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Showing posts from April, 2005

My Penis Died

My oh my do I love my son. He consistently makes me smile and laugh, with the intermittent bouts of screaming. He is a miniature version of myself, smaller. smarter and with more energy. The Pentium to my 386. Today he had me close to doubled over with laughter on a couple of occasions. He called me into his room because he was very excited about something. I moseyed on in and he said to me: "Abba, my penis died." "Oh, I see. How did it die," I asked. "First it was really big and it was standing up. And then it became soft and fell down," He replied. "So let me ask you a question. Were you touching it before it got really small." "Yes, first I did a thing to it like this and then after a while it died." "Ok, I see. Let me tell you a few things about how your penis works and let's see if that works for you." "Ok abba." A little time passes and he comes to find me to ask me a new question. "Ab

Crusing Corporate Cuisine

Ah yes, the eternal dilemma, where to eat lunch during the work week. In Silicon Valley the answer has been cleared up, sort of. Read this article or settle for my excerpts to understand this. ``Apple's the best,'' said Joseph Ruff , a programmer at Mountain View start-up TellMe Networks. ``The egg burritos, they make them nice and spicy. Network Appliance -- that had a pretty good salad bar, but it was smaller than Apple's.'' Want navrattan korma with raita, chutney and naan? $5.29 at Cisco Systems . Need something to drink? Sun Microsystems stocks 20 flavors of Odwalla juices alone. Feeling guilty? Yahoo boasts sustainably harvested seafood and antibiotic-free chicken. Marc Marelich, eBay's general manager of food services, often sees outsiders slipping in to eat at the new cafe. And no wonder -- they can get ahi tuna salad tossed on the spot, spicy Tunisian chili with lamb and beef, or Yucatan fish tacos with pico de gallo. At San Jose semicondu

New Design Could Transform 1st Bike Ride

I thought that this article was very cool. " Three Purdue University industrial designers who tapped into memories of their own childhood cycling misadventures have built a bike that ditches the training wheels but keeps rookies stable. Called SHIFT, it slowly transforms from a tricycle to bicycle configuration as the rider pedals faster, then returns to trike formation as the rider slows down. Lead designer Scott Shim hopes the design, which won top honors recently at an international bicycle design competition, can help children slowly gain the skill and courage to pedal off on their own. The design features a single front wheel and two slim rear wheels that are initially splayed outward to stabilize and prevent the rider from toppling over. As the rider accelerates and leans forward, the rear wheels shift inward, narrowing into a single wheel surface that essentially makes it a two-wheel venture. As the bike slows, the rear wheels tilt back to the tricycle formation.&quo

The Presbyterian Church & Divestment from Israel

I haven't written on this topic here because I felt that others had done a very good job, if not better than I could do on it. But I read a post yesterday that has stuck with me and thought that I would at least bring it to your attention. It comes from Robert Avrech and can be found here . I want to quote a few passages that I think are noteworthy. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is planning a divestment from businesses that invest in Israel. Jewish groups have tried to talk with them, but to no avail. The divestment move is picking up steam. Let's take a look at the world. In the Sudan there is wholesale slaughter against the blacks of Darfur by Muslim Arabs. Iran, dedicated to the destruction of Israel, is building a nuclear bomb. A clear threat to world peace. North Korea, perhaps the most repressive state on planet earth (and that's saying a lot considering that there are twenty-two Arab dictatorships) manufactures famine on a regular basis where untold hundreds o

Woman Convicted of Rape

When I saw the headline I had to read the article. It is not something that you expect to read. Click here or read this: "In a landmark case a 23-year-old woman has been convicted by a Bergen court for the rape of a 31-year-old man. The woman was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay NOK 40,000 (USD 6,385) to the man. The incident occurred on Jan. 4 last year in a Bergen apartment. The man testified that he fell asleep on a sofa and woke up to find the woman performing oral sex on him. The woman eventually admitted sexual contact but claimed that it was voluntary and that the man was willing and smiled. The case has attracted attention and is the first time a Norwegian woman has been charged with raping a man." I am really kind of curious about this. Not to sound callous, unsympathetic or I don't know what, but this is peculiar. First, if it was reversed I would imagine that the punishment would be more severe. From a different standpoint, there i

