I grew tired of listening to some of the whining and kvetching about men being idiots. Ladies, you are not that smart yourselves and if you learned to speak directly you would and could save yourself some trouble.

But back to the point at hand, if you want to get things going start a conversation about soulmates and whether you think they exist.

From a practical, logical standpoint it seems to me that there should be a minimum of 1000 people you could fall in love with. Of that 1000 there should be at least 100 where it was deep love, 25 where it was intense and 5 where it is just incredible.

Oh, FWIW, there are probably 100,000 people who connect with you in the most primal sexual manner. The kind of pheromone induced "I can't keep my pants on when you are around" kind of thing. It is part of what makes it all so interesting and complex.

'My daddy killed me with a butcher knife'

Stories like this just hit me in the gut. Why, why would you ever do this.

Sometimes I can't help myself

Have you ever noticed how some people like to tell you that they are intimidating or that you better not piss them off because all hell will break loose. I suspect that I am probably guilty of saying these things once or twice myself, but that is beside the point. Or maybe above it or below.

Anytime I hear something like that my natural inclination is to try and find out if it is true. When it comes to intimidation I am truly not easily intimidated. From a size perspective I have a very large frame and spent many years working out. I am a little softer around the middle now, but not enough to prevent most people from noticing my shoulders and back first. Speaking of which, as I age the hair on my head has been moving from the skull to my back, chest and shoulders. Not only that, but it is recruiting friends and family. I wear a size 12 EEE shoe, so if this hair things keeps up I may have to watch out at the zoo because they'll think that a gorilla or bigfoot has escaped.

And as I understand it, there are already bloggers from the Monkey Cage.

But size is not the only thing that serves to help prevent intimidation, there is also attitude, confidence and the stupid gene that makes me forget that in addition to kryptonite, guns, knives, bombs, dairy products and cauliflower can all hurt me.

The real thing about intidimation is that it is 98% mental. If you ask my friends they'll tell you that I am completely mental, AKA 100%. And that additional 2% makes a huge difference.

And then there is the whole thing about "all hell breaking loose." If you tell me that if I piss you off all hell will break loose I'll ask to see Lucifer. I am an admitted button pusher and recovering gadfly. I really try hard not to be, no really I do. Ok, sometimes I do and sometimes I am just so curious to see what happens when the volcano erupts. Will your head look like one of those cartoons where you turn purple and steam blows out? I am sure that sooner or later I'll actually see that.

The good news is that as I age I take less and less interest in these types of interactions. Now I am not sure if any of this is of particular interest or even meaningful, but I thought that I'd share it with you and a brief tale of dealing with a crazy person who tried to intimidate me.

The other day I was playing in my normal pickup basketball game. We try and play with the same guys because it is safer that way. Egos may be bruised, but no one does anything stupid, at least most of the time. On this one particular occasion at band camp there was a shortage of guys so we had to play with some of the high school kids and a big lumbering fool (BLF) we try to avoid because he sucks and has a temper.

BLF was guarding one of the high school boys and just getting eaten alive. High school boy dunked on him twice and then told him in no uncertain terms that he could do whatever he wanted. BLF snapped threw the ball at high school boy and then said "I am crazy and you have no clue what I am capable of."

I grabbed high school boy and told him that BLF is indeed crazy and that I suggested walking away. BLF decided that I was his new target and came after me. I told BLF that when his wife found where she had stashed his manhood she should give it to him so that he didn't have to play pedophile.

Needless to say BLF started to walk towards me so I had to take action. I told BLF. "Me, big, strong and tough," and then I grunted. Apparently this made him more upset so he continued to advance upon me. So I whipped out one of my patented lines, the one I save for moments like this. It is complete B.S. but it usually works.

"BLF, get the hell away from me. My P.O. said that if I beat up one more person I have to go back and I am not going back for something stupid." Again, complete nonsense, but so much of the male intimidation thing is composed of stupid nonsense there is nothing lost in adding more to it.

BLF looked at me and said "Your P.O.?" I glared at him and nodded my head. In the few minutes this took one of the other players had gotten management to come down and they made certain that BLF reconsidered his actions.

Game play resumed, but not before high school boy asked me if "P.O." meant parole officer. I told him that I wasn't interested in discussing it and dropped it. But it is interesting to note that high school boys and friend have had a new found respect for me lately.

Aren't stories fun to tell.


Telemarketers

Many people hate telemarketers, but I do not. I appreciate the work that they do. I am also in sales and work both inside and outside the office, it can be a hard gig pounding the telephones. It is tiresome and tedious, especially when so many people have such love for sales calls.

So it is with a certain empathy that I take these telephone calls at home, but it is also with a certain joy. I say joy because depending on the caller's attitude I may be up front and tell them that I am not interested, or I may engage them in long conversations.

But the conversations are not sales oriented, they are candid camera type operations in which I see what kind of reactions I receive to crazy comments and questions and I never know what I am going to say until it comes out of my mouth.

This evening I received a call from Ameriquest. They wanted to know if I was interested in refinancing my home.

A: Hi, can I please speak with Jack?
J: Who are you?

A: Can you just put him on the telephone. (I don't take kindly to orders)
J: Sorry, he is too big to sit on the phone.

A: Ha, ha, can he talk on the phone?
J: Yes, he can. (Pause)

A: Can he speak now?
J: Maybe, let me ask him? Jack said yes.

A: I didn't hear you ask for him. (pushy will get you trouble)
J: That is because I am Jack.

A: You're Jack? Why did you do this?
J: Why did I do what?

A: Why didn't you tell me that you were Jack?
J: Is this 20 questions? Tell me, is it animal, mineral or vegetable?

A: Jack, I don't have time for games.
J: That's ok, until you called I was enjoying a peaceful dinner.

A: Well, I just wanted to speak with you about refinancing.
J: (I wonder if he is getting tired of this yet) Refinancing would be good. Do you know what I do?

A: No, what do you do?
J: I am a mortician. My wife is getting really tired of me draining bodies in the living room. Perhaps you can help me get a larger place.

A: Silence followed by a bit of a gulp You drain bodies in the living room
J: The bathtub isn't big enough. I had three come in this afternoon, if you would like, you can come watch.

A: Jesus.
J: Jesus, I wouldn't mention that name to me.

A: No, I uh, I am sorry.
J: Sorry for what? Sorry for interrupting my dinner, sorry for not being religious, sorry for not being polite, sorry for the sake of being sorry.Why are you sorry.

A: More silence
J: Are you going to speak with me about refinancing. Do you know what it is like to entertain after you spent the day draining bodies. Do you have any idea what smelling like formaldehyde does to your sex life.

A: Click

Ah telemarketers, they are fun. Perhaps I'll tell a new story on a different day.

Researchers: Stress Causes Forgetfulness

Arafat to Be Moved to Hospital in Paris

I have long thought that Arafat was a one trick pony who didn't have the ability to truly become the leader he would need to be to bring real peace. Too many years as a terrorist and little to none as a real diplomat. But the reality is that you cannot always dictate who you want to negotiate with. Sometimes you are stuck with a pseudo-partner because that is all you have,

So you play the hand that you are dealt and deal with it.

Israel has been preparing a number of plans of action for how to deal with the Post-Arafat world for some time now. But it remains to be seen just what is going to happen and what kind of vacuum will be created in the void that he most assuredly will leave.

