"When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'." — Groucho Marx
How Do You Make a Baby?
He is just short of 5.5 so I didn't see a need to give him too much information, but at the same time I didn't want to shortchange him. I am not embarrassed or bothered by the question. It is age appropriate and just one of a thousand questions a day that he asks me.
I have a standard response to almost all of his questions that goes something like this "what do you think?"
The purpose is for me to try and understand how much he has heard about a particular topic. Once I understand what level of understanding he has it is much easier for me to provide an appropriate response.
The first time he asked we were in my car. I was stopped at a red light on Ventura Boulevard. Somewhere behind me or to the side there was a car emitting a loud booming noise. The bass must have been deafening for the passengers, to me it was just irritatiing. Yet, at the same time there was something fitting. It felt like an introduction to my opening monologue.
Me: "Little Jack, how do you think this happens?"
Son: "Dad, I think that we crawl up inside the mommies."
Son: "Yes. I think that we must like being in there."
The juvenile part of me had a million smartass remarks that I forced myself not to say. The light changed and I set the car in motion.
Me: "Have you talked about this with your friends?"
For a moment I had this funny image of a group of five year-olds standing around on a street corner exchanging war stories and advice.
"Check out the girl in the Dora dress. She is so hot!"
Son:"Dad, my sister is going to be a mommy one day."
Me: "Yes, but not for a very long time. One of your jobs is going to help me keep the boys away from her."
Should I issue an apology to my daughter now or later. Sorry baby, daddy grew up with lots of sisters. This was drilled into me by your grandfather. Like how I pass the buck. ;)
Me: "Nevermind that, let's talk about your question." Do you remember what is different about girls and boys?"
Son: "Girls are poopheads and peepee faces." Followed by gales of five year-old laughter.
If you are ever in need of a way to entertain young children scatalogical humor provides endless amounts of humor to both boys and girls. It is a source of tons of fun to them.
I took another deepbreath and launched into my explanation.
Me: "Let's be serious. Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. When they love each other very much they sometimes decide to show that love by doing something togther."
I paused for a moment and tried to decide how I wanted to describe sex. I wanted to give him enough to satisfy his question but not so much to make him think that I was carrying a copy of the Kama Sutra in the car. I keep that at home.
Instead of continuing I opted to check in again and make sure that he was following along. So I stopped and asked him if he understood.
Silence....I repeated the question and again was greeted with silence. So I looked into the rear view mirror and saw that he had fallen asleep. For a moment I was nonplussed. Our first real sex talk and I bored him to sleep.
I remember the first time I saw any sort of sex scene with my parents. It was a movie, can't say that I remember which one. What I do remember was a warm uncomfortable feeling. The last thing I wanted to do was watch with them, but that is a different story for a different day.
That conversation with my son took place a few days ago. I want to finish it, but I didn't see a reason to bring it back up until he does. This weekend I picked up a book by Dr. Ruth that addresses this issue.
I expect that later this week we'll revisit this topic again. I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.
Rally For Darfur
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thousands of people joined celebrities and lawmakers at a rally Sunday urging the Bush administration and Congress to help end genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.If I am not mistaken the last time I saw Or Rose was about 15 years ago on a basketball court, but that is neither here nor there. What I know for certain is that I feel as an obligation as a person, as a father and as a Jew to speak out about Darfur.
"Not on our watch!" the crowd chanted as a parade of speakers lined up for their turn on a stage on the National Mall, the Capitol serving as a backdrop."The personal motivation for a lot of us is the Holocaust," said Boston-based Rabbi Or Rose of Jewish Seminarians for Justice. "Given our history and experience, we feel an obligation to stand up and speak out."
What I know is that Africa is the forgotten continent. It is a place which is perpetually in trouble in large part because the world just doesn't care. There is a lot of lip service paid to the problems there, but very little action.
It is my wish and my hope that in the days that follow we will see real action taken by the global community to try and improve the situation in the Sudan. The lack of inaction now is just shameful and sadly unsurprising.
Samuel L. Jackson
Time: Did you end up saying, "I want these m-----f------ snakes off this m-----f------ plane?"
S.J. Yeah. It's kind of difficult to watch me in a movie and not hear me say mother------ once. I wanted to say it in Star Wars, but you just can't say that kind of stuff. Jedis don't talk that way.
