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100 things we didn't know this time last year

Found these on the BBC. Here are a few samples.
6. WD-40 dissolves cocaine - it has been used by a pub landlord to prevent drug-taking in his pub's toilets.

7. Baboons can tell the difference between English and French. Zoo keepers at Port Lympne wild animal park in Kent are having to learn French to communicate with the baboons which had been transferred from Paris zoo.

8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it's possibly because religious people have less fear of death.

9. The energy used to build an average Victorian terrace house would be enough to send a car round the Earth five times, says English Heritage.
19. The = sign
was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equations. He chose the two lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".

20. The Queen has
never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood.

More details

67. Giant squid eat each other - especially during sex.

68. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold one copy every minute since its 1969 publication.
More details

69. First-born children are less creative but more stable, while last-born are more promiscuous, says US research.

What Do You Mean I was Shot

PORT ORANGE, Fla. (AP) — A man who woke up and found his head bleeding, drove to work and left a note for his boss before going to the hospital to find he had a bullet lodged in his brain, authorities said.

When Glen Thomas Betterley, 53, noticed the blood Thursday morning he asked his girlfriend if she had struck him. Emma Lorene Larsen, 65, said no.

Betterley went to Halifax Medical Center emergency room where he learned he had been shot in the forehead.

While Betterley was being treated, police called Larsen and heard a single gunshot. When investigators arrived at the home, they found Larsen dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head.


Surprise You are Pregnant

"A WOMAN rushed to hospital with tummy trouble, fearing she had eaten a dodgy kebab, was shocked to give birth instead, a British newspaper reported today.

Helen Smitham, 25, of Distington in northwest England, had no idea she was pregnant when she complained of feeling a bit rough – with an iffy kebab thought to blame.

Her mother rushed her to the nearby West Cumberland Hospital where she gave birth so quickly that doctors did not even have time to tell her she was expecting.

Her baby son Deaton was born on December 24 weighing four pounds and 11 ounces (2.1kg) said The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling daily.

"I had absolutely no idea," a stunned Ms Smitham said."

How do you not know that you are pregnant.

It is Coming

It is coming, at least I think that it is. If I can grab a chunk of time today I will put together my 2005 end of the year recap. It might be a monster post or it might be a couple of paragraphs, only time will tell.

Do I Really Look Like That

Today I got a good look at myself and wasn't all that happy with what I saw. If you are like I am you might be wondering what made me do this or more likely you are wondering if you are too tired to go out and get a Krispy Kreme donut. Or you could be just staring off into the space, jaw partially opened in a semicatatonic state. Whatever.

All I know is that today we went here to celebrate the big boys birthday. He had a great time which is really what I cared most about, but secondary to that is my own sanity and what little shreds I have left are cooked.

I have learned to hate and despise these stupid games that the funcenters have. I am not talking about the video games because I can usually find a few that are interesting. No I am talking about the games that you play so that you can win tickets that will be redeemed for a prize. The games are rigged so that you can win more than a few tickets at a time and it really wouldn't matter if they were not because the good prizes are redeemed for just under a million tickets.

If you assign a value of twenty-five cents to each ticket you can see that the actual cost of the Monopoly game is not 8,000 tickets but $320.00 which probably means that anyone who actually wins one of those is not living on Broadway or Park Place and is lucky to be the doorman for Lenny's Secondhand Shoe Store on 55th.

The big boy decided that miniature golf would be a good use of our time so I readily agreed as it kept me out of the children's casino because that really is what those arcades are. If you look around you won't see the same cocktail waitresses that you find at Caesars but a junior version who fills you with chips and soda.

Out there on the rolling hills of fake green and swinging logs I tore up the course. That putter never made sweeter music than it did with me today and I made sure that everyone knew it. Golf is much more fun when you taunt your opponents and those around you. Try it, you might like it or maybe not, but if you don't that is your problem.

So anyway we're rolling along and the digital photos are being snapped at a rapid clip. At one particular juncture I stopped to take a look at a shot that I was in and fell down dumbfounded. It turns out that the drycleaners are not shrinking my clothes, I have been growing and not in height.

Not only that but the face that I am walking around with doesn't look like the bright eyed and bushytailed kid I used to be. Now I see some middle aged man staring back at me. I suppose that this explains a few things to me but I'll save those for later.

That picture really made me think. First, I realize that mentally I still picture myself as being 20. I had the six pack abs, 16 inch arms, a 32 inch waist and could benchpress more than 300 pounds.

Now I look like I drank the six pack and consumed the bench and the weights. So the question becomes what am I going to do about it. Am I going to continue to allow myself to walk around looking like this or am I going to do something about it.

Well my answer is I don't know. I don't know if I care enough to give up the bad eating habits I have developed. To give you a sense of how I sometimes approach things I could use my old tactic from my days of playing Hearts in which I consistently would shoot the moon. I could keep eating like a fiend and become a Sumo wrestler. I am athletic and am still blessed with a fair amount of physical strength.

Of course there are some downsides to going that route that are all health related not to mention that it is a hell of a commute home each day. Oy.

As an alternative I could go balls out the other direction and do what it takes to shrink my 38 inch waist back to something more manageable. Or I might just blog about my lack of motivation and effort in either direction.

Recently Written

Five Years Ago

Random WebSites You Might Enjoy

Tearing Toilet Paper on Shabbos

And just for kicks two recent posts you might enjoy

Do you Have Blog Envy?

How Many Blogs Do You Read?

Five Years Ago

On December 29, 2000 my life was changed forever because it was on that day that I became a father for the first time.

In what could only be deemed foreshadowing the little man showed up 2.5 weeks prior to his due date. His grandmother insists that I was born almost four weeks after my due date so maybe there is something to be said for his taking after me, we do things in our time.

Initially I hadn't planned on blogging about this, not because it was unimportant but because I couldn't decide what I wanted to say so I was going to opt out of saying anything and write about other things. Sometimes I find myself speechless and I learned a long time ago that in those moments sometimes the better part of valor is silence.