A Sex Slave

It seems oddly appropriate during Pesach to consider for a moment the various institutions of slavery that still exist today. There are many examples that can be given such as the children that are kidnapped to serve as camel jockeys in the UAE and the status of women who are sold into slavery to serve as sex slaves. The following article has a rather innocuous headline Migrant Women Trapped in Europe's Sex Industry that to could have and should have been more powerful. "LONDON (Reuters) - The money Rosa was earning in a Turkish shoe factory was not enough to support the three children she had left behind in Ukraine. Then her new friend in Turkey, Katerina, told her she could earn $700 a month as a casino waitress in Bosnia and convinced Rosa to come home with her to Moldova and then make their way to Bosnia. "I began to think of all the things I could do to change my life to help my children, my family." As the time came to leave Moldova, Katerina said she h

When A Fool Speaks Part 2

This past December I offered When A Fool Speaks for your consumption. It reviewed the ridiculous and inane ramblings of Irwin Graulich about why he loves Christmas and why people who ask that we observe the proscriptions of the Constitution as being wrong. Silly us, we understood the Constitution when it discussed a Separation of Church and State and the reasons why. Esther's post on Jewlicious tipped me off to his latest nonsensical and illogical rant in which she discusses his explanation for why single Jewish women are not married. According to our dear man the reason is because In fact, attention all single women who want to marry. Do you know why you wonderful ladies are still alone most nights? Because, in general today, the idea of dating a conservative, God forbid Republican male, is the equivalent of dating a chimpanzee! I am astounded by such a strong opening line. Insipid, vapid and meaningless come to mind. But I was dumb enough to read a little more to try an

Buffaloed By The Buffalo

Here is a short update to yesterday's post about the renegade buffalo as well as a picture of the policemen who took them on. Remember folks, never try and tackle at buffalo at the shoulders, you always should go for the legs. ;) Ouch.

The Junior High Legend of the Hula Hoop

When I was a younger man, so much younger than today, I never needed anyone's help in anyway. Oops, must have been possessed by John Lennon for a moment. ;) When I was in junior high one of the slightly older boys told us a big secret about girls. To give some context, I might have been 13 and he might have been just about 15. He told us that if we wanted to find a girl who was good in bed we needed to find someone who was really good at using a Hula Hoop. I remember being very impressed with this information but not having the slightest clue as to what she would do with that thing in bed. Of course I wasn't about to share my ignorance by asking, so I just nodded my head and agreed. And that is just one of the things I learned about girls/women from the guys who hung out on the corner in my neighborhood.

I Feel Your Pain And I Share My Own

In a month I am going to reach the one year anniversary of my blogging experience. Happy early bloggiversary to me. As I sit here and consider what I have learned and what I have experienced I have few words that are sufficient to express my thoughts in a way that is clear and truly descriptive. There are times when words fail me and all I can do is shrug my shoulders. But you cannot see the shrug nor the quizzical look upon my face. So many of the blogs I have read deal with raw human emotion, pain that is indescribable. Sometimes I can feel it emanating from the page as if I am some kind of codependent. It is a virtual howl and I wonder if the wave that smacks me has completely engulfed the writer. And then again I wonder if my reaction is solely based upon my own experience, if my own background is the source. I am not always sure. On April 17th 2004 my parents left for New Jersey to attend to the birth of their of fourth grandchild. And on April 28th my father was taken to

Separation of Church and State- Fuzzy Logic

I just finished reading an article about the Odessa, Texas schoolboard decision to introduce a bible class into the public school. Barring any hurdles, the class should be added to the curriculum in fall 2006 and taught as a history or literature course. The school board still must develop a curriculum, which board member Floy Hinson said should be open for public review. The board had heard a presentation in March from Mike Johnson, a representative of the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, who said that coursework designed by that organization is not about proselytizing or preaching. But People for the American Way and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized the council, saying its materials promote religion. Johnson said students in the elective class would learn such things as the geography of the Middle East and the influence of the Bible on history and culture. "How can students und

