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Showing posts from October, 2005

What is A College Degree Worth

The struggle to make a decison regarding the right school for my son is wearing me down. I am torn and worn as the saying used to go, or maybe it is Worn and Torn, just ask Elder of Ziyon. ;) He has spent the past two years in a special Hebrew immersion program. He loves it and I have been so very pleased with the education he has been receiving. The program has been great. So when I found out that there was an opportunity to continue this program and to build upon it I had to investigate it. It would be a shame to let these two years go to waste. Ok, I don't think that they would go to waste but the reality is that the developmentally he is at a place in which it is much easier to learn a foreign language. I think that there is so much to be gained by being bilingual. When you speak a different language you see the world differently and it opens your mind to new possibilities. But the chance to continue the Hebrew immersion is not enough to secure a vote of confidence. What

Things that Frighten Me

In honor of Halloween I am going to reprise last year's list . This a list of things that have frightened me in my life. Some are still relevant and some are not. But I thought that it might be interesting to just throw them all out there to see what they look like during daylight hours. P.S. I have explanations for all of these, but I may not include them on the list. Why? I just don't feel like it. :) The Dark The Amityville Horror scared me. Oscar the Grouch Bigfoot- The one from the Bionic Man television Show. He gave Steve Austin plenty of trouble. The Creature in the Legend of Boggy Creek A couple of dogs that chased me on my paper route. The homeless guy from the park. V.L.- He and I got into a fight in high school. I pretty much kicked his ass up and down the corridor, but I do remember shaking with adrenalin afterwards. For about two weeks I was concerned that I was going to have to face him and his older brother again. Having my heart broken again Breaking someone

Faith Versus Science

One of the fundamental arguments in life involves faith versus science. That is, we argue about the intangible using the tangible to prove the existence of the intangible. If this wanders you'll have to forgive me because " I am thinking out loud ." I find some of these arguments to be tedious because they begin and end with statements of "I know that this is true" and tend to be based upon the believers claim to be in touch with the real "truth" of the world. A common example is found in "I know that G-d exists and if you do not it is only because you are intentionally not open to him/her/it." Look, I believe in G-d because of faith. I believe that G-d makes sense because I exist, you exist, my children, this blog, animals, the universe etc exist and it makes sense to me that a higher power created it. But even with the empirical evidence of life that I cited, I don't expect that to be enough for proof based upon scientific testing

Who is To Plame for This

In the midst of the Valerie Plame affair I am curious about many things. I wonder what the hell various members of the admin were thinking such as Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Karl Rove and where this is all going to end up. But more than that I wonder about Robert Novak and why his name has almost entirely disappeared from the conversation. Is he completely blameless here. Does he share any responsibility whatsoever for revealing her name or is he protected by his press credentials. I also have a few questions for Judith Miller regarding why she went to jail and what her role is in this. For those of you who have questions about overall situation you might want to take a look at this link to the Washington Post site. It is a Q&A about what is happening.

Sound Clips

I am a little kid. I just love this kind of stuff. Here are a few more clips. Some may be more risque so consider yourself forewarned. Some of these come from some of my favorite movies. Bogart Stella Land War In Asia Mr Wolfe. Mutants Women Trying to Pick Up Women Dodgeball Scarface Three Up and Three Down White Man In Dire Need Kansas Always Close Good Leads Top Man Mr. Hand Dr. Evil I could Have Been A Contender

It is Almost Erev Halloween- A Few Thoughts

Some of my fellow MOTs are reluctant to let their children observe Halloween. There are a variety of reasons why this is so and I admit to having been reluctant to get into it, but that is a different story for a different day. I once heard Rabbi Ed Feinstein give a sermon in which he outlined some compelling reasons for taking our children out and wanted to share some of it with you. "I take my kids trick-or-treating on Halloween . The truth is that you don't find many rabbis out on Halloween. Many of my congregants are surprised, even upset, to find their rabbi and his kids in costume celebrating a holiday that has definite Christian and pagan origins. And my kids certainly don't need any more candy in their daily diet. But something remarkable happens on Halloween, something I want my kids to see: On Halloween, we open our homes to one another. On Halloween, we come out from behind solid-core doors and dead-bolts locks and electronic burglar alarms. The doorbell is m

