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Showing posts from February, 2005

Samurai Samba

I like offbeat, kind of quirky people and articles. Here is a little snigget for you: "TOKYO (AFP) - Forget about the courageous chivalry or serene mental concentration of the feudal-era samurai. Japan's coolest samurai today is clad in a dazzling golden kimono and shaking his hips to the rhythm of the samba. Until 2003, Ken Matsudaira, fondly called by the nickname "Matsuken", was known in Japan as a solemn actor playing a heroic shogun in a television drama series that lasted for a quarter of a century. But in a sign of a changing Japan, the feudal fighter is now swaying to a giddy beat from halfway across the globe. He has caused a sensation among young and old alike with CDs of his latest song, the "Matsuken Samba II", complete with DVDs of his choreographer giving dancing tips, selling 500,000 copies. Other Matsuken goods on sale range from golden kimonos to top-knot wigs to postal stamps. The audie

Television's Impact On Children

We try to limit the amount of television our children watch and we are especially careful in just what it is they are allowed to see. I feel kind of silly saying they because my daughter is only 7.5 months, so it is premature to speak about her TV habits. Here is my somewhat embellished recitation of one instance of the impact of television on my son. Scooby Doo- My son loves Scooby Doo, just can't get enough of it. Asks for Scooby snacks and tells me about the ghosts and goblins that the gang encounters. When I tell him that I used to watch Scooby when I was his age his face get's kind of scrunched up, I think that sometimes it is hard for him to imagine me as a child. There are two primary things that he has taken from Scooby and they are both phrases. If he is building a tower of blocks and it falls, or something silly happens he likes to say " Zoinks !" But the thing that really makes me laugh is his use of the word "doomed." This past weekend

Most International Aid Wasted, Say Agencies

This is something that I feel strongly about. Too often people think that you can just throw money at a problem to make it go away. "LONDON (Reuters) - Red tape, inefficiency and nepotism mean that only one fifth of international aid actually gets to the people who need it, aid agencies said Monday. Not only that, but 40 percent of international aid is spent buying overpriced goods and services from the donors' own countries, Action Aid and Oxfam said in a joint report calling for urgent reform of a politically compromised system. "First and foremost, they need to spend aid where it is needed -- on poverty reduction -- rather than channel it to their own consultancy and infrastructure industries and geopolitical allies," the report said." Here is another example of an unnecessary problem. "Donors tend to be more concerned about the success and visibility of their project or program than the success of a country's d

Fragments of Fiction- A New Installment

There is a new entry on the Fragments of Fiction blog. I am just kind of mumbling my way through this. Almost 8,000 words and all I have is this rough mockup of a story. It is kind of frustrating, I am not real happy with it. That is not to say that I think that it is terrible. It has potential, but it feels flat to me, a little formulaic and in need of some color. Sometimes I wish that I could combine this with making a movie, that I could tell a story and show pictures and sound with it. It would be so much easier to try and flesh things out, to make you see things the way I am really trying to describe them. Sometimes I feel like the words are doing the trick, like they are presenting you with the image I hold in my mind and sometimes it feels like I am banging my head against the wall and that is something that just tears me up. A number of years ago I worked for a company that manufactured tools for construction purposes. We sold a couple of pieces of equipment to a company

G-d Speaks or Maybe it is Just Coincidence

Ok, allow me to be the latest to pile onto this story but I have a different perspective than some of the others. It may just be that I am cranky and irritable, but I have a hard time with the idea that G-d keeps sending messages to people and if we only listened we would be happier. I like the idea, love the thought that there is a reason for everything that happens but I cannot buy into it. Even as someone who believes in G-d I cannot accept this because it just doesn't make sense to me and I don't think that everything has to make sense. There is no rational explanation for why the tsunami wiped out the equivalent of three football stadiums of people. There is no logic for why some people lived and others did not. At just short of 36 I know 5 people who died from brain cancer. I spent lots of time with some of them and aside from a dysfunctional digestive system I am fine. There are some things in life that cannot be explained away as divine providence intervening, it i

Canada's Posturing

"TORONTO - A day after opting out of the U.S. ballistic missile defense shield, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin reiterated Friday that Washington must get permission from Ottawa before firing on any incoming missiles over Canada. "This is our airspace, we're a sovereign nation, and you don't intrude on a sovereign nation's airspace without seeking permission," Martin said. He was responding to comments by outgoing U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci on Thursday in which Cellucci warned Canada that by not signing on to the continental missile shield, it was in effect giving up its sovereignty and would be "outside the room" when the United States made a decision on whether to use the system to shoot down an incoming missile." Something tells me that we are not going to telephone you in advance for permission to defend ourselves.