Who is going to step up, who will be pushed to the forefront and what impact will that have on peace. Interesting questions for interesting times.

Tall Women Are Sexy

It is no secret that I find women to be very interesting. They are so different and there are so many things that I find to be attractive and sexy about them. And they crack me up. It is so funny to listen to women discussing men and what they want. Some of it is just so ridiculous and some of it is so dead on.

The specific topic of this post comes from my elevator ride from the garage into the office building today. There was one other person in the elevator, a very tall woman. I am 5'10, so anytime I stand next to a woman and notice that she is taller than I am it is probably safe to say that she is tall.

But since I do have moments in which I am oblivious, there are times when I fail to notice that someone is standing on a step/projection/stool/chair, which clearly impacts their height in relation to me. As usual, I digress.

Most of the time women seek men who are taller/bigger than they are. So in my single days the taller women were less interested in myself and more interested in my friends many of whom are more than 6 feet tall.

Not that it matters anymore, but I never cared if a woman was taller than I am. My ego could easily handle that and I would have had not a single problem with her height in relation to mine.

Now if she were physically stronger than I am that would dent my fragile male ego, but not the height. That is not a big deal at all.

This Irritates Me

I have spent much of my life bucking the tide. If people went left, I often went right. For a while it was just a rebellious way to show my independence. At some point during my teenage years my father sat me down to discuss what it meant to have my own opinion and whether it was necessary to act out to prove it.

I don't remember exactly what was said, but I remember the real message. It was encouragement to continue to try and think for myself and a reminder that if I was really secure in my beliefs I wouldn't find the need to broadcast them. It made a lot of sense to me then and it makes sense to me now. Which leads me to my point.

I find it disturbing to see so many people turn off their minds and jump on the bandwagon so that they can say that they were part of "it" whatever "it" may be. In the current climate I find it distasteful to watch so many Americans jump up and down in agreement whenever "Europe" complains about the war.

They seem to think that by agreeing with them they make themselves to be more worldly and culturally aware. It is just daft.

It is no secret to "long time" readers that I have no compunction about bashing Europe, but then again I haven't any problem bashing the US or any other country/continent either.

The fact that so many people dislike Bush is not in and of itself significant enough to warrant agreement. Your vote should not be given to someone because you like them and it should not be withheld just because you do not. The decision should be based upon their ability to do the job.

Can they get it done more effectively and efficiently than others and do you agree with their policies. Personal issues should be left out of it.

Along those lines I maintain that it is not critical for a person to be eloquent as long as they can effectively communicate their message. And even more important then the quality of their voice/elocution is what they say. Is it meaningful, is it important, is it significant.

We waste so much energy on stupid criticisms that are truly meaningless and often nonsensical.

U.S. captives in Tehran got first taste of terror

I remember the hostage crisis quite well. I found this article to be quite interesting. Here are a couple of excerpts:


On a Sunday morning 25 years ago, U.S. diplomats in Tehran looked out the window to see hundreds of young Iranians, fired by a love of Islam and a hatred of America, spilling over the walls and through the gate of the embassy compound.

The Americans did not know it, but they were staring at the future — a militant Muslim fundamentalism that would one day replace communism as the greatest threat to their nation.

That was Nov. 4, 1979, the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis, and a date on a timeline that would stretch to Sept. 11, 2001, and beyond.

Fifty-two Americans were held captive for 444 days. Although none was seriously hurt, many were beaten, blindfolded, isolated and lined up for mock firing squads. Never had so many representatives of so powerful a nation been abused so flagrantly.

To better understand the impact of the crisis on the hostages and the nation, reporters from USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers around the nation interviewed more than half of the surviving hostages. Although they don't agree on everything, most have reached these conclusions:

The Iran crisis taught Americans little about Muslim extremists. “We don't understand how they think,” says Dave Roeder, 65, who was an embassy Air Force attaché. Several hostages recall that when they came home, people were more curious about what they ate than what the crisis said about the use of Islam to compel terror.

“The very people today that are standing up and saying, ‘We've got to do something about this terrorism,' are people that did not listen to those of us that had actually been out there fighting terrorists for the past 30 years,” says Alan Golacinski, 54, the embassy security chief.

•The crisis taught the extremists that terrorism works. When the crisis ended with the captors unrepentant and unpunished, “we were teaching the Middle East what could be gained through an act of terrorism,” says Rick Kupke, 57, who was an embassy communications staffer. The lesson was simple, says John Limbert, 61, an embassy political officer who later became ambassador to Mauritania: “You can break the rules and get away with it.”

As a result, many hostages say they expected a disaster like 9/11. Bill Daughtery, a CIA agent in the embassy and now a college political science professor, describes his reaction to the 2001 attacks this way: “ ‘What took them so long?' ”

For many former hostages, Sept. 11 was particularly difficult. “It made me physically sick,” says Paul Lewis, 47, a former embassy Marine guard. “I thought, ‘They finally found a way to get here.' ”

Invitations

This weekend we are throwing a little shindig for my daughter, it is a baby naming party. We have worked hard to try and minimize the number of people and we are still looking at somewhere around 100 or so.

That includes family and friends, but not all of either. Wow, 100 people and we could have extended it higher had we sent out a few more invitations, not to mention that there were people who RSVP'd to say that they are not able to come.

My son's Bris was similar and a little more nervewracking. It was hard because he was our first child and we were just learning what it meant to be parents, let alone that this took place a mere 8 days after his birth. But it went well and we had a great time.

So now almost four years later we are doing it again and we have run into a problem we had the last time in that we haven't heard from a bunch of people and need to call them to find out if they are coming. The bigger problem is that I think that at least one couple were inadvertently left off of the list. Well, that is not totally accurate, the email invitation was sent out and they were definitely on it, but their email bounced.

I kept reminding myself to call and make sure that they were notified. And I did do that, but I didn't leave a message. I meant to, but I just hung up and now here we are a couple of days away. So I have to call and make sure that they know that they were invited.

I am going to be honest and tell them the whole story and hope that they are not offended. Truth be told they can be offended and I won't lose any sleep over it, but I'd rather that it didn't happen. I hate dealing with nonsense.

Checks To Clear Without Delay

"The float just sank.

As of today, any check you write may be posted -- and the money deducted from your account -- within a few hours.

Savvy consumers no longer can count on a delay of a day or two or three -- the float -- as a paper check moves through the banking system.

The speedup is a result of the new Check 21 law, which goes into effect today. It allows banks to make an electronic image of a check and send the electrons, not the paper, through the system. ."

Interesting stuff.


