"One Post to rule them all, One Post to find them,"

"One Post to rule them all, One Post to find them,
One Post to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

Thus spaketh Jack, Bishop of Bullfrog and traveler in cyberspace. I am not a hobbit, a dwarf nor an elf. I am not from Numenor. No will confuse me with a balrog or Gandalf. I am just a blogger.

It is Saturday night and I am going to try and hang up my spikes for the rest of the year. Instead of spending hours trying to prepare a complete end of the year post I am going to spend a little time listing some posts of mine (there are around 1,000) from this past year. They may not be my best, but they are those that caught my eye this final Saturday night of 2006.

Obsessed With the Blogroll
The Many Layers of Hell

Blog Disappointment

Women and the Look of Death
Charlie's Angels- Child of the '70s
You Just Aren't that Funny
Commenting on Comments
A Question of Faith
My Daughter's Favorite Book


A Boy Named Mookie
The Olympics- Snowboarding and My Age
Valentine's Day Should Be Banned
What Do You Know About Me
Where I Come From
^@^@$$^^* Voicemail- Another Rant
It Would Have Been Great
Sounds of My Youth
Just More Ranting


American Inventor
Teach Your Boy to Pee Like a Man
He Stole My Lunch
When your Favorite Blog Suddenly Goes Bad
The Talking Penis- A New Bathroom Adventure
My Bill Collecting Service
**A Question For the Readers**
Afraid to Say Goodbye
Things Men Do


How Do You Make a Baby?
Comic Books Find Religion
Cookie Gives Shaft a Run For The Money
What I Fear
How Do I Respond to This?
The Hokey Pokey Versus The Bunny Hop
Wondrous Places & Things
The Boys
Horror Movies- No Sound Equals No Fear
Women and Shoes


The Dodgers of My Youth- That Infield
Laws of return: diasporas as part of the state community
Diaper Changing Dilemma
How To Build More Traffic to Your Blog
Yom Yerushalayim
How To Deal With Angry Canadians
I Want A Castle
Darth Vader Reports- Death Star Destroyed
The US Civil War- Old Photos
My Son Speaks to G-d But He Doesn't Answer
What Do You Call Your Blog?


My Grandfather Laid Tefillin

Thoughts About My Grandfather
The Couple That Pees Together
Eliyahu Asheri Deserved Better
Dear Soccer Hating American
Pictures, Videos and Memories
The Bearer of Bad Tidings- One Less Set of Footsteps
No, You Cannot Cancel AOL
The Father Leans On The Son
A Father's Day Post
Father’s Love Their Daddies Too
I Don't Always Believe In Happy Endings


Why Don't We Hear About Israeli Refugees?
'He who cannot defend Liberty does not deserve Liberty'
You Are How You Camp
A Soldier Says Tefilat Ha-Derech
Three Days in Israel- Graphic Images
Do The Dead Walk In Dreams
A Little SchoolHouse Rock
It Was a Bad Date
Because They Can't Steal Our Kids


A Secret For My Children
Frum & Gay
The Ginsu Knife
My Parents Purchased Cemetery Plots
Japanese Chair Ejector Video
Grandpa Is Still Gone
Eicha- An Aching Heart Mumbles


Do You Have An Accent?
My Theme Song
And That Is The Way that it Was- A New Year's Reflection
Seinfeld in Prison
The Pain In My Grandfather's Eyes
The Birthday Party Dilemma
The Phone Sex Surprise
How To Tell The Sex of a Bird
As The Bodies Fell- He Played
Morality Without Religion- A Comment to The Self-Righteous


Did You Listen to Abba?
Does Blogging Make You Feel Obligated?
A Little Notoriety For The Shack
How Stonehenge Was Built
Blogging Can Help You Make/Lose Friends
He Put a Gun To My Head
Who Would You Rather Be?
Twenty Five Years of Torah Reading


I Hate The Holiday Season
Movies Use The Same Scream Sound Effect
The Moon Is Following Us
My Brother- A Lesson in Simple Physics
Why The Baal Teshuva World Irritates Me
Israel & The Next War
It is a Useful Talent
My New Haircut
How Long Will You Keep On Blogging?
I think that I am going to pass on doing a December roundup. A safe and happy new year to you all.

Shouldn't That Be Merman

You Are a Mermaid

You are a total daydreamer, and people tend to think you're flakier than you actually are.
While your head is often in the clouds, you'll always come back to earth to help someone in need.
Beyond being a caring person, you are also very intelligent and rational.
You understand the connections of the universe better than almost anyone else.

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs

From GoodEgg.com for those who need to know:
"Extremely fresh eggs will not peel easily. In fact, an egg that is just a day or two old is almost impossible to peel. As eggs age, the shells will peel more easily. It is advisable that eggs used for hard cooking (including Easter Eggs) be at least 2 weeks old before cooking for easiest peeling. Hard cooked eggs that are cooked slowly over low heat (and not ‘boiled’) will be more difficult to peel.

1. Place eggs in a saucepan with enough COLD tap water to cover completely by 1 inch. Bring to a ROLLING boil over HIGH heat. Once the water is brought to a rolling boil, PROMPTLY reduce heat to a lower medium boil and cook an additional 10 minutes for a “hard boiled” egg. For a “soft boiled” egg reduce the time by a few minutes.