About 25 minutes ago he wandered out of bed and climbed into my lap. "Tomorrow is my birthday," he said. I smiled and picked him up in my arms. For a moment we danced around to Matisyahu (King Without a Crown- I love that tune) and enjoyed the moment. I told him that I loved him and told him about how when he was a baby I would take him in my arms and dance to whatever was playing.

He smiled and asked me if I would still do that when he was five. I said sure and then he wanted to know if I could do it when he was ten. I told him that I wasn't sure he would want me to do it then but we had time to worry about it. He smiled and told me that I should plan on it.

I carried him to bed and gave him another hug and a kiss. With great care I lowered him into bed and gave him one last blessing as a four-year-old. He was almost asleep before I could finish. I was happy that it was dark because I unexpectedly got a little choked up in there.

My baby boy is not a baby anymore. He is not a toddler, he is a little boy. We have a long way to go before he becomes a man and goes out into the world but for a moment I could have sworn that he looked more like a man than a boy.

Random WebSites You Might Enjoy

Ever wonder what Ronald McDonald's wife eats? For more information click here.

Improve your vocabulary at My Favorite Word.

I still like Science Mag's 125 things we still don't know.

I hear voices from everywhere.

Wacky Mailboxes

What about The Worst Jobs In History.

Tearing Toilet Paper on Shabbos

This post here led to some interesting comments and questions both online and off. One of the questions that garnered some attention was this one.
"Um? Could someone please explain the tearing of toilet paper comments to me?"
As an answer someone provided this link which I reviewed as I do all links that come across my blog. Now I find a lot of this to be interesting, but I have to admit that trying to explain somethings such as this and the reason that they are encouraged or discouraged to be tough.

Let's look at this section:
What about tearing toilet paper when there is no option?
Obviously one must prepare toilet paper before Shabbos. The problem arises when one has depleted the supply of tissues, torn toilet paper etc. or one is in a place where there is no pre-torn paper.
For obvious reasons we will not discuss the various technical options that are on hand when there is no toilet paper available, but when those options are exhausted and/or one’s only practical option is uncut toilet paper, the following is the correct procedure:
One should tear the toilet paper by resting one’s elbows on the sheet of toilet paper and tear it with one’s elbows. This is called tearing kilachar yad – in a backhanded manner, and is only an issur d’rabanan. [6]
This is one of those things that I cannot explain without shrugging myshoulders repeatedly because it just doesn't make sense to me. Now perhaps I am missing something but this is a necessity that you cannot do without, unless you are in the woods and all you have are pinecones in which case you are in big trouble.

Ultimately what I find is that there are areas such as this in which I cannot provide a reasonable explanation as to why they are necessary. Some of these things are acceptable to me and some are not. Yes, I am picking and choosing but that is part of life and when it comes to matters of faith I think that we often reach places in which we are forced to use our gut instinct instead of our heads.

That is not a value judgement but an observation.

Final Tuesday Night Roundup of 2005

Today was a busy day so there is a little bit more material to cover.

He Says it Better than I Would

Munich- Spielberg Your Prayer Wasn't Heard

Oh Chanukah- Some Assembly Required

Jewish Mysteries-Our Connection and The New Year

A Quick Flashback Versus New Material

He Says it Better than I Would

I had intended to write a post about the payoff of a bet but then I saw that my partner in crime had already done it and likely done it more eloquently than I so instead of wasting words I send you here.

Munich- Spielberg Your Prayer Wasn't Heard

Munich mastermind spurns Spielberg's peace appeal

GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes died said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg's new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation.

The Hollywood director has called "Munich," which dramatizes the 1972 raid and Israel's reprisals against members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), his "prayer for peace." Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film.

He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to the Jewish state.

"If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone," Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Daoud said he had not seen the film, which will only reach most screens outside the United States next month.

But he noted that Spielberg arranged previews in Israel, where some have accused "Munich" of lacking historical accuracy.

Several Israeli historians have also complained about what they see as a moral symmetry in the film between slain Olympians and the Palestinians assassinated by the Mossad spy service.

"Spielberg showed the movie to widows of the Israeli victims, but he neglected the families of Palestinian victims," said Daoud. "How many Palestinian civilians were killed before and after Munich?"


The Munich attack was "one of the pivotal moments of modern terrorism" he told Los Angeles Times in rare interview last week.

Daoud used different terms.

"We did not target Israeli civilians," he said.
"Some of them (the athletes) had taken part in wars and killed many Palestinians. Whether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier."
Indiscriminate murder. That is what this was. If there were intellectual honesty here he would admit it and just leave it at that, but instead he tries to hide and spin it.

Not every soldier is a combat soldier. Some are nothing more than janitors/
secretaries with a military rank. You can't make peace with people who have this kind of mentality.

Oh Chanukah- Some Assembly Required

"Oh Chanukah," he said exasperatedly. Ok, that is not really what I said and most of the time I don't refer to myself in the third person but tonight merited special attention.

You see the toy manufacturers have taken great care to make the acquisition of their toys to be one hell of an adventure. It is not just a matter of purchasing a toy and spending a few minutes assembling it, oh no, it is much more than that.

In order to assemble the toy you have to be able to remove it from the box and that is no easy feat. The box is sealed shut with tape and some sort of elephant snot glue and on the bigger boxes you can see that a welder took great care in making sure that the toy is sealed tighter than the hatch on Lost.

The nice thing about being a Taurus is that I may not have grace but I did receive the strength of the bull and I can usually work a little magic on whatever it is I need to open. The big trick is not destroying the contents of the package and more importantly great skill is required in making sure that the young children who are eagerly waiting to play with these toys do not learn any more colorful words than they may already know.

The good news is that it only took me 17 hours and three minutes to get the fercocketeh toy assembled. The bad news is that by the time it was done my children who are far smarter than I am had stolen my credit card and called ToysRus and placed an order for said unit fully assembled and ready to roll.

Under different circumstances the deliveryman might have been thrown out on their asses (I am a child of the '70s and did own the GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip) but my after 17 hours the Phillips screwdriver had become permanently attached to my left hand and right arm had lost its cunning and that was in spite of the picture of Jerusalem next to my bed.