My Daughter

This past weekend my daughter officially became nine months old. She has now been out of the womb as long as she was in it. Compared to my son I haven't written about her all that much. In part that has been due to her age. For a long time there wasn't much to say about her other than normal baby development stuff. But for a while now she has really been making tremendous strides in showing her personality and interacting with the world around her. Long time friends of mine have said for years that they couldn't wait to see what happened if I had a daughter. They giggled and laughed about it, come to think of it most of the people who made such comments are female. What is it that they think they see. I suspect that it is case of Daddy's girl and I must confess that I can see that happening. When I walk into the room she gives me a huge smile and rocks back and forth to get my attention. She loves to sit in my lap and pull on my nose, or ears or mouth. She studi

Hybrid Animals- Liger, Zorses and More

I read an interesting article on ABC today. It was about hybrid animals . I have provided an excerpt here for your review. April 21, 2005 — When it comes to the birds and the bees, sometimes Mother Nature slips some surprises. Species don't always stick to their own kind when getting down to business. The results are often compromised offspring who can't reproduce, but occasionally can. And when they do, some biologists worry they can pose a threat to existing species. Take Kekaimalu, the hybrid offspring of a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin who lives at Sea Life Park in Hawaii. Last week, park officials announced that the "wholphin" gave birth to a healthy female calf. It was the third birth for the 19-year-old wholphin and a combination of Kekaimalu's mixed genes and those of a male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Are combinations like wholphins natural? Some biologists argue that anything that's possible in nature is natural and

Feedback From The Readers

Dear Jack, I really enjoy your posts about your life with your children, mostly because I have children and have no life. How do you do it? Regards, Mike Dear Mike, Balance, tenacity and dumb luck. Heck, I do not know how I do anything, I just do it. Dear Jack, I am getting married soon and was very interested in reading your post about sex and children. My girlfriends and I often speak about this because we do not want to be the wife that doesn't put out anymore. Most women do not want to admit to this, but it is a known fact. Keep posting. Regards, Kathy Dear Kathy, You are going to make some man very happy and I suspect some women very angry, but what do I know, I am just a 30 something dad from Los Angeles. Jack, I have asked you numerous times to blogroll me and all you do is belittle me in your posts. What kind of man are you? Screw you, Ted Dear Ted, You are an attention whore who would be better off diddling the post man or haunting a house. How mu

Herd of Buffalo Disrupts Traffic in Md.

"PIKESVILLE, Md. - A herd of buffalo somehow got loose and wandered around an upscale neighborhood Tuesday, disrupting traffic and alarming homeowners before officers managed to corral them in a tennis court. More than a dozen police cars and a police helicopter were used to herd the roughly 10 beasts, authorities said. "Somehow they figured it out; I've got to give a lot of credit to the creativity of our officers," police spokesman Shawn Vinson said. Authorities have identified the owner of the buffalo but did not release the person's name immediately." Now there is something that you do not see every day.

If You Wanted To Embarrass Yourself

If You Wanted To Embarrass Yourself you could roll down your car window and sing Roxanne along with The Police being especially careful to hit the high notes with Sting in your best falsetto voice. You could even act it out and then suddenly notice the woman in the car next to you laughing hysterically. I don't know anything about this, I am just saying that you could do this, if you wanted to. Not that you would want to do it, but if you did and it did well then....

Shomer Negiah- Loses to Alcohol and Hormones

I am not a big proponent of being Shomer Negiah for a whole variety of reasons. I came across this story on YNet and thought that I'd give it a little play here. "PETACH TIKVA - Regulars at a Tel Aviv-area pub catering to the ultra-Orthodox community say it enables religious youngsters to experiment with a more liberal, wanton lifestyle. The popular hangout, Meidale, offers revelers a strictly kosher menu, but also serves as a meeting place where ultra-Orthodox males and females can mix freely and discover the joys of sex. The pub makes ultra-Orthodox youngsters feel at home and gives them an opportunity to mingle with a variety of people, says “Zvi” (not his real name.) None of the pub’s attendees would permit themselves to be identified by their names. "It's a place any haredi (ultra-Orthodox) can feel comfortable at," he says. "We don't feel alienated here." Sex in the bathrooms One of the pub's main attractions for Zvi