2. Remove from heat and IMMEDIATELY place eggs under ice cold water or in a bowl of ICED water to chill promptly to help yolks stay bright yellow. Chill for a few minutes in the cold water until the egg is completely cooled. This is an extremely important step which prevents the greenish “ring” from forming on the surface of the yolk over time. If the egg is not chilled immediately after cooking an unsightly dark greenish ring will eventually appear on the outside of the yolk."

Saddam Hussein Execution Video

If you are interested in viewing the video Beth has it here.

Studying For Bar Mitzvah Aids Football Player

Some of what makes Taylor Mays a precociously talented safety for USC can be traced back to when he was 13.

There were months of intense study. Repetitive practice. And memorization of every nuance of his responsibilities. Mays was preparing for his bar mitzvah.

The experience of reading from the Torah shaped him in ways he did not anticipate, ways that have helped him thrive as a person and an athlete.

"I don't think at the time I really understood what that meant," Mays said of the ceremony that is a Jewish rite of passage into adulthood. "Now, looking back on it, I feel like I have come a long way in regard to maturity and becoming an adult.

"I think that helped me do it."
For the full story click here.

Blog Questions We Ask Ourselves

Originally posted here

The title of this post is a bit presumptuous because I am assuming that I am not the only blogger to ask these questions, or maybe I am.

1) If you are an anonymous blogger would the loss of your anonymity stop you from blogging? Golda Leah touched upon this in her post today and many other bloggers have dealt with it.

My own anonymity has been compromised and I simply refuse to stop writing because this is outlet means a lot to me. I am appreciative of the community I have become a part of and happy that I have been given the opportunity to learn.

But there is no doubt that the removal of the veil changes a blogger's approach. What do you think?

2) Many blogs have regulars, you know they are the commenters that show up on most if not all of the posts. Sometimes those commenters disappear. Do you wonder where they went? Do you wonder if they think that your blog has jumped the shark, if you upset them or if there is some other explanation for why they have forsaken you.

3) Do you ever wonder what the shelf life of your blog is? That is, how long will you be able to keep you going/how long do you want to keep going?

I readily admit to all of these, but I have to say that I my smallest concern is how long I can keep this up. I don't have a problem coming up with content. The big question is how much of my evening I want to dedicate to this.

If you enjoyed this or are curious to read my other rambling remarks about blogging try reviewing the posts on the blogging drop down menu such as

Blogging for Ego, For Experience, For What
Do you Have Blog Envy?
How Many Blogs Do You Read?

Old Posts Versus New Content

A few more housekeeping notes. From time to time I republish some old posts based. This is done based upon some arbitrary criteria.
  1. I evaluate the post and determine whether it makes more sense to refer back to it in a new post. Sometimes it does and sometimes it is better to let it stand on its own.
  2. Sometimes I feel that the post didn't get a fair shake and it is worth putting it out there again.
  3. I don't remember ever running out of things to blog about. However there are times where I just don't feel like putting in the effort to produce something new. Yes, your host is sometimes lazy.
And there you have the short version of how I determine what to do. Any questions?

Old Saturday Night Live Skits

I just learned that NBC has placed many of its SNL videos online. You can find them here. It appears that they cover multiple seasons. I just watched the Buckwheat Has Been Shot news reports for the first time in years, as well as some other good bits.

"Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger."

On a sad side note, how many of these guys are gone now. Belushi, Radner, Hartman and Farley.

The Apprentice Just Jumped The Shark

I used to be a fan of The Apprentice but now I am not so sure. They have made some foolish changes.

If you never watched the show the premise was very simple. Contestants engaged in various tasks hoping to win a position as an employee of one of Donald Trump's companies. Typically the contestants were presented with various business challenges and given limited time and money to try and develop the best possible solution.

It was enjoyable to watch them compete and every now and then you might pick up an idea that you could incorporate into your own business.

The first five seasons were all held in Manhattan. Being a big fan of LA I was excited to see that season six is going to be held in my hometown. And then I read about some of the changes.
In a compelling social experiment of haves and have nots, contestants this season will have to earn the right to live like Trump. Each week, the contestants on the winning team will get to live in a luxurious mansion. But contestants on the losing team will have to sleep outside in tents in the back yard of the mansion with outdoor showers and port-a-potties, giving contestants more incentive than ever to win their tasks each week.
Talk about marketing BS. A compelling social experiment? My ass. Leave the Survivor elements where they belong, in Survivor. I see this as detracting from the show. Just my two cents.

It Said Some Assembly Required

In the aftermath of the holidays I think that I can speak for both Jewish and Christian parents when I say that I view gifts that have the words Some Assembly Required on the box in the same way that I view a colonoscopy.

If you are familiar with the preparation for a colonoscopy you can probably appreciate just how exciting I find this to be:
Thorough cleansing of the bowel is necessary before a colonoscopy. You will likely be asked to take a laxative the night before the procedure. In some cases you may be asked to give yourself an enema. An enema is performed by inserting a bottle with water and sometimes a mild soap in your anus to clean out the bowels.
Any time you are required to shove something up an into a place that's primary use is an exit for waste you can be certain that the experience is going to be something that is less than pleasurable.

