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Showing posts from September, 2005

Southern Baptists Offensive & I Mean Offensive

CNN is just one of a number of news outlets that is carrying a story about yet another problem that the Southern Baptists are creating with Jews. The root of the problem lies in the arrogant and misguided belief that they have the sole line to G-d and that they are tasked with spreading the word. In the latest outbreak they have decided that the best way to attack us is by trying to use Jews who have converted as their tools. "Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said the effort is offensive because the Southern Baptists are using Jews who have converted to Christianity "to go after other Jews." "If people convert, that's their individual business," Foxman said. "But don't use them as a tool to convert other people." At the heart of the ADL's complaint is a decision by the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee to ask its missionary boards to study the idea of recognizing the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship a

Fire In The Sky- Ash is Raining Down

There is Fire In The Sky- Ash is Raining Down upon me andI have been thinking about my friends over at Toner Mishap . If I am not mistaken they are close to the fire. So boys here are my best wishes that you and yours are kept safe. Be well.

Blogrolling The Day Away

Life here at the shack has been anything but dull, if anything it has been far too busy. I don't like feeling this busy because I don't feel like I am being productive. I get a lot of things done, but too many of them feel like they are just getting done and not getting done well. Lately I have been trying to find some new blogs to read. It is not that the old ones have gotten dull, ok a few have. Some of you are not holding my attention the way that you used to but I expect that the same could be said about me. Anyway I find blogrolls to be interesting. It is somewhat similar to going to a person's home and inspecting their bookcase, movies and CDs. I am always curious to see what they have found because every now and then I find some real gems.

The mehitza- A Deterrent to Assimilation

I just finished reading an article in The Jerusalem Post that had me shaking my head. It is called The mehitza that made waves in New Orleans and it suggests that the presence of a mehitza is a strong deterrent to assimilation. I strongly disagree with much of what was written in it. Let me share a couple sections. The opening of this opinion piece relates the story of a lawsuit in New Orleans that was brought when a shul removed the mehitza and implemented mixed seating. "The New Orleans decision inspired many Orthodox Jews to go to court to stem the floodtide of assimilation, which often began with the elimination of the mehitza. Baruch Litvin, who galvanized American Jews to fight to maintain the mehitza, recorded his success in his 550-page tome Sanctity of the Synagogue . When his Orthodox shul instituted mixed seating, he obtained a 1959 ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court that returned the mehitza to the synagogue. THE MEHITZA brouhaha had wider significance. Ju

Letter to Palestinians

Robert Avrech deserves credit for tipping me off to Letter to Palestinians which was written by Yossi Klein Halevi. He is the author of a number of books. One of my favorites is called " At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for Hope With Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land" In some ways I found his Letter to Palestinians to be quite sad because the hope and optimism I found in some of his earlier writings appears to be gone. I don't fault him or blame him for that and I suppose that the sadness I feel stems from my own evolution regarding hope for peace. It is a long letter so I am going to quote just a few sections but highly recommend that you read it in its entirety. "Once, before the Terror War, a time that seems now to belong not just technically but substantively to another millennium, I undertook a one-man pilgrimage into your mosques and churches, seeking to know you in your intimate spiritual moments. I went as a believing Jew,

Jack Is Confronted

Giant Squid Photos

I came across this National Geographic Story and found it be very interesting. The longest squid on record was 59 feet. "Like something straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an enormous tentacled creature looms out of the inky blackness of the deep Pacific waters. But this isn't science fiction. A set of extraordinary images captured by Japanese scientists marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid (Architeuthis) in the wild. The animal—which measures roughly 25 feet (8 meters) long—was photographed 2,950 feet (900 meters) beneath the North Pacific Ocean. Japanese scientists attracted the squid toward cameras attached to a baited fishing line. The scientists say they snapped more than 500 images of the massive cephalopod before it broke free after snagging itself on a hook. They also recovered one of the giant squid's two longest tent

A Singing Fool

I stumbled onto Singing Fool earlier today and decided to spend some time this evening screwing around. I found out that you can create your own video shows. So just for the hell of it I put this one together . I think that it is fair, not great but not all that bad for something that was done quickly. If you want to get a sense of my taste in music this is a the barest indication of what I like. I have diverse taste in music and love so many different styles and artists, rock, country, rap, classical. Here is a quick look at some of what I have been listening to this evening. Baby, Now That I've Found You Alison Krauss & Union Station Time to Say Goodbye Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman Why Annie Lennox Something The Beatles Whiskey Lullaby Brad Paisley Somebody's Crying Chris Isaak May It Be Enya I Can Love You Like That John Michael Montgomery Picture Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

Is Islam Influencing Your Life?