Things that Frighten Me

This a list of things that have frightened me in my life. Some are still relevant and some are not. But I thought that it might be interesting to just throw them all out there to see what they look like during daylight hours. P.S. I have explanations for all of these, but I may not include them on the list. Why? I just don't feel like it. :)

  1. The Dark
  2. The Amityville Horror scared me.
  3. Oscar the Grouch
  4. Bigfoot- The one from the Bionic Man television Show. He gave Steve Austin plenty of trouble.
  5. The Creature in the Legend of Boggy Creek
  6. A couple of dogs that chased me on my paper route.
  7. The homeless guy from the park.
  8. V.L.- He and I got into a fight in high school. I pretty much kicked his ass up and down the corridor, but I do remember shaking with adrenalin afterwards. For about two weeks I was concerned that I was going to have to face him and his older brother again.
  9. Having my heart broken again
  10. Breaking someone's heart
  11. Not being able to provide for my family
  12. Letting my children down
  13. Not making it to the bathroom in time.
  14. Finding out that I have a child that I didn't know about.- Ladies this is never a problem for you, but we men wonder about this sometimes.
  15. Being mugged at an ATM- When I was in college a guy was murdered at the ATM I used that day. It was several hours after I had used it, but....
  16. Something happening to my children.
  17. Getting stuck at a job I hate
  18. Never living out my dreams.
  19. Being paralyzed
  20. Losing a parent/close friend or family member- Actually I have lost several friends and family members, but it is still a fear.
  21. Losing my perspective on life and why most of these things are nonsense.

Adventures in bathing

Ok, Blogger just ate my last post. Between that and the problems today I am irked. Blogger, I am calling you out. You and me baby, bring your best and hope that I leave your sorry behind with the ability to continue functioning. Grrrrr...............

This evening we engaged in the simple task of trying to bathe two young children. Not real difficult, but time consuming.

My son convinced me to get into the tub with him. I didn't really want to do it, but in the interest of harmony and a speedier bath I climbed in. Things went along swimmingly until he started to complain about having to wash his hair.

He then made it very clear that he was not pleased with this by urinating in the tub. Good thing that I love him because the shower that followed was very brief and quite efficient.

Nothing like being peed on by a child to make your evening.

IP Addresses- My confession

Yes, an afternoon confession for all of you. I enjoy looking at my tracking software to see who has come to visit the shack. I find it very interesting, it is kind of a like a puzzle in which I have enough pieces to creat the skeleton of the puzzle, but I am not able to fill it in.

I look at the IP addresses and I can gather small details, little nuggets of information that I try to use to decipher the mystery that is you, the reader.

Sometimes I am provided with the name of the business/school/organization of your IP address. It is a nice addition. I look at it and try and imagine what you do for a living. Are you a spy, a teacher, a doctor, lawyer or something else. Who knows.

Maybe you are someone I know from the outside world who doesn't know that I have a blog. There are endless possibilities.

Blog Rolling Etiquette and thoughts on links

I used to have an email address tied into the site but I pulled it because of the vast amount of "email" I received. Besides if I used all of the pills that these people want me to take they really would call me "Tripod" and I'd scare the neighbor's horse. And that would be a shame.

But beyond all that I also received multiple requests to Blogroll people. It is not so much that I mind being asked, but that I am unwilling to do it for everyone and not interested in explaining why every time I decide not to do it.

The issue is very simple to me. I Blogroll sites that I find to be of interest, but the problem is that I have found so many that are of interest it is a little overwhelming. I am not real keen on the idea of listing 69 links on the side of the blog. I feel an obligation to visit sites I have blogrolled and I don't have time to visit 69 sites.

There are blogs that I visit on a regular basis that I haven't blogrolled and I don't necessarily know why. I probably will end up doing it, but haven't gotten around to it yet. If you ask my wife about it she'll tell you that I operate on "Jack Time" and that "Jack Time" doesn't seem to correllate with time in the outside world. I do things at my pace.

Anyway, I have milked this cow long enough, it is time to go shear the sheep for a bit.

Make Your Own Porno- Sex, Sex, Sex

There, that title ought to grab a few readers. ;) I have no idea whether Blogger is going to quit on me again, so I am going to try and push this through ASAP.

I can understand why people might tape themselves having sex. I see how you can enjoy it, but I also see great potential for mischief here. Once you are on tape you are at risk for being shown anywhere and everywhere. So if you film yourself you need to be prepared for the possiblity that others will see it.

And if you are 31 and filiming yourself with a 17 year-old girl you need to be ready to have the book thrown at you. Now I am not going to get into a discussion about the age of consent, but let's think about this for a second.

If you are shtupping a girl in high school and you are that much older you are creating a real problem for yourself, so you shouldn't be surprised when trouble finds you.

The Red Sox and the Curse

Well it appears that either the Red Sox are going to finally break the curse or in less than a week the entire city of Boston is going to go into mourning over one of the all-time greatest choke jobs.

Boston, I have news for you. This year every team I rooted for in the playoffs has lost. I am beginning to think that it could be in your best interests to pay me not to root for your team.

I don't need much, I am sure that if you each give me 50 cents I'll be satisfied, but just in case you might want to make a suitable deposit in my account. If I don't see the money soon I promise to go into full fan mode and as previously mentioned, this season all of my teams lost.

Blogged out- Blogger Issues

It appears that blogger has been having techinical difficulties:

"Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Starting around midnight last night, we have had significant networkproblems that would have prevented some Blogger users from accessingthe site. We continue to work on the problem and will update thisblog with additional information.
Posted by Jason at 9:49 AM "
http://status.blogger.com/

In My Life

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life
I love you more

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

Call an over inflated ego, just confidence or what you will, but there are very few things that I really would like to change about myself. But there are some things and some skills that I'd like to have. Here is a list in no particular order:

1) I'd like to be able to speak like Patrick Stewart. I'd like to have the kind of voice that just holds your attention even if I am reading a box of soap..

2) Along those lines I wouldn't mind being able to sing. If I had to pick a voice I might have to go with Sinatra. Since I am currently listening to him there is some influence there. In theory it could be something else, an original sound. Again, something that has range so that I could really belt it out or sing softly.

3) I'd like to play an instrument and to play it expertly.

4) I'd like to be an expert on medicine/history/astronomy/nanotechnology.

5) I'd like to be able to dunk a basketball. For a brief time I was able to grab the rim, but I chipped the talus on my right ankle and it just doesn't work the way that it used to. It is like a slinky that has been stretched too far.

6) It would be nice to be Rashi or the Rambam. And if not them, then why not someone whose expertise was sought because he is a modern maven.

7) I'd like to be a pilot. I'd rather fly like superman, but you have to work within reality.

8) I'd like to paint like Picasso or Chagall.

9) It might be kind of cool to be Forrest Gump, to be a part of or experience so many different things.

10) It could be cool to write like Hemingway, George Will, Tolkien or Twain.

Actually I see many of these things as being within reach, it is a question of desire. Do I want it badly enough? If I do am I willing to put in the time and effort to make things happen. Hard work is not something that most of us can skimp on.

My writing fell out

I have tried writing three different posts and have had no success. I am not sure why, so I am going to use my son's excuse. Sometimes when I try to speak with him in Hebrew he tells me that his Hebrew fell out and he can only speak English.

Ok, can't argue with that logic. It must have fallen out. We spend time searching for it, and sometimes we find it.

So tonight I guess my writing fell out, the skill that allows me to communicate effectively must have slipped out of my skull, or should I say that it leaked out. Yes, leaked out sounds far more appropriate. It is raining here, so maybe when I danced through the street, up my driveway and into the house it fell out.

And now I find that I cannot seem to write a coherent post, at least not a serious topic. It is shameful and disappointing. Even a little frustrating. There is no reason why it should be difficult, at least not this difficult.