Blogrolling Stuff

I have written about blogrolling on a number of different occasions, but in the past each time was really because of one other blogger who wrote a number of different emails to let me know that he was going to unblogroll me. I found the whole exchange to be kind of funny. They were really bent out of shape because I hadn't reciprocated by blogrolling them. I had more or less forgotten about the situation until this weekend when I received a new email from someone else who said that they were going to unblogroll me for the same reason, I hadn't reciprocated. As I mentioned in my reply I hadn't the foggiest idea that they had blogrolled me so the news that they were intent on pulling me out was the first time I had heard about it. I also asked them what the purpose of their blogroll was. Is it just a tool to try and gain readers or is it a way to keep track of the bloggers you really like to read. In my case I use it to follow blogs that I like to read, but it is not

British Boycott of Israeli Educators

The Guardian is reporting that the vote regarding the academic boycott we wrote about last week has been successful. There are a number of different issues at work here that are of concern. One of them is the attempt by the organizers of the vote to railroad this through by the timing of it so close to the Passover holiday, tied into that is the lack of debate on the topic and the third is the question of free speech. Here is a short excerpt from the story. "The Association of University Teachers today voted to boycott two Israeli universities over their failure to speak out against their government. Delegates at a conference in Eastbourne voted, against the wishes of the executive, for an immediate boycott of Haifa University, which they accuse of restricting the academic freedom of staff members who are critical of the government, and of Bar Ilans University, which has a college in the disputed settlement Ariel. The boycott, which is now official union policy, will

It is a race but you cannot See the Finish Line

In the past I have written several times about my grandparents. I am one of the lucky people who has had them around for my entire life. As of May 9, I will be 36 years-old and my grandparents will all be 91. Ninety-one years-old. It just blows my mind. They were born during World War I and lived through the Depression, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, The Moon Landing, Watergate, the rise and fall of communism, 911, two Gulf Wars and a boatload more. Tonight at our seder I paid very close attention to all three of them. I watched and listened to everything they said and did because right now it feels like we are in a race that we know will end but we cannot see the finish line. My grandmother is not doing real well. She has had a number of issues with her heart and the cardiologist has said that she expects that it will give out before the rest of her does. Sooner or later her card will be pulled and it will be time to say goodbye. But life is funny in that you cannot really plan on too man

Boycotting Israel- Might want to Think Twice

I thought that Gail linked to an interesting article regarding a proposal by some British academics to boycott Israel. When I have some more time I may provide more of my own comments. Suffice it to say that the driving force behind the boycott has missed the boat completely in her reasoning and assessment of why it is necessary. The piece below spends some time discussing what you might have to give up if you are interested in a boycott. Here it is: " Pay attention, British professors. If you support the boycott of Israel proposed by some of your fellow academics -- and if you are to remain intellectually honest -- prepare for a radical lifestyle change. Firstly, unplug your computers. Good. Now switch off your interactive digital television sets. Well done. And now throw away your mobile phones. Excellent. You see, Professors, these machines are not only the engine of the globalized, capitalist world but they also depend on technologies that have been produced by Isra


Pesach is almost here. It is a holiday that has a lot of meaning for me. It is filled with memories of friends and family, some who are no longer with us and some who are. It is a time for cleaning the house and taking stock of where things are at. I can remember my great-grandather reading from the Haggadah and discussing the bitter herbs, only he always pronounced the h so it would sound like he was talking about my cousins, who were conveniently named Herb. I remember my great-grandmother telling my sister and I that she was shikkered (drunk) when we knew that she was drinking grape juice. I can remember seders that lasted for what felt like weeks and the seders that grew shorter as my grandparents grew older. Now there is a new generation at the table. I wonder what memories they will come to have. Chag sameach to you all.