Daniel Pipes has an interesting opinion piece in which he discusses some of the things that have happened throughout the world as a result of the influence of Muslims. The article focuses on the recent decision in Canada to outlaw faith based arbitration which is a topic that was covered by Q last week in this post . This was also touched upon by Miriam in two separate posts here and here . I find this all troubling for a variety of reasons. Just for the heck of it let's start with Pipes and take a look at what he said. The piece begins by outlining what Canada's 1991 Arbitration act offered. "Called the Arbitration Act , it stipulates that if two parties agree to engage a commercial, religious, or other arbitrator to settle a civil dispute, the provincial authorities will then enforce the verdict, so long as it is in accord with Canadian law. "People can use any arbitrator they want and can use a religious framework if it is mutually acceptable," notes Bre

Minnie The Moocher- Cab Calloway

I recently introduced my children to Cab Calloway's rendition of Minnie The Moocher . It is one of my favorite songs and a heck of a lot of fun to act out with them. You can find another version over here . Of course one of the more famous renditions in recent memory is the one he performed in The Blues Brothers . Tags: Entertainment ,

Who Is The Shmata Queen

Dear Readers, Many of you have written me to ask about The Shmata Queen . It seems that there is a desire to get to know more about this lovely lady who was bringing up two very lovely girls of her own until she one day met this fellow and they knew that it was much more than a hunch. The two of them must get together and form a......... Aw the hell with it, I am tired of channeling the Bradys. Don't know about you, but I was sad to see that Don Adams died. I loved watching Get Smart. I have always wanted a shoe phone and my own cone of silence. But I digress, back to The Shmata Queen . She is a lovely lass and I have a favor to ask. I need each and every one of you to go to her blog and post a short hello on the top entry. Let's see how many comments we can generate.

His Dying Wish

This story was hard to read, but it is reassuring to see things like this. It is a short tale of the dying wish of 10-year-old Montana Mazurkiewicz and his love of Notre Dame football. Charlie Weis is the head coach for Notre Dame. He met with Montana last week. "The Notre Dame coach met last week with Montana, who had been told by doctors weeks earlier that there was nothing more they could do to stop the spread of his inoperable brain tumor. "He was a big Notre Dame fan in general, but football especially," said his mother, Cathy Mazurkiewicz. Weis showed up at the Mazurkiewicz home in Mishawaka, just east of South Bend, and talked with Montana about his tumor and about Weis' 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, who has global development delay, a rare disorder similar to autism. He told Montana about some pranks he played on Joe Montana -- whom Montana was named after -- while they were roommates at Notre Dame. "I gave him a chance to hamme

Altruistic Behavior and Public Service

Is it just me or are there others who wish that more people would decide to go into public service because of a feeling of altruism. al·tru·ism ( ăl ' trū-ĭz ' əm ) n. Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness. Zoology. Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental to the individual but contributes to the survival of the species. Really, I know that it sounds naive but I cannot help but wish that I saw more examples of altruism and less of the networking. This article in Time Magazine just irritates me. I ask that some of you set aside your partisan politics as you read the following. "In presidential politics, the victor always gets the spoils, and chief among them is the vast warren of offices that make up the federal bureaucracy. Historically, the U.S. public has never paid much attention to the people the President chooses to sit behind those thousands of desks. A benign cronyism is more or less presumed, with old friends and big don

A Test of Wills Between Father & Son

Among family and friends I am renown for being stubborn. It was once referred to as being legendary and I admit that there is a lot of truth to that. I have been known to fight to the death over things, some quite silly and trivial. Fortunately as I have grown older this has diminished and I find fewer and fewer moments in which I am engaged in such foolishness. So it comes as no surprise to me that my children have this trait. To quote one grandfather they know their minds and to quote another you cannot screw an old head on young shoulders. I am working hard to help them learn when it is appropriate to maintain a stand when it is not and boy can it be tough. My son is so much like me that it is frightening. If you offer consequences for his not listening he will sometimes smile at you and say that he wants to be punished and then he'll take the punishment all because he wants to do something other than what you want. I have a few tricks that I use that will soften his stanc