Grow-your-own breast implants

"INSTEAD of silicone implants or tissue taken from elsewhere in the patient's body, plastic surgeons might soon be using tissue grown from patients' own stem cells. So claims Jeremy Mao of the University of Illinois, who has tested the idea in mice. He seeded scaffolds with human bone-marrow-derived stem cells and inserted them into mice. Four weeks later the implants still retained their size and shape. When tissue from a patient's body is used for reconstruction, the implants often deform after just a week, and can halve in volume over later years. "It seems promising and could soon be making an impact," Mao told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington DC last week." I am sure that this sounds ridiculous to some people, but if they could do this why couldn't they develop some other applications, somethi

Genocide in the Sudan

Frankly I didn't intend to provide a link to this post because I disagreed with some things that were said there in the past. And then reality smacked me in the head and I realized that not only was that juvenile behavior, but there is a need to try and do something to help. And so I bring you to another reminder that even though the world is imbued with more consciousness about genocidal activities in places like the Sudan it is still reluctant to get involved. The sad truth is that there many places throughout the world in which terrible tragedies are taking place. These are not natural disasters like the tsunami but man made and that is in large part what makes them so terrible. Africa is a mess and the world pays little attention to it. It is better to have tried to affect change than to ignore things and pretend that nothing is going on. Here is the link again. click on it and take advantage of the resources it links to and try and make a difference.

If I disappeared Would You Notice

I have been meaning to write about this for a while now. Each week I play in a regular game of pickup basketball. After the games we retreat to the steam room where we engage in all sorts of macho nonsense. Or should I say there is a lot of storytelling going on and not all of it is believable or nice. One of the guys that I play with is having problems with his teenage son. I don't know all the details and it is not really my business but if the man is who I think he is the problem is him. You can't be a friend to your childen until they grow up, try to be their buddy and you set yourself up for a problem. Let's cut to the chase here. The man told his son that if he (son) disappeared he wouldn't notice. What a horrible thing to say. When I heard it I considered punching him in the mouth because it sickened me to hear it. I understand fighting between parents and siblings, my parents and I went through it. I expect to deal with it as a parent, but I promise that my c

Struggling With Keeping Kosher/Shabbos

I recently heard from a friend of mine. She called to ask me some questions about a friend of hers who in her words is "growing to be very Jewish." My friend is not Jewish and had a number of questions. I was able to answer all of them, but I don't think that she was buying any of it. The truth is that she doesn't have to accept anything I say, it is her friend's choice and that should be enough. But the conversation was similar to others that I have had with people who are Jewish. I think that the primary thing that bothers this friend of mine is that she feels like there are now restrictions upon her friendship. She doesn't understand what keeping Kosher is about and Shabbos just overwhelms her. I am kind of curious to speak with the friend who is going BT because it sounds to me like she hit her with a ton of information aboout Shabbos, primarily the restrictions on what you can or cannot do. I thought that was kind of sad, because Shabbos offers s

The "Teasing Jingle"

Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing Kills Up to Five

"Palestinian security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah orchestrated the blast. They said they had tracked recent communications between Hezbollah militant Kais Obeid and an unidentified Palestinian who they believed was the attacker. But a Hezbollah official in Beirut denied involvement. "As far as we are concerned, there is no need to respond to such lies that we have become used to it," the official said. Hezbollah has emerged as the biggest threat to the fragile Israeli-Palestinian truce, with Lebanese guerrillas offering West Bank gunmen thousands of dollars to attack Israelis. The Iranian-funded Lebanese guerrillas, who have hundreds of West Bank gunmen on their payroll, have stepped up pressure recently." Call me a cynic, but part of me wonders if there isn't some collusion between the groups, a good cop, bad cop kind of thing.