So you'll forgive me if I end this here. It is awfully hard to type with my nose.

Jewish Mysteries-Our Connection and The New Year

I wrote this for the Jewish Connection but thought that as part of my end of the year recap it merited another look.

I am an independent in many ways including both politics and religion. Every now and then someone decides to take a swipe at me because they think that I pick and choose.

For example, I don't keep Kosher, but I would never drink a glass of milk with meat. There are other examples, but I don't want to make this post about me but about the mysteries of Judaism.

That is the term that I used when speaking with a friend about his kollel and their outreach program to unaffiliated Jews/Jews who are unhappy with their shul. But it really is most applicable to Jews who do not have a real strong Jewish education and their approach to Judaism.

What I mean by this is that Judaism is highly sophisticated and filled with layers and layers of ritual and for a lack of a better term obligations/responsibilities that we usually refer to as the 613 mitzvot.

Add to that the minhagim (customs) that have been acquired over the centuries and many people do not know whether the things that they do are based upon minhag or halacha and even if they do they often do not know why they are being asked to do them.

Consequently there are many mitzvot that are not followed because people do not feel/see the connection and or reason for them to do it. You cannot tell someone who does not know if they believe in G-d that this being/person/creature has commanded them to do anything and expect that they are just going to do it. And you especially cannot expect a thinking adult to engage without provding them with substance and reason for why they should do whatever it is you are asking them to do.

So what you end up with is a group of people who look at the mitzvot/commandments and see them as being optional. Earlier this week Mirty wrote about her feelings when she accidentally ate something that was treif. I thought that it was interesting because my heart tells me that I should be keeping Kosher but my brain says why.

My head wants to know what is the reason. What does it do? I already know that lightning will not come out of the sky and strike me down if I do not. I know that if I drive on Shabbos I am not going to be stoned. I know that if I commit an aveirah I am probably, more than likely going to be ok.

And what this means is that I have to search harder for a reason to stop my behavior and change. I need more than just because. I need something that speaks to me and thus far I haven't found it and I am someone who searches for answers.

Take me out of the equation and go back to the person who has little to no background. Now stick them in shul and watch how many of them squirm because they do not understand what is going on, why we bow at some times and not at others. They stumble through mechayei meytim without any idea about the hours of thought and discussion that those words created, they do not understand what they do but go because of guilt.

I watch and listen because even though I can say that I received a solid Jewish education it has some holes in it and there are places that are more like gaps. I watch because this time of year is a huge struggle for me. It makes me crazy, I go meshugah because I feel like my heart and head are in two different places. My heart says to just go with the feeling, follow the passion and daven because it will take me to where I need to be and my head scoffs at this.

My head laughs at superstition and takes a simple position of trying to be a good person. Be a good person, teach your children, give back to your community and do what you can to be a mensch and everything will work out.

I'll go to shul and I'll wrestle with being there. I'll think about the streets of Yerushalayim and the hike I took in Yosemite. I'll go to the bathroom and be distracted by beautiful women, by watching the young children look up in awe at their parents and by the sound of people davening. I'll sit down and consider the mysteries of Judaism and ask myself how much I really know and realize that my depth of knowledge is good, but never enough. I'll shake my head and feel like I'll never be satisfied and then I'll sigh.

And in between and throughout all of it I'll come here and write a post that started out with a serious nature and just became a stream of consciousness and wonder if I really said anything or made sense to anyone.

The New Year is coming and I feel unsettled.

A Quick Flashback Versus New Material

One of the consistent and ongoing challenges of blogging is being able to continue to post new content. There are some bloggers who refuse to post unless they think that their material is top notch and then there are others who slap any old thing up there.

I fall somewhere in the middle. It is important to me to maintain a standard and level of quality but at the same time I realize that I am not always going to look at my work and consider it be my best.

That doesn't mean that I think that I consistently posting second rate material, it is just that i understand that when you post as frequently as I do you are not going to be presenting Pulitzer prize winning material every time.

That leads in to my next point and that is a response to those bloggers who want to know how to find more material for their blog. In my experience when you are searching for something to write about you have a number of resources.
  1. Stories about your life or people you know.
  2. Searching other blogs and riffing/commenting about something that they have written.
  3. The News- Read a newspaper or website and comment on something interesting there.
Sometimes the hardest part of doing that is being able to present the material in an interesting way. I don't see anything wrong in riffing/commenting off of the work someone else did as long as you give them credit for doing it and you have created something that is unique and have not plagiarized their work.

I should add that from my perspective there is so much material out there it is hard to imagine not being able to find anything new.

I would encourage new bloggers to blog frequently because like anything else this takes practice and the more you do it the easier it becomes.

One more note. I am not adverse to providing links to older material that I think was well done. Sometimes it is worth bringing these treasures out for another glimpse in the daylight as some of them hold up quite nicely.

What do you think?


My mother remembers the Summer of '69 for many reasons. During the day my father had a full time job and at night he worked to finish his masters. In between he spent as much time as possible with my mother and his newborn son (me).

A new mother has a lot on her plate and my own was none too happy when she learned about the murders that had taken place she was less than pleased to be home alone at nights with her baby boy. But time passed and she grew more comfortable as a mother and less concerned about the various bogeyman of the night.

In time the family grew larger, a younger sister and then twin sisters joined our brood. At the grand old age of 30 my mother had four children ranging in age from 5 years-old to a little less than a month. During that time frame I went from having four grandparents and three great grandparents to just three grandparents.

Within a year the numbers adjusted again as my sole surviving great-grandfather died and my grandfather remarried. The readjusted number left me with four grandparents and two great-grandmothers.

The advantage of being the oldest of my siblings is that I remember all of the grandparents, including my dad's mom who passed away when I was just shy of three. Granted the memories I have of her are fuzzy, but they exist.

The hardest memory is trying to recall her voice. I am just not sure that I really remember it and suspect that I really don't remember it at all.

