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Showing posts from July, 2005


Here is the newest addition to Fragments of Fiction . “He is dead.” Three words. That is all they had for her. “He is dead.” Flat, unemotional and yet they still echoed inside my head. She didn’t cry. She didn’t scream and She didn’t flinch. She didn’t do anything. Several years ago a man was convicted of murdering his wife. The jury foreman said that they had found the defendant to be lacking in remorse and that he had not acted like a man who had just lost his wife should. The foreman said that it was this inconsistency in the defendant’s behavior that had really sealed his fate and that if he had shown some emotion and acted more like a human being they might have voted differently. That bothered her because she knew from experience that they could not know how to act, would not know what a normal response would be because there was no normal response to death, especially something that was sudden or unexpected. What you see on television or in the mo

At Peace with Myself

This is a topic that I think about...frequently. Perhaps too frequently. For the sake of discussion let's define this as being my quest to find inner peace and happiness with myself and let's add that I have had it, lost it, had it and lost it. What I am talking about is the feeling of calm, of being whole, of being one with yourself in all areas of life. It is the feeling you have when you are happy with who you are, what you do, what you look like, feel like etc. It is being able to go to sleep feeling fulfilled. I know what it is. I have been to that place. I have had moments in time in which I was happy with everything and all was right in the world and I have been in places where I felt as if I could not be any farther away from it. The secret to this zen like state is not something I can share because it is different for all of us. I have always hated answers like that but in this case it really is true. You cannot tell me how to live because you don't know wh

You Can Learn From Anyone

Rav Fleischmann's post You Talkin To Me reminded me of a very valuable lesson that I learned a number of years ago. The majority of my friends have advanced degrees, they are doctors/lawyers and there are even a couple of rocket scientists in the mix. I graduated from college with a BA in Journalism a minor in political science and am two classes short of a second BA in Speech Communication. So within my group I am among those with less education although I can guarantee that I read more than most of them. But the one thing that I really learned early on is that I am an education snob. It was hard for me not to look down at people who could have gotten a college education but chose not to. Relatively early in my professional career I learned that a college education was not truly indicative of a person's ability to make money nor was it always indicative of their intelligence or willingness to learn. I also learned that within the working world the best way to get

If I Could Play An Instrument

If I Could Play An Instrument I would want to be able to play the following: Harmonica Guitar Trombone Saxophone Bugel Maybe I should include all of the horns in one single item. Piano Violin Drums Ok, so I realize that I have included a lot of different instruments, but they all attract me in different ways. I think that it would just be cool to be able to play them in large part because it is such a good way to express yourself. Beyond that I see each one of these instruments as being a tool that can be used to specialize in specific types of music, although clearly some can be used across the entire spectrum.

Letters to the Editor

Deer Jack, I haf been reeding you for a long time now. Keep up the good werk. -Adolf Ok, I am confused/amused by this. What the hell is this and could you be real. I don't think so. Jack, Did you go to UCLA and if so did you take an astronomy class there? You look familiar. I think that I might know you. Regards, Jonathan Wooden Actually if you are John Wooden you have probably seen me at VIPs in Tarzana at your morning breakfast and you most assuredly have seen me but that would be more than 25 years ago when you used to jog by my bus stop. As for my time at UCLA you might have found me wandering around Ackerman or playing ball at the Wooden Center. Jack, what is your relationship to the Shmata Queen and who is she? -Max Hi Max, The Shmata Queen can be found in her own corner of cyberspace . She is my wife, friend, concubine and mystery woman. Or maybe she is just one of my 17 sisters. Aside from a mistaken sojourn in cleveland she is a pretty decent

Fragments of Fiction- It is New

Fragments of Fiction is coming along. I have added another little bit to it. Slowly but surely the story is moving along, developing, growing and evolving. It still has a tremendous road to go down. There is an awful lot of work that needs to be put into this, but I feel good about it, not great, but good. For those of you who are following along I am making tweaks and adjustments to the entire story but I have not marked each one of them. It is too time consuming and frankly I don't think that anyone is really interested in reading that I changed a word here, added a sentence there. Anyway I am trying to make an effort to do something each day because I don't want to lose momentum. So here is a rough addition to the story. You should expect to see some changes in this shortly. The monkey was a little man, both physically and literally. He had received his moniker in high school. It had come after he had been beaten silly for the third time by a boy who didn’t appreciate th

Fox Renews Simple Life With Hilton, Richie

Now I watch my share of mindless television but these girls take the cake. I have to admit that I find them to be a bit embarrassing. I don't find them to be attractive or interesting and call me jealous but it irks me that a couple of spoiled brats are having money thrown at them so that we laugh at their antics. Hope that they like life in the monkey cage.