Another Moment In Time

Last weekend we took our children to Disney's California Adventure . It was a lot of fun for many different reasons, primarily the joy of watching our children take it all in. One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about being a father is watching my children grow and develop. My son is just about 4.5 and my daughter is 9 months old, so they are in two very different places. However they were both old enough to show their excitement at being there and interest in many of the things we saw. As we walked through the park I watched both of their faces very closely just to try and soak it all up as they absorbed being transported into a new world. This was very different for them and they are not in a place or time in which magic can be explained. For now the Great Oz is a real wizard and they are not trying to pull off the curtains that conceal him. It was a bit surreal to me to be one of the parents that I used to mock when I was younger. I was the guy carrying the back

The Pope and The Jews- An Old Joke

The Pope and the Jew Several centuries ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave the Vatican. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would leave. The Jews realized that they had no choice. So they picked an elderly aged man named Moishe to represent them. Rabbi Moishe's Latin wasn't very good - in fact, he knew very little--but he was a man of great faith and well respected in the Jewish community. The pope agreed. What could be easier than a silent debate? The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a

What Does G-d Look Like

I have written about prayer and G-d on a number of occasions. Most recently I wrote a little about it last night because it is something that my son has been asking me about. Typically I do not read my posts. Once I have posted them I leave them alone and try to forget about them. Last night just before my son fell asleep he asked me if I could describe what G-d looks like. It is an excellent question and I am really trying to remember if I spent any time learning anything that gave me any sort of handle on this. I just can't recall if there was such a time. I cannot think of the Classical Judaic Response to this question. If you asked me what the Christian G-d looks like I would mention Jesus, although I don't think that if such a man existed that he would look so European. I rather imagine that he would be a little bit more semitic in appearance. So I have been mulling over what images I have in my head and what kind of response I want to give. I would have

War Has Been Declared

It is official, I have declared war on the enemy. Fortunately at the Shack there are no Bipartisan politics, no filibusters or PACs to contend with. No lobbyists sully my floors, I run a totalitarian regime in which I am lord and master. The master of the Shack has cast his gaze upon my adversary and found them lacking in couth, courtesy, honor, dignity, and most unfortunately they have no sense of humor. They find the Marx Brothers boring and the Three Stooges to be boorish. They refer to slapstick as being the province of little minds and little people. And so the call to arms has gone out and it will be answered by all of good faith and true spirit. We fight for justice and we intend to plow salt into the land of the evil denizens. They will not ever try our patience this way again because we are going to remove their tiny brains from their bodies and pick our teeth with their bones. Our cause is just and our time is now and most importantly in the name of all that is good and

Prayer- A Conversation With G-d

I broke open a bottle of Charles Shaw Chardonnay this evening. I don't drink very often so it doesn't take much to give me a bit of a buzz and this evening was no exception. I am feeling pretty good and playing around with calling American Airlines and buying a ticket for the first place I think of, probably Maui. Sometimes the manchild inside of me goes to war, there is a struggle to be who I am and to become who I want to be. This probably sounds somewhat contradictory and or confusing and it is, but that is me, confusing. The whirlwind you feel is me passing by. My children are asleep in the other room and I am sitting here wondering how it all happened so fast, how did these changes occur overnight. On May 9 I am going to be 36. It is not old, not old at all but somehow it seems a little strange that I am a thirty-something that is that much closer to 40. Not that I really mind, life is better than death and I have buried too many people. I know far too many people wh

You Never Know What Will be of Interest

One of the things that I find so interesting about blogging is that you never really know what people are going to find to be of interest. You can make some accurate guesses, but sometimes they miss. I had thought my post about the music of Ugandan Jews would get more of a response than it did, at least from the Jewish readers. But few people appear to have read it. I am not complaining, just find it to be interesting.

Is it Just Poor Manners

In the time since my prior posts on the the pope I have received a number of comments and several messages regarding Benedict and what he might do and why I should be more concerned about him. I want to make clear that my position as a Jewish man is this. I have not forgotten 2000 years 0f persecution and antisemitic acts. I am well aware of the roll that the church has played and I had thought that I had made this clear in my prior posts. For those few of you who know me in person you are aware that I am not a diplomat. I have little to no compunction to telling you what I think in terms that are designed to make your toes curl and your skin turn black. So it goes a little against the grain to be more politic in my comments. However, I consider myself to be a realist and here is what I know to be fact. You attract more flies with honey and to begin a relationship with an attack is not a good way to open a dialogue. This is why I want to give Benny some time to speak his mind and