Watch The Dukes of Hazzard and Earn Big Money

You mean I could get paid to drive the General Lee and tell tales of Boss Hogg and Daisy Duke. Count me in. I have to admit, I wasn't aware of a "Dukefest." But I am sure that these guys could clue me in. Here is the story for your reading pleasure. The job may seem onerous to some, however: watching "The Dukes of Hazzard" reruns five nights a week. Viacom's Country Music Television channel is running help wanted ads for this position -- Vice President, CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute. That's right. That's what the ads say, noting the pay is $100,000 for the duration of a one-year contract. The vice president will have to watch Dukes of Hazzard every weeknight on Country Music Television, know all the words to The Dukes of Hazzard theme song and write the Dukes of Hazzard on-line blog for CMT.com, Country Music Television's Web site. The person selected will also have to be available for media interviews to "share his or

Fragments of Fiction- A New Entry

There is a new entry on the Fragments of Fiction blog called Georgie in the Mountains. I am still learning about the characters, I don't have an outline and I am not really sure where this is going. Everything you read is a first draft, which is really how I prefer to write Eventually I plan on putting it together so that it reads more like a book, but for now this is what I have. Your thoughts and comments are welcome..

Jewish Philanthropy

This is a topic that I have found myself discussing quite a bit recently. In large part because there has a been a discussion within my shul about where and how we should best apply our philanthropic donations. Miriam touched briefly upon this here: "Allison links to an article I looked for yesterday while I was writing about the JNF, but couldn't find (thanks, Allison). "According to the annual report summarizing philanthropic activity in the U.S, six out of the 10 largest donors - with donations between $100 million $375 million - were Jews, and none of them made any significant donation to Jewish needs. Only 20 percent of the donations by Jews are directed to Jewish concerns, while 50 years ago that proportion was 50 percent. " Another reason -- if another was needed -- for Jewish organizations to clean up their act asap. While recent scandals have nothing to do with the stats above, tainted reputations and credibility issues aren't going to help matters

Things My Four-Year-Old Has Done

*Hit his little sister in the head with a ball. Fairness dictates that he called her name and said catch prior to throwing the ball. Fairness also dictates that I asked him not to do this because she is only 7 months old and is not able to catch it yet. I was about three feet away from her and was not able to get to her in time to prevent said ball from bonking her in the head. *He tried to make an egg fly by throwing it. It didn't work, but he did, alongside of me as we cleaned up the mess. *At the supermarket a man pushed his cart in front of ours. My little angel told him that if he didn't move he would punch him in the nose. Oy. He followed that remark up by telling the girl standing nearby that she was cute. *He took the gift he gave his mother last year for Mother's Day and dumped it into a sink full of water for the simple reason of "I don't know." *He told his baby sister that he loved her and that he would always take care of her

Luxury Beneath the Sea- 50 Feet Below

MIAMI (AFP) - Anyone willing to dish out 1,500 dollars a night might soon get a chance to come face to face with sharks from the comfort of an undersea hotel room a Florida entrepreneur plans to build in the Bahamas. "People who are interested in experiencing something they can't find anywhere else in the world will find it a real bargain," says Bruce Jones who heads the 40-million-dollar project. To date, there is only one such underwater hotel, a small refitted marine lab located in somewhat murky waters just off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. But Jones says his Poseidon resort will be one of a kind, as guests will not need to don scuba gear to reach their luxury suites. The hotel, located off the Bahamian island of Eleuthera at a depth of 15 meters (50 feet), will be connected to the mainland through two tunnels and an escalator, and pressure will be the same as at the surface. The hotel will have its own restaurant, a bar and 20

The Impact of Parenting On Your Own Growth

I recently read a post in which my friend A Simple Jew considered the impact of children on your own intelligence. He said a couple of things that I wanted to respond to here as well as open the topic for further discussion because I think that it is interesting. "Can intelligence get in the way of parenting? While occupied with children the parent has to turn off his mind to some to degree from his own intellectual pursuits. On the weekend I wake up at 5:00 and go downstairs and learn until my wife and children wake up at 7:00. I cherish this time alone. I spend these two hours exercising my brain since I know that I will have to turn it off once the children are up. I have found that taking this time to myself helps me be more fully devoted to my family during the course of the day." I don't think that your own intellectual capacity for learning has to be turned off during the time in which you are engaged in parenting activities, it is just redirected in a diffe

The Shack Needs Your Help

****Updated***** I have removed a couple of items to see if this helps alleviate any speed issues you might be witnessing. Let me know if you see a difference. -J Hi folks, I wanted to follow up regarding the commenting issue of last week. Can you please let me know if you are still having trouble leaving comments. I am supposed to let the good people of blogger know and want to give an accurate answer. Thanks, Jack