I didn't lose my great-grandmothers until I was a teenager as they lived to be about 95 and 96 respectively. It is possible that they were slightly older or younger as the recordkeeping when they were born was not as tight as it is now.

My father has a picture that was taken when I was about 11 months old. It is of my great-grandfather, grandfather, father and myself. Four generations of the men of my family.

Thirty years later my son had the privilege of being part of a similar picture as he is seated with myself, my father and grandfather. That picture is hung next to the older version. It means a lot to me and I hope that when he is older he will appreciate it.

I remember my great-grandfather but I am not old enough to have shared in the telling of stories of his youth in Lithuania. I know from his children stories of he and my great-grandmother hiding from the Cossacks. And I know the stories of his work in Chicago in helping to establish unions and tales of fist fights with the police. I wish that I could have heard them from him, but that was not to be.

For a while after my son's birth he was privileged to have five great-grandparents. We have since lost a great-grandmother and now we are down to four great-grandparents. It is a joy and a blessing that is lost upon my children but he is only five and my daughter isn't quite two so I cannot really fault them.

I do what I can to make sure that they see their great-grandparents as often as possible as I can see the sand in the hourglass running. One of my grandfathers lives with my parents now and that is an interesting situation. I watch and learn from my parents as they show what kabed et evecha veh et eemecha really means and at the same time I see the toll that it is taking upon them.

I am worried because my grandfather requires more and more assistance and taking care of him becomes less a labor of love and more like work. I do what I can to help and I try hard to ease the load for all of them.

I know that it is hard for all three of them. I cannot imagine being in a position in which my children have to care for me and it pains me sometimes to see it. It reminds me of the old saying that goes something like this:

"When a father helps a son to walk only the child cries but when a son helps a father to walk they both cry"

At the same time I am watching my mother's parents age too. It is not such an easy thing but it is the price we happily pay to be able to have kept them around for so many years. I'd write more but I have lost my muse.

So instead of continuing I am going to provide links to other posts about my grandparents.

A Grandson's Distraction

Married for More Than 70 Years

I Feel Your Pain And I Share My Own

Putting It All In Perspective

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy but sometimes life can be challenging.

Addicted to Love

Have you ever been a part of relationship in which you were physically and emotionally addicted to a person. Have you ever found yourself so enamored and enraptured in them that you can get lost for hours just thinking about them.

Have you ever enjoyed the sheer ecstasy of smelling their pillow, of basking in their scent. Have you ever been so in love that just holding their hand made you smile.

Have you ever lived a dream.

Not to Label Myself

NerdTests.com User Test: The Off the Derech Test.

Not as descriptive as I would like it to be but it will do for now.

Call me Irreverent But..

When Bob Bernstein arrived at his coffeehouse to assess the scene of an early Christmas morning break-in, the one thing he noticed missing was the cinnamon bun that bears a striking likeness to Mother Teresa.

Bernstein said he believes that the culprit is someone angry over the shop displaying the world-famous pastry, which has been preserved with shellac. A jar of money next to the Nun Bun was not stolen.

"They went right for the bun," he said. "Unfortunately I think it's somebody who wanted to take it to destroy it."

The Nun Bun gained worldwide attention in 1996 when a customer nearly took a bite of it before recognizing the revered nun in the folds of flaky pastry.

Stories like this are just begging to be made fun of. Is it just me or at least once a year do we read about someone discovering that their Fresh & Fruity Rootie tootie bears a striking resemblance to the Virgin Mary.

A couple of telephone calls later and there is a line of people in front of the IHop waiting to see what normally would have been called "left overs" and the cook is explaining that when he saw the yolk on that last egg he knew there was something different about it.

The world is a funny place.

Unsolicited Advice from A Man to Men

Hi boys,

I have spoken with a number of you recently about your troubles with the fairer sex. I don't have these conversations as often as I used to because so many of the fellas are married now. It is kind of surreal to me because ten years ago chasing girls was a major pastime.

You remember. All those parties, nights at bars, set ups and random encounters here and there. Remember how we spent hours in the gym working out and talking about silly things and so much of that was silly. I smile when I think of those moments because those were times in which I reveled in my life and my freedom. That doesn't mean that I am not happy now because I am. There is nothing better than being a father, but it is a different sort of reward and happiness.

So let us go back to my promise to share some unsolicited advice. It is free so perhaps that is an indication of the value but after a few years of living with women maybe I know a little something that will help you out.

If you really want to have something special the goal is to get inside her head and watch how you end up in her heart. You need to get her to share her thoughts on things and then really listen to what she tells you. And then you need to go from listening to hearing it.

Everyone likes to feel like they are important, that they have value and meaning. You need to let her know that she is special and that she means something to you. And then you need to do it in a way that ensures that not only does she feel special but she is secure that you see her as being special.

The only way I know how to do that is to suggest that you talk, talk, talk. Share your thoughts and feelings. Let her know what you really think and don't be afraid to be let your guard down.

There is nothing profound there. I am not the first person nor will I be the last to say any of this. All I know is that any time I have let myself go down this path. Any time I have really opened up and risked letting someone hurt me I gained something very special and precious.

So there you have it. Six minutes of free advice. It is up to you to use it or ignore it.

Call Me Prude But...

I feel really old saying this, but what the hell are they thinking.
By Stuart Patterson

HOGMANAY revellers are being urged to join in a 31-hour drinking marathon at a nightclub.

The bevvy session will last from 6pm on Hogmanay to 1.30am on January 2.

Boozers will be encouraged to drink cheap shots around the clock and prizes will be handed out for those who can stay standing throughout the promotion.
Apparently I am not the only one who sees a problem.
Last night, nightclub bosses were condemned by politicians and anti-alcohol campaigners who accused them of encouraging binge drinking.

Details of the event, at the Cube nightclub in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, were revealed after a study found nearly 40 people are drinking themselves to death in Scotland every week.

The 31-hour drinking binge will be held in the 300-capacity nightclub thanks to a special licence."

