The tears that do not fall

This was originally posted here.

When I was younger I vowed to stop crying. I was 14 and I had decided that men were not supposed to cry. I can remember the events that led to that decision. I was one of those people who didn't just cry, if I cried it was all encompassing and it just wracked my body.

Not every time, but enough that I felt it in every part of my body. I think that the final moment came as a result of my cousin's funeral. Typically Jewish funerals have a closed casket, but this one didn't. I remember seeing my cousin's body and watching her son cry, he is seven years older than I am and I always looked up to him.

The moment just hit me hard, it rocked my world and I had trouble staying composed. I wasn't scared, just sad, so sad for my cousin and sad for myself. As my grandfather drove me back to the house for shiva I was crying. He didn't condemn me or make me feel badly, he tried to make me feel better. But it was enough that he was not crying.

I didn't understand that his lack of tears was not indicative of a lack of emotion/feeling not to mention that he may have cried, I don't know. But that day I determined that I was through with tears. And for 21 years I have stayed fairly true to that promise.

I was an idiot.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that I crippled part of myself and stunted my ability to mourn the loss of things and people. I am not an emotional cripple or mental midget, so I didn't prevent myself from feeling, all I did was make the process of grieving more difficult.

In the last 21 years there have been a few moments where I shed some tears, but there were not many and it happened when I was completely caught in the moment. As soon as I realized that I was crying they began to stop, I learned how to stop myself far too well.

So now I have been consciously working on reversing this, giving myself permission to cry. I don't want to keep stuffing it back into the cage. I have been known to carry a deep and abiding sadness with me and I think that the lack of tears is part of the reason why.

Some of the women of my past were aware of this and tried to convince me to cry on their shoulders, to let it out. It is not that simple, if it was I could do it on my own. I suspect that some of them were offended that I did not. They took the lack of tears as a lack of trust and I suppose to some extent it was.

But the walls that I built and the towers that maintained their vigil over my mind were not going to be defeated that easily.

I am confident that this is going to change. I think that one of the benefits of maturity and fatherhood is that I see the ability to cry as a sign of strength and not weakness. It still scares me, I haven't sobbed as an adult, but the day is coming.

Some Stories that Caught My Eye

Lottery Winners Bad Luck
"Steve Granger, 53, of Henderson, N.C., won $900,000 in the West Virginia Lottery

"All of a sudden everybody knows your business, everybody knows what you have," Granger says.

At a party recently, Granger heard someone say in an ugly tone, "There go those lottery people," as he and his wife passed by. A man he hardly knew asked him to invest in a gold mine. "I went through a phase where everybody was grabbing me thinking I was going to give them luck," he says.

Within days of winning a $41 million share of a Powerball jackpot in 2001, Patricia and Erwin Wales of Buxton, Maine, were sued by co-workers who claimed to be co-winners. The lawsuit was dropped, but lawyer Terrance Garney said a new beginning for the clerk and the lawn-maintenance man was "not an easy transition." The Waleses were beset with requests by friends they didn't know they had and by investment companies who wanted to handle their money.

They hired a team of lawyers to help them, and set aside $5 million for a non-profit charitable foundation that contributed $263,000 in 2005 to community and religious causes in and near Buxton.

Others have had difficulty with easy money:

• William "Bud" Post, who won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery in 1988, had a brother who tried to have him killed for the inheritance. Post lost and spent all his winnings. He was living off
Social Security when he died in January.

• Two years after winning a $31 million Texas Lottery in 1997, Billie Bob Harrell Jr. committed suicide. He had bought cars, real estate, gave money to his family, church and friends. After his death it was not clear whether there was money left for estate taxes.

• Victoria Zell, who shared an $11 million Powerball jackpot with her husband in 2001, is serving time in a Minnesota prison, her money gone. Zell was convicted in March 2005 in a drug- and alcohol-induced collision that killed one person and paralyzed another.

• Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey Lottery twice, in 1985 and 1986, for a total $5.4 million, gambled and gave away all of her money. She was poor by 2001, and living in a trailer.

Gerry Beyer, who teaches estate law at Texas Tech University, has written about people who come into sudden wealth - such as lottery winners, sports figures, actors and actresses - and how they end up losing it. Many don't realize that if they spend their money, rather than investing and living off the earnings, "there's nothing to replace it," Beyer says.

Under an investment plan, the Nebraska Powerball winners' $15.5 million, after accepting the lump sum and paying taxes, could produce a yearly income of about $500,000 a year. "
Scientists Claim to Find Lost Civilization NARRAGANSETT, R.I. - Scientists have found what they believe are traces of the lost Indonesian civilization of Tambora, which was wiped out in 1815 by the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history.

Mount Tambora's cataclysmic eruption on April 10, 1815, buried the inhabitants of Sumbawa Island under searing ash, gas and rock and is blamed for an estimated 88,000 deaths. The eruption was at least four times more powerful than Mount Krakatoa's in 1883.

Guided by ground-penetrating radar, U.S. and Indonesian researchers recently dug in a gully where locals had found ceramics and bones. They unearthed the remains of a thatch house, pottery, bronze and the carbonized bones of two people, all in a layer of sediment dating to the eruption.

University of Rhode Island volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson, the leader of the expedition, estimated that 10,000 people lived in the town when the volcano erupted in a blast that dwarfed the one that buried the Roman town of Pompeii.

The eruption shot 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere, causing global cooling and creating what historians call "The Year Without a Summer." Farms in Maine suffered crop-killing frosts in June, July and August. In France and Germany, grape and corn crops died, or the harvests were delayed.

The civilization on Sumbawa Island has intrigued researchers ever since Dutch and British explorers visited in the early 1800s and were surprised to hear a language that did not sound like any other spoken in Indonesia, Sigurdsson said. Some scholars believe the language more closely resembled those spoken in Indochina. But not long after Westerners first encountered Tambora, the society was destroyed.

"The explosion wiped out the language. That's how big it was," Sigurdsson said. "But we're trying to get these people to speak again, by digging."


The Keys to Happiness, and Why We Don't Use Them

"It requires some effort to achieve a happy outlook on life, and most people don't make it."
Author and researcher Gregg Easterbrook

Psychologists have recently handed the keys to happiness to the public, but many people cling to gloomy ways out of habit, experts say.

Polls show Americans are no happier today than they were 50 years ago despite significant increases in prosperity, decreases in crime, cleaner air, larger living quarters and a better overall quality of life.

So what gives?

Happiness is 50 percent genetic, says University of Minnesota researcher David Lykken. What you do with the other half of the challenge depends largely on determination, psychologists agree. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

What works, and what doesn't

Happiness does not come via prescription drugs, although 10 percent of women 18 and older and 4 percent of men take antidepressants, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Anti-depressants benefit those with mental illness but are no happiness guarantee, researchers say.

Nor will money or prosperity buy happiness for many of us. Money that lifts people out of poverty increases happiness, but after that, the better paychecks stop paying off sense-of-well-being dividends, research shows.

One route to more happiness is called "flow," an engrossing state that comes during creative or playful activity, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has found. Athletes, musicians, writers, gamers, and religious adherents know the feeling. It comes less from what you're doing than from how you do it.

Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California at Riverside has discovered that the road toward a more satisfying and meaningful life involves a recipe repeated in schools, churches and synagogues. Make lists of things for which you're grateful in your life, practice random acts of kindness, forgive your enemies, notice life's small pleasures, take care of your health, practice positive thinking, and invest time and energy into friendships and family.

The happiest people have strong friendships, says Ed Diener, a psychologist University of Illinois. Interestingly his research finds that most people are slightly to moderately happy, not unhappy."

Why Pictures Scare Me

This site proves that there are some memories that just don't want to die. It also shows that there is a bit of a mean streak running through many of us. I readily admit to laughing at some of these photos.

But at the same time it reminds me that I need to teach my children to remember that thanks to the Internet some "jokes" have an incredibly long life.

In some ways growing up is going to be so very different for them than it was for me and not necessarily for the better or worse. I suppose that it all depends on whether you choose to look at the world through optimistic or pessimitics eyes.

Teacher to Return After Having Sex Change

Did he/she actually pay for surgery. I don't have any problem with sex changes. It is a personal decision.

But this picture just kills me. Call me bad, call me evil, but this picture is begging for commentary.

For more background click here.

On a different note one of my college professors had a sex change, but that is a story for a different day.

Pakistani Kids Rally Over Prophet Cartoons

I have to comment on this.
KARACHI, Pakistan - About 5,000 children chanting "Hang those who insulted the prophet" rallied in Pakistan's largest city on Tuesday in the latest protest in the Islamic nation against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.The children, ages 8 to 12, burned a coffin draped in U.S., Israeli and Danish flags at a traffic intersection in the port city of Karachi as police in riot gear looked on.
Is there anyone out there who believes that these children were not directed by adults to engage in this protest. Is there anyone out there who wonders what kind of tolerance is being taught to these children. Is there anyone out there who wonders why US and Israeli flags are included at a rally to protest Danish cartoons.
"The rally was organized by Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's largest Islamic group. The children, some wearing school uniforms and headbands emblazoned with "God is great," were released from schools to take part."
Don't misunderstand. The people who are organizing these protests are very intelligent and following a plan.
"Jamaat-e-Islami is part of a radical coalition of six Islamic parties that has rallied Muslims throughout Pakistan in recent weeks against the cartoons despite bans on protests in some cities.

Opposition lawmaker Liaqat Baluch, deputy secretary-general of the coalition, on Tuesday welcomed the European Union's first statement on the controversy.

EU foreign ministers said Monday they regretted the cartoons were "considered offensive" by Muslims around the world after first appearing in a Danish newspaper in September.

But Baluch demanded an apology from Denmark, saying it "has not so far acknowledged its mistake."

Baluch also said a "line should be drawn" between freedom of expression — the justification newspapers gave for reproducing the drawings, which Muslims consider blasphemous — and actions that offend cultural sensitivities.

"A freedom of expression that destroys world peace is against basic human rights," he said."
I have had enough of this. I am up to here with these comments and the crocodile tears. Until they get their own house in order I haven't a thing to say to them about this. The Pak Tribune links to David Duke. Should I start stockpiling logs and lighter fluid. They have a number of cartoons that I find offensive, should I grab my friends and start running amok in the streets.

This is just so hypocritical.

Blog Well and They Will Sing Your Praises

Blog Well and They Will Sing Your Praises or something like that. Click here to read

Ode to Jack, the Bishop of Bullfrog


I am honored and at a loss for words. Thank you. You'll excuse me for a moment, the excitement makes me want to croak with joy.

Monday's Roundup- The Apprentice Edition

Ok, I am not really in the mood to do a traditional roundup so I am going to take the lazy way out. The best post of today is about the Supermarket. Read it, love it and live it. There is a pop quiz followed by a mother test at 5.

There were about seven posts. More to come in the coming days and following hours, whatever that means.

Speaking about The Apprentice, is it just me or do they go out of their way to find some really weird people who they are certain will not fit in. There are always a couple of them.

A Reader Asks

A reader emailed me with a couple of questions. Here are my answers.

1) The most posts I ever posted in a day is 39.

2) I wear a 11.5 or 12 EEE.

3) Taurus.

4) I don't kiss and tell, but since you are asking.......

No Love From Shola- Goodbye Fortune

It has been two or three days now since Shola last contacted me. I guess that I am not going to be as rich as I had hoped.

This is not the first time that I was let down. I have a couple of ideas. I was thinking about composing a song in his honor called Shola, Shola, Shola. Or maybe I should compose a story about the fun things that Shola and I could do with all that moola, or should I say mola. Shola and Mola, it rhymes.

Oh well, easy come and easy go. I just might respond to the next guy. You never know who wants to talk to the Bishop of Bullfrog.

Is Our Blood Any Less Red- Ilan Halimi

I am really late in covering this. In large part I blame myself and a desire to ignore what I see, but I have waited long enough. Ilan Halimi was kidnapped and tortured by a Muslim gang in France. For 24 days he and his family were tortured. The French government, those fabulous people who a short time ago watched as Muslim youths rampaged throughout the country refused to call this a hate crime.

It is only after his death and much media attention that they have begun to call this what it was.

Here is a short collection of links about this:

OpinionJournal

The Murder of Ilan Halimi

Michelle Malkin

YNET (This quote needs to be highlighted)
All is not well in France

"The janitor, who lent the gang the empty lodging without notifying the owner, is among the suspects in the ongoing investigation, which everyday seems to reveal a little more of the horror of what took place in the sordid apartment. According to an unofficial source, police came to realize that many in the building knew what was going on, but did not act since it appears everyone knew the victim was Jewish."

An Unsealed Room

On a related note Mark Steyn has an excellent column.
"In five years' time, how many Jews will be living in France? Two years ago, a 23-year-old Paris disc jockey called Sebastien Selam was heading off to work from his parents' apartment when he was jumped in the parking garage by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam's throat was slit twice, to the point of near-decapitation; his face was ripped off with a fork; and his eyes were gouged out. Adel climbed the stairs of the apartment house dripping blood and yelling, "I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven."

Is that an gripping story? You'd think so. Particularly when, in the same city, on the same night, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim. You've got the making of a mini-trend there, and the media love trends.

Yet no major French newspaper carried the story.

This month, there was another murder. Ilan Halimi, also 23, also Jewish, was found by a railway track outside Paris with burns and knife wounds all over his body. He died en route to the hospital, having been held prisoner, hooded and naked, and brutally tortured for almost three weeks by a gang that had demanded half a million dollars from his family. Can you take a wild guess at the particular identity of the gang? During the ransom phone calls, his uncle reported that they were made to listen to Ilan's screams as he was being burned while his torturers read out verses from the Quran.

This time around, the French media did carry the story, yet every public official insisted there was no anti-Jewish element. Just one of those things. Coulda happened to anyone. And, if the gang did seem inordinately fixated on, ah, Jews, it was just because, as one police detective put it, ''Jews equal money.'' In London, the Observer couldn't even bring itself to pursue that particular angle. Its report of the murder managed to avoid any mention of the unfortunate Halimi's, um, Jewishness. Another British paper, the Independent, did dwell on the particular, er, identity groups involved in the incident but only in the context of a protest march by Parisian Jews marred by ''radical young Jewish men'' who'd attacked an ''Arab-run grocery.''