Writing is a simple thing, really it is. What you need to communicate your thoughts is the following:

1) Story-Plot call it what you want.
2) It has a beginning, middle and end.
3) Simple words that explain how it began, what happened, why it happened and what the end result will be.

Bingo, three basic steps and you have a post that is sensible. Ok, maybe not sensible but at least it is easy to read and there you have it. But I can't seem to make that happen, it just is not flowing and that irks me.

Why allies send spooks to America

"WASHINGTON Allies as well as enemies have spied on the United States at home and abroad throughout America's history. As the world's only military and economic superpower, the United States continues to be the primary target of friendly and unfriendly intelligence agencies"

This is an interesting article. It is worth reading.

Report: Explosives could not be found when U.S. troops arrived

CNN) -- The mystery surrounding the disappearance of 380 tons of powerful explosives from a storage depot in Iraq has taken a new twist, after a television news crew embedded with the U.S. military during the invasion of Iraq reported that the material could not be found when American troops arrived.

NBC News reported that on April 10, 2003, its crew was embedded with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division when troops arrived at the Al Qaqaa storage facility south of Baghdad.

While the troops found large stockpiles of conventional explosives, they did not find HMX or RDX, the types of powerful explosives that reportedly went missing, according to NBC.

The International Atomic Energy Agency revealed Monday that it had been told two weeks ago by the Iraqi government that 380 tons of HMX and RDX disappeared from Al Qaqaa after Saddam Hussein's government fell.

In a letter to the IAEA dated October 10, Iraq's director of planning, Mohammed Abbas, said the material disappeared sometime after Saddam's regime fell in April 2003, which he attributed to "the theft and looting of the governmental installations due to lack of security."

It gets stranger and stranger.

Impact a life

I am still a little frazzled and fermished from this recent bout with illness. Aside from my dysfunctional digestive system I have few ailments and rarely get sick. Although I should add that since my son started school he has managed to pass along a number of colds to me. I love sharing his life, but I am not interested in sharing illnesses, there are happier things to share.

In light of the election and various posts I have encountered I'd like to encourage you all to consider making a difference in the world in some way. And I'd to suggest that we remember that it is not always necessary to do something that helps large groups of people.

Sometimes the more important and more helpful things are those that are focused on a couple or even one person. Because if you believe in the concept of viral marketing it only takes impacting a couple of lifes to really help many.

And let's not complicate things by trying to raise vast sums of money or generate awareness about various illnesses. Let's make this really simple and try and do one of the following things:

1) Smile at people. They are contagious, sometimes your smile will be the thing that makes someone else crack a grin.

2) Cook dinner for your spouse/girlfriend/partner/significant other.

3) Hug at least 5 people today.

4) Help someone with their groceries.

5) Call a friend/family member/loved one and thank them for being a part of your life.

Simple things can make a difference.

I am running for President

Yes, it is true I am running for office. When I turned 35 I decided that this would be the perfect year for me to wrong. I am of legal age and status and a citizen of the fine nation we call the U.S. of A.

And based upon the candidates we have to choose from I have the opportunity to use some very cool campaign slogans such as:

Vote for Jack- He can't fuck it up any worse than it is.

You don't know Jack, but why not give him a shot.

Vote for Jack and let the other two guys bag groceries at the "Bush N' Kerry.

Now I just came up with those three lines in the past thirty seconds which is demonstrative of my ability to craft policy with the same time and effort as the other two guys. Not to mention that we'll save money as I won't need to higher any speechwriters. I'll do my own press conferences and as I am losing my hair I'll eventually be able to save more taxpayer money because I'll be able to let the White House barber go.

Consider a few other perks. If I am elected there will be:

Kaparot at the White House. Watch me swing that crazy chicken

Latkes with Larry King once a week.

Manischewitz Moments with Maury Povich

Pesach with Peter Jennings

And oh so many other priceless moments.

Mighty Post- A roundup of all that has gone on since May

Call me crazy, call me nuts, but don't call me Shirley. And definitely don't call me late for dinner. Brian's weekly roundup has got me playing around with the idea of constructing "Mighty Post" a roundup of all that has taken place since May.

If I do something like that I probably should wait until December, but that is what people would expect me to do. And lord knows I love doing the unexpected, the unconventional and the unsomething or other. (This last line was brought to you by 7-UP, the UN-Cola haahaha).

So here is a quick warm up. Cue the sentimental music and roll tape:

May:

My first Post about the Lakers. I get choked up when I see this and think of how much my blog has grown.

From there we went right into what I called Islam and the Modern World and a post about Death.

These were followed by thoughts on work, life and articles that I found interesting. June began with an article on Inner Genius that no longer exists online so you'll have to take my word on it being very cool.

It continued with articles dealing with science and technology, Reagan's death, more thoughts about life, the Lakers, thoughts about war, an opinion piece by Dennis Prager and basically ended with a longer rendition of thoughts on my family, specifically my uncle and grandfather.

July started out with notes on Saddam, stealing a kiss, my rambling on about integrity, more about the countdown to my daughter's birth, thoughts about Jerusalem, the Lakers, and the news that my father needed surgery and would not be coming home as scheduled.

It basically wrapped up with the news about the birth of my daughter, the impact she had and included odds and ends about this and that.

I think that this is enough for now. Perhaps I'll take this up again at a later date, but for now I think that I have spent enough time going down memory lane.

How Light Sticks Work

I love learning stuff like this. It is so cool.

Britons Want Homer Simpson as U.S. President

"Homer got 24 percent of the vote in the poll of more than 2,000 readers. Second place went to the more obvious choice of Josiah Bartlet, the president played by Martin Sheen in "The West Wing."

Pompous but eloquent radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane was third followed by Sergeant Bilko from "The Phil Silvers Show." Gil Grissom from "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" was fifth with 10 percent of the vote. Other favorites were Jack Bauer from "24," "The Cosby Show's" Dr. Cliff Huxtable, Phoebe Buffay from "Friends" and "The Sporanos'" Tony Soprano. "

I clearly need to work on my UK readership as I didn't even place in 1 percent of the votes. How disturbing.

American Not Welcome in Manchester

"This has not brought great comfort to Manchester United's supporters. On Sunday, before Manchester United defeated Arsenal, 2-0, halting its rival's 49-game unbeaten streak in the English Premier League, Malcolm Glazer was hung in effigy outside Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. Fans chanted and carried banners that said "Not for Sale."

"Our fans are extremely fearful," Mark Longden, a spokesman for the Manchester United Independent Supporters Association, said in a telephone interview. "I've never known a militancy like this."

Although supporters deny it, anti-Americanism also figures in the resistance to Glazer, said Franklin Foer, author of "How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization." He noted that Roman Abramovich, a Russian oil billionaire, was embraced last year upon his purchase of Chelsea, another top English team.

"The Glazer story is more about the anti-American moment in Europe," Foer said. "If his possible purchase of the club wasn't coinciding with George W. Bush's re-election and the Iraq war dragging on, I think it would probably would have gone through."

Watch out Europe. We are going to buy your football(soccer) teams and make them learn how to play a real sport. ;)

Who said that Ultimate Fighting is a useless skill

"Russell R. Rogers picked the wrong restaurant to rob Sunday afternoon, Vancouver police said.Professional "extreme fighter" Benji Radach of Longview and his training partner tackled Rogers, 64, after he tried to hold up Elmer's Restaurant with a gun, police officers and restaurant workers said."