Georgie- Fragments of Fiction

I decided to double post the entries for this story here and on the Fragments of Fiction blog. It will be interspersed with normal posts here. The funny thing about my relationship with Georgie was the way we looked together. Georgie was only about 5’7 or 5’8 and he couldn’t have weighed more than 165 pounds or so. On the other hand I was almost 6’4 and weighed a solid 230 pounds. If you looked at us you would have never guessed that for years I had been scared of Georgie, afraid in a very real and tangible sense. And he knew it, he could smell it in my sweat, or so he claimed. I can’t explain what it was about him that frightened me so, I just know that he did. It might have had something to do with the time he beat David Jackman with a tire iron, or the time that he hopped over the counter at the mini-mart and beat the shopkeeper up for insulting him by asking for proof of his age. He was like a mini-volcano, ready to blow at any time and unpredictable. In som

More from the Mailbag

Dear Jack, When I first began reading this blog it was funny, witty and exciting. Now it is filled with material that just bores me. Can you become that funny guy again. Thank you, Ted Broganski Dear Ted, So you are saying that my blog has jumped the shark. I feel so sad. Ok, I don't really feel sad, but I am funny. Ask my children and they'll tell you that among four-year-old boys and seven month old girls I am right there with Thomas, Kipper and even cooler than Captain Feathersword. Still working on Greg, Anthony, Murray and Jeff. How sad would it have been if they would have said that Wags the Dog or Henry the Octopus were funnier than me, it would have crushed me. Thanks, Jack Dear Jack, I saw that some of your readers call you condescending. They forgot to call you pompous. Stop making fun of fat people. You suck, Dick Dear Dick, The last three words of your post made me laugh so hard I almost snorted my milk throu

Shame On America

Today's Hot Topic There are a number of people who have taken up the mantle of trying to chastise the United States for its actions and place within the world. They attribute much of the unrest and ill activities in the world to the U.S. claiming that US policy is the reason for terror, torture and or turmoil. They accuse the US of being greedy and demean contributions to disaster relief, be it comments about financial contributions, manpower or issues with treaties and agreements. What bothers me about this is that these criticisms are often layed out by people who have a poor understanding of economics, a skewed look at the political aspect and an agenda that does not allow for any middle ground. The point is not to say that the US is without blame and or perfect, but that there is a problem with much of the criticism and its applicability and balance. When pundits comment on the proportion of aid to tsunami victims relative to other countries they focus on wh

Women Who Look For Reactions

There are a number of fundamental differences between men and women, especially when it comes to communication. One of the things that I fail to understand and frankly do not have any interest in understanding are the comments our wives/girlfriends/lovers/significant others make for the sole purpose of aggravating us. Some of them have this burning desire to create conflict where none exists for inexplicable reasons. I am not clear if they feel like they need attention, are looking for makeup sex or are just being ridiculous pains-in-the-ass when they say these things, but they definitely say them. It is not just me, my male colleagues and friends have compared notes on this and there is a disturbing pattern of this behavior.To me it fits in the category of questions like "does this make me look fat?" Don't ask me because I will tell you if it makes your butt look big enough to drive a bus through or if it makes you look fabulous. It is the honesty policy and it makes

An old funny video

I went to visit a new website and noticed that they have a link to a short video that made me laugh. It is called Shalom and it came out about four or five years ago as a parody of a beer commercial that was making the rounds. If you want to see it you can click here and follow the instructions for viewing it.

Courtesy Continued

Courtesy

Manipulating The Numbers

Numbers are a useful tool for swaying opinions and making a point. They are supposed to represent neutral data that cannot be called into question for bias and as such serve a very important role in garnering support. Not a week goes by in which we do not hear about the numerical result of a study or survey. Fifty-six percent of Americans think that column x is more important than column y and twenty-seven percent are ambivalent about the two and or are simply disinterested. The problem is that very few people have the ability to really dig in and understand how the data was gathered, let alone provide a practical application for its use. To me it is a very serious issue and one that deserves further education and research. I have a practical example to share with you about how numbers can be massaged and misleading. In a past life I sold copiers for one of the major companies. It was a tough job for many reasons, not the least of which was that copiers were not an inexpensive