Letting Go

I am not good at letting go. It is a problem. I don't let go of most things very easily. Mistakes, hurts, real or otherwise all stay with me. It is part of my character and a part that I am not real happy about. It is why I remember the guy that tried to sleep with my girlfriend in 1988 and I still think about punching him in the mouth. Ok, that guy was a jackass who had a history of being a jerk to me and my friends that began long before '88 and he really does deserve a swift kick in the ass. In case you are curious I have run into him on a number of occasions and never have touched him but then again I don't even acknowledge him and the truth of the matter is that unless there is some reason to think about him, I don't. That incident irked me, but I can't really say that it still bothers me. Life experience has taught me how to get beyond it and I have, but there are some other wounds that never healed as well as they could have. What I am saying folk

Morning News

Arab States Silent on Iran's Remarks

The silence is deafening and very telling. Call me a skeptic, but I don't buy Erekat's remarks. There is a time to stand together with your allies and a time to tell them when they have made a mistake and the lack of response here by the Arab nations concerns me. They should have said something publicly, assuming that they disagree with this statement. Here is a snippet from the story. " CAIRO, Egypt - Arab governments remained silent Thursday as international condemnation grew over a call by Iran's new president forIsrael to be destroyed. Despite the silence, analysts in the region said Tehran's Arab rivals may quietly be pleased to see the radical regime further isolated by its extremism. However, some Palestinians — who would have the task of destroying Israel according to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — rejected the remarks. "We have recognized the state of Israel and we are pursuing a peace process with Israel, and ... we do not accept the statement

"An Undue Fear Of Islam"

Daniel Pipes has an interesting article called Islamophobia? "An Islamist group named Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks to bring the world under Islamic law and advocates suicide attacks against Israelis. Facing proscription in Great Britain, it opened a clandestine front operation at British universities called "Stop Islamophobia," the Sunday Times has disclosed. Stop what, you ask? Coined in Great Britain a decade ago, the neologism Islamophobia was launched in 1996 by a self-proclaimed " Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia ." The word literally means "undue fear of Islam" but it is used to mean " prejudice against Muslims " and joins over 500 other phobias spanning virtually every aspect of life. The term has achieved a degree of linguistic and political acceptance, to the point that the secretary-general of the United Nations presided over a December 2004 conference titled "Confronting Islamophobia" and in

Lost & Lonely

My son is going to start kindergarten in September of 2006. The big question in my life is where is he going to go. Will it be a public or a private school. Today we set out to answer that question by attending an open house for one potential school. There were about 50 or 60 other prospective parents there, each one of us was actively and attentively listening to each speaker. We toured the facility, asked questions and tried to do our best to make an honest assessment of the school and whether it would be the best place for our children. For the purpose of this post that is neither here nor there. What I want to write about is in the title, Lost and Lonely. It was uttered at a party many years ago by a very drunk and very sad boy who couldn't see his way to being happy. That boy was me. I was 20 years-old and heartbroken over a girl that had dumped me. Now what relevance does this story have to the initial description of the open house. Well this is how it fits in. Today

ATM Charges

One of these days I am going to take the time to compose a 1,237,675 word rant about things that irritate me. And when I do I'll include my irritation with companies that have replaced customer service with voicemail, cable/satellite television, cell phones, stupid people, road rage, elevator rage, people who wear too much cologne/perfume, spandex on the morbidly obese, middle age clubbers who haven't figured out that they cannot dress like they are 23 anymore and why most of the midwest is wasted space. In the interim I am most interested in screaming at the banks who have arbitrarily and unnecessarily attached a fee to use their ATMs. Greed has gotten the best of them and so they have applied a fee to something that was introduced to help them save money. Those of you who are old enough to remember gas lines in the '70s probably recall that when you needed cash you had a couple of choices, cashing a check at a local store or visiting the bank. The emergence of ATM

Another Reason Why I am Done With the French

I blogged earlier about Iran and the problems they are causing. Today the BBC had a report about the reaction around the world . The lack of moral clarity is very disturbing. ""If these comments are true, they are unacceptable. I condemn them with the greatest firmness," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said." What the hell is wrong with him. His suggestion that they may not be factual is reprehensible.