Oops.


She asked me to jump her, so I did

I just returned from my son's school. It is located across the street from my office so I routinely head over there at noon to pick him up. I leave for my office before he wakes up in the morning so it is a nice chance to see him mid-day and say hi.

So we were heading out to the car post melt-down (different story for a different post) when she called my name. Jack, Jack, Jack. I turned my head and looked out across the parking lot and there she was, smiling at me.

"Can you help me," she said with a smile, "I need to be jumped." I smiled back at her as she realized how that sounded "my battery is dead and I don't have any cables."

I restrained my natural urge for the smartass response and said that I could. And that is the story of how she got jumped at lunch. Tomorrow I'll have to let her know that she is now famous in cyberspace.

On a side note, if you have a car it is really simple to keep a set of cables, a flashlight, first aid kit and matches in the car. Sometimes the Auto Club is not available to help you in a timely fashion.

G-d's Will

As I have been surfing through blogger land I have noticed more and more posts from people who are in touch with G-d. And it occurs to me that lately I have read articles that talk about G-d speaking to Pat Robertson, George Bush, Osama and even Charles Manson.

Wow, G-d sure is busy. I wonder what I need to do to gain my own platform to discuss what G-d thinks the world needs and why he/she/it needs me to do it. Maybe you can send me money so that I can live in a deluxe apartment in the sky where I can broadcast to the world the real message.

Have I told you that G-d wants to give me 17 wives. I asked G-d for 21 and all I got was 17. What the hell is going on.

Did I ever mention how much fun it is to play with people who think that it is ok to try and press their religious beliefs upon me. Yesterday at the mall some guy confronted me about my soul. Yes, he said that he wanted to confront me about my immortal soul. I suggested that he go play Tiddly Winks but he didn't catch on.

If you are easily offended, stop reading now.

The conversation progressed and I asked him if G-d enjoyed a good blow job. He didn't pick up on my disdain or chose to ignore it. He told me that within a loving, committed relationship it was ok and then added that by committed he meant married. So I asked him if he meant that it was ok for my partner to pleasure me. Slow man didn't catch the reference, so I spelled it out for him.

And then he offered to pray for me. So I replied in kind and said that I would pray for him. He told me that it was not nice of me to try and bait him. I told him that I was a master fisherman and that given time I could change his mind and make a real believer.

At that point he grew somewhat incensed and moseyed away from me. Why was he surprised that someone might be offended by his actions and show this by being "obnoxious." More to the point, how many times do you have to be told that what you are saying is of no interest before it sinks in.

I won't apologize for my behavior. Witness to me and I will politely tell you to go away. Continue and it is time for Jack to play.

I love books- A favorite Series is reborn

I love reading. I just love to read anything and everything. In the P.C. era (that is pre-children) I would routinely read around 6 or 7 books a month, and that was a drop from the P.M. era )pre-marriage) in which I read more than that.

My choices in reading were not unlike many others. I loved a good fantasy, solid fiction, mysteries. I enjoyed biographies and histories of things/people/places that were interesting to me. And I found that not only did books provide a great education, but they gave me connections to people I might not ever meet and the ability to carry on conversations about virtually anything.

One of my favorite series was written by Stephen Donaldson. Here is a link to Amazon's review of the first of the 6 books in the series Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1).

I just loved it and found these books to be very compelling. And like some of my other favorite series I was disappointed when I finished it. The ending was just bittersweet, you were thrilled to have read it all, but at the same time you want more.

Anyway, I think that the last book in the series was written around 20 years or so ago. But now, Donaldson has taken up the pen again and crafted The Runes of the Earth (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1).
I am really excited about this and very curious to see if the magic is still there. Sometimes these stories can be extended and developed and sometimes there is nothing left to say. Will this be like a bad reunion tour of a band in dire need of money, or a new beginning. I don't know. But I am ready to find out.

Ashlee Caught Lip Syncing

Oh well. This should be the least of her problems. Not to mention that her sister is known for being a huge dope. I'd focus on the more important issues.

Good Food

Yesterday we took the children to the mall to have professional photos done. My daughter is now 3 months old and we felt that it was time to get something better than the shots we have, not to mention we really wanted to have pictures of her and her brother done professionally.

BTW, I am really tired and cranky this AM so my posts may reflect this. Nah, not may, they will. Anyway the pictures came out just beautifully. We were really happy with them and only have to wait until November 16th for the incredibly efficient people to produce copies for us. It was ever so easy to show us the digitial proofs, but really hard to give us copies on the spot. Oh brother.

It was a bit of an effort to keep my son entertained while his sister made like Cindy Crawford and by the time we got the two of them together he had just enough patience left to cooperate.

But what I really remember at the moment was the lunch we had aftewards. It was at Wood Ranch and I had a great Tri Tip. It was awesome, just tender, juicy and the smell is still in my head. Yummy.

Terrorism- Chicken Little or a real threat

Thoughts at the end of an evening. Memories fade over time, they just do. Love, pain, success, joy, whatever, the memories of these events fade.

That doesn't mean that you cannot bring up the same feelings again, but the deeper feelings, the kind that you can just taste, the feelings that envelop your whole body, well they fade a little. And I think that is both normal and necessary.

You can't function if your day is spent in overwhelming joy or despair, a middle point has to be reached. And now we find ourselves approaching a middle point in time. It is a little more than 3 years since 911 and it seems to me that much of America has decided that it was a terrible event, but that it is long ago.

Now the purpose of this is not to try and scare you. I think that the people who hate America have been around for an awfully long time and I don't think that it makes a difference to them philosophically whether a democrat or a republican is in office. Party affiliation is meaningless. IMO their issue is with the West and any country/people/organization that will challenge them in their mission.

And that mission is a restoration of the Islamic Caliphate and the eventual extension of Muslim rule throughout the world. This is not going to be a long post in which I cite chapter and verse to support this. If you don't agree with it, you can stop reading and find something else that interests you more. I won't be offended. Different opinions are to be encouraged.

But if you accept the premise that this is not science fiction and look at their objective you can see that this is an ideological issue that impacts the entire world. There are people who have a set of beliefs that say that they have divine permission to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals. They are smart, educated, well funded and patient.

Within America I think that there are people who find it difficult to consider this to be a potential reality. It is much easier to look at very simplistic answers. They are angry at the US because we invaded Iraq, because we support Israel, because, because, because.

Other blogs will provide you with simple tests to try and prove those theories to be right or wrong. Again, today is not that day at the shack.

As the memories of 911 fade I think that many think that because there have not been any new attacks there must not have been any attempts. And that is very dangerous. I have had a number of discussions with folks who maintain that lack of proof means that they must not have happened. This is disingenuous and somewhat ostrich like.

Lack of empirical evidence does not mean that our government is not currently and has not been working on securing borders and preventing incidents from taking place. It is safe to say that incidents that have been prevented have not received immense press coverage. We have enough intelligence issues without providing our adversaries with more ammunition.

And broadcasting our having stopped these attacks could compromise our assets in the field.