If you are the nervous type you might find that your doctor/friends try and gloss over the discomfort by saying that one day this is going to make a great story. That is code for saying that you are about to get fucked. Now I don't know about you, but I liked to be kissed before I am fucked.

Call me a sentimental old fool, or just naive but I am funny that way. Back to the topic at hand.

My children were the beneficiaries of a number of gifts that included the curse words I mentioned above, mind you in very small print. Said small print was placed right next to the gigantic photo of kids using said toy.

Of course my kids never notice the fine print. All they see is the picture of other children having more fun than they can imagine leading them to shriek with joy at the thought of being able to use the same toy.

It doesn't take much imagination to see how this goes. Good old dad pulls the gift out of the box and with great gusto attempts to understand the schematic that serves as instructions for assembly. Said schematic usually is written in four languages, none of which are English and none of which I speak.

Fortunately I am relatively handy. It may take a little while, but I manage to assemble the toy in question. What I want to know is why do I always find myself holding three extra parts.
It makes me wonder if the engineer that designed these things might be related to me because I am diabolical enough to intentionally include a couple useless extra parts for the sole purpose of causing parents to curse.

Hmmm...I wonder if karma is kicking me in the ass.

Chain Email Letters

The next person who sends me a chain email letter in which they threaten me with bad luck for not passing along their stupid fucking message is going to get blasted by me.

Blame my bad humor on the time of year, time of month or whatever makes sense to you. I don't care. What I do know is that I despise these simplistic and moronic notes that promise me three wishes, true love and world peace, but only if I send the note along to the next 30 people in my address book.

If you are sending these notes out then you are a spammer and not even a honest spammer. Hell, a real spammer just goes out and sends off these missives promising pills that will give me an eternal erection, stock tips, lotto winner and the 1,002,876 requests from kind hearted souls who need my help in securing money by helping to perpetuate fraud.

At least those jackasses send these things out knowing that it is a flat out lie.

You others just fill my inbox with stupid crap and think that if we only held hands and sang Kumbaya war would immediately cease. Let's get a few things straight.
  1. If you think that George Bush is the world's biggest terrorist you are just short of delusional. Ok, that is probably unfair but the moral ambiguity you demonstrate with comments like that is frightening.
  2. Telling me that the death toll in Iraq now exceeds 911 is not significant or meaningful. Place it in some kind of context and maybe it makes sense.
  3. Telling me that the war in Iraq has now outlasted the time it took to fight WWII lacks the same meaning and significance as the item in number 2.
  4. Captain Kirk still kicks Picard's ass.
  5. New Coke was a terrible mistake.
  6. So was Caddyshack II.
I am too hungry to try and come up with anything else for this list. The well has gone dry. Must get some meat for my belly. More blogging later.

General Housekeeping Notes.

I set up Things I Want To Remember as a storehouse for blog posts and thoughts. The thought was that it would be an easier way for me to be organized, at least as far as blogging is concerned.

However for a variety of reasons I haven't been able to keep it going. So now I find myself at the tail end of the year wondering if I should delete the whole freaking thing.

On the other hand I just might try to use it to produce another recap of the past year in blogging.

I am still debating as to what to do about Fragments of Fiction. Do I really need both blogs to make this thing happen. The answer is no. I have been holding off nuking one or the other for sentimental reasons.

Former President Ford dies at 93

RANCHO MIRAGE, California (CNN) -- Former President Gerald Ford, who became president in 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon, died Tuesday at age 93.

Ford, the oldest surviving former U.S. president, died peacefully at 6:45 p.m. PT (9:45 p.m. ET) Tuesday at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, according to a statement from his office. The cause of death was not given.

Thank you for your service.

My Next Job

My next job will be driving one of these bad boys all around the country. I'll be the most popular guy at every stadium.

On the other hand maybe I'll just opt to pick up one of the other bad boys listed at:

Top 10 Coolest BBQ Grills (And Then Some!)

10 Most Bizarre People on Earth

The list is here.

Some Posts That Are Worth Looking At Again

When you are as prolific as I am it is easy for posts to get lost in the shuffle. Here are some links/comments about a few that are worth looking at again.
What Are Your Favorite Song Lyrics?-I Love Music

The Day School Dilemma- Paying For Private School -If you are a parent then you are going to have to think long and hard about education. It is a tough decision.

PostSecret- Just because.

Children of the '70s Raise Your Hands
- Whoa.

The Salvation Army Bell Ringer Doesn't Like Me - I need to write part two.

Our Most Effective Man In The War On Terror- I can't believe that this didn't receive more comments.

The Agony of Defeat- Vinko Bogataj- Vinko deserves more notoriety.

The Latest Dispatch from Daniel Gordis- Worth a second look.

The Paradox of Choice and the Secret to Happiness- Outstanding

And the most popular post of December having received more than 1,000 visits in the last week:

A Full Metal Christmas

Anger- Do You Identify With These Lyrics?

"Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should"
Not Ready To Make Nice -Dixie Chicks

Would You Turn Down A Billion Dollar Offer?

AT 22, Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, is being labelled as the next Bill Gates. But even the Microsoft founder might have hesitated before blowing the chance of a $1.6 billion (£819m) offer for his fledgling business.

Zuckerberg, founder of the Facebook social networking website, has told Yahoo!, the internet giant, that $1 billion is not enough to sell out. Now leaked documents suggest that Yahoo! was willing to raise its bid to $1.6 billion.

Facebook, which he launched as a service for Harvard students in 2004, has become the seventh busiest website on the internet, and with 13m users is the second biggest social network in America.

It has also become popular on British campuses, partly because it allows users to ensure that only people from their own university or place of work are put in touch.

However, it has also been blamed for carrying abuse about students and tutors. In one case, an Oxford University don found that someone had created a false profile in his name, claiming that he had been a member of the Hitler Youth. Although Facebook does have a facility to report unpleasant comments, few universities have the resources to patrol its pages.

There have also been warnings that students who post embarrassing personal material on the site could find it being used against them by future employers.

Zuckerberg cultivates the appearance of a dishevelled student but he keeps a tight grip on his company. He used to hand out business cards which said “I’m CEO . . . bitch” and has joked that the company is aiming for “world domination”.

His stake in the company is thought to be about 30%, worth $500m at the highest of Yahoo!’s valuations. Industry sources suggest that he has rebuffed suitors because he thinks he can do even better and because he does not relish the restrictions of corporate life.

One story has it that Microsoft had to abandon a planned 8am conference call with Zuckerberg because he said that he would still be in bed then. Zuckerberg, who often turns up to his office in Palo Alto, California, wearing Adidas sandals, took exception to a drawing in The Wall Street Journal because it showed him wearing a shirt with a collar instead of his habitual T-shirt.

Click here to read the whole story.

James Brown- RIP

Reports out of Atlanta are saying that James Brown has died at the age of 73.

There are a lot of things that can be said about James. For now I'll just focus on the music and say thank you for some great times.

Updated: Here is part of the CNN obituary.

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- James Brown, the legendary R&B belter, a singer and songwriter who created a foundation for funk and provided the roots of rap, a man of many nicknames but a talent that can only be described as one of a kind, is dead.

Brown died early Monday at Atlanta's Emory Crawford Long Hospital of congestive heart failure, his agent said. He was 73.

Brown was in Atlanta for a dental appointment when he fell ill and was admitted to the hospital over the weekend for treatment of "severe pneumonia," said his agent, Frank Copsidas.

"It appears what happened is that he did die of a heart attack as a result of his pneumonia," Copsidas told CNN Radio.

Brown -- known variously as "the Godfather of Soul," "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," "Soul Brother Number One" and "Mr. Dynamite" (and often introduced as all of the above) -- was known for his elastic dance moves, razor-sharp musicianship and all-stops-out performances.

He was, literally, an impossible act to follow: Keith Richards has said that the Rolling Stones' appearance following Brown in "The T.A.M.I. Show," a 1964 concert that appeared on film the next year, was the biggest mistake of their lives. Brown's performance in that show even earned an ovation from the backing band.

"You have the Rolling Stones on the same stage, all of the important rock acts of the day, doing their best -- and James Brown comes out and destroys them," producer Rick Rubin wrote in Rolling Stone."

The Barbershop

David has a good post about it over here.

If Chatrooms Were Real- Adult Humor

Warning- Adult Material ahead.

Keyword Searches- How You Found Me

Every so often I like to share this information with you. Here is a partial list of recent terms that led people to the blog.
sex internet talmud
dennis wolfberg
meaning of happy holidays
three days in israel
funny thoughts telemarketers
ladies urinal
shmata loves shack
throw me a rope tunstall meaning
letters about xmas
full metal christmas
sex with a rabbi
burning christmas trees
happy holidays in different languages
hummer school bus
I hate the holidays
Baal teshuva
random thoughts
Frum Sex
rabbi kolko

The Giant Squid

This is pretty cool.

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A Japanese research team has succeeded in filming a giant squid live -- possibly for the first time -- and says the elusive creatures may be more plentiful than previously believed, a researcher said Friday.

The research team, led by Tsunemi Kubodera, videotaped the giant squid at the surface as they captured it off the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo earlier this month. The squid, which measured about 24-feet long, died while it was being caught.

"We believe this is the first time anyone has successfully filmed a giant squid that was alive," said Kubodera, a researcher with Japan's National Science Museum. "Now that we know where to find them, we think we can be more successful at studying them in the future."

Giant squid, formally called Architeuthis, are the world's largest invertebrates. Because they live in the depths of the ocean, they have long been wrapped in mystery and embellished in the folklore of sea monsters, appearing in ancient Greek myths or attacking the submarine in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

The captured squid was caught using a smaller type of squid as bait, and was pulled into a research vessel "after putting up quite a fight," Kubodera said.

"It took two people to pull it in, and they lost it once, which might have caused the injuries that killed it," he said.

The squid, a female, was not fully grown and was relatively small by giant squid standards. The longest one on record is 60 feet, he said.