The Right Thing to Say

In the background I can hear Willie Nelson singing Always on My Mind
"Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Maybe I didn't hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I'm so happy that you're mine

If I made you feel second best
Girl I'm so sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn't died
Give me, give me one more chance to keep you satisfied, satisfied

Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind"
There is no real relevance to this song playing now other than I wanted to share it with you.

In an earlier post I blogged a bit about skills/talents that I would like to have. One of them is being able to say the right thing in every situation. It is probably more of talent than a skill, no I take that back, it is both.

Some of it I think is innate. Some people are very good about knowing what to say and how to say it. I don't feel like it is something that I am completely inept at, for that matter I suspect that I am better than many.

Nonetheless I am not a place where I can rest on my laurels so I'd like to work on this. When I first watched LA Story I was touched/struck by a number of things. Fortunately I wasn't injured by any of them.

There is a scene in the movie in which Steve Martin's girlfriend decides to leave him. What caught my eye was this little speech he gave. I don't remember it word for word but I can give you the gist. He said something like this:

"I know that there is something that I could say which would make you reconsider, that there are words I could share that would make you stop in place and not leave. So let's pretend that I said those words and go from there."

It made me smile because it was silly but there is so much truth in that comment.

Anyway one of the things that I have been trying to do is become a collector of stories so that I can always recite a couple in every situation. But there are two things that occur to me.

First, sometimes there is nothing that you can say. There are no words or deeds that will be appropriate and those moments are times in which silence is the appropriate response.

The other issue is knowing how to deliver those stories. If you cannot tell a story in a way that people find compelling it just doesn't matter.

I figure that about a week before I am scheduled to die I'll become an expert in this. Until then I'll fumble about like everyone else.

Saturday Night Roundup

Ok folks it is time for your Saturday night roundup and a couple of thoughts to share.

My son is trying to sing along to King Without a Crown and is getting a little frustrated because "that guy talks too fast."

My daughter almost made me cry. She ran up to me and hugged my leg. When I bent down to pick her up she said "Da da, love you" and then she kissed me. That is the first time that she has said "love you" to me. Not that I ever doubted it, but it just caught me off guard. A plesant surprise.

My son played his own role in making my evening. I was carrying him in from the car, his head lay on my shoulder and he snored gently in my ear. When I lay him down in his bed he woke up and called to me. "Daddy, I need my special blessing." My heart almost burst. One of my goals is for my children to understand just how important that blessing is to me and to make it important to them. It is a sign of my love and I want for them to desire it when they are 130, not for my ego but because it is one of those special things that they share only with me.

Anyway, on to the roundup:

Merry Xmas

Music of The Evening

Math- What Is It Good For

I Must Not Be Symmetrical

Blast From The Past:

Some Things I'll Teach My Children

Merry Xmas

For those of you who celebrate it, have a happy holiday.

Music of The Evening

For those who are wondering this is what I listened to this evening. Here is the list.
Fins Jimmy Buffett Songs You Know By Heart
Stuck in a Moment You can't get out of U2 All that you can't leave behind
Time Stand Still Rush Retrospective II (1981-1987)
Disarm Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream
Diamond Dogs David Bowie Changesbowie
Ruby Ray Charles Ray Charles Super Hits
Watching The World david broza David Broza
In God's Country U2 Joshua Tree
Down On Me Big Brother And The Holding Company Sony Music 100 Years
Under The Sea Samuel E. Wright Classic Disney Vol. 1:
Pretty Thing Bo Diddley Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You Sting Ten Summoner's Tales
Nice Work If You Can Get Billie Holiday Jazz Masters 12
Open Letter (To A Landlord) Living Colour Vivid
Mothers Talk Tears For Fears Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92)
Same Old Song And Dance Aerosmith Aerosmith's Greatest Hits
Kolhaoloam Moshe Skier Band Moshe Skier Band
That Smell Lynyrd Skynyrd Skynyrd's Innyrds
Boom Boom John Lee Hooker Urban Blues (Bonus Tracks)
Behind Blue Eyes The Who Who's Next
Who Said I Would Phil Collins No Jacket Required
Get Up (Sex Machine) James Brown 20 All Time Greatest Hits!
I Shot the Sheriff Eric Clapton The Best Of Rock 'n Soul
Non Ti Scordar Di Me Luciano Pavarotti The Three Tenors In Concert 1994
Subdivisions Rush Retrospective II (1981-1987)
For Whom The Bells Tolls Metallica S&M (Disc 2)
Secret World Peter Gabriel Secret World Live
Ripple Grateful Dead American Beauty
Insanity Oingo Boingo Boingo
Crazy Train Ozzy Osbourne The Ozzman Cometh
W*O*L*D Harry Chapin The Gold Metal Collection
What's The Matter Here? 10,000 Maniacs In My Tribe
Double Trouble Lynyrd Skynyrd Skynyrd's Innyrds
Isadora david broza David Broza
The Leave Taking Howard Shore The Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers)
One Step Beyond... Madness Just Say Yesterday (Vol. VI Of Just Say Yes)
I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby Barry White
New York State Of Mind Billy Joel The Essential Billy Joel (Disc 1)
Take A Chance On Me ABBA Gold
Shooting Star Bad Company 10 From 6
We Gotta Get Out Of This Place The Animals The Best Of The Animals
The Painted Desert 10,000 Maniacs In My Tribe
China Girl David Bowie Changesbowie
Anakin vs. Obi-Wan John Williams Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Piper's Welcome Various Artists Celtic Bagpipes
Beds Are Burning Midnight Oil Rock: The Train Kept A Rollin'
Rebel Yell Billy Idol Greatest Hits
Always On My Mind Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson VH1 Storytellers:
Don't Give Up Peter Gabriel So
Crystal Ship The Doors Best Of The Doors (Disc 1)
Those Were the Days The Three Tenors The Three Tenors In Concert 1994
Conviction Of The Heart Kenny Loggins Outside: From The Redwoods [Live]
Sweet Thing Van Morrison Best Of Van Morrison
Lean on Me Bill Withers Bill Withers: Super Hits
Tight Rope Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Greatest Hits
Have I Told You Lately Van Morrison Best Of Van Morrison
Tomorrow People Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers Conscious Party
Yesterday The Beatles 1
Where The Streets Have No Name U2 Joshua Tree
Mexicali Blues Grateful Dead The Best Of Skeletons From The Closet
Synchronicity II The Police Synchronicity
Here Comes The Night Van Morrison Best Of Van Morrison
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window The Beatles Abbey Road
It Should Have Been Me Ray Charles The Birth Of Soul Vol. 1
Golden Slumbers The Beatles Abbey Road
King For A Day The Thompson Twins Greatest Mixes:
Roller Derby Queen Jim Croce Greatest Hits
Cry Faith Hill
San Jacinto Peter Gabriel Shaking the Tree
Angel Sarah McLachlan Surfacing
The Diva Megamix Bonus Track Pure Disco, Vol. 2
Sorrow The Lyndhurst Orchestra Gladiator Soundtrack
Givin The Dog A Bone AC/DC Back In Black
(You're The) Devil In Disguise Elvis Presley Elv1s 30 #1 Hits
New Years Day U2 Under a Blood Red Sky/Live
Black Coffee In Bed Squeeze Singles 45's And Under
Baby Please Don't Go Van Morrison Best Of Van Morrison
Going Back to Cali LL Cool J iTunes Originals - LL Cool J
Peace Train Cat Stevens Greatest Hits
Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd Goin' South
O-o-h Child The Five Stairsteps The First Family of Soul
Walk Away Renee Left Banke 1966: The Beat Goes On
Delta Lady Joe Cocker Joe Cocker
Athair Ar Neamh Enya The Memory Of Trees
Wild Sex (In The Working Class) Oingo Boingo Best O' Boingo
Everlasting Love Carl Carlton Pure Disco, Vol. 2
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin [Disc 2]
When We Dance Sting Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984-1994
A Night In Tunisia Ella Fitzgerald Ken Burns Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald
Tom Sawyer Rush Retrospective II (1981-1987)
Unchain My Heart 1961 Ray Charles His Greatest Hits uh huh (Disc 1)
Theme From Mortal Kombat Utah Saints Mortal Kombat Soundtrack
Time Has Come Today Chambers Bros. Sony Music 100 Years -
All Of You Tony Bennett Unplugged
Jumpin' In The Morning Ray Charles The Birth Of Soul Vol. 1
Please Don't Go K.C. & The Sunshine Band The Best Of KC And Sunshine Band
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill The Beatles
Come Together The Beatles Abbey Road
Battle Of The Heroes John Williams Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
I Don't Wanna Talk about it Indigo Girls Philadelphia Soundtrack
Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication
All I Ask of You The Three Tenors The Three Tenors In Concert 1994
My Way Frank Sinatra The Very Best Of Frank Sinatra (Disc 2)
Ain't That a Kick in the Head Dean Martin Swingin' With Dino