Now there are those who claim that this is happy rhetoric on my part and that I am just blowing sunshine up the asses of you and myself. But that doesn't ring true. If you look at the last 11 years you can find multiple attacks upon the US. There was the first attack on the WTC in 1993, the attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the attacks on the USS Cole, the attacks on the African Embassies and of course 911.

We are aware that the millenium bombing at LAX was prevented and have heard of a handful of other incidents. Does it make sense that the attacks would suddenly disappear or that they just haven't managed to get back into the continental US. Don't forget that I could have listed multiple incidents in Turkey, Tunisia, Morrocco and elsewhere. They haven't stopped trying, we have gotten lucky. Eventually someone will succeed again.

So in my mind there are several issues here.

1) What do we do to successfully combat an ideological threat on a global level.
2) How do we rebuild belief in the government internally and externally.
3) What are we willing to do to protect ourselves.

I am sure that this misses a few other areas and that it definitely does not include subsets of these other issues. But all things must have a beginning.

And from a slightly different tack, I ask this question. Many people claim that the war in Iraq has created more terrorists and spurred AQ copycats. If you look at AQ as being a political party wouldn't it make sense that there would be a left, a middle and and a right. And wouldn't it be possible that there would be enough members to populate these offshoots, regardless of any US involvement.

Ok, it is getting late and old Jack needs some sleep. See you all in the AM.

Apologists for Terror

I am short on time, but I want to broach a topic that irritates me to no end. I have real trouble understanding why some people make apologies for terrorists. In recent memory I have heard people say that if only the US hadn't invaded Iraq, Nick Berg, Paul Johnson, Bigley and so many others would be alive.

The suggestion here is that because the US invaded there is a legitimate excuse for this inhumane and barbaric act. I am sure that these people will make a similar excuse for Zarkawi's recent murder of 50 Iraqis. He certainly is working on placing himself in the Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Amin, category. He may not ever get to lead a country and be able to murder on the same massive scale, but he has murdered an incredible number of people. It is shocking.

Anyway, I find this moral ambiguity to very troubling. There are many ways that a person can protest actions. There are many ways that you can "fight the power" but these people who wish to create apologies for murderers are dangerous. They encourage the behavior, they do not deter it.

They'll counter with silly arguments that claim "that I don't understand the root of the problem" and that this is combined with an arrogant attitude that makes people angry.

I could respond with multiple examples of murder that had nothing to do with any of the excuses that they provide, but the ostrich doesn' t want to see what is happening.

It is dinner time so I am going to cut this short now.

Lists- You know you're from....

This morning I received an email that had a list of 50 or so line items that said:

"You know you are from LA when" blah, blah, blah. Sometimes they can be fun, but like all lists they do require a mix of truth and hyperbole. Here is a sample of some of the lines that I found most interesting/correct or funny.

You Know You're From LA When...

You begin to "lie" to your friends about where you are (i.e. "Yeah I'm like 20 minutes away") - when you know that it'll take you at least an hour to get there).

You eat a different ethnic food for every meal.

You look around at the nice cars around you during traffic, thinking it'll be your favorite Laker or WB star.

You know it's best not to be on the 405 at 4:05 pm.

Getting anywhere from point A to point B, no matter what the distance, takes about "twenty minutes".

In the "winter", you can go to the beach and ski at Big Bear on the same day.

You've bumped into a celebrity at El Pollo Loco.

You know what "sigalert", "PCH", and "the five" mean.

If your destination is more than 5 minutes away on foot, you're definitely driving.

You've partied in Tijuana at least once.

You've ever bought oranges, flowers, cherries or peanuts on a freeway off-ramp.

You drive next to a Rolls Royce and don't notice.

You've started crossing a street and returned to the curb when the DON'T WALK sign started flashing.

You have a favorite Thai restaurant.

You think you are better than the people who live "Over the Hill". It don't matter which side of the hill you are currently residing, you are just better than them, for whatever reason.

Walking out of Jamba Juice, you see that a movie is being shot on-location across the street. You are not happy, or even slightly excited that there may be a movie star there. You just say, " They f*cking better not be blocking my parking space."

A nurse can look at you in all seriousness and ask, "you don’t drink or smoke, right?"

And now your president of the United States

I am just disappointed. All of the things that I have read regarding both candidates reminds me that I still do not like either.

There is something wrong with feeling like you have to vote for the lesser of two evils. It is like being set up on a date by a friend. She/he tells you nothing but good things about the person you are going out with. They show you a picture and between the description and the picture you are truly excited to meet them.

And then they show up and you find out that the picture is before they ate their way through Vegas/underwent a bad hair transplant/got hit by a bus, you get the picture. Of if you are like me you look at the hot girl in the picture and think that G-d is really smiling down upon you as you are about to go out with a supermodel who has brains and really likes you.

And then you find out that the supermodel is not your date, it is the woman standing behind her. Disappointment.

Enough of the silly descriptions. The point is that we deserve better than this and we can do better than we have. I demand it and so should you. It is time to rethink and re-evaluate how things work.

No need to reinvent the wheel, but we can improve how it functions. More on this later.

Assasinating the president is not a joke

This is not funny. When a columnist says something as asinine as:

John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

This merits a formal reprimand.

File this under stories of my childhood

I haven't seen this in years Rikki-Tikki-Tavi but I remember loving it as a child.

I may have to buy this to share with my children.

Of course it should be noted that when I tried to watch the Wizard of Oz with my son he got bored and asked me to turn it off.

Typhoon Tokage produces record eight-story wave in Japan

If I surfed, this would be worth the rush. Ok, maybe not, but what a thought. Wow.

My Universal Remote

Not unlike the other lemmings I have a TV/VCR/DVD/SAT/DVR with surround sound. And I have many remotes, so many remotes that I have often wondered what would happen if I took them into the street and just started punching buttons.

Could I wreak havoc? Would the lady watching Dr. Phil be left wondering if the drug addict dad ever recovered because I managed to change her television channel. Would the teenager next door get busted because I turned on his porno while his mom was home.

Should I wait and try it on a Sunday morning and see how many men I could roust from their easy chairs and football games. I wonder.

In the search for ways to ease my life and drive my MIL crazy I purchased a universal remote today. It is supposed to handle all of the technology in the house, ok it can't blog for me, won't pinch hit for the timer on my sprinklers and doesn't turn on the washer, but it might one day. And it could be just a matter of my reading the whole manual so that I am familiar with all of the functions.

But I won't do that because that would take some of the fun of being male away. I don't take or ask directions, refuse to go to the doctor, wear my underware until there is just one big hole for both of my legs, let fly bodily functions with reckless abandon and celebrate being 230 pounds of uncontrolled 5-year-old.

Shakespeare discussed unleashing the dogs of war and I say unleash the testosterone. Jack has a new toy and he is not afraid to take it out and wag it around. Yippee.

I love the name "Universal Remote" because it holds so many different possibilities. With this remote I can bring peace to the Middle East, Far East, South East, South West and if there were still a Wicked Witch of the West I could nail her too. Figuratively speaking of course.

With a couple flicks of the wrist I am truly the master of my domain. Of course, I still haven't figured out how to make it work yet, but I will.

In the interim I have been considering how to make use of my old remotes and have stumbled upon an idea. While waltzing through the store (you should have scene the looks I received. Try waltzing by yourself in public and you can share this experience. Better yet, go and Lambada, it is fun.) I saw part of an old Kung-Fu Movie Master of the Flying Guillotine and it gave me an idea.