At one level, those spokesmonsieurs are right: It could happen to anyone. Even in the most civilized societies, there are depraved monsters who do terrible things. When they do, they rip apart entire families, like the Halimis and Selams. But what inflicts the real lasting damage on society as a whole is the silence and evasions of the state and the media and the broader culture."

There are many things that can be said. I'll be brief. Evil things happen when good people remain silent. I don't believe that all Muslims are bad people or that all Muslims hate Jews. I do believe that there is a very vocal element that is fighting a war.

They are involved in a war and they are not taking prisoners. We are faced with a very bad situation and one that I fear is going to get worse before it gets better. I wrote about some of this here, here and here.
this is an audio post - click to play

The Supermarket

I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I don't hate it either. For that matter I kind of enjoy spending time and Trader Joes and Costco. They certainly are better than a crowded mall, unless it is right before a holiday in which case they are just as horrible as every other retail establishment.

Supermarkets aren't all that bad either. I can't say that I like them as much as Trader Joes and Costco, but any place that feeds me starts out with a couple of bonus points. All that being said there are some real issues that bug me about them.

To begin I want to know why they bother to set up 27 checkout stands as no matter what time/day or how busy they are I can guarantee that only five of them will be manned by a live cashier. That leaves 22 empty stands and several lines.

The problem with a line is that it leaves me with plenty of time to stand around and look for ways to entertain myself which usually translates into get in trouble. One day I'll have to share the tale of juggling a seven pound watermelon, a small bottle of Vodka and a plum. It is quite entertaining but now is not the time nor the place.

Here is another thing about those freaking empty checkout stands that aggravates me. How many times have you been standing in line and seen this happen. A store employee ambles on over to an empty register. It looks like they are about to open it up for use. The overly optimistic part of me is always pleased to see this as I naturally assume that the store management agrees that it is considered bad form to make customers wait in line for so long that their purchases spoil prior to exiting the store.

More often than not that fantasy is spoiled. Here is the skinny on how that goes down.

Whenever I stand in line I spend a few minutes conducting surveillance. I look for the crazed crackhead who is seconds away from pulling out a sawed-off shotgun and robbing us all so that he can go score some more rocks. In my old age I may be a step slower but I still have a cannon for an arm and big hands. I can guarantee that I can grab a cantaloupe out of the cart, fling it at the crackhead and knock that gun out of his hands before he can harm anyone.

Or alternatively I can grab the gum and mints off of the counter and hurl them at him in a furious frenzy. While he is fending off a swarm of Dentyne I'll vault over the stand and use the closest magazine to knock him out. In general I prefer People Magazine's 50 most Beautiful People. It is a little bit heavier and whoever is on the cover is of much more use to me as a bat then eyecandy.

Sometimes I get bored with the crazed crackhead routine and I look for the crazy terrorist. There is a slight variation on the theme and a small change in how I rescue everyone and earn free groceries for a year. In the terrorist scenario I sometimes pull their kaffiyeh over their eyes and box their ears or sometimes I just show them offensive cartoons and make them go crazy.

Once I stopped a near incident by handing the guy lighter fluid and a couple of American/Israeli flags. The poor fella got so caught up in burning those that he didn't realize I had taken his weapon.

Anyhoo, I seem to have lost my way. Time to get back to reality. And the reality is that while I am conducting surveillance I scan the registers to see if a new one is about to open because everyone knows that there is an artform to getting to that newly opened register. You can't just walk over there. You'll cause a stampede.

Heaven forbid that the herd notice the empty register. The trick is to quietly leave the line while muttering something about having forgotten to buy Spaghetti O's. So you leave the line you are in and quietly mosey on to the newly opened line and then bam! They get you.

You see that newly opened register is not really open. It is a stupid trick that the store management uses to enteratain themselves. They love watching people lose their places in line. It gives them a big hearty laugh. This is also why I like to rearrange the shelves. Waste my time and watch me help you waste yours, you line shifting bastards.

All that effort to quietly move lines so that you can gain a better position and what happens. Nothing, other than you have given up your prior place so that you can start over. And just to add insult to injury you look back at the old line to see that the guy who was three places behind you is checking out.

Oh my, why did I ever move.

Did I mention my issues with the people outside the store. Have I told you about my troubles with the Girlscouts and their bleeping cookies, or the 17 clipboard carrying canaries who assault you with petitions that you must sign because if you don't the environment will fail, children will die of drugs, oil cartels will rule the world and the poor Dodo bird may face extinction.

Perhaps I'll save that for a different post. I have a lot more that I could write about including shopping carts. There is a shopping cart law that applies to me. It is the one that mandates that I must always pick a cart that has a bad wheel that refuses to turn and that when it does it must emit a squeak that is so loud dogs scream "Crap! that hurts that bleeping ears.!"

That is it for now, until next time.

Stop Snoring at The Keyboard

USA Today has a story that I a well acquainted with. It is about the large numbers of people who just don't get enough sleep.
"Admit it. You're reading this, but given the opportunity, you'd gladly snooze or slumber. For this is a nation in dire need of a nap.Never before have work and play stolen more hours from the sandman. Between a global economy that demands increased productivity and a technology-fueled entertainment machine that provides non-stop diversions, it's a wonder people get any rest at all.

An NBC Today show/Zogby International poll indicates nearly half of Americans say they don't get enough sleep and roughly one-quarter get fewer than six hours a night. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show a 20-year trend of Americans reporting less sleep. Whatever the roots of a sleep problem, from a harried life to a medical condition, people are desperately seeking ways to get some quality shut-eye. (Some have found solace in sleeping-pill prescriptions, 42 million of which were filled last year, up 60% since 2000, according to research company IMS Health. Others have followed offbeat routes to a rested feeling — from frazzled New Yorkers who zonk out midday in rented napping "pods" to an Internet blogger in Las Vegas who says his energy stems from his ability to sleep in 20-minute bursts every few hours, around the clock.

Having some sort of strategy to get the sleep we need is crucial in a culture that is making increasing demands on our time, says David White, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard University and editor of the journal Sleep.

"This is an interesting juncture. Stress and anxiety levels are at a fever pitch, which limits the ability to sleep well. And there's also more science than ever showing what a detriment that (unrested) state is to performance and health," White says. "We all have different sleep needs. Just be sensitive to that and give yourself what you need."

But the truth is, most of us don't really know how sleep-deprived we are. Life pins up its daily to-do lists, and we tick off the boxes.

Freelance photographer Elizabeth Coll, 29, often found herself dragging between assignments in Manhattan but was too far from her Brooklyn home to get some z's. Now she pops into MetroNaps in the Empire State Building.

For her $65-a-month membership, Coll is entitled to one 20-minute nap daily in one of MetroNaps' eight sleep pods, futuristic beds each with a bubble dome that pumps in soothing New Age music.