Feeling Unsettled

I am feeling unsettled. I have some ideas why, but I'll save that discussion for a different day, I am too tired to do it now. Here are some thoughts to share. I see Ron Cey at the gym on a regular basis. He is in great shape and I sometimes wonder why he doesn't tell the Dodgers that he is ready to play again. The salaries are much more interesting then when he played. Some people have a hard time feeling the sunshine and seeing blue skies no matter what the world around them looks like and others never notice the grey. Why is that. I ran into a bunch of people I grew up with this past weekend including a woman who was widowed at 25 or was it 26. I was happy to learn that she is engaged now. It must be almost 10 years since her husband died, wow. Come to think of it I can name at least 15 people who have/had cancer of some kind or another who are of my generation. They grew up in different places and had different experiences but it still makes me wonder. Cur

FCC To Cancel Desperate Housewives

In a stunning and unprecedented move the FCC has used the exception clause which states that when necessary the FCC may take exception to the programming on the public airwaves and unilaterally remove the offensive program. Ok, how many of you believed that first paragraph. It sounds real, doesn't it. I have a very real concern that we are currently facing a time in which some people think that it is there place to legislate morality and I am quite concerned by that. I think that it is reasonable to pay attention to the morality of society in general meaning that it is smart to keep an ear to the ground about what people are doing and thinking but that doesn't mean that I believe that the government should be heavily involved beyond a basic level. I am especially concerned because we have so many issues that to me are far more pressing, healthcare, education and the war all take precedent and should be given priority over some of the other areas that the Feds are look

King Tut, Dual Identities and More

Twenty-six years ago I was privileged to go to LACMA to see the King Tut exhibit . I was 10 years-old and fascinated by it. I remember being amazed by the things I saw, even then I loved history and it just brought so much to life. Did I mention that I told old Tut that my people had left his in the dust. I said it with a smirk but what do you expect from a smartass ten year-old boy and didn't the seder remind me every year about how we had overcome Egyptian slavery. But I have to hand to the king, he did have a song written in his honor . In any case the exhibit has returned to LACMA and I am considering going again. I had been wavering because part of me is a little cash conscious now and I debated about whether it was worth it. However LACMA in its infinite wisdom has just made me a special offer and I just might take them up on it. There is an upcoming exhibit on the Mayans as well as one on Cezanne and Pisarro that sound interesting. I love “Curb your Enthusiasm.” The

My Grandparents, Stress and Stuff

It has been a rough start to the day, things just haven't gone the way that I want them to and I am finding it difficult to improve my attitude. I am trying to, I really am. I am working hard to tear away the moody mindset and focus on the positive but I am having limited success. Given the chance I'd love to go workout on my heavy bag for a while and then spend a couple of hours running up and down the court but those are not options right now. I can't ignore the things that I have to do at the office and yet at the moment I can't get them done. A salesman with a bad attitude is unlikely to get any sales and that is not going to help improve his disposition so the goal of this post is to try and spew out as much of this crap as I can and push myself into that happier place I normally occupy. Last night one of my grandfathers cried his way through a telephone call with me. I have written about my grandparents and concerns about them many times. You can find links

My Toughest Critic

There is one person in my life who is harder on me about everything I do than anyone else. There is one person who is adept at pushing my buttons and making me as crazy as can be. They drive me to drink and distraction. They are the reason my hair is falling out and my stomach aches. At times they have made me scream in frustration. I can't count the number of times that I have threatened to just walk out and end my relationship with them, but as much as I want to the reality is that this is simply impossible. And the reason that I am unable to do this is because my toughest critic That is the truth. I am harder on myself than anyone. I read my blog and time and time again I cringe at what I read because I think that the topic is silly, the words are poorly selected and I wonder why I don't just scrap the whole thing In my head I see myself as I was at 20. I have washboard abs, my body is chiseled from hours of working out and I still find time to rea

Soul Mates

I have received a ton of feedback regarding my story about Daniel and Anne , but I cannot say that I was surprised. I think that there are a ton of people who are interested in determining what makes people soul mates and how in turn they can find their own because in a world that at times can seem dark and scary we often search for someone to hold our hand and keep us company in the dark. If you were to ask me what my thoughts are about this I suppose that I could offer quite a bit, but then again I am not known for brevity. But in my limited experience I would offer a few comments to the men. Women are far more simple then we make them out to be. Love them, love them, love them and you will get back more than you give. And a central part of that is figuring out how to get into her head. Figure out what makes her tick, what drives her and speak with her about it. Listen to her thoughts and share a few of your own and you can begin to build a foundation of trust. I know

I Want to Go to Ireland

I have a very strong interest in Ireland. I have never been there but would very much like to go there to visit. Not to mention that I have family there that no one has seen in quite some time. How many Jews can there be in Ireland, I suspect that there should be some good stories to be had.