To read the whole story click here.

The Day School Dilemma- Paying For Private School

My name is Jack and I am a recovering father. It is not a joke. As a parent you are always recovering from something that your children have done, might do or are doing. It is a never ending battle to maintain your equilibrium.

In my mind's eye I like to imagine a lumberjack in one of those logrolling contests. The log spins one way and then suddenly it spins another. I am forever working hard not to fall off of the log. It is not easy, there is always something. And like so many things in life much of the spinning is financial in nature.

This is not the first time that I have blogged about this. I started to search for the initial entry, but I never did stumble across it. However I did come up with this little ditty from last March.

"All of this begs the question of when does sacrificing for your children cross the line of reality and common sense."
It is a smart question and one that I am finding hard to answer. I am a big proponent of education. It is an investment in the future. There is nothing hokey or cliche about that, it is fact.

But that doesn't change the reality of trying to ascertain when to say enough is enough.

The impetus for this post showed up in the form of a letter from the school advising me that tuition for next year will soon come due. It was like someone dumped a bucket of cold water on my head. I was not pleased.

At 4 am I was still pacing the house trying to figure out what makes the most sense. There is no question that I can continue to maintain his place in the school for another year or two. But that doesn't indicate the sustainability of it beyond that time frame and in truth I find it galling to consider how much I have already spent.

Here is what I know. His mother and I are quite happy with the school. The secular and Judaic studies have been excellent. The teachers are outstanding. He has made some incredible friendships and there is no reason to believe that any of these things will change in the near future.

At the same time I have to ask myself if I am being foolish. Would it not be smarter to try and move to a place where the public school was a real option. Why not apply these dollars to my home.

Part of the reason that I don't want to move him is because I am more than satisfied with the education and because he would be devastated.

That doesn't mean that he wouldn't get over it and that he wouldn't do well elsewhere. I am confident about all of these things.

But this is one of those areas where it hurts me to think about telling him that he cannot go to school there any longer. In general I don't let six year-old children dictate how I live my life, but I just hate the idea.

So I am going to sit on this for a bit and consider all of my options. Who knows maybe I'll win the lottery and the point will be moot.

HH #99

It is live here.

The 50 Greatest Cartoons

Over at CityRag I found a link to the 50 greatest cartoons as voted upon by the animation industry in 1994. It includes links to videos of most of them. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Betty Boop Minnie the Moocher

Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century

Chanukah is About to End

And so here we are at the tail end of another chag. Chanukah is about to end. It makes me a little bit sad, always does. The end of summer does the same thing to me.

It is not the idea that there are no more presents. That doesn't really make much of an impact upon me. Sure, I love to see the look on the faces of my kids as they unwrap their gifts, but this is different.

One of the things that I love best about this holiday is watching the kids as we light candles. There is this indescribable look on their faces. I love watching the reflections of the candlelight dance in their eyes. I love to hear my baby girl say the blessings. She stomps her little feet and marches in circles with this huge smile on her face.

And then just as we are about to finish she grabs my hand and raises her arms so that I can pick her up. For a moment we stare at the lights while she absentmindedly strokes my face. It is moments like this that make me want to stop time.

My son stands up so very straight. He knows the blessings inside and out. He likes to correct my Hebrew. The way that I pronounce the words doesn't sound as authentic as the manner of his Israeli Hebrew teachers, nor does it sound like his own pronunciation. The advantage of learning at such a young age is that he doesn't speak with such a thick American accent.

Every now and then I intentionally use Ashkenazic pronunciations like she'asah nisim la'avoseinu it throws him off a bit. He is not used to it. It is how the older generation of the family speaks and it helps me remember family that has passed on and past chagim.


How many people here read PostSecret? It is kind of a cool site. You know you head over there and read the postcards people send in with their deepest and darkest secrets.

Here is my confession. For the past six months I have been part of a team of people scattered around the country that send in fake secrets.

You'd be surprised how hard it is to write these cards. I have developed a formula that seems to work. I'd share it but it wouldn't be a secret any longer.


Children of the '70s Raise Your Hands

My Theme Song

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch.

You're a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.
Mr. Grinch.

I wouldn't touch you, with a
thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

You're a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.
Mr. Grinch.

Given the choice between the two of you
I'd take the seasick crockodile.

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You're a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk.
Mr. Grinch.

The three words that best describe you,
are, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch.
You're the king of sinful sots.
Your heart's a dead tomato splot
With moldy purple spots,
Mr. Grinch.

Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing
with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable
rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.
With a nauseaus super-naus.
You're a crooked jerky jockey
And you drive a crooked horse.
Mr. Grinch.

You're a three decker saurkraut and toadstool
With arsenic sauce.

Copyright © 1957, Dr. Seuss.

Chanukah- Too Many Presents!!!!!!!

My house is overflowing in presents. Too many presents. Too many gifts that beep, whistle, scream, shriek and geshrei.

There are worse problems to have, I know. Believe me, I am quite thankful for what I have. I am especially thankful for our good health. Today I learned that an acquaintance was in a major auto accident and is now paralyzed.