"It's great to be able to do this in a city that barely lets you sit down, let alone nap," she says. "I always feel full of energy afterward."

For Coll, the sleep thief is her frantic schedule; for others it's the body itself."

To read the whole story click here.

The Butler Didn't Do It

"SAN FRANCISCO - After spending the last decade building its brand around a cartoon character named Jeeves, Ask.com wants everyone to forget the dainty butler and remember its long-overlooked Internet search engine as the next best thing to Google.To make its point, Ask.com is jettisoning Jeeves as its corporate mascot on Monday and unveiling a retooled Web site that's designed to make it easier to find and use its search technology.

The makeover, which will be supported by an advertising blitz beginning in mid-March, marks the 10-year-old company's latest attempt to be taken more seriously as it tries to catch up with the Internet's top four search engines — Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news), Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Time Warner Inc.'s America Online.

Ask.com also is trying to live up to the high expectations of media tycoon Barry Diller, whose e-commerce conglomerate InterActiveCorp bought the Oakland, Calif.-based company for $2.3 billion last summer."
Ok, the headline is hokey, but I like it.

A Roundup of Posts

Music for a Sunday Evening

Why I Blog

How I Became a Blogger

Hell, I don't know Where This is Going

Freebird

Discussing Divine Punishment With a Child

Moshe Rabbeinu- Who Was His Father?

Music for a Sunday Evening

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that these snapshots of the music I listened to are among my most popular posts. Here is a look at what I enjoyed this evening.

Grapefruit - Juicy Fruit
Jimmy Buffett
Where Did Our Love Go
The Supremes
Keeping The Faith
Billy Joel
Hey Jude
The Beatles
Molly Malone
Sinéad O'Connor
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Asking For It
Hole
Celeste Aida (From Aida)
Richard Tucker
Hot Pants
James Brown
What Is And What Should Never Be
Led Zeppelin
Do You Wanna Hold Me?
Bow Wow Wow
Burning Down The House
Talking Heads
Mercy Street
Peter Gabriel
Mack The Knife
Ella Fitzgerald
The Devil Went Down To Georgia
The Charlie Daniels Band
Ball n' Chain
Big Mama Thornton
Subdivisions
Rush
Galbi
Ofra Haza
London Calling
The Clash
Those Were the Days
The Three Tenors
Suspicious Minds
Elvis Presley

Why I Blog

This was originally posted last December but I thought that it fits with the prior post and thought that I'd throw it up again.

Why do I blog. Why do I spend so much time sitting here at the computer staring a monitor that is filled with the fingerprints of tiny people. Why do I surf the net and engage in 21st century voyeurism.

The very simple reason is that I derive a tremendous sense of joy and satisfaction from using words to express my thoughts. I have a great love for the language and I appreciate those people who can use words to construct a mental image. I appreciate their ability and craftmanship and wonder how it is they can take my mind and send it on a journey out of my body and into another world.

For surely it is a bit escapist to sit at the keyboard and scroll down the pages and read about the lives and trials of others. And in a different way I find it comforting. I am part of a community of bloggers, a part of the overall blogosphere and at the same time I am also part of many other groups within the blogosphere.

I am able to reach out and click someone. I can see that there are others who are facing the same challenges I face or have already overcome them. I take strength in their words and I offer my own.

Here at the keyboard I commune with others and speak about my life. I offer my insecurities and my beliefs. I open my mind and try to learn about the world around me. I am always searching and seeking for new things to learn. I am an educational hedonist.

I have many refuges. There are places I seek during times of trouble and uncertainty. There are physical locations that feed and nurture my soul, places in Ojai and the Los Padres National Forest. There are areas around Malibu and beaches in Hawaii.

Around Jerusalem, in the Negev and near Joshua Tree. On top of Yosemite Falls and elsewhere. These are places that I seek because I find them to be relaxing. They help me find myself and reconnect.

The problem, the challenge is that often I cannot get to these places as easily as I can get to the keyboard. So I compromise and sit here where I share my thoughts. I offer my joy and release my pain.

I post and comment and speak, but I rarely read my work again, at least not in its entirety. I refer back to it because I know that it relates to current work, but I tend to post and pretend that it never existed because I am rarely satisfied with it.

But this is too important to ignore and too important to waste time by trying to be something I am not. This is where I show my humanity, my good and my bad, my strengths and my weaknesses.

This is where I blog.

How I Became a Blogger

Soccer Dad began a thread in which he discusses how he became a blogger. It was interesting to read and so I decided that I might add my own story to this.

I began by participating in chat rooms. It was the early '90s and I was enthralled with the idea that I could speak with people around the world with such ease and in real time. I remember using AOL. If I am not mistaken I was on a plan in which I received a small number of hours for about $25 a month and then was required to pay overage fees. It was fairly similar to the current cellphone plans.

If I wanted to I could make this a really detailed and longer post but why bore the audience. I graduated from the chat rooms to message boards. There was a period of time that I was exceptionally active on the CNN boards and to a lesser extent on the ABC and New York Times.
I learned a lot about the Net and how people behaved. I posted under my real name because it seemed like the appropriate thing to do. But I soon learned that there were people who would use their keyboards to attack those that disagreed with them with incredible vehemence. The nastiness was such that I was concerned that using my name might bite me in the ass so I stopped.

It has been many years since I was on those boards. I have had some mixed experiences on various boards since then. I stopped hanging around them because the nastiness wore me out. In the interest of full disclosure I participated in some of that. I have a decent command of the language and I found it to be easy to respond and I did.

I am not ashamed nor proud of those moments. I learned from it all.

So here we are at the big reveal,what made Jack decide to start blogging. In truth I don't remember there being any one thing. I just decided that I wanted a new outlet and thought that blogging might be that.

If you are interested in more you might want to read about why I blog.

Hell, I don't know Where This is Going

Hell, I don't know where this is going or what the hell I am going to say. I am just frustrated and going to rattle off at the mouth, er keyboard. Not that it makes a difference. Found out a while ago that some people had discovered this little corner of cyberspace. They know me and were not all that happy with what they read here.

My initial reaction to this was to tell them that if they didn't like it they could go find a hot poker and see how far they could shove it up their tuchus before it became uncomfortable. In some ways I thought of it as serving a purpose because when they removed it I was confident that they would release whatever had crawled up their ass and died. That had to be a good thing, but some infections run deep.

I never did express my true feelings. They were given a taste, a small sample similar to the little piece of burrito they might provide you with at Costco. It wasn't easy to restrain myself, to hold back. It is not my nature. I am a bull, a Taurus. I am Ferdinand the Bull. I want to sit underneath the cork tree and relax but people keep poking, prodding and pricking me. And sooner or later my easygoing temperament is going to be replaced by my sending my horns up your ass as I trample you. How many times must I ask you to respect my wishes. Obviously my wishes do not matter so I might as well say it in no uncertain terms.

OTOH, the beauty/ugliness of age is that in theory you mature and I must have because I didn't say or do anything in particular. And while this might have been the better part of valor it infuriates me. I hate it. I hate having to watch what I say for fear of pissing someone off. I don't look to offend but I am not in the habit of censoring myself with this kind of formality.