British Sensibilities or Lack Thereof

First it was Ken Livingstone and now these two events have me shaking my head. " A poem which praises the murder of Jews by the Nazis has been included in a book of children’s poetry to be distributed amongst schools in the UK. The publication, entitled Great Minds, features the work of school children aged 11 to 18 who won a nationwide literary competition. But one poem has generated outrage amongst Jewish groups, politicians and Holocaust charities for its anti-Semitic content. The entry by the 14-year-old Gideon Taylor is apparently written from the viewpoint of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It includes the lines "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces." Another part reads: "Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger… I'll be happy Jews have died." Publisher defends poem The book was pr

Cell Phone Hell

I need a new cellphone. I used to have one that I was very happy with. It was a Motorola V300 and it took care of most of my needs quite ably and capably. Unfortunately along with my car it was a casualty of the auto accident that took place a couple of weeks ago. Even though the auto accident was not my fault my insurance company has said that they will not cover the replacement cost of the cellphone. I contacted the other party's insurance carrier and have asked them to cover the cost of the replacement, but I have yet to hear back from them. The adjuster who is handling things for them hasn't returned a telephone call in three days. She has until noon today and if I have not heard from her I will go over her head and make life less comfortable for her. I hate having to do things like that, a simple telephone call would have satisfied me but now all she has done is aggravate me unnecessarily. In case you are wondering my cellphone provider will not provide a replacemen

Iran Stokes The Flames

Things in the Middle East appear to be getting a little warmer. " TEHRAN, Iran - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Wednesday that Israel is a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map" — fiery words that Washington said underscores its concern over Iran's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad's speech to thousands of students at a "World without Zionism" conference set a hard-line foreign policy course sharply at odds with that of his moderate predecessor, echoing the sentiments of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution. The United States said Ahmadinejad's remarks show that Washington's fears about Iran's nuclear program are accurate. "I think it reconfirms what we have been saying about the regime in Iran," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters in Washington. "It underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear intentions." This i

Values & Things I Think about

There are some topics that are eternal such as Does Religion Matter any Mor e , what is G-d, what is the meaning of life etc. There are a few things in life that I just believe in. One of those is G-d. I believe in a higher power. I don't need a burning bush or time on a mountain top to make me believe that there is something more powerful out there. But I don't need that belief to make me act ethically and morally. I don't need the threat of punishment to make me do the right thing . Actually those of you who know me understand that telling me to do something is the fastest way to make me do the opposite, I have been known to cut my nose to spite my face. It makes perfect sense to me to do the best I can to be moral and ethical in my life because it improves the world around me. When I am good it makes the world a nicer place. Generally when you smile at people they smile back at you. When you treat people well they treat you well. It doesn't translate this way

Sorted and Mute

Call me a jerk, call me a snob but don't call me late for dinner. Ha ha. As I surf the web I keep seeing posts in which people talk about their sorted past and or say that the point is mute. The words that they really want to use are: sordid and moot. The following information was pulled from sor·did ( sôr ' dĭd ) adj. Filthy or dirty; foul. Depressingly squalid; wretched: sordid shantytowns. Morally degraded: “The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils” (James Joyce). See synonyms at mean 2 . Exceedingly mercenary; grasping. [Middle English sordide , festering, purulent, from Latin sordidus , dirty, from sordēre , to be dirty.] moot ( mūt ) n. Law. A hypothetical case argued by law students as an exercise. An ancient English meeting, especially a representative meeting of the freemen of a shire. tr.v. , moot·ed , moot·ing , moots . To bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. To discuss or debate. See synonym