I have few real problems and for that I count my blessings. But that only goes so far. I still have to deal with the problem of too many gifts. It is the blessing and the curse of a large family. Everyone gives the kids something.

Having dealt with this before I made a point of going through old and unused toys with the kids. We gave away a bunch. We got rid of all sorts of stuff and like the cat in the hat it has come back.

I am tempted to try and set a moratorium on gift giving, but the question is how to make it happen. Who do I tell not to give the kids anything. Who won't be offended. Who won't ignore my wishes.

See, I can ask the familia for their cooperation and they'll give it, but it will be adapted. And the truth is that it is not like they are giving outlandish gifts. The haul includes books, clothes and toys.

Truth is, I won't set a limit on books. I will do everything in my power to foster a love of reading and that means that I never set a limit on books. Thus far it is working, they love to read.

Clothes are a necessary evil. The funny thing about kids is that they grow. My son just got three new pairs of jeans because the old ones magically shrunk. No sense having him look like he is ready for the next flood.

Educational toys were part of the big haul. I have to say that I let things go there. If that beeping noise helps them learn how to become mathematicians I have to say that there is some value to it.

Still I think that this weekend the kids and I are going to spend some more time talking again about being appreciative of our good fortune and why it is important to give back.

In the meantime I am going to get the hell off this thing. I have to kill that blasted whistling toy. If I hear it go off one more time I am going to lose the last few shreds of my mind.

The Salvation Army Bell Ringer Doesn't Like Me

Now I know that you are going to be surprised to hear this, but during a recent trip to the store I was accosted by the bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Army: Sir, could you spare some change?
Me: Not today.

Army: Just a little would help.
Me: A little would help me too.

Army: Perhaps you can give something small.
Me: Perhaps you might like to give me something small.

Army: Sorry, I can't help you today.
Me: No problem. I can't help you either.

Army: My refusal shouldn't stop you.
Me: Stop me from what?

Army: From making a donation.
Me: It is not going to happen.

Army: Just give something.
Me: Ok. How about some advice.

Army: Seriously, just give me something.
Me: I am serious. Give me something first and I'll consider it.

Army: That is not how it works.
Me: Oh really.

Army: Yes. Jesus asks that you give and when you do you are rewarded.
Me: I don't think that you want to go there with me.

Army: Why? Don't you want to learn about how you can be saved.
Me: It would be easier to shoot up with heroin and far less painful.

Army: That is really offensive.
Me: Nah, I haven't even begun to be offensive. Say something else and let's see what happens.

Army: Sir, it is not my fault that your heart won't let you see.
Me: It is not my fault that you have been lied to for your entire life either.

Army: G-d will forgive you.
Me: You don't know what G-d will or won't do so stop speaking for him/her or it.

Army: All that energy and what have you accomplished.
Me: I have kept you from bothering the fine folks that shop at this establishment that wishes all of its good patrons happy holidays.

Army: Perhaps you should just leave.
Me: Nah, I like it here. I think that I may set up my own bucket. Instead of a bell I am going to use an air horn. Since the establishment has a big sign saying that they don't approve of soliciting I should have as much right to hang out here as you do.

Army: Would you just leave?
Me: Give me twenty bucks and I'll take off.

Army: Twenty. No way.
Me: What about 15.

Army: Uh, no.
Me: Ten?

Army: No
Me: Ok, what about five.

And with that the bell ringer broke down and reached into the bucket. With a stern look on his face he handed me a five dollar bill and pointed towards the parking lot.

I'll have to try this again at a different store.

The Python Versus The Alligator

The residents of the shack are nature lovers and interested in science. As you may recall we have blogged about pythons that tried to eat alligators, sheep and alligators that have eaten people. Now we are pleased to provide you with some more news about pythons in the Everglades.

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Florida (AP) -- "SNAKE!" Hearing this shout, Skip Snow slammed on the brakes. When the off-roader plowed to a halt, he and his partner, Lori Oberhofer, leaped out and took off running toward two snakes, actually -- a pair of 10-foot Burmese pythons lying on a levee, sunning themselves.

After slipping, sliding and tumbling down a rocky embankment, Snow, a wildlife biologist, grabbed one of the creatures by the tail. The python, Oberhofer says, did not care much for that.

"It made a sound like Darth Vader breathing," she says, "and then its head swung around and I saw this white mouth flying through the air."

Snow saw the mouth, too -- the jaws open 180 degrees, the gums an obscene white, the needle-sharp teeth bared in an almost devilish grin. He let out a shriek, then blinked, and when his eyes opened the python's head was hanging in mid-air, less than a foot from his own.

Oberhofer, with a Ninja-like thrust, had snared the python in mid-strike.

"I snagged it right behind its head, on its neck," the 43-year-old wildlife technician recalls. "It was pure reflex -- a defensive move. I don't know if I could ever do it again."

The python hadn't succumbed yet, however. "They defecate on you, on purpose, hoping to make you reconsider what you're doing," Oberhofer says. "It's not pleasant."