I am tired of this post, on to something else.

Freebird

Freebird- Lynyrd Skynrd

"If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.

Bye, bye, its been a sweet love.
Though this feeling I can't change.
But please don't take it badly,
'Cause Lord knows I'm to blame.
But, if I stayed here with you girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.
Lord help me, I can't change."

Discussing Divine Punishment With a Child

Earlier today I engaged in a hit-and-run post in which I asked who was Moshe Rabbeinu's father. The impetus for this was in part a fragmented memory and in part the impact of having watched a movie with my son.

The two of us watched Prince of Egypt. The film has some issues but I wasn't going to engage a five-year-old in a discussion of how the filmmakers might have taken some liberties with the movie.

Anyway, we watched a watered down version of the Exodus and it generated some tough questions. As the title of the post suggests one of the questions was in relation to divine punishment. It wasn't the easiest topic to discuss as it really is quite involved.

There is the question of why people enslave others. That is a pretty serious talk in itself as it incorporates many elements such as prejudice. It actually ties in well with the M.L.K. discussion he and I had last month, but at the same time I try not to throw too many things at him at once.

So there we were with the question of what happened to the Egyptians who were in the Red Sea. He wanted to know what happened to them and why. And for a moment I was unsure of how to respond because I didn't want to make G-d look bad.

That sounds kind of funny, doesn't it. The atheists who read this probably got a kick out of that one. But it is true, I do believe and G-d and my personal belief is not a G-d of fire and brimstone.

Part of the question is why kill all of those Egyptians. Why not come up with some other miracle. You can part the Red Sea, surely you can make them go blind for a few minutes or make them take the wrong turn and end up in cleveland. Why kill.

I am not the first person to ask those questions and I have been part of discussions that dealt with that very topic, but they are a little too sophisticated for a five-year-old.

So we meandered around a bit and talked about how some people don't like others and why it is important to judge people based upon what they do and how they behave. But I can't say that we came to a conclusion that was satisfactory to me.

But I was rescued from this awkward place as we had to run to a birthday party. I still have to come up with some answers, but I have more time to do it.

Moshe Rabbeinu- Who Was His Father?

I have been pondering this all morning. I can't remember learning a thing about him. Who was Moshe Rabbeinu's father and why don't we hear more about him.

Curious.

Ben Stein Says 'We're Losing'

Ben Stein is an interesting guy. I once interviewed him. It was during my senior year of high school but that is a post for a different day. I think that he makes some good points in this essay.

"Greeting, fellow Americans. I have some serious news for you about the war against the terrorists, the war we are fighting to protect our liberties and our Constitution against Islamic totalitarianism. We're losing, big time. I don't mean we're losing in Iraq, where our brave men and women are fighting well in difficult conditions and with the home grown doubters at their heels. Nor in Afghanistan, where our men and women in uniform are also fighting brilliantly.

No, we are losing our freedom here at home, and in a particularly nasty way. It has to do with those cartoons mocking Mohammed that were published in a Danish publication and have excited riots and burnings across the Moslem world and fear and terror in Europe.

The problem here is that some students at the University of Illinois' student newspaper thought -- with some reason -- that the cartoons are newsworthy. They published six of them along with a written statement of why the cartoons were offensive. A few Moslem students complained, which surely is their right. The university officials stepped in and the student editors were essentially fired. Yes, because a student publication might cause offense. Imagine that."
As I have written on many occasions I don't see a need to go out our way to offend people but I don't see a reason why we should be forced to wear a sweater because someone else is cold. I think that we have made some terrible mistakes in how we have handled the whole cartoon affair.

We should never allow the Muslim world to think that violence is a legitimate form of protest. I wouldn't stand for it from Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists either. This is not going to make things better and it could definitely make things worse.

Computer, Computer, Computer

In an earlier post I mentioned that my 'puter was giving me some real 'tude. After many hours I feel like we have come closer to a negotiated settlement. There are still issues. I added some software and removed others. I dug and dragged, pointed, clicked, kicked, screamed, cursed and yelled at it.

But we seem to have made progress. It is not behaving like the good little computer it used to be. It acts like a teenager with raging hormones. Sometimes it is perfect and sometimes it is horrid, but the little blue tower is all mine and I can't help but love it.

Now I just have to teach it some respect and we'll be set.

It Made Me Say WTF

I received an anonymous comment from someone that was just so bizarre I am provding a whole post about it. I don't know what to make of this. By the way I see that the nutter is making the rounds.

Jesus Christ is a false god.
At best all Christians can hope for is partial credit.

Program on the emergence of civilization.

"14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
None from the sub-Saharan African continent. "
Favor.
And disfavor.

They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it's applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

The roots of racism are not of this earth.

Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

AIDS in Africa.


Organizational Heirarchy/Levels of positioning.
Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

1. MUCK - perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as "god"
2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
3. Evil/disfavored aliens - runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere

Terrestrial management/positioning:

4. Chinese/egyptians - this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
5. Romans - The seamless transition between Cleopatra and Julius Ceasar may be a clue alluding to a partnership.
6. Mafia - the real-world 20th century interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
7. Jews, corporation, women, politician - Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.


Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.


Our society gives clues to the system in place. We all have heard the saying "He has more money than god." There is also an episode of the Simpsons where god meets Homer and says "I'm too old and rich for this."

This is the system on earth because this is the system everywhere.

20 cent/hour Chinese labor, 50 cents for material.
An $80 sweater costs less than a dollar; tribute kicked upstairs vindicates the creative accounting.

I don't want to suggest the upper eschelons are evil and good is the fringe. But these individuals become wealthy exploiting those they hurt.

They have made it abundantly clear that doing business with evil (disfavored) won't help people. They say only good (favored) would have the ear, since evil is struggling for survival, and therefore only the favored could help.

The clues are there which companies are favored and which are disfavored, but they conceal it very hard because it is so crucial.

I offer an example of historical proportions:::

People point to Walmart and cry "anti-union".
Unions enable disfavored people to live satisfactorly without addressing their disfavor. This way their family's problems are never resolved. Without the union they would have to accept the heirarchy, their own inferiority.
Unions serve to empower.
Walmart is anti-union because they are good. They try to help people address and resolve their problems by creating an environment where there are fewer hurdles.

Media ridicule and lawsuits are creations to reinforce people's belief that Walmart is evil in a subsegment of the indistry dominated by the middle and lower classes.
Low-cost disfavored Chinese labor is utilized by corporate america to maximize margins. They all do it. Only WalMart gets fingered because they are the ones who help, and those who seek to create confusion in the marketplace want to eliminate the vast middle class who have a real chance and instead stick with lower classes who may not work otherwise. So they dirty him up while allowing the others to appear clean.

The middle class is being deceived. They are being misled into the disfavored, and subsequently will have no assistance from their purchases with corporate america.

The coining of the term "Uncle Sam" was a clue alluding to just this::Sam Walton's WalMart is one of few saviors of the peasant class.

Have you made your peace with god?