New Super Magnet Weighs More Than 15 Tons

When I saw this story I was reminded of a conversation I had with a guy in my chemistry class in high school. He had some trouble with the girls and couldn't figure out why he kept striking out. He was a nice fellow but really a little out there, a bit of a wingnut. I suspect that if he could cranked his behavior back a notch he would not have had any trouble getting a date. Anyway at that time he had one major ambition in life and that was to be an inventor like Thomas Edison. He came up with all sorts of ideas for inventions but the one that this story reminded me of was what he called the "Clothing Magnet." The idea was that you could aim it at a person you thought was attractive, turn it on and voila, they would be naked. I haven't seen him since 1986 but I suspect that he never gave up the idea. I also suspect that had he been successful I would have already heard about such a device. As a sidenote to this story his favorite movie was Real Genius fo

Cat Lovers and Signs of Intelligence

At the beginning of July I posted about the inanity of blogging about cats and the overwhelming number of cat pictures online. Today I received more confirmation that there is something wrong with these people as someone made the following comment: At 7:17 AM , Anonymous said... "Yeah, you're a retard if you don't like cats. I don't like you; that'll be my first entry in my new blog." As I said in the post, anonymous you are a real pussy. ;) But please do let me know when you start a blog and I will be happy to supply you with content.

Faking it At Work

I just finished reading an interesting article on ABC: Silicon Insider: Faking It, CEO Style "So, am I then claiming that CEOs aren't faking it when they claim to be leading their companies? On the contrary, my experience tells me that they are faking it all the time . And that it is a good thing that they do — at least for the rest of us. Masking Sheer Terror Being around CEOs a lot, I get the chance to see them off the job, away from the public eye, and, occasionally, even when they take off their masks. And I can tell you that most of them are utterly terrified. They know fully well that the decisions they make put at risk the careers and lives of thousands of their employees — and that most of the time they will have to make those decisions based on incomplete, even false, information, in an unpredictable marketplace, against ruthless competitors. Many of them don't feel smart enough for the job, most of them don't feel experienced enough, and all

What A Bomb Does To You

As usual Gail has done an excellent job of producing some very interesting posts. In one she offers photos of an unexploded bomb and a photo of an X-Ray of an Israeli bomb victim, showing the front view of a pelvis imbedded with nails and metal fragments. I have reproduced them here as well for your review. It is rather frightening to look at the one and then to see the aftermath. The X-Ray makes it look rather sterile. There is no blood or gore, no screaming and no dead or maimed to add to the image. I am not trying to sensationalize this, but I think that it is necessary to really think about it because there are people who do not want to accept the sad reality of our current state of affairs. This is not a time to get crazy pointing fingers at those that disagree with our political perspectives but a time in which to rally together and work together on finding solutions. That being said I think that it is appropriate to refer to an earlier post called What Do the Terrorists

NASA: Discovery Escaped Serious Damage

Am I the only one who is more than irritated about this. SPACE CENTER, Houston - Discovery seems to have been spared serious damage from the foam shrapnel that flew off the fuel tank during liftoff in an eerie repeat of the problem that doomed Columbia and appears in good shape for a safe return in just over a week, NASA said Thursday. "Some good news is, it looks like all of the foam loss that we had from the tank did not hit the orbiter," flight operations manager John Shannon said a day after future shuttle flights were grounded because of the problem. Shannon noted that all initial reports indicate "it looks extremely good and we don't have anything to worry about on Discovery." But he cautioned that it will be another three days before the space agency can conclusively give the shuttle a clean bill of health. Earlier in the morning, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said the space agency may never be able to prevent threatening chunks of ins

The Shmata Queen & The Beach

The Shmata Queen and I have an ongoing debate about whether she grew up near The beach. The premise is based upon the misguided belief that a Great Lake constitutes a beach. Technically I suppose that you could try and make the case that a lake offers a beach. beach ( bēch ) n. The shore of a body of water, especially when sandy or pebbly. The sand or pebbles on a shore. The zone above the water line at a shore of a body of water, marked by an accumulation of sand, stone, or gravel that has been deposited by the tide or waves. I'd disagree with this and say that you can claim waterfront property, but a real beach needs the ocean. A real beach has sand that is created by the pounding of the Saltwater waves and not those of a sinking ship ( Edmund Fitzgerald) Please note that all maritime questions can be directed to our resident sailor David. You can find him at Treppenwitz . That concludes this less than serious post. Hog farmers, sailors, math geeks, art majors