Nope, I don't think that it would be. Let's take a look at the story highlights for a moment

• Foreign snake species threatening native wildlife in Everglades
• Python prey: Raccoons, possums, muskrats and native cotton rats
• More than 1 million pythons have been imported to the U.S. since 2000
• Slithery giants can grow as long as 26 feet, weigh more than 200 pounds

And now back to the story

Scientists also worry that these slithery giants -- which have been known to grow as long as 26 feet -- may soon start to feast on native species whose survival is in doubt.

"The Everglades doesn't work by itself anymore," says Leon Howell, 58, who has been associated with the park for the last 21 years as a visitor, naturalist, fishing guide and, presently, park ranger. "This whole landscape has to be managed today: water, fire, exotics -- you name it."

Which explains the evolution of Snow and Oberhofer into a human firewall against non-native exotics. Without them, Howell figures, "there'd be pythons all over the place."

A decade ago, Snow and Oberhofer spent their days reintroducing rare, native birds to the pinelands and monitoring "indicator" species, such as wading birds, alligators, bald eagles, panthers. Then, in the late '90s, pythons began turning up.

Pet owners were releasing their giant, unwanted snakes in and around the park. But convincing the public that pythons are a danger to this otherworldly mosaic of marshes, sloughs, marl prairies and shadowy hammocks was, and still is, a tough sell.

Perhaps that is because of the Everglades' primeval nature. Truly: Where else in North America can the visitor find crocodiles, manatees and rainbow-colored tree snails, roseate spoonbills and ghost orchids, towering royal palms and gumbo limbos? Here, biblical clouds of mosquitoes can turn a white off-road vehicle black within seconds. Waterlilies can perfume the air for miles.

At night, the beam of a lamp through a marsh often catches the eerie, ruby shine of a lurking alligator's eyes.

Drained and abused wetlands

Yet, as vast and threatening as these wetlands may appear, they have been so drained and abused by humans in the last century that a population of pythons, if left unchallenged, could take down this fragile web of life within a generation.

"It's a now-or-never thing," Oberhofer says. "We still have a chance, with the python's numbers being so limited, to do something. But if we let this go, we don't know how far the pythons will migrate, how much they will reproduce."

One thing is certain, Snow says. "They'll eat just about everything that's warm-blooded."

Three years ago, a party of bird-watchers walking along the eastern Everglades' Anhinga Trail stumbled upon a death match of super predators -- python versus alligator. The gator, it appeared, had the upper hand: Its jaws, capable of a bite pressure of more than 3,000 pounds per square inch, were clenched on the snake, and for hours the gator carried its prey about, waiting for the python to go limp.

But it didn't; after nearly 30 hours the python wriggled free of the alligator's jaws and swam off into the high grass. "We looked for buzzards feeding on a snake carcass," Snow recalls, "but we never found any."

That a python could survive a gator attack was a red flag, and it was soon followed by others.

In February 2004, tourists at the Pa-hay-okee Overlook watched, stunned, as a python wrapped itself around an alligator, which countered by rolling over and grabbing the snake in its mouth and swimming off. And then, last fall, the carcasses of a 13-foot python and a 6-foot gator that had squared off were found later floating in a marsh, the gator's tail and hind legs protruding from the split-open gut of the python.

"Sometimes," says Snow, "pythons swallow things they shouldn't."

That last line is a bit disturbing, isn't it.

Our Most Effective Man In The War On Terror

Every time I see a picture of Ayman al-Zawahiri it makes me think of how Lt. Frank Drebin handled Gorbachev in the video below.

For that matter look how effective he was in dealing with other terrorists and two bit dictators.

Rocky Balboa- Confession Part II

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my desire to see the upcoming Rocky Balboa movie. Since that day I have redoubled my efforts to get myself back into fighting shape.

I have resumed lifting weights each day and am pushing myself, although not so hard that I haven't enjoyed sufganiyot and some gelt. But given how hard I have been training I am not worried about the extra calories.

If you want some insight on how I continue to motivate myself click here and scroll down to the links called training, pep talks and knockouts.

When I am not at the 'puter or the gym I cruise the parking lots at Costco and Trader Joes and or wish people Happy Holidays. That always gives me more fodder for the fire

Readers Come And Go

One of the things about blogging that I have noticed is that readers come and go. I recognize that there is nothing profound about this, but I find it to be interesting. I suppose that I should elaborate upon this idea.

If you get involved in following the various stat checking tools (stat counters, Technorati, etc.) you begin to notice that there are certain people who consistently appear at your blog. They may not always comment, for that matter they may never do so, but they still follow your work.

The seventeen longtime readers are well aware that I check my stats on a regular basis, maybe too consistently. I won't say that I cannot help it, but I really do find it quite interesting to see what is moving here. Which posts are the most widely read, what keywords are used to bring people here etc.

Anyway, from time to time I notice that some people have dropped me and I am usually curious why. I wonder if they got bored, if I offended them or if they just found better things to do with their time.

Then again I wonder whether who would win in a fight between Scooby Doo and the Jetson's dog Astro. Maybe I am spending too much time here at the keyboard.


It Is Juvenile, But It Bothers Me

I know that this is juvenile, but it bothers me when other cars pass me on the freeway. Ok, that is not entirely true, it doesn't always bother me.