They desire a system based on duality:::good and evil. They seek to set up a system of two participants, assign them polar opposites, and give people clues alluding to their affiliation:::

BestBuy and CircutCity
Energizer and Duracell
Republican and Democrat; democracy is the true evil and these groups facilitate the will of the throne which holds americans in disfavor
The list goes on and on:::
AMD and Intel
Apple and Microsoft
Lowes and HomeDepot
Sam'sClub and Costco
WellsFargo and BofA. For the longest time in CA these two banks reigned supreme.
Pier1 and CostPlus
Borders and Barnes&Noble
PetCo and PetSmart
How many can you think of?

The truth is decisions are made on each individual based on family history and individual charecter and they either create desire with AI or, in this age, tell them to buy from good or evil corporations, depending on the decison, then use that business relationship as positioning to justiy their decision.

Have you made your peace with god?


Amercia is a country of castoffs, rejects. Italy sent its criminals, malcontents.
Between the thrones, the klans and kindred, they decided who they didn't want and acted, creating discontent and/or starvation.
The u.s. is full of disfavored rejects. It is the reason for the myriad of problems not found in European countries. As far as the Rockafellers and other industrialists of the 19th century go, I suspect these aren't their real names. I suspect they were chosen to go and head this new empire.

Royalty is the correct way to organize a society. Dictatorships and monarchies are a reflection of the antient's hierarchical organization.
Positions go to those who have favor with the rulers, as opposed to being elected.
Elections bring a false sense of how the world is. Democracy misleads people. This is why the disfavored rejects were sent to the shores of America::To keep them on the wrong path.

Have you made your peace with god?


Jesus Christ is a false god. All Christians can recieve is partial credit, at best.
The Catholic Church in the tretcherous 20th century teaches of a begnign, forgiving god when quite the opposite is true.
And now they do it to disfavored people of color, Latinos and Asians, after centuries of preying upon them.
The seperatist churches formed because many conciencious thrones wanted their people to earn more than the paltry credit offered via worship through the Catholic Church. But because they were white the throne required worship to stay within Christianity.

Simpson's foreshadowing::Helloween IV special, Flanders is Satan. "It's always the one you least suspect."
"You'll see lots of nuns where you're going:::hell." St. Wigham, Helloween VI:::missionary work, destroying cultures.
Over and over, the Simpsons was a source of education and enlightenment, a target of ridicule by the system which wishes to conceal its secrets.

The advent of the modern Christmas was a brilliant move. It created a vested interest among those who would prefer the Church be destroyed::::
As goes the Catholic Church so goes the majority of annual retail sales.
The similarity between the names "Santa" and "Satan" is no coincidence.

Jews maim the body formed in the image of "god", and inflicted circumcision upon all other white people.
I think about how Jews were used to create homosexuality among Slavics, supposedly retribution for the Holocaust.
Then I think of the Catholic Church and its troubles.
What connection is here between Jews and the Catholic church???
If it is their sinister motives that’s behind the evil that is Jesus Christ are they being used at all?
Perhaps it is them who are pulling strings.
Centuries of slavery in Egypt proves their disfavor.
For their suffering the Jew leaders were granted the right to prey on the up-and-coming Europeans to try to fix their problems with the ruling elite by imposing a false god upon white people, a recurring aspect of the elite's methodology.
Jews were ostracised for a reason.


There are consequences for the peasant's resistance:::
1. Labor unrest caused the world at war.
2. Black militancy ignited the crack epidemic and gang-related deaths.
3. Vietnam war protests - "Era of evil republicans."
4. Women's rights/sexual freedom produced Roe v Wade and women's exclusion from contention for Planet Immortality. But on the bright side peasants don't go. Money is one way of indicating favor, and if you're not wealthy you don't have favor, so don't sweat it::you weren't going anyways. "We're leading a lot of people on."
Collectively resistance is the wrong way. Individually, clues in family history may suggest exclusion and hopelessness. Obediently buying cars or carrying pregnancies will be fruitless. Promises must be taken with a grain of salt because tactics will be employed based on disfavor.


Retribution for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the Korean War got the disfavored United States into this socially depraved environment in the latter 20th century because the disfavored attacked an antient, revered peoples. Our continued presence keeps us in trouble.
When the disfavored americans attack the wrong people again, as they suggested they will, in Korea or elsewhere, they will pay dearly.

The disfavored americans HAVE attacked the wrong people, just as the Soviets did 25+ years ago::Afghanistan. Except our punishment has yet to be administered.
An evil republican will come forth to wreck havock upon the disfavored. The hunting incident was designed to ruin one possible candidate among his contingency, but others wait in the wings.

All peoples are ranked in terms of favor and disfavor. And when the disfavored abuse those with favor there is hell to pay.
All the groups mentioned throughout are necessary to justify the will of the managing species. They conceive a strategy, devise a plan yet need a way to implement it, and without these groups the managing species would be exposed in the course of execution. So, based upon their rank they are assigned goals to accomplish and are rewarded with favors.


I question if we would experience global warming if they didn't terraform with an ultimate goal of destroying disfavored human life on planet earth::::they terraform the weather as they did in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina (and lots of other examples) and justify it with behavior like instructing their petroleum friends to repress alternative technologies and encourage waste.
This is all happening shortly after the Exodus of 2000 (clues::Hong Kong, Panama Canal) for a reason::: they are INFLICTING it upon us, they are hastening closure. Everybody they care about has come up, replaced by clones, and they want to proceed in haste.
Just as favored European peoples got out before the ugliness of WWII, the semi-favored within the US got out before 9/11. The antient Palestinian Empire holds a claim on all who remain because of Iraq.
Armeggedon isn’t about the end of the world. Armeggedon is about the death of the disfavored left behind. And they weren’t lying::this time it is going to happen with fire. But it's not going to happen because of global warming. To silence the inevitable internal conflict it's going to happen in the blink of an eye:::::
As Edgar Cayce prophicised Earth's axis will shift breaking continental plates free and initiating mass subduction.


Have you made your peace with god?

Authors Who Lose Their Muse

I love to read. A good book is one of the great pleasures in life. It provides you with a glimpse into a different world. It is a chance to escape and visit far away places. It is an opportunity to interact with the exotic and unfamiliar as well as a chance to educate you about things/people/places you might not encounter.

As someone who has a passing interest in writing I have a strong interest in following the work of my favorite writers. I spent a few minutes trying to determine just how many books that I have read in my life. To be honest I want to say more than 10,000 but that sounds like it might be a little high.

Just for kicks lets reduce that dramatically to a thousand. Out of that 1000 I have read multiple series. Typically there are one or two books in a series that are much weaker than the others. I would speculate that these are books that really weren't meant to be standalone but were forced upon the public due to monetary reasons and or because their inclusion in one of the other books would have made them exceptionally long.

This is really where we hit the meat of this post. These extra books can be difficult to swallow because they are so poor compared to the other members of the series. Usually it is not the writing that is bad, it is the plot. For whatever reason these particular books are quite weak there. The plot meanders back and forth and you learn far too much about characters that are not central to the story nor very interesting.

Unfortunately my little mind is at a loss for more than one example of this so I'll go with the one that comes to mind. Robert Jordan and his Wheel Of Time series. This started so well and then it really went downhill.