The Bus Station

I decided to double post the entries for this story here and on the Fragments of Fiction blog. It will be interspersed with normal posts here, but on the other blog it should be the only thing I post there, or so I anticipate. Who knows, the journey is what it is all about. I still don't know the characters or where this is going, just kind of rambling along. Years ago her mother had warned her that if she spent too much time with the guys she would never find the guy. At the time she had blown it off, attributed it to a woman who had never known a man besides her husband. Married at 19, pregnant by 20 and the mother of three children by 24 she couldn’t possibly understand why it was important to experience life and to live a little. So she wrote it off to motherly advice and went about her business. She had always liked men and they had always liked her. She appreciated all the things that made them different from women, strong masculine hands, rough hewn features, br

Requests Revisited

About two weeks ago I wrote about an email I had received in which one of the readers had asked if you could request that I write about a particular topic. I received a number of requests for fiction, which is in a sense how the story I have been writing came about and I have been steady at pumping out bits and pieces. But I wanted to check in again to see if there were any other requests. I do have a few that I haven't followed up on yet, but it is always good to be thorough and check back in with you. So, have at it folks, if there is something you want to see just let me know and we'll add it to the list. It can be anything at all, can't guarantee that I will write about it, but if you don't ask it might never happen. So ask away.

Quotes For The Evening

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. – Abraham Lincoln Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless. – Thomas Edison When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this. You haven't. – Thomas Edison It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. – Albert Einstein If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. – Gen. George S. Patton I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been. – Wayne Gretzky If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack. – Winston Churchill

Don't You Shower

Consumers Should Read Before Clicking 'I Accept'

"This is an area of great importance, but something that many people do not pay enough attention to." Click-through agreements may be hazardous to your rights of privacy Latest News about privacy and free speech. Those are the sentiments expressed in a white paper released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation Latest News about Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) as part of a campaign to raise consumer awareness of some of the dangerous terms found in End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs), commonly found on the Internet as "click-through agreements." According to the author of the white paper, EFF policy analyst Annalee Newitz, overly broad EULAs in the high tech industry are one of the greatest threats to consumer rights. She said that few people realize that simply visiting a Web site Get a Free E-Commerce Start-up Kit from Verisign or downloading a software update may constitute agreeing to a EULA that permits third parties to monitor their communicatio

Airlines Spend $1.6B on Missing Baggage

GENEVA - World airlines spend as much as $1.6 billion a year on mishandled baggage, a company that provides computer-tracking technology to the industry said Tuesday. The main factors causing a bag to fail to arrive with its owner at the intended destination are growing passenger numbers and tighter security, said SITA Inc., a Geneva-based company owned by the air transport industry. "Keeping track of the billions of pieces of baggage transported around the world annually has become a major challenge," the company said. SITA estimates that it costs the industry an average of $87.50 when a bag fails to show up on time. Even though the percentage of mishandled bags is only 0.7 percent, the total cost mounts quickly." What would be interesting to know is how much is spent on purchasing airfare so that we could look at the cost of lost luggage relative to that. My gut instinct is irritation because it is safe to assume that they are passing the costs o

McCain Calls for Permanent Afghan Bases

"KABUL, Afghanistan - A senior American lawmaker called Tuesday for permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan ( news - web sites ) to safeguard American security interests in a region that includes Iran as well as nuclear-armed Pakistan and China. Sen. John McCain ( news , bio , voting record ), part of a five-strong U.S. Senate delegation which held talks with President Hamid Karzai, said he was committed to a "strategic partnership that we believe must endure for many, many years. "Not only for the good of the Afghan people, but also for the good of the American people because of the long-term security interests that we have in the region," McCain told reporters at the presidential palace in the Afghan capital. Asked what such a partnership would entail, he said: "Economic assistance, technical assistance, military partnership including — and this is a personal view — joint military permanent bases and also cultural exchanges." I am not

The Burning Anger

I decided to double post the entries for this story here and on the Fragments of Fiction blog. It will be interspersed with normal posts here, but on the other blog it should be the only thing I post there, or so I anticipate. Who knows, the journey is what it is all about. Georgie taught me about burning anger. It was he who trained me, rather molded me into someone who was angry all of the time. Prior to his entrance into my life I was just another Joe, nothing particularly noteworthy about me, but Georgie placed me on his forge and made me into something different. Not someone, something, his words, not mine. Georgie's influence was profound in the worst way. He claims that he saw potential and did nothing more than tap into it. And in my darker moments I tend to believe him, but most of the time I think of it differently. Georgie made me mean the way you prepare a pit-bull to be a fighter. Stick glass in his food, kick him, beat him and do what you can to make him feel b