But sometimes it just grates on my nerves to see the guy driving that sports car that I could never afford go ambling by like I am standing still. Even worse is watching the girl in the beat up clunker pass me.

Confession of the moment. Sometimes if I see a car trying to pass me I'll speed up so that they cannot. Go pass someone else, my fragile male ego can't always take it.

The Chanukah Meme

Amy Guth is doing a Chanukah blog tour in which she is visiting a variety of bloggers who have taken time to fill out here meme. I am not always great about answering meme's honestly,
but I'll do my best here.

In case you are wondering who else is participating on this particular day they include the following bloggers, none of who I am familiar with. Maybe that will change.

Want Some Cheese With That W(h)ine?
True Ancestor
The Shalvster
Not Chosen, Just Posin'

1. Quick! You must turn a plate of latkes into an upscale gourmet
delight (as if they aren't already?). What would you add to them to dress them
up, flavor and/or garnish them?

I would be quite careful with this. I like the standard latke, but I suppose that I might consider something that added some spice to them. A little Tabasco sauce. Come to think of it, spicy latkes sound pretty damn good.

2. What is the dumbest thing you've ever heard anyone say about Chanukah?

Hmm...That is a hard question to answer as I have heard so many stupid things. Someone once told me that they thought that Chanukah was a waste of time. Their rationale went as follows:

1)jesus was King of the Jews (Ed. Note: They weren't Jewish and I certainly don't believe this.)
2) Kings have everything they need.
3) Therefore you shouldn't buy gifts because a king doesn't need anything.

Not the smartest guy. Nice guy, but not very smart at all. Incredible logic, don'tcha think.

3. What's the best possible use for olive oil?

Sorry, this blog is PG-13.

4. Settle it once and for all. Latkes or hammentaschen? Which do you prefer? What about pitting the winner of that contest against sufganiyot?

You know this could be a great set-up for Tony Soprano. I wonder if James Gandolfini would be willing to make a guest appearance here at The Shack.

I'd have to tell him that I hated him in The Last Castle. It was terrible.

Ok, back on task. I like Latkes and Hamantaschen. Two different holidays, two different treats. Sufganiyot aren't bad but why not just inject straight fat into your belly. It is faster.

5. What's the best way to mix up a game of dreidel?

A blindfold and a bottle of Tequila.

6. My novel, Three Fallen Women, shockingly enough, is about the lives of three women. Which three women would you like to have over this year for latkes and why?

I have been married 9 times. I don't want any women who aren't here to clean coming over. Excuse me while I duck and run for cover

7. Other than Three Fallen Women (har har), what book do you think
would make a great Chanukah gift this year? What book would you like to receive as a gift this year?

It is called Fragments of Fiction, but it is not quite ready to be released yet.

8. What bloggers didn't participate in Chanukah Blog Tour 5767 and you think should have?
(link to them)

The answer to this one is written in invisible ink.

The Agony of Defeat- Vinko Bogataj

If you were a child/teen living in the US during the '70s chances are that at some point in time you came across or watched ABC's Wide World of Sports. The link takes you to a page that offers a video the opening to that show.

Jim McKay offered the following narrative against a montage of athletes performing in their various sports:
"Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…

the thrill of victory…

and the agony of defeat…

the human drama of athletic competition…

this is ABC's Wide World of Sports!"
The key part of that was always the line about the agony of defeat. Why? Because of Vinko Bogataj. He was the skier who had that awful crash. More than 30 years later he has become one of those people that stands out from our childhood.

Apparently the man has done ok for himself, which is a good thing considering how his misfortune made him the butt of so many jokes.

The Simpsons Voices One More Time

Trolls, Antisemites and More

The beauty of blogging is that you just never know who is going to decide to come and visit your blog. Some of your guests are going to be delightful and others are going to be less delightful. Some of them are going to have manners and some are going to be examples of the worst that man has to offer.

No exaggeration. I mean that wholeheartedly. People will say anything, especially from the safety of their keyboard

Now there are things that you can do try and monitor/moderate the discussion among you and your guests. Technology offers all sorts of tools that you can use to maintain a civil discourse. I have made a point of not using most of those.

The problem with applying filters is that it sometimes catches people that you prefer would be allowed to roam the premises. That is not how I want this blog to operate. It is an open forum in which virtually any comment is allowed to stay.

That doesn't mean that I do not reserve the right to remove comments for any reason whatsoever. I don't suffer spam. Blatant ads are removed. Racist comments are generally removed as well.

I say generally removed because sometimes I will leave them up because they help to provide a context for a discussion. I do not do so gratuitously. I just know that sometimes the best way to make a point is to provide a good example.

In case you are wondering what motivated this post it is because of a number of emails and comments I recently received that follow Aryan/Nazi protocol. Some of these fine people would prefer to see me dead, or so they have expressed. Ok, it is not just me, there are quite a few people that they would like to see die.

Since we do not have the pleasure of meeting in person I am not able to provide you with my own special greeting. I would be happy to help you enjoy an extra large dose of STFU and GFY. I do believe that my size 12 boot would lend itself well to this endeavor.

That is all for now.

Almost 20 years

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of this spot. Hard to believe, not many have kept going since then. I have barely kept up...