G is Getting On the Plane

I just finished speaking with my friend G . We officially said goodbye in person on Sunday, but I wanted to be certain to wish him well prior to his boarding the plane. FWIW, I meant o mention in one of the earlier posts that he was working in the Cantor Fitzgerald office at the WTC until September 8. At one point in time I was supposed to have flown out for Manhattan for business so we had plans to eat at Windows on the World, but as it happened I had to cancel my trip. The morning of 911 I spent a couple of anxious hours trying to locate him to confirm that he had returned to LA.

Plane Trouble

There are moments in your life when you feel as if you have narrowly avoided being part of or involved in something that is dangerous to your health. I have several of these stories each with varying degree of danger. This post was prompted by the JetBlue incident that took place yesterday. I have been planning a business trip to New York for quite some time now. For a number of different reasons I have had to reschedule it three times, but at one point in time I had been looking at this week and had intended to fly JetBlue out of Burbank. None of this really means that I would have been on that flight yesterday, but it is still closer to home than I like. Some of that is because I am not real fond of flying anymore. I used to love it, but now I simply tolerate it as a necessary evil in my life. Along the lines of being a part of a dangerous situation there was an incident that took place a little more than four years ago. I remember it very well because of what happened and bec

My Son 'The Killer'

My son is in his final year of preschool. In just a few months my little man will be heading off to a new place to hang his hat and we'll be faced with new challenges. We are still faced with the dilemma of where to send him, so I am glad that we have some time before we need to make the decision. In the interim we have noticed that he learned new tricks at camp this summer, some good, some not as good. I am sure that my fellow parents are familiar with the changes that come from your child being exposed to older children. One of the things that he has begun to do is talk about killing people. Most often this discussion is in the form of he and I being superheroes who are killing bad guys . The mother of one his classmates complained to me that her twin boys are having similar conversations and is quite concerned with what she calls violent talk. Perhaps it is because I am a five-year-old trapped in a man's body, but I am not real concerned about this. I remember playing

A War On Pornography

My thanks to Jewish Atheist for tipping me off this story in the Washington Post . "The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents. Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III." I am more than a little aggravated by this, but before I mention why let's take a look at some more of the story. "The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is ma

What Do You Hope To Accomplish

I received an email from someone who wants to know my goals/objectives are for this blog. Here they are in no particular order. This is a place where I can air out my thoughts about life and the experiences I have had and will have. It is a place where I expect at some point in the future my children, grandchildren and beyond will be able to learn more about who I am/was and see that there is much more to me than the guy who put food on the table and played games with them. The blog offers me an opportunity to continually practice my writing so that I can work upon honing my skills and take steps to try and improve them. It also offers an opportunity to potentially be discovered, that is, maybe someone will love my writing and hire me to write a book. If this doesn't happen I will be fine because the initial goals/objectives are being met. And in some respects the most important thing that this blog allows me to do is that it offers me the opportunity to interact with peo

A Story of Two Souls Searching to Merge

I began writing this on a whim this past August. If you haven't read the first part I recommend that you click here and then click here and you can rejoin us afterwards. FWIW, I am not real happy with the quality of this so it is entirely possible that I will junk it or rework it several times. Baby, Now That I've Found You By Gary Jules refrain: "Baby, now that I've found you I can't let you go I'll build my world around you I need you so Baby, even though you don't need me You don't need me. refrain Baby, baby, since first we met (doot-doot) I knew in this heart of mine (I wanna tell you, doot-doot) The love we had could not be bad (doot-doot) Play it right and bide my time Spent a lifetime looking for somebody To give me love like you Now you've told me that you wanna leave me Darling, I just can't let you. refrain refrain Spent a lifetime looking for somebody T