Hunter Thompson

I received a couple of notes from friends and colleagues asking for my thoughts on his suicide. I don't have much to say, I have read some of his stuff, an autobiography and in short never got into him. He always came across as being half-baked and nuts to me. In short crazy men with guns don't excite me. It is too bad that he killed himself, but I cannot say that I was moved one way or another by his death as his life didn't impact my own. I don't mean to be harsh, but I couldn't think of a nicer way to phrase it. One of the obituaries published about him caught my eye: "Recently, Thompson was a columnist for Walt Disney’s espn.com. In a February 2003 interview with Salon, Thompson said America suffered a nationwide nervous breakdown after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks that resulted in disastrous restrictions of civil liberties." Leading US writer kills himself Two things strike me about that excerpt. First, I am confused ab

Statcounter, Sitemeter, GoStats- Tracking It all

A blogger who shall remain nameless asked me about the three different stat counters I use. Said blogger is a smart fellow and had his own diagnosis for why, and as a true sci-fi buff was concerned with how I navigate the space time continuum. BTW, he is a good guy and if he wants to identify himself he is welcome to. It is an excellent question, but before I answer that allow me to mention something that has been nagging at me. I really enjoy using Answers.com, just a ton of information there. I was playing around with providing you non-geeks with a definition of the space time continuum and it made me remember that I wanted to point out the utility of this service. So check this out and be sure to read down the entire page, there is a lot there. You have to love the translations. With a little work I could start publishing in 13 different languages, imagine how many more people I could bore. ;) I started using G0stats because I was curious to see how many people were coming to my

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

"NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The circumference of your waist correlates more closely with several known risk factors for heart disease than does your body mass index (BMI) -- the measure of weight in relation to height -- according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ( news - web sites ). The findings are based on an analysis of data from 10,969 subjects who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1998 to 1994. Dr. Shankuan Zhu, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues found that waist circumference was more strongly tied to cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels than was BMI. Among men, the circumferences that were equivalent in terms of cardiovascular risk to being overweight or obese were highest for whites, lowest for blacks, and intermediate for Mexican Americans. By contrast, the waist measurement cutoffs among women varied littl

Bad Blogging- Also Known As This Stuff Sucks

I just finished reading Mochassid's latest commentary in which he says I realized that I wrote some of my most compelling stuff (okay, other than the macaroon thread) in those early days when no one was watching. I have to admit that since then, most of my stuff has been drivel. It is a common dilemma, something that many bloggers agree with. Mo further elucidates: I find that this happens with most bloggers. They come out of the blocks with a head of steam and quickly peter out. Many stink from the beginning but others start with interesting takes but stop being interesting shortly after debuting. Ironically, since many bloggers are driven by their desire for hits but peak in hits only after having written everything interesting that they will ever write, most readers are drawn to them only after they descend to mediocrity. The intrepid Baal Ha-Bayit of Treppenwitz has a solution he refers to as David's Room . Here is a description: In a nutshell, the most fru

Following the Breakup- The Fiction Continues

I decided to double post the entries for this story here and on the Fragments of Fiction blog. It will be interspersed with normal posts here, but on the other blog it should be the only thing I post there, or so I anticipate. Who knows, the journey is what it is all about. Some people don’t like the clickety-clatter of chaos and confusion caused by the end of a relationship. That had never been a problem for her. When it was done, it was done and she always knew. Some of the men had begged her to reconsider, professed their undying love and offered to change, but by that point it was too late. It was dead and there was no second coming. She wasn’t like her friends, willing to ignore problems because of a fear of solitude. It wasn’t honest and she was honest, too honest. She knew it, but it wasn’t something that she worried about or focused upon. In her eyes there was a natural cycle for relationships, they began, developed and grew into something that would last a while, but

Naked Dining

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - The diners arrived at a nice Manhattan restaurant on a cold February night and stripped off coats, hats, gloves and scarves. They didn't stop there. Skirts, shirts, pants, underwear and stockings all ended up stashed in plastic bags by the bar as the patrons got naked for the monthly "Clothing Optional Dinner." "It's exciting to be in a restaurant nude," said George Keyes, 65, a retired junior high school English teacher." Not all that exciting, think that I'll pass.