Emergency Divorce

I don't blame her. Heaven forbid that I am ever placed any situation remotely close to this. WICHITA, Kansas (AP) -- A judge waived the usual 60-day waiting period and granted an immediate divorce Tuesday to the wife of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader, agreeing that her mental health was in danger. Rader didn't contest the filing or appear for the hearing. He signed over the couple's property and all his retirement benefits to Paula Rader, who had been married to him for 34 years. In a courtroom confession last month, Dennis Rader said that sexual fantasies had driven him to kill 10 people in the Wichita area between 1974 and 1991. As BTK -- his own moniker for "Bind, Torture, Kill" -- he taunted media and police in communications that eventually led to his arrest. His sentencing is set for August 17. Paula Rader said in her divorce petition that her mental and physical condition has been adversely affected by the marriage. She also said that she and her

Polite Conversation- Things You Don't Discuss

One of things that many of us are taught is that there are certain subjects that you should not discuss with your friends and coworkers and others who are not part of a select group. There are a few things about polite conversation that I find interesting. There are cultural issues at play here in which you can see that in some cultures it is considered rude to ask someone how much they make or discuss politics with them. In addition to this there are boundary issues in which the famous line " too much information" all too frequently becomes appropriate. For the heck of it let us use an example of each: 1) Hi Jack, how much do you make? How much did you pay for your house? How can you support your family on one income? 2) Hi Jack. My wife and I had sex last night and I couldn't believe how loudly I made her scream. Want to know why? I had really bad gas. For those of you who are wondering, these questions were posed to me at the gym by a man who I kn

Am I The Father I Ought To Be

This is a question I ask myself. Am I the father I ought to be. Do I give my children all that I can. Most of the time I feel pretty good about it, but there are moments where I feel like I am falling short of the mark. Sometimes I look at myself and I wonder how my father did it. I only have two children and he had four. For years he took care of all of us and he did it with an exceptional work ethic. Do I work as hard for my family as he did for us/ Sometimes I wonder. Am I giving myself enough credit. Am I giving him too much credit. Sometimes I wonder. My gut tells me that if you do not worry about this, if you do not spend a few minutes of your life worried about how you are doing then there is a big problem. It doesn't matter if you are a billionaire or poor, there are some things that money cannot buy. And there are times when you try to do the right thing and somehow you end up feeling badly about it. Fortunately there haven't been too many of th

What Do The Terrorists Want

Daniel Pipes has another good piece regarding the key question of what do the terrorists want. "In nearly all cases, the jihadi terrorists have a patently self-evident ambition: to establish a world dominated by Muslims, Islam, and Islamic law, the Shari'a. Or, again to cite the Daily Telegraph , their "real project is the extension of the Islamic territory across the globe, and the establishment of a worldwide ‘caliphate' founded on Shari'a law." Terrorists openly declare this goal. The Islamists who assassinated Anwar el-Sadat in 1981 decorated their holding cages with banners proclaiming the "caliphate or death." A biography of one of the most influential Islamist thinkers of recent times and an influence on Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam declares that his life "revolved around a single goal, namely the establishment of Allah's Rule on earth" and restoring the caliphate. Bin Laden himself spoke of ensuring that "the

Giving Hitler Hell

Again I have to thank Gail for this incredible story . It is rather long so I will just post a couple of selections for your review. "Here, I brought it with me." Weiss fishes through his briefcase, which is definitely not fake leather. Everyone dresses well at EMP's posh Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters, but only the chairman -- a former prime minister of Pakistan and World Bank senior vice president -- is nattier than Weiss. "There," says Weiss, handing me an old sheaf of papers. They are 1946 photostats. What is startling is the simplicity of the documents. With all the pageantry that surrounded the Third Reich, these humble pages don't even contain an official seal. Printed on plain white typing paper of the sort found lying around any office, they have an almost suspect humility about them. But they are real, authenticated by the FBI in early 1946, according to America's Secret Army. Mein privates Testament, reads the underlined he

Has 'Old Europe' Lost Its Will

Gail tipped me off to this article. I think that there is some food for thought in it. As customary here are a few selections and comments on Shoring Up the Western Front: "Nov. 9, 1989, and Sept. 11, 2001, each changed the modern world. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of 75 years of communism, and the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks the beginning of what may be a similar period of global Islamic terrorism. But not all of Western civilization wants to fight this not so cold war. Turkey, fearing attacks by Muslim insurgents, ended its anti-terrorism efforts in 2003. Spain followed suit after the 2004 Madrid bombings. Then Hungary and the Netherlands also all but capitulated, even without any dramatic, world-attention grabbing, attacks on their soil. Now Italy says it will withdraw its forces from Iraq by year end. Old Europe may be falling apart before our eyes. This is suggested by the opposition of Western Europeans to the American military action in Ira