Math- What Is It Good For

Math- What Is It Good For. It reminds me of Edwin Starr singing War. I suppose that I could write a good parody of this using math as the topic but I am not that motivated.

In school I found math to be less than interesting. It could be because I reached a point at which it became relatively hard and the struggle to keep up impacted my desire to learn or it could be because some of my math teachers were less than stellar.

I suspect that it was a combination of the two. I wasn't the best student but I wasn't horrible either. Early on I figured out how to job the session or in plain English I was smart enough to be able get by with relatively little studying. Most the courses were easy and unless I was really challenged I coasted.

It was a mistake but that is part of growing up, learning from your mistakes that is. The ease with which most of my courses came to me was not useful for math because I found that I couldn't coast and it irked me. My fragile male ego was bruised by this and in conjunction with some instructors who were less than dynamic I found those classes to be difficult.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It is easy to look back at our mistakes and say that given the same scenario we would have handled things differently but I am honest enough to say that if I had to do it all over again I would still struggle. But I can also say that my struggles would be different.

One of the things that is very important to me is that my children not struggle in the same way. I can't say what kind of math ability they will receive. I got an 'A' in Algebra and muddled my way through Geometry and Algebra II receiving a 'C' in those courses. Had I had more motivation I could have done better, but I didn't and here I sit now.

My children have two uncles who can provide solid examples of what math can do for you. One is an astrophysicist and the other and MD. They both love math and find it very simple to provide real world examples of the benefits of math and that is a key area.

Had someone really spoken to me about the ways in which math could make life easier I would have most likely paid closer attention, or maybe not. What I know now is that I can get by the rough spots and to do fairly well with everything else

I Must Not Be Symmetrical

Live Science has an interesting article about dancing.

"Many people are attracted to hot dancers, and a new study suggests part of the reason is because their bodies are more symmetrical than those of the less coordinated.

The researchers found that men judged to be better dancers tended to have a higher degree of body symmetry, a factor that has been linked to overall attractiveness and health in other research .

The new study involved 183 Jamaican teenagers, ranging between 14-19 years old, who danced while their movements were captured using motion-capture cameras similar to those used in video games and movies to give computer-generated characters fluid movements.

Women watching the recordings preferred the dances of men who were more symmetrical, while men were more impressed by the dances of more symmetric females.

Women are pickier

Interestingly, the male preference for symmetric females was not as strong as that of the female preference for symmetric males. This seems to confirm the theory that women are pickier when selecting a mate, since they bear most of the burden of raising a child, the researchers say.

According to the researchers, their study is the first of its type.

Regular videotape or film can't separate the dance from what the people look like, said study member Lee Cronk, an anthropologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "With motion capture, we can do that and get just pure dance movements."

All of us have asymmetries in our bodies. The index finger on one hand might be longer than the other, for example, or the left foot may be slightly larger than the right. Researchers call these fluctuating asymmetries, or FA.

According to one hypothesis, FA is an indicator of an individual's ability to cope with the stresses and pressures associated with body development.

"As you're developing, all sorts of things come at you, like diseases and injury," Cronk told LiveScience. "If you're able to develop symmetry despite all of that, then that would indicate to others that you have what it takes to make a go of it in that environment."