To be fair I must admit that I have lost my muse on a number of occasions. I do not think that it is easy to produce so much content and have it all be top notch, but the rules of the blog dictate honesty and it would be wrong if I didn't speak my mind about this.

Don Knotts- Rest In Peace

"LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Don Knotts, who kept generations of TV audiences laughing as bumbling Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show" and would-be swinger landlord Ralph Furley on "Three's Company," has died. He was 81."
Thanks for making me smile, not to mention making me son smile during your guest appearances on Scooby Doo.

My Application for Shola

If you are new to this story click here first. I think that this is about the sixth in the series. Not sure because I am not really counting.

Shola sent me a new email. Here is what it said:
Dear Jack
Good morning ,You can use any Bank of your choice
that you that is trusted,
Please confirm if you received my international
Passport I sent to you yesterday,
Replay
Shola
Here is my reply

Dear Shola,

I apologize for the delayed response but I have been having extreme computer problems. I spent many hours checking into these matters and had to employ the esteemed computer technician Scooby Doo to investigate what was causing this issue.

I was told that it was a computer virus and it was suggested that it was received when I opened your note with your passport. This upset me greatly and I considered ending our relationship.

However as you may remember I am a follower and true believer of the Church of The TreeFrog and hold the position of Bishop of BullFrog. As a holy man I do not make hasty decisions. I held a meeting with the holy croaker circle (see attached picture) and even consulted his highness the most holy High Jumper (see picture) and have decided to give you a second chance.










To that end I am attaching a copy of the application that I am sending to the bank so that you are kept in the loop regarding all
important decisions.

I look forward to sharing the money with you and wish you a hopping good day.

Croakingly yours,

Jack

This is a copy of the application I submitted. Or should I say here are the answers to the application Shola sent me.

ATTN:ALHAJI SANI A.UMAR.
THE DIRECTOR FINANCIAL BANK.
LOME.REPUBLIC OF TOGO.
WEST AFRICA
TEL/FAX: +228-222-0287
E-MAIL: s_a_umar@yahoo.com

SIR,

APLICATION FOR THE TRANSFER OF USD $12.5m (Twelve
Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States
Dollars).FROM ACCOUNT # 6457128429/WADB/TG/91

Personal Information as follows.

Name:Jack Shack

Add: 1060 W. Addison Chicago Illinois 60610 Sex:Frequently

Age:76

Profession: Bard and Tumbling Expert

Tel:867-5309

Fax: 867-5309 (Phone and Fax

Email: No, I am male

Date: Sorry, I am already married




Sir

I Humbly apply for the transfer of fund from your
bank as the next of kin of Mr.Larry Baldridge Jr. who
was a registered customer of your bank, he is the
holder of a fixed deposit account in your bank. This
account is said to hold an estimated USD $12.5m
(Twelve Five Million, five hundred thousand United
States Dollars).

Bellow is the account information of my late cousin:


Account # 6457128429/WADB/TG/91

Beneficiary: Mrs. Dorene Beck

Amount Deposited :USD $12,500,000.00USD (only)

Please kindly be informed that my late cousin Mr.Larry
Baldridge Jr. operated a company in Lome-Togo by the
name of WC-SARL Construction Company Lome-Togo. Since
his death along with his immediate next of kin on the
January 31st 2000 in an auto crash, I have been unable
to come forward to claim this fund due to family
logistic problem that arised after his burial and
personal issues. Please upon acknowledge of this
application, I respectfully request your expedience in
treating this matter with utmost urgency, hence I will
need the funds to continue running the family’s
business in our country, since we are no longer
conducting business in lome togo west Africa. I will
await your response towards this issue.
I appologize for any inconvinience this might cause
you for not getting in touch all this while, I hereby
wish that my late cousin's fund be trasfered to my
bank acount with the following informations below:

Bank account Information:

The account details is as follows :-

Bank name :Dinah Mite Financial

Bank address : 69 Comelickmeclean Road Bustedtuchus, Ohio 44018

Account N°: 41625665536

Aba routing code : 789456124

Sort/Swift code:USLDIM 62 IBAN Code: US17762MIDL40

I will be pleased if this application is approved and
funds transferred into my account stated and on no
account should my account details be changed
without a written information and the total amount
should and must be transferred in full to my bank
account.

Thanks for your anticipated co-operation.

Yours faithfully,


Name:Jack Shack

Computer Nightmare

I am working off of my laptop right now. It is not how I typically work as I prefer to use my desktop, but something has happened to it. I am not sure what it is and am attempting to diagnose it.

What I know for certain is that it is not working. It is only through a lot of scrambling and crap that I got this thing up and running. Funny how important a bunch of keys and wires have become to me.

All I know is that this is going to cost me money. I can feel it. I am praying that my hard drive didn't decide to commit suicide today.
this is an audio post - click to play
this is an audio post - click to play

For Shola

I just sent this email off to Shola. It is in response to the one he sent me along with his passport.

Hi Shola,

I am trying to decide which bank we should use for this as I bank with several.

Cleveland Bank of Plunder and Spoil
1313 Mockingbird Lane
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Personal Agent: Herman Munster

Barnacle Bob Bank of Mistrust
4 Is the Square Root of 16 Lane
Toledo, Ohio 44104
Personal Agent: Barney Fife

Dinah Mite Financial
69 Comelickmeclean Road
Bustedtuchus, Ohio 44018
Personal Agent: Hawkeye Pierce

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions as to which one you think would be easiest to work with? I have had many interactions with Mr. Munster as when I was young I used to watch him. So perhaps it might make sense to work with his institution of deceit, deception, distrust and dismay.

-Jack

The J-Blogosphere is Not Dying

Contrary to the opinions of some the J-Blogosphere is not dying or even in a rut. It is undergoing a dynamic and fluid evolution in which some "older" blogs are dropping out of the game. But have no fear because just as we see in life the population is not shrinking.

These old blogs are being replaced by new blogs. Some of them are pretty good and some of them are just awful.

The hardest thing for me is not running out of content, I can always find material to blog about. No, the bigger challenge is finding time to read and respond.

Speaking of which, I have got to run for a bit. See you later.

Shola Still Wants to Work With Me

It appears that my good friend Shola wishes to continue to work with me. The story begins here and then continues here and here.

Late last night I received a new email from Shola with a copy of his International Passport and the following message.

Dear Jack

I’m most grateful for your mail, I seize this
opportunity to thank you for coming to my asistant ,
also let you know that this transaction is a straight
forward and legal transaction. I am somebody with a
conscience. If this transaction was in any way
illegal, I would tell you straight away so that you
know what is involved and decide for yourself. But it
is not like that at all, and you will later see and
understand that.
I hope you were not too embarrassed by email to you
since I did not answer your questions.

I didn't know how much amount (%)we will dispatched
to charity organizations, so I resulted to putting
fate to test and making a random contact.

I have decided to give alms to charity organizations
and churches from your questions, as I want this to
be one of the last good deeds I do on earth It is for
this reasons I am sending my International Pasport,

Your assistance to stand as the next of kin to the
fund and retrieve it without any itch All the
necessary informations required to get the Funds out
of the Bank firm are in their possession and I will be
sending them to you if needed by the bank.