I could become a superhero fighting for justice. With my trusty bag of remotes I could roam the dark and dangerous alleys of Los Angeles righting wrongs and fighting injustice. When I spotted a criminal I'd whip out my remote and send it flying through the air and listen for the thunk it would create when it smacked the bad guy in the head.

Now there are a couple of potential problems with this idea. First, I need to gather a huge supply of remotes because I'll probably lose a few while practicing my aim. Not to mention some of these fights might require that I use a couple of them. And while I am thinking about it, how many will I need to carry to be effective. It would be awfully embarrassing to ask the bad guy to hang on while I run to the car to get another remote.

But if I carry a really large supply, it would make for an ungainly and unwieldy appearance. It is hard to be intimidating when you are struggling to carry a huge bag/box of remotes.

Maybe I need to modify the remote so that it becomes a Taser. It could be more effective, but it wouldn't have the same effect as the remote, and I'd lose the connection to the Master of the Flying Guillotine movie.

I shall have to ponder about what to do.

Thoughts I'll ponder today

Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel said: On three things the world is sustained: on truth, on judgment, and on peace, as it is it says (Zechariah 8:16): "Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace."

Rabbi Judah the Prince said: Which is the proper course that a man should choose for himself? That which is an honor to him and elicits honor from his fellow men. Be as scrupulous about a light precept as of a weighty one, for you do not know the reward allotted for each precept. Balance the loss incurred by the fulfillment of a precept against the gain and the accruing from a transgression against the loss it involves. Reflect on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you --a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds recorded in a book

Be careful in your relations with the government; for they draw no man close to themselves except for their own interests. They appear as friends when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by a man in his time of stress.

Hillel said: Do not separate yourself from the community; and do not trust in yourself until the day of your death. Do not judge your fellow until you are in his place. Do not say something that cannot be understood but will be understood in the end. Say not: When I have time I will study because you may never have the time.

It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task. Yet, you are not free to desist from it.
I have always found that to be very powerful and somewhat haunting.
this is an audio post - click to play

Stranger moves in, redecorates while woman's on vacation

Does anyone else hear "ONCE IN A LIFETIME " by the Talking Heads

"And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!"

Language- How many do you speak?

I was raised in Los Angeles in a house where English was the primary language. However, both of my parents are former Peace Corps volunteers who were stationed in Ecuador. They both speak Spanish fluently and when my sisters and I were little they would try and have "private" conversations in Spanish.

The end result was that I picked up a lot of Spanish and even took it briefly in school. While I would not say that I am fluent, I still understand a fair amount. One of my sisters really focused upon it and is very proficient in it.

In addition to Spanish and English I also received much exposure to Hebrew and Yiddish. I took classes in those as well. There was a time in which I was enrolled concurrently in classes in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. I was supposed to continue my Spanish coursework, but four languages was just too much so I dropped it.

As time passed I focused upon my Hebrew. At one point in time I began to have dreams in Hebrew and I really felt very comfortable with it. I eventually even took an advanced course in College. There were 15 of us in there and I was one of three students who was not Israeli and or did not speak it at home.

The rule was that once class began you were not allowed to speak anything but Hebrew. It was an excellent class and at times very challenging for me, but I really enjoyed it.

The challenge with speaking a "foreign" language is to make sure that you continue to use it. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons I began to use my Hebrew less and less and my proficiency and comfort level dropped as well.

Now I find myself eavesdropping on conversations so that I can practice. It is rough some times because my vocabulary has shrunk and I find myself racking my brain to remember what the meaning is of certain words. . One of these days I need to resume my learning because I am sure that with a little practice I can bring myself back up to speed.


I am sick

The lack of sleep finally caught up with me. I have a bit of a cold, and I hate it. I hate sniffling, I hate sneezing and I hate having to work through this. If I had my druthers I'd be in and out of bed and the steamroom. Come to think of it, the gym is open so I can get to the steamroom, maybe I'll go.

Have you ever noticed that many people use the expression "If I had my druthers." I just used it twice in less than 30 seconds and it occurs to me that I am not sure if I ever have owned any "druthers." I might now or might have in the past, but I am not sure because I do not know what "druthers" look like.

If you have lost your "druthers" what can you do to replace them. Do they sell them in stores? Are they expensive? Do they wear out? How often must you replace them? Could you use someone else's "druthers" and if so, does it require surgery? Do you have to worry about your body rejecting someone else's "druthers" or can you just plug them in.

I wonder about things like this.

The Return of Band Aid

This was mentioned in at least two other places that I am aware of TTLB and Wizbang, but I had to comment.

"Sun 24 Oct at 23:30 on BBC Three
BBC Three marks the 20th anniversary of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas - the song that rocked the world."

Band Aid founders planning new charity effort for Africa

Twenty years. High school, I was in high school. Now some of you will look at this and think of me as being a young pup, and you are right. I am. But it is a little surreal to look at a 20 year time frame and realize that it is no longer the bulk of my life.

It was a short time later during the Summer of 1985 that I watched Live Aid at a pub called Champs in Jerusale. I Googled Champs and found an address of 19 Jaffa Street. Wow, it is still there.

I have just a few stories to tell about my time there, Lalos and Pini's Pub. Not to mention Ritchie's Pizza, Pizza Rimini and a bunch of other places. Of course how many 16 year-olds get the opportunity to leave their parents for an entire Summer and then not have a good time.

I wonder if they tried to bring back the original members of Band Aid how it would fare. Let's take a look at who it included:

Band Aid
Bob Geldof- I still think of him as Pink.
Midge Ure
Phil Collins- Doing Disney soundtracks
George Michael- Did he ever recover from getting arrested for masturbating in public.
Jody Watley
Paul Weller
Paul Young
and members of:
Bananarama
Boomtown Rats
Duran Duran- Just released a new album
Heaven 17
Kool & The Gang- Sing with me now "Celebrate just being paid to sing this song"
Spandau Ballet
Status Quo
U2- Still going strong
Ultravox

I hear VH-1 special. Excuse me while I go work on my lines.


Sayings for the times we live in

I could select a 100 different quotes to use to convey thoughts and feelings about life now, maybe more. And I would really enjoy the task of collecting them and determining what makes the most sense to me.

Since time is a premium and I am doing some learning on my own I thought that I would share some that I find to be meaningful. Assuming that family responsibilities do not interrupt me, I'll even try and comment on each.

" Let your house be a gathering place for the wise; Be covered by the dust of their feet, And drink in their words with thirst."
—Yosse ben Yo’ezer

Education is critical. You should always work on learning more about yourself, the world and what happens around you. And part of learning is surrounding yourself with people. And while it is useful to be surrounded by experts, you can learn from almost anyone.

And it should be noted that experts is a term that can be applied in many ways and should not be viewed as being descriptive solely of professionals in white collar positions.

"If I am not for myself, who is for me? When I am for myself, what am I?If not now, when?"
—Hillel

We live in a small world in which we consistently interact with those around us. That means that our actions impact others and we need to be conscientous of that. It doesn't mean that we always need to subjugate our will/needs to others because you must look out for yourself. But that doesn't mean that we have permission to ignore them either.