Master Yoda would have been most displeased. ;)
An Illegal War
From a personal standpoint I happen to think that there are times when war is merited. We usually refer to those moments as a moral war but I readily admit that this sounds somewhat strange to me as well.
Think about it. Is there a country in which murder is legal. I suppose that one could argue that enemy combatants are killed and not murdered. There are rules of warfare but I still find some of this to be strange.
When it is moral to drop bombs on other people, to destroy their homes and their way of life there is a bit of an issue.
I suppose what I am saying is that terms like moral and illegal are not so easily applied, at least not from my standpoint. The world is a funny place. I may have to blog about this some more later.
There Are No Bargain Matinees Anymore
It used to be that the biggest challenge was trying to sneak in some food. I certainly didn't want to pay through the nose for popcorn and candy, especially if I hit the bargain matinee. Those were usually somewhere between $3.50 and $5. What was the point of paying more for the food than the movie.
Back in college my girlfriend and I found a place that charged a buck a movie. For poor college students it was an outstanding find. We loved it and spent many happy hours there.
Alas I haven't found anything close to that place in years. For a while the weekends provided the standard $5 fair, but that seems to have disappeared. More and more chains have raised their rates into the $7 to $10 range and shortened the time frame that they were available. Instead of having until six P.M. many theaters seem to offer the bargain for the first couple of shows only.
So what you have is a movie date that is just slightly less than it would be if you went to the standard evening show. Roughly this works out to be almost $20 for a pair of tickets and then another $10 in cheap snacks. Add dinner, parking and a couple of odds and ends and you have spent a couple of bucks.
I don't mind spending money on entertainment, but I do mind paying for a terrible flick. Anyway, I have rambled on long enough about this.
Haveil Havalim #67
Dreams Fulfilled and Unfulfilled
Typically I try to reply in the evening. The challenge with doing so is that sometimes I find that I am just so tired that it is tough to blog and reply. It is not really fair, but sometimes fatigue wins and I don't respond or I give a very short reply. Nonetheless I very much appreciate the comments, thank you for your time. It is appreciated.
On the subject of dreams there is always the question of how to fulfill those. What do you do to turn fantasy into reality. How do you bring the image in your head to life. Are you someone who is more content to dream or are you resourceful enough to turn fiction to fact.
At my nephew's bris some friends of my parents looked at my kids and laughed. They called my son and daughter forces of nature, little tornados of activity and then told me that they remember me the same way. My mother has said the same thing. I didn't hold still. I was constantly in motion.
Some of that has changed, now you'll find me in a stationary position for extended periods of time. My mind is a different story. It doesn't shut down, it is always moving. If you could see inside my skull you'd find closets that were stuffed full of things that I might need one day. There would be garages filled to the ceilings with books and boxes stuffed with magazines. There would be all sorts of exercise equipment and toys.
In the background there would be an incredible sound system playing an assortment of music. Simultaneously there would be several televisions playing movies and sports games.
And somewhere in the midst of all this you'd find me mulling over ways to get rich. Not because I desire material goods, but because I desire the ability to own my time so that I can follow all of my dreams.
There is something to be said for having a roadmap that you can follow to see that your dreams are fulfilled but there is also something to be said for enjoying the journey. Be of good cheer. Be strong. Be patient. Be tenacious and never forget that luck may be an occasional substitute for talent but there is no substitute for hard work.
You Never Know When You'll Need This
The first is The Portable Bar. I first learned about it over here. Thanks to the fine folks at JustInCase I am now confident in my ability to hire myself out as a party on wheels. And you know, there is never enough of those.
Here is the thing that really gets me going. Thanks to Random Good Stuff and The Poop Report I have become familiar with the work of Marcel Neundorfer.
The good man has helped to design games you can play at the urinal. This seems like a no brainer to me. If you are going to serve as a traveling bartender than you might as well bring along some games to entertain the guests wherever they may be.
Michael Totten Goes To Israel
"TEL AVIV - After living in an Arab country for nearly six months, arriving in Israel came like a shock.
It startled me from the air. Whoa, I thought, as I looked out the window of the plane over the suburbs of Tel Aviv. If the border were open I could drive down there in a short couple of hours from my Beirut apartment. But this place looked nothing like Lebanon. My Lebanese friend Hassan calls Israel Disneyland. I thought about that and laughed when I watched it roll by from above.
Trim houses sprawled in Western-style suburban rows like white versions of little green Monopoly board pieces. Red-tiled roofs somehow looked more Southern California than Mediterranean. Swimming pools sparkled in sunlight. I felt that I had been whisked to the other side of the planet in no time.