Rosa Parks

Many have blogged about her and done a far better job than I. However I would be remiss if I didn't mention Rosa Parks and the role she played in helping to bring civil rights to the forefront. Rest in Peace. (CNN) -- Rosa Parks, whose act of civil disobedience in 1955 inspired the modern civil rights movement, died Monday in Detroit, Michigan. She was 92. Parks' moment in history began in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks that was organized by a 26-year-old Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.The boycott led to a court ruling desegregating public transportation in Montgomery, but it wasn't until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations nationwide were desegregated. Facing regular threats and having lost her department store job because of her activism, Parks moved from Alabama to Detroit in 1957. She later

I Have Been "Yanked"

I love playing basketball. If I could I would play every day, or at a minimum four days a week. Unfortunately little things like my job and family get in the way of doing that so I have found that I can almost always get two days in, three if I am lucky. The challenge is to get to the gym and get in as many games as possible before I have to run home because if I come home too late I miss having dinner with my children and it is important to me to eat as a family. In order to save time I will occasionally skip showering at the gym and go straight home. Last night was one of those nights in which I chose to do so. When I got home I shouted hello at everyone and immediately stepped into the shower. Three minutes later I was soapfree and on my way to the bedroom to change into my evening lounge attire and that is when it happened. I had just taken off my towel when my 15 month old daughter reached up and found a new handlebar to hold on to. You'd think that after Trep's po

Phrases You Used to Find My Blog

Orthdox Judaism is not better jack's shack mark hamil random thoughts stupid videos dennis wolfberg blog quizzes men and emotions MEANING OF DNA I swallow Ice cream and pickles meaning of yahoo unetaneh tokef meaning of sith brad pit naked meaning of darth vader jack can love you better disengagement pictures tai kwon leap Who achieved the longest guitar marathon by an individual, which lasted for 42 hours and included 800 songs in an assortment of 16 different musical styles why men won't reveal their emotions

What I am Reading Now

At the moment I am midway through The Jew in the Lotus : Poet's Re-Discovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India I have found it to be very interesting and enjoyable. Here is a sample of what is waiting to be read by me: Gettysburg Straken (High Druid of Shannara, Book 3) A Game of Thrones The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution That really is a partial list. I have more books than time but I do plan on getting through them. Prior to my kids being born I read voraciously, there were months in which I might consume 7 or 8 books, but these days I have slowed down exponentially. Unless it really grabs me I find that it takes me quite some time to finish a book, but I still very much enjoy it.

Delay's Foolish Grin

I want to see that same stupid smile when he goes down hard for his activities.

My Own Worst Enemy

If I were a superhero I would need an archnemesis, a supervillain that I could fight. Because what good is a hero if there is no one to opppose him. That is no fun, that is not interesting. My problem is that my archnemesis knows everything about me, how I think, how I move, my favorites. No one knows me better than this dude and because of his amazing insight he always is a problem. And that problem is me. I am my own worst enemy. I have an overactive mind that absorbs and retains too much criticism. I am not good at letting things go. When bad or frustrating things happen they linger and the institutional memory of such events crops up at inopportune times and places. Life is cyclical and so my internal battles with my own inner demons have had their ups and downs. But right now I am feeling beat up. I am searching for the edge of the clouds. I am looking for daylight and right now all I see is darkness. From past history I know that this will change and that things w

Does Religion Matter Any More?

Cyberkitten has a post called the Grand Illusion in which she says: "I fear that humanity is innately too irrational to shake off the idea of God and I fear that it will be the end of us. We are a clever species but we are also an incredibly stupid one. We have developed the knowledge and reason to develop nuclear weapons yet we have retained the irrationality to use them against people who don’t believe as we do. I am coming to the opinion that belief in God is a Grand illusion – a Grand Delusion – that as a species we would be better off without." Ok, it is the argument that the world would be better off without religion. She is not the first person to voice this point of view but I am not sure that agree with it. In the comments I provided a very simplistic response. "We could make an argument that religion is one of the worst things ever to happen to man and we could make the same argument that it is one of the best. All depends on your perspective." To whi