A Journey With No Destination in Mind

I started this blog last May. It was a whim that I decided to entertain, I hadn't any sense of what it would become, didn't know why I was doing it, just did it. And that is how this journey began, I packed very little and figured that I'd find what I needed on the road. In my mind I saw myself walking alongside railroad tracks. There was a forest, lots of green trees, blue skies and the mountains were not far ahead. I was alone and comfortable in my solitude. The weather was pleasant, just warm enough for me to feel the heat of the sun on my back but not so hot that I found it to be uncomfortable. Along the way the journey became an adventure and like all good adventures I have dealt with challenges and adversity, met colorful characters and learned about myself and others. If this were an afterschool special or some other kind of story now is the time in which I would lay out what I have learned, but it is not and frankly it is too early to reveal all of the lesso

Blogger Wrestling

I have spent hours trying to get Blogger to cooperate with me, I guess that you could say that I lost, so I am inserting the second half of the previous post here. "Where is G-d? Wherever you let him in." I don't like comments like that, they feel too pat, too packaged, but I'd be lying if I said that it didn't resonate with me. I have written numerous times about how I have trouble davening, I always feel better when I am davening outside. I have tremendous memories of davening on the top of a boat sailing to Catalina Island , in Big Sur , on the Russian River , Yosemite and so many other places. Maybe it takes being outdoors for me to be open, I don't know. But I do know that I don't want to live in a world in which people do the right thing because they think that they will be rewarded for it and I don't want to live in a world in which you think that you can commit horrible acts throughout your life and be automatically forgiven ju

The Case For G-d- Or Why Be Good

I should preface this by saying that I am still trying working on learning new code. I'd like to soup this place up without being silly. There is an ongoing discussion within and without the blogosphere about the existence of a higher power. And within that discussion there are multiple thoughts and threads debating every point you can think of. This has the potential to be a very long post, so I am going to try and be brief, which is a challenge for me. So here are a couple of points I feel strongly about. I don't want to live in a society in which people do good deeds strictly because they fear being punished. I want it to happen because it is the right thing to do, because we understand our responsibility to each other. I believe that there are multiple paths to G-d. It is more important to be a good person than to be Jewish, Catholic, Muslim etc. But I don't place much stock in the opinions of others or I would probably not wear some of the ties people see

Hizbollah is Feeling a Little Pressure

In light of the outcry cause by the recent murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri there has been a lot of maneuvering and posturing within Syria and I suspect that to a lesser degree there is some in Iran. The reason is that there has been a resumption of efforts to force Syria to relinquish its grip upon Lebanon. And as has been documented Hizbollah is supported by both Syria and Iran. "Today we are responsible for a nation that came out of the civil war ... but we face acute problems, especially this year and in the past few months," the black-turbaned cleric said. "As Lebanese, we have no choice for remedying our crises and problems except to discuss and meet, even if we are angry and tense," he said. "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past." - Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah And of course this has been mirrored by rhetoric by Syrian officials: "We agree on how critical the situation is in Lebanon and that it mu

Blogger Issues- We are Working On it

Hi Folks, I know that some of you are still having trouble with the comments. I checked with Blogger and found this message : dated Friday Feb. 18 In the past several days, we've seen some performance problems with Blogger. In general, the app has been slower and users have encountered an increased number of Internal Server Errors. We are aggressively fixing the source of the errors and have pushed several fixes in the past few days to address the problem. There is additional work to do to return Blogger back to a more responsive state - and we're on it. If you find yourself seeing errors, please logout of Blogger and completely shutdown your browser. When you restart your browser and log back in, you will be on a new appserver which may be less loaded and thus performing better. Special thanks to the folks at Mandarin Design for helping me play around with some new tricks on the blog.

With Reckless Abandon

The children are staying at my in-laws tonight. I am not real happy about this because I enjoy spending Shabbos with them. But there is a lady with a bad back in the house and she needs a day to herself to recover and it made more sense to take advantage of the resource. My son was none too happy and fought to stay home. I came close to giving in as I thought about all of the different games and things that we could do together. But sometimes there are hard decisions to be made. In truth this was not that hard a decision, but I'll miss saying the brachas with him and watching him try to watch me without getting caught. So I told him that this was very important (it is) and that I would really appreciate his help. And like all good 4 year-old boys he told me that I was wrong and that he was angry with me. So I picked him up and told him to hold still for his special blessing. He struggled momentarily and then lay his head against my shoulder, listening to the words of the blessing