Please Not. I need you to give me your words that you
will be very honest and straight forward with me when
the money gets to you, So long as you can execute this
transaction successfully and help me Thus, I would
need you to get back to me on the following issues,

(1) I hope you are in a position to be trusted as a
God fearing person as you stated and you will send
some pentage will be dispatched it to charity
organization as you said.Plesea you can fill the firm
and send it through attachment to the bank,please I
need your cell phone number or you call me as well


I Look forward to your earliest reply thanks.
May God be with you.
Shola Rhodes

I have not replied to this note as I have not yet decided whether I wish to keep this going on any longer. I'll keep you all posted as to how things develop.

This Disgusts Me!

This story just infuriates me. There are so many things that are just wrong with these people. There is an old curse that applies to them. They should lose all of their teeth except one, and that remaining tooth should have a toothache.

Actually my real wish is more graphic but...
5 States Consider Bans On Protests at Funerals
Proposals Aimed at Anti-Gay Demonstrations

By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 30, 2006; Page A09

CHICAGO -- At least five Midwestern states are considering legislation to ban protests at funerals in response to demonstrations by the Rev. Fred Phelpsand members of his Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, who have been protesting at funerals of Iraq war casualties because they say the deaths are God's punishment for U.S. tolerance toward gays.

Though the soldiers were not gay, the protesters say the deaths, as well as Hurricane Katrina, recent mining disasters and other tragedies are God's signs of displeasure. They also protested at the memorial service for the 12 West Virginia miners who died in the Sago Mine.

"The families weren't able to bury their loved ones in peace," said Kansas state Sen. Jean Schodorf, who has proposed legislation. "We felt pretty strongly that we needed to do something about it."

Kansas already has a law banning demonstrations at funerals, but Schodorf said the existing law is vague and hard to enforce. The proposed bill would keep protesters 300 feet away from any funeral or memorial service and ban demonstrations within one hour before or two hours after a service.

Legislators in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma are looking at similar bills. Proposed legislation in Indiana would keep protesters 500 feet from funerals, and make a violation a felony punishable by a three-year prison term and a $10,000 fine.

State Sen. Anita Bowser said she thinks the demonstrators are hoping to provoke a physical attack so they can file a lawsuit.

"These people are not gainfully employed, so they're waiting for someone to do battle with them so they can go to court and win," said Bowser. "They want a big liability case to pursue. I don't think they actually give a diddly wink about the arguments they're making, but they're clever individuals trying to make a fast buck."

Shirley Phelps-Roper, Phelps's daughter and an attorney for the church, said if legislation passes, the group will challenge it in court. "Whatever they do would be unconstitutional," she said. "These aren't private funerals; these are patriotic pep rallies. Our goal is to call America an abomination, to help the nation connect the dots. You turn this nation over to the fags and our soldiers come home in body bags."

Fortunately there are many different people working to stop these jackasses. One of these groups is called the Patriot Guard.

Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a "hawk" or a "dove". It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is. You don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

Who'd Win This Fight

Craig Detractors Bash Blond Bond

The article above makes me wonder. If there was a fight between the James Bond fans and and the Star Trek fans who would win.

Would we see 1000 Spocks taking on a 1000 Qs? Would Moneypenny fight Lt. Uhura? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.

What do you think?

Gladiators Fought By The Rules

I always find stories like this to be interesting.

LONDON (Reuters) - Gladiators may have fought and died to entertain others in the brutality of the Roman arena but they appear to have abided by a strict code of conduct which avoided savage violence, forensic scientists say.

Tests on the remains of 67 gladiators found in tombs at Ephesus in Turkey, center of power for ancient Rome's eastern empire, show they stuck to well defined rules of combat and avoided gory free-for-alls.

Injuries to the front of each skull suggested that each opponent used just one type of weapon per bout of face-to-face contact, two Austrian researchers report in a paper to be published in Forensic Science International.

"Savage violence and mutilation, typical of battlefields 2,000 years ago, were out of order.

And the losers appear to have died quickly.

Despite the fact that most gladiators wore helmets, 10 of the remains showed the fighters had died of squarish hammer-like blows to the side of the head, possibly the work of a backstage executioner who finished off wounded losers after the fight.

The report confirms the picture given of battles in the arena by Roman artwork, which suggests gladiators were well matched and followed rules enforced by two referees."

A 15 Pound Newborn

This is one big baby.
"MADRID, Spain - A Colombian woman has given birth to a 15-pound baby, the largest in 40 years in Madrid's main maternity hospital.

The 38-year-old mother, identified only as Rosario, had gestational diabetes — which can cause women to give birth to larger-than-usual babies — and a track record. Her first daughter, now nine, weighed 10.2 pounds at birth.

The new baby's father, Juan Carlos, said that with another woman he had a daughter that weighed 17 pounds at birth. "They told me it is genetic," he told reporters."

How Does A Non-Jewish Englishwoman land in Israel?

To find out click here.

Give Me Time and I will Be Rich, Rich, Rich

Ok, if you remember this story raise your hand. Now take a moment and ask yourself if you remember the sequel to this. If not, go here and catch up.

Ready? Good. Shola and I have continued our correspondence. He sent two emails today. Here is the latest installment of it.

Dear Jack
As attached is my wedding picture, the one with my
wife is a traditional marriage day and the one with my
wife father and elders during our christian wedding in
France,If you like you can send yours as well,

Please try fill the Aplication and forward to bank
through The directors email or Rose Obi as stated ,
will give the answer to your questions after I
closeing from the office.Please Try and call me on
this number +228 939-90-66 as soon as you receive this

mail.
I wait for your call
My Best Regard
Shola
And then a short time later he sent this note:

Please Jack ,I want you to understand that this is not
a Mail Joke or Junk Mail,
Lates work with understanding to achive this Goal,As I
told that this transaction is 100% resk fee .also know
that Togo is a Franch Country,
You can call as well +228-939-90-66.
Regard
Shola
My response to Shola is as follows:
Dear Shola,

Thank you for sending your pictures. You have a wonderful family. In my prior letter
I mentioned that I am a follower and true believer of the Church of The TreeFrog and hold the position of Bishop of BullFrog.
I have provided you with a picture of me dressed in my ceremonial robes.


Even as we speak I am working upon this superior project of ours with the greatest speed that I can muster.
But like many things it must be done precisely and with great care and that is why I must insist on you helping me with
certain business customs.

As I mentioned in a prior note it is important that we continue to build our bond of friendship, faith and trust. This is why I asked you for a picture and responses to some questions. Without answers to these questions I may not be able to finish this work.

Can you make haste and please supply me with the answers to these questions so that there are not any interruptions.

How much wood, could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck, could chuck wood?

If you had a hammer would you hammer in the morning? Would you hammer out danger? Would you hammer out warning?

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

How many kilos of food do you consume each day?

If a store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week why are there locks on the door?

Could a swallow carry a cocoanut?

Who is greater, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird?

My Best Regards,

Mr. Jack Shack

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...