Sex in Space and Other Stories

It may sound silly or prurient, but it really is a serious concern. Out-of-this-world sex could jeopardise missions "Sex and romantic entanglements among astronauts could derail missions to Mars and should therefore be studied by NASA, warns a top-level panel of US researchers. NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2018 and later on to Mars. But a round-trip mission to the Red Planet would probably last at least 30 months and carry six to eight people. That would be a hotbed for intense crew relationships, says a report by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS). "With the prospect of a very long-term mission, it's hard to ignore the question of sexuality," says Lawrence Palinkas, a medical anthropologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, an author of the report. It reviewed NASA's plans for research to keep astronauts safe and healthy in space – but the plans make no mention of sexual is

Accidental Invention Points to End of Light Bulbs

I thought that this story was very interesting. Accidental Invention Points to End of Light Bulbs The main light source of the future will almost surely not be a bulb. It might be a table, a wall, or even a fork. An accidental discovery announced this week has taken LED lighting to a new level, suggesting it could soon offer a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative to the traditional light bulb. The miniature breakthrough adds to a growing trend that is likely to eventually make Thomas Edison's bright invention obsolete. LEDs are already used in traffic lights, flashlights, and architectural lighting. They are flexible and operate less expensively than traditional lighting. Happy accident Michael Bowers, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, was just trying to make really small quantum dots , which are crystals generally only a few nanometers big. That's less than 1/1000th the width of a human hair. Quantum dots contain anywhere from 100 to 1

From Around The Blogosphere

A quick round up of posts that have caught my attention. Orthomom has the very disturbing story of the Nazi twins . It is Almost Supernatural has a good post regarding an op-ed piece that Dennis Ross wrote about the failed attempt by some to call Israel an apartheid state. I am still mulling over a post in which Q discusses whether boxing is legalized murder and Gail links to a Victor David Hanson article that says How the Violence in Iraq Will End. Tags: History , Politics , Israel

Jack is Going Mad

The people in the office next to mine are playing loud music. I know that it is loud because in spite of the wall separating their office from mine I can almost understand the words and that is the problem. It is coming through garbled and distorted. It is similar to being forced to listen to the bass from the SUV that is located four cars away from you. I love music, but this distortion is just noise. It doesn't have a rhythm or a beat. And although I am trying to ignore it I am finding it to be impossible. I am locked in on it, my radar has it and refuses to let go. And so I am growing more agitated and irritable. Jack is going mad. Don't be surprised when you see me go running down the street laughing maniacally arms waving frantically. It is just me.

The Championship

Another Snake In The Toilet Story

This past July you may recall my posting about this story: "The fear factor is high at one Florida home - the family is afraid of going to the bathroom, and for good reason. Alicia Bailey was bitten by, what appears to be, a large water moccasin hiding in the toilet bowl in the middle of the night. The poisonous snake bit her thigh after she lifted the lid sending her to the hospital for three days. No one knows how the snake got there, or where it went after that, so the family is a little jumpy these days. Richard Bailey tells us, "We're not looking to take it alive - I just want it out of here." Alicia adds, "We're currently very uncomfortable in our home - and toilet-shy, I would say, and real anxious for closure." The Bailey's eleven-year-old son is now staying with neighbors, because doctors say, he would die if he were bitten by a snake that size." And now I offer you the following "NORTH PLAINFIELD, N.J . --

Some People Shouldn't Be Parents

Dateline: Cleveland "A 2-year-old was flown to a local hospital Wednesday after his arm got stuck in a meat grinder NewsChannel5 reported. Westlake police are investigating the incident that happened inside a home on Stonehedge Drive. 911 Call Police said the grinder was on the floor and plugged in when the incident occurred. The boy was taken to the hospital with his right arm still in the grinder. He is at MetroHealth Medical Center, and is now recovering, reported NewsChannel5. Officers said the woman who called 911 had a hard time expressing herself because of a language barrier and being emotionally overcome. The mother and other family members who live in the house have not cooperated with police or Children and Family Services investigating the accident, Capt. Guy Turner said. Police said this is not the first time inadequate supervision has resulted in injury to children at this house. In 2001, a 1-year-old boy was struck and killed by a

Feeling Out of Sorts

Just not feeling right. Things feel off. Perhaps it is because of the accident or things at the office, or I don't know what. What I do know is that I am just not real happy at the moment. Although it could always be worse, it could be better.