Stuff to Read

Friday Is International Lurker's Day

Blogging With Reckless Abandon

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Matisyahu Video

Misguided Notion about War

Bush's Most Recent Press Conference

Search Terms You Used to Find Me

A Couple of Past Post's to Look at Again:

The Car Salesman

On the outside looking in

Friday Is International Lurker's Day

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen International Lurker's Day has returned and in observance we are asking all lurkers to post a short note here, or at least a hello.

Please note that regular posters are welcome to comment as well.

Blogging With Reckless Abandon

That is me. I blog with reckless abandon. I wade out into the surf and brave the swells. Out in the mighty blogosphere I float weightlessly, stare at the sky and let the current take me where it may.

Sometimes the posts are political and some are personal. Some are funny and some are sad and the worst part is that sometimes the posts are these things but the intent is otherwise.

My father used to be a fan of photography. In truth I suppose that he is still is but I don't see him engaging in it as much as he used to. Not that it matters. The point of mentioning this is that I remember being about ten and listening to him advise me on how to take pictures.

Among the many things that he taught me was to remove the bad pictures from the album as it was a way to help maintain me appear to be a better photographer. Of course at that time he was kind enough not to point out that a large number of my photos had fingerprints, or should I say my fingers in them even when they were not part of the shot.

I could apply the same concept here. I could remove posts that don't maintain a certain level of quality but that doesn't feel right to me, there is something that rubs me the wrong way. It is probably because this is my virtual fortress of solitude and I come here to be honest. I share my real feelings about everything.

From that perspective I should add that I am finding my end of the year recap to be tough. I am having trouble narrowing down the posts that will be included and even then I am finding that I don't like a lot of what I am reading.

Earlier this evening my son decided that he wanted to blog. He sat down in my seat and pretended to type. It is my understanding that he and I went on a number of adventures together. We helped Shaggy, Scooby and Don Knotts solve a few mysteries.

I helped Spiderman capture bad guys. It seems that Spiderman was really tired so he asked me to fill in. One bad guy was brought to justice because I punched him in the nose and made him cry. Another got a potch and a swift kick in the pants. I would have gotten the other guy but according to the little boss the bad guy is friends with Wally Gator so he is actually a good guy.

Thanks to the wonders of Boomerang my son is indeed familiar with a few older cartoon characters such as the aforementioned Gator, Wonderbug, Johnny Quest, Magilla Gorilla and Scooby Doo. And thanks to Scooby Doo he is familiar with Big Mama Cass, Don Knotts, Jerry Reed and a host of other celebrities last seen finishing their careers on The Love Boat.

A few more random notes.

The Shmata Queen has some fun stuff you can find linked on my blog but more importantly the woman is desperately searching for a new camera. I'll be taking a short vacation soon. I am not sure yet whether I will be blogging my way through it or if I'll be taking a short break.

I'll keep you posted as to what happens.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Gail tipped me off to this one.

Matisyahu Video

King Without a Crown- It seems a little iPodish to me but I enjoyed it. But I have to say that I was less impressed with this performance. It might be because of the studio work that went into some of the other versions.

Misguided Notion about War

So the comments and criticisms continue to fly from around the blogosphere. Old Jack is a mean old man who refuses to say Merry Xmas and because of this I have been called Scrooge, asshole, jerk and accused of being Anti Christ.

Personally I would prefer to be the AntiChrist in which case I would squash like bugs those 17 of you who make silly comments about what I term an imaginary war on Xmas.

Now before you begin frothing at the mouth I want to address a couple of points and ask some questions.

I dislike using the term war because I think that it is important not to devalue or cheapen words unnecessarily. Not to mention that right now there are thousands of men and women in the armed forces who are truly at war and harms way.

They are mothers/fathers/sisters and brothers and some of them are coming home in body bags. It doesn't seem right to me to use a term like war for a cultural squabble.

It also seems strange to me that people are upset because Johnny the clerk at Target that you never met before doesn't say Merry Xmas. How does this negatively impact you and in light of all the people who have real trouble what is the significance here.

Because in truth this seems really insignificant. And as far as Johnny the clerk at Target goes there is nothing saying that you cannot wish them a Merry Xmas or all of the people around you.

Unless you live in a community that has some sort of community bylaws regarding how you can paint/decorate your home there is no reason why you cannot erect a creche on your front lawn or decorate in some fashion.

There are entire neighborhoods filled with Xmas decorations. You can't get away from it. The malls and radios are filled with Xmas music and there is a federal holiday on which most people will be on holiday yet people claim that there is a war on Xmas.

I don't get it and I don't believe it. I just don't. Want to discuss hard times go talk to someone who lost their home in Katrina or the kid whose daddy isn't ever coming home again. But give this other stuff a rest.

Bush's Most Recent Press Conference

If you want to know what happened then you have to click here.

Search Terms You Used to Find Me

significance of celebrating anniversaries
happy holidays in different languages
list of africa's most dangerous animals
g-d what does it mean?
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annoying toys

My Daughter

Every day when I come home from work I am greeted with a big smile, a hug and the words "Da Da."

I change from my work clothes into something more comfortable and go sit down on the couch. Within a moment of my sitting down my baby girl walks over and crawls into my lap.

Tonight I sent her mother out with the girls and the children and I had an evening together. We read some stories and did what daddys and kids do. The kitchen is a mess and the house is a wreck but it was fun.

That sweet little girl has a cough and a cold. Tonight she fell asleep lying across my chest, her head on my shoulder. Listening to a tiny snore I couldn't stop smiling. As she lay there sleeping there was a commercial in which a father gave his daughter away at a wedding.

It must have caught my attention because my son asked me why I looked so sad. She is only 17 months so there are years and years to go before she gets married but for a moment I was sad. For a moment it was hard to think that at some point in time my little girl would have another man in her life. I am not ready.

But like I said I have a good long time before I have to worry about that happening.

Things That Keep Me Awake At Night

Some of the things that keep me up at night are serious and some are not so serious. Here is a brief sample. By no means are they in order of importance.