And it should be noted that in regard to an individual's country, this statement is applicable to both domestic and international relations. It also breaks down into neighborhoods as well.



"All my days I grew up among the sages, And I have found nothing better for a person than silence; And not the studying, but the doing is the main thing.And all who speak too much bring on sin."
—Shimon ben Gamliel

Talk is cheap, actions are important. Bush/Kerry, this one is for you. Be a man of action and do what you can to improve life around you.

"Ben Zoma would say: Who is wise? One who learns from every man. As it is written: “From all my teachers I have grown wise, for Your testimonials (eidosecha) are my meditation.”

Back on the education front. You can learn something from everyone you encounter. Some things will be big and some will be little, but you don't know which will be the most meaningful. My son taught me a song that he likes to sing. He often asks me to sing with him and I enjoy doing so.

Is it important, is it meaningful? It is to me for many reasons, not the least of which is who knows what I do that will stick with him. Who knows what memories will drive him and build his character. This could be something that helps to define him. It sounds goofy, but it could be critical in his development.

"There are four types of people: One who says, "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine," is a boor. One who says, "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours"-this is a median characteristic; others say that this is the character of a Sodomite. One who says, "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours," is a chassid (pious one). And one who says, "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine," is wicked.
Ethics of the Fathers, 5:10"


I believe that you should give what you can. You should always look to give back in some fashion or another. Money is not the only way to give, in many respects your time is more important and far more valuable.

Los Angeles

It is almost November and yesterday was the first day that I realized that Summer has ended. Ok, I realized it when school started again and traffic in the morning suddenly grew heavier. But then I forgot.

I have been enjoying short sleeves and shorts on the weekend. It has been just beautiful, with amazing blue skies and a very comfortable temperature and then the rain hit yesterday. And just like that, Summer officially ended.

And as has happened for many years now Don Henley started playing "Boys of Summer" inside my head. I am sure that as I drove through rainy streets you would have seen a wistful look on my face, an expression of someone lost in thought. It happens on a regular basis.

Stress hits and I escape into the memories and fantasy of the past and future. It is not to say that I do not like reality, I hit it head on. Some would tell you that I could use a lesson in knocking on the door gently as opposed to knocking it down. What can I tell you, I am a Taurus and the bull is not known for grace.

It comes down to my choice of trying to distract myself because I find it easier to solve problems that way. Situation ABC arises and I find myself mentally retracing steps I took through Jerusalem in 1985, '95 and '98.

ABC is replaced by NBC and I switch to inner-tubing down the Banyas. CBS shows up and I am escaping a forest fire in 1985. It is myself and about 6 or 7 other teens in the back of a truck. We are passing out drinks and as I look out the back window I see flames racing down the hills and wonder if I'll return to ash or structure.

Fox, TNT, TBS, ESPN and MSNBC poke their heads in and I am driving across Kansas, scuba diving in Hawaii, sailing the Georgian Bay, roaming Vegas and lost in London.

In the background I hear Adam Sandler singing "The Lonesome Kicker" and I know that it is time to bring myself back to reality. It is time to focus on the task at hand.

I lost my muse again

I am beginning to come down with something. I have been sniffling since this morning and feeling a little rundown. I am not at that point yet where you feel like you have been runover by a truck, but I can hear the horn and see the lights in the distance.

It is aggravating. If I am going to be sick, well I might as well be sick and leave work. But I don't feel bad enough to just get up and walk out, and I don't really feel well enough to work. It is a problem.

And as mentioned above, I have lost my muse. In the prior post I had an idea that sounded great in my head. I had thought that it was going to be a terrific post, and it turned into the "hot idea meets mediocrity" thing in a hurry. Oh well.

At times I have considered deleting every post that I dislike or think is weak. It would make a stronger portfolio but the rules of the blog maintain that the good live with the bad. Unless the bad is so bad that horrible is not a good description of how bad it is.

This makes me wonder, are we ready to bring back concubines?

When I feel like this I just want to go home and change into sweats and lounge around the house. A nice massage and some tea would be great. But with two small children around the house it is quite busy and a bit of a challenge to get this kind of complete attention from the wife. Which is why a concubine would be great.

A concubine is kind of like the DH of the household. She could take care of those little details and allow the wife to do her stuff without interruption. In truth, she would be like a great time saving device. It would be outstanding to have this kind of service.

Men, just think about how much happier you would be and how that would translate into a nicer, friendlier environment at home. And the benefits might even extend to your office. Just consider how much finer life would be if you waltzed into your office relaxed and smiling.

It could be the next big thing, the question is how to promote it.

Foolish Arguments- Or known as discussing sports, cities and parentage

Here is my afternoon confession, I enjoy foolish arguments. Don't know why, but I just enjoy the nonsensical and meaningless banter of bashing other teams, cities and the associated crap that goes with it.

During the 80's I loved listening to people chant "Beat LA" whenever the Lakers would play Boston. Of course that was when Boston still had a team and not a group of children pretending to be NBA players.

I loved hearing it again as Shaq and company waltzed through the other teams like they didn't exist. We own Sacramento, San Antonio and pretty much the rest of the league.

It is fun to remind the fine folks of Denver and Buffalo that they are masters at losing the big game. For that matter the Vikings brought a lot of the same to Minnesota. I am not mentioning a city, because no one in their right mind would admit to being from there. Ok, maybe they would, but only because they could make fun of Fargo. People in Buffalo still haven't thought of doing that yet, Clevelanders would try, but only if the people they were speaking with stopped laughing long enough to hear them.

The San Francisco Giants - LA Dodgers rivalry has been a lot of fun. Especially when you listen to the wine tasting snobs point their fingers at us and pretend that they are better. East Coast snobbery is so impressive, especially when it comes from the West Coast. These people remind me of the lady showing off her cubic zirconium ring. Looks good from a distance, but up close the polish doesn't shine so bright and the ring loses it's luster.

I used to think that these arguments were relegated to the province of men, but then I ran into a couple of women who were rabid fans of their teams. Good to see that in the fight for equality the fairer sex is just as dumb as we are. It is inspiring.

Ok, time for a new post and an explanation.

Speed Posting

There are relatively few people who are aware of my blog, or should I say relatively few friends/family members. In part that is because I haven't felt the need to tell many people about this. I really do it for me and have little interest in listening to others tell me what I should do with it or in some cases try and "correct" my stories.

We all experience life through our own eyes, and that means that sometimes my story will be different from yours, even if we were both there.

I have enjoyed developing a list of blogs that I like to visit as well as knowing that there are now people who enjoy visiting me. And as mentioned many times, I really enjoy the interaction with you. Here is the rub.

I post very quickly, in bursts of 3 and 4 or more at a time. I suspect that it is so rapid that some of the posts fall by the wayside because they are not seen. And if they are not seen, there is no opportunity for comment. But if I am only doing for myself. If I am practicing my writing and not looking for others, than this would be a pointless observation. Who cares if anyone comments.

But if I enjoy the interaction, I need to find ways to keep the readers involved too. And so we reach the crux of the matter. Why am I doing this and what do I want out of it.

I think that it is really going to be an evolutionary process in that my thoughts and desires may shift a little over time. Stay tuned, I am as curious about where this goes as you are.

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...