The Blog Goes Round and Round

And now for this evenings collection of random thoughts about the world and my experiences. Received this anonymous comment on this post: "i HAD THE FIRST JEWISH RAP RECORD IN 1979. TAKE MY RAP PLEASE BY STEVE GORDON AND THE KOSHER FIVE" Yasher koach. Who are the Kosher Five and What happened to them? Maybe I should work them into my story, Fragments of Fiction . Speaking of that I have been listening to Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's Hurt. It is so intense. Here is a link to the video and the lyrics. "I hurt myself today to see if I still feel I focus on the pain the only thing that's real the needle tears a hole the old familiar sting try to kill it all away but I remember everything what have I become? my sweetest friend everyone I know goes away in the end and you could have it all my empire of dirt I will let you down I will make you hurt I wear this crown of thorns upon my liar's chair full of broken thoughts I cannot repair beneath the stain

Breathe Like a Fish

Here is another cool idea that I'd like to try out. It has to do with an Israeli inventor who has developed a system that may allow people to breathe underwater without tanks. " There are a number of limitations to the existing compressed air tank underwater breathing method. The first is the amount of time a diver can stay underwater, which is the result of the tank capacity. Another limitation is the dependence on oxygen refueling facilities near the diving site which are costly to operate and are used to compress the gas into the tanks which might be dangerous if not handled properly. The final problem has to do with the actual use of air tanks underwater. When these tanks are in use they empty out and change the balance of the diver in the water. Engineers have tried to overcome these limitations for many years now. Nuclear submarines and the international space station use systems that generate Oxygen from water by performing 'Electrolysis', which is electri

Religion and Politics

Ok, on my obsessive tour of the blogosphere I came across this pos t at Kerckhoff Coffeehouse where Doctor Bean and company maintain their abode. BTW, there are those people out there who are under the mistaken impression that the picture in the profile is the esteemed doctor, it is not. And again on a side note I enjoyed my time at UCLA much more because of Kerckhoff. But the real point of this post is to comment on the post I linked to and more specifically is to comment on this: 'By the way, Mike, good for you for trying to inject some religious spirit into politics. But remember, when it comes to issues you mention such as abortion and gay marriage, you're gonna have to get your buddies to come up with a better argument than "religion doesn't belong in politics." I disagree with that. If you look at the First Amendment you can see the beginning of the separation of church and state. It is a necessary and very important component of the fabric of soc

Space Shuttle Uses Ancient Technology

I found this story in the New York Times to be very interesting. I won't post it in its entirety but will include a couple of excerpts. High Tech in the 70's, Shuttles Feel Their Age "Until just a few years ago, some of the computers used in testing the shuttle's boosters still contained Intel 8086 microprocessors, which are from the family that powered the first I.B.M. personal computers in the early 1980's. That microprocessor has 29,000 transistors and operates at a speed of 10 million cycles per second. Today's microprocessors tend to have 55 million transistors and run at a speed of 3.4 billion cycles per second. The sensor system is far from the only shuttle component with potential problems. Age-related complaints abound. Workers have sweated over the shuttle's main engines, which endure some of the most pronounced stress of any component. Documents for the Discovery's flight readiness review in June showed that engineers had f

Random Searches- DovBear You Went Over the Deep End

From a cave located somewhere on the East Coast DovBear has launched a ran t about the decision to allow the NYPD to conduct random searches of the people who wish to ride the subway. Paul and Miriam have also issued their own responses to DB. You can find them here and here . Let me preface this by saying that I do not like this at all. I agree that we are dancing on raindrops here and that there is potential for abuse but let us take a look at what the plan calls for: NEW YORK (AP) — Police will begin random searches of bags and packages carried by people entering city subways, officials announced Thursday after a new series of bomb attacks in London. Passengers carrying bags will be selected at random before they pass through turnstiles, and those who refuse the police request won’t be allowed to ride, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. He said officers posted at subway entrances would not engage in racial profiling, and that passengers are free to “turn around and leave

You Should Be a Rabbi Continued

This past December I wrote a post I called You Should Be a Rabbi . Read it , you'll like it . You'll laugh, you'll cry and then you'll wonder why you wasted the five minutes it took to get through it. I have a habit of picking on various bloggers and riffing off of things that they have said. For those of you who have been the subject take it as a compliment you managed to catch my eye. Doesn't that sound like one of those self important proclamations or some kind of back handed compliment. Have I really that much chutzpah that I think I can make these kind of remarks. Oy. Anyway here is what caught my eye this week: "Most of my best friend are rabbis. Recently one of these friends surprised me by sharing that he didn't want to be considered a rabbi anymore. I'm not sure you can do that. And either is he. Another friend of mine's father is a rabbi, and has disowned the title. His son always introduces his father as Rabbi X, but his father al