It Was Disconcerting- Whoa!

I have a few fears in life. There are some things that frighten me and I readily admit that one of the more irrational is my concern that a large earthquake will hit while I am occupied in the bathroom. I know call me crazy, but the thought bothers me. What will my family tell people about how I died. How will my children live down the shame. Can you imagine the teasing on the schoolyard. I hate to think that my obituary might say that I was caught with my pants around my ankles. Think of the imagery here. What if it was big enough to severely injure me. What if instead of dying I had to crawl to safety with my pants around my ankles and a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Oh the shame of it all. Not that any of this is likely, but you stranger things have happened. Today was one of those surreal moments. I was doing my thing at the office when all of a sudden I noticed a head perched above the stall walls. It was attached to a neck and it was clear that he was not standin

Reader Feedback

Dear Jack, you used to have a regular segment called reader feedback, or letters to the editor. What happened to it? Thanks, Mark Dear Mark, Beats Me. Dear Jack, I read with great interest about your accident. Were you scared and what did you learn? Regards, Kim Dear Kim, I wasn't scared, just angry and then thankful. As for what I learned I would have to say that this is far too broad a question and being a natural smartass my inclination is to go off on a tangent about the many things I have learned such as that you never know who you might encounter on the net. Check out the Gaming Grannies . Hello Jack, Is Chocolate the New Vanilla? I love questions like this because they are just so out there. And like you I am someone who just might ask the oddball question for no good reason other than I am a bit of wingnut. So allow me to respond with the following. Rootbeer is the new Coke and a good cigar is a smoke. Or if you prefer the hummingbird warbles at midnight. Does

Personal Versus Political

The blog is an interesting outlet. There is a constant struggle between the personal and political, a question of how to use this outlet. Do I use it to air out my deepest and darkest fears. Do I use it to go spelunking in my head. Is it a tool that can be used to explore the darker side of Jack, do I use it to see what has been swept beneath the carpet or do I stick to things that are less personal and not so frightening. Because the reality is that for so many of the use the bogeyman we fear the most is the one that resides inside our skulls. There is the person that we want to be, the person that we pretend to be and show to the world and then there is the person that we truly are. Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am the only one to ever feel this way, or maybe I am not. What I know for certain is this. When there is a monster on the other side of the door I always end up looking. Even when I know that opening the door provides the opportunity to scare me silly, inevitably my cu

NBA Players Are Babies

The NBA is instituting a dress code that is meeting a lot of resistance from the players. I can't believe what babies they are. "The Hawks' Josh Childress is one of the players who thinks the NBA is "taking this thing too far." "I understand where they're coming from. We all need to be neat and professional. But to ask us to wear suits everywhere, even at a hotel at 2 a.m. I think that's a bit much," Childress told the Journal-Constitution. Allen Iverson told The Philadelphia Daily News he will fight any new dress code. "I dress to make myself comfortable," Iverson told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I really do have a problem with it. ... It's just not right. It's something I'll fight for." Childress told the Journal-Constitution that a dress code is something that should be phased in gradually. "Listen, if they wanted to do this thing gradually I could understand that," Childre

Chertoff Says FEMA Was 'Overwhelmed' by Katrina

The headline in the Washington Post said Chertoff Says FEMA Was 'Overwhelmed' by Katrina and then Jack's head burst into flames, overwhelmed by the enormity and what he perceived as government stupidity. "Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff acknowledged today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was "overwhelmed" by Hurricane Katrina and called for a buildup of the government's "preparedness capability" to deal with major natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Appearing before a special House committee investigating the government's response to the hurricane, Chertoff said his department must "retool FEMA . . . so that it can fulfill its historic and critical mission supporting response and recovery." I am angry and appalled by this. Just reading this makes my blood boil. "Calling Katrina "one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history," Chertoff said it forced more