It is 1987 and I am on my high school swim team. We are at City Finals and I am competing in the 100 yard breast stroke. I swim in two different heats and end up tied for 24 in the city. Don't ask me how many because I don't remember and I know that there were a bunch who weren't able to qualify for the finals.

I underwent Lasik five years ago but back then I was half blind. I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to really see what I was doing if I couldn't have moved up closer to the top ten. I missed out on being part of the top twenty by around a second.

Public school versus private school. This is one that I agonize over. All I want to do is give my children the best in everything. I want them to have all of the advantages that I didn't have, but it is so very hard. I roll around in bed from side to side and pace the halls wondering what the right decision is.

I still wonder if I could be a gold medalist in the Olympics. Sometimes I sit and review the various events and wonder if I am good enough to make the team in something. Is there some obscure event that fewer people compete in and if so how do I match up.

Or maybe I have a connection that I could leverage. Maybe I could be the representative for the Grand Republic of Mastorinstan. I'd be happy to carry the flag and march in by myself during the Opening Ceremonies. I'd even create a national anthem.

Alternatively I sometimes try and create some kind of sport that I could introduce to the world. As the inventor/creator I just might be able to be good enough to make the team that way. You never know, it could happen. Look at the Jamaican bobsledding team.

Am I the man I want to and should be? This is another one of those things that I sometimes consider. It started around 24 or 25. I hadn't been out of school all that long and I found myself working with a bunch of people who just seemed to have no moral compass and I wondered what they got out of life.

And then I asked myself if I was who I want to be. Now the question is what do you want to be when you grow up.

What invention is the world in desperate need of and how can I create it? I have a pretty good imagination. Sometimes I think that if I just really let go of my grounded personality and walked in the clouds I'd stumble over or onto some amazing idea. Actually it doesn't have to be amazing, just interesting enough to become a useful product. I could have been the guy that invented Post-it notes.

At one point in time I thought about taking the old edible underwear idea and expanding it so that all of your clothes would be edible. They could even have different flavors. Your shirt could be chocolate, belt vanilla and your socks could taste like pumpkin pie. Who knows, the possibilities would be virtually endless.

If someone told you to "eat his shorts" you might just consider it, or maybe not.

The Risk of Playing with Your Balls

Ellison has the answer to this question.

Mexico Promises to Block Border Wall Plan

"MEXICO CITY Dec 20, 2005 — The Mexican government, angered by a U.S. proposal to extend a wall along the border to keep out migrants, pledged Tuesday to block the plan and organize an international campaign against it.

Facing a growing tide of anti-immigrant sentiment north of the border, the Mexican government has taken out ads urging Mexican workers to denounce rights violations in the United States. It also is hiring an American public relations firm to improve its image and counter growing U.S. concerns about immigration.

Mexican President Vicente Fox denounced the U.S. measures, passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, as "shameful" and his foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, echoed his complaints on Tuesday.

"Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall," Derbez said.

"What has to be done is to raise a storm of criticism, as is already happening, against this," he said, promising to turn the international community against the plan.

Some stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border are already marked by fences, but in some heavily-trafficked sections walls have already been erected by the United States, often using 10-foot-high sections of military surplus steel. Those sections, which typically run several miles, can be found in southern Arizona and California.

It's hard to underestimate the ill-feeling the proposal has generated in Mexico, where editorial pages are dominated by cartoons of Uncle Sam putting up walls bearing anti-Mexican messages.

Many Mexicans, especially those who have spent time working in the U.S., feel the proposal is a slap in the face to those who work hard and contribute to the U.S. economy."

Is it just me or is there something very very wrong with Vincente Fox. Maybe I am crazy, maybe he is not the president of of Mexico. Oy.

I have mixed feelings about the border issue and immigration but given the current situation I think that we need to establish more security so that we know who is going in and out of here.

I was rather disturbed by some of the following comments, specifically the final quote.

"Many Mexicans, especially those who have spent time working in the U.S., feel the proposal is a slap in the face to those who work hard and contribute to the U.S. economy.

Fernando Robledo, 42, of the western state of Zacatecas, says the proposals could stem migration and disrupt families by breaking cross-border ties.

"When people heard this, it worried everybody, because this will affect everybody in some way, and their families," Robledo said. "They were incredulous. How could they do this, propose something like this?"

Robledo, whose son and mother are U.S. citizens, predicted the measure "would unleash conflict within the United States" as small businesses fail for lack of workers.

He said many Mexicans felt betrayed by the anti-immigrant sentiment.

"We learned to believe in the United States. We have a binational life," he said of Zacatecas, a state that has been sending migrants north for more than a century. "It isn't just a feeling of rejection. It's against what we see as part of our life, our culture, our territory."

Ultimately I think that a pluralistic multicultural society is a good thing. There are many hard working immigrants who have helped to make this country what it is, but I am not going to agree with a sentiment in which the US is referred to as Mexican territory as it was by Robledo.

This is just the height of chutzpah.

Fall in love and risk a police thrashing

"NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Outrage and protests mounted in India Wednesday after TV channels showed police officers repeatedly slapping, punching and pulling the hair of young women on a date in a public park in a north Indian city. Indian media reported one couple was so humiliated by the police action in front of TV crews they have not returned home.

"Is falling in love wrong? Who gave the police the right to beat and hit people and misbehave in such a manner," a woman in Meerut city in Uttar Pradesh state told Aaj Tak television news.

Since Tuesday, shocked TV viewers in India have been watching images of female officers pummelling and abusing crying young women in Meerut in what the media is calling "moral policing."

TV footage also showed male policemen with sticks surrounding the scared women and taking them to women officers who beat them. Several of their male companions were beaten also.

The police operation, termed "operation Romeo," in a popular park in Meerut Monday was touted by police as a move to prevent sexual harassment of women.

It turned out to be something very different.

In Meerut, students shouting "Down with police dictatorship" have staged demonstrations and burned effigies of police officers.

The outcry, including from women groups, has forced the police to suspend two women officers and probe the incident.'

There is something very wrong with this.

Pallywood Posts

 I think a bunch of the posts about Pallywood that have been written and or linked here have to be updated. Probably a bunch of bad links, k...