The airport shocked me as well, although it probably wouldn’t shock you. There were more straight lines and right angles than I was used to. There were more women, children, and families around than I had seen for some time. Obvious tourists from places like suburban Kansas City were everywhere.
Arab countries have a certain feel. They’re masculine, relaxed, worn around the edges, and slightly shady in a Sicilian mobster sort of way. Arabs are wonderfully and disarmingly charming. Israel felt brisk, modern, shiny, and confident. It looked rich, powerful, and explicitly Jewish. I knew I had been away from home a long time when being around Arabs and Muslims felt comfortably normal and Jews seemed exotic.
First impression are just that, though. They tend to be crazily out of whack and subject to almost instant revision. Israel, I would soon find out, is a lot more like the Arab and Muslim countries than it appears at first glance. It’s not at all a little fragment of the West that is somehow weirdly displaced and on the wrong continent. It’s Middle Eastern to the core, and it has more in common with Lebanon than anywhere else I have been. The politics and the history are different, of course. But once I got settled in Tel Aviv I didn’t feel like I had ventured far from Beirut at all.
Lisa Goldman kindly welcomed me to the country and met me for drinks in a dark, smoky, and slightly bohemian bar on my first night. We talked, as everyone does, about The Conflict.
Lisa is a journalist who has been writing for the Guardian lately. She moved from Canada to Israel years ago when Ehud Barak was prime minister. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians looked imminent. Israel was on the threshold - finally - of becoming an accepted and normal country in the Middle East. It was the perfect time to relocate, a time of optimism and hope. A cruel three weeks later that dream was violently put to its death. The second intifada exploded. Israel was at war.
“It was so traumatizing,” she said. “And everybody blamed us. I don’t think I will ever get over it.”
Last year she wrote a six-part series on her blog called How Lisa Came to Israel. It’s riveting and terrifying to read. She must turn that material into a book. Do yourself a favor. Set aside some time and read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six. If you’re a literary agent, send her an email.
“I was near 11 or 12 suicide attacks during the intifada," she said. "But that’s nothing. I know people in Jerusalem who were near 40 or 50.”
She kept going to restaurants, cafes, and bars even while bombs exploded somewhere almost every day. She even chose to sit right next to the front windows, the least safe place in any establishment.
“The staff kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to sit there," she said. "I did.”
“I didn’t want to visit Israel then,” I said.
“Hardly anyone did,” she said. “The thing is, though, even when the intifada was at its peak you were far more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than by the bombers.”
She’s right about that. Most supposedly dangerous countries in the Middle East are considerably safer than they appear from far away. The region is not one never-ending explosion. Even so, suicide bomb operations are far more terrifying and traumatizing than car crashes. They're murderous. They’re malevolent. They’re on purpose.
“It’s especially disturbing when you know what those bombs do to the human body,” she said.
“Do I want to know?” I said. I was not sure I did.
She shrugged and raised her eyebrows.
“Okay,” I said. “Just tell me.”
“Arms and legs go flying in every direction,” she said. “Heads pop off like champagne corks. You just can’t believe anyone hates you that much."
Comic Books Find Religion
"Four years ago, we learned that The Thing is Jewish when he was shown praying in Hebrew over the body of a friend he had sought to protect. (“It’s just ... you don’t look Jewish,” a surprised character tells the enormous, destructive orange rock-man, who explains to another character that he never said anything about it because he didn’t want to embarrass other Jews, seeing as he was, after all, an enormous, destructive orange rock-man.)"Call me a geek but I found the story to be interesting. Please note that the selection I chose is but a small part of the overall story.
Now if you really want geeky you can click here to find out the religious affiliation of many superheroes.
Cancel American Idol
I am so sick of hearing about it.
Immigrant boycott aims to "close" US cities
"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pro-immigration activists say a nationwide boycott and marches planned for May 1 will flood Americas's streets with millions of Latinos to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants and shake the ground under Congress as it tackles reform.Fine. I don't know that this is going to work out the way they hope it will. I suspect that this will polarize the issue further and create more problems than it solves.
But while such a massive turnout could make for the largest protests since the civil rights era of the 1960s, not all Latinos, nor their leaders, were comfortable with such militancy -- fearing a backlash in Middle America.
"There will be 2 to 3 million people hitting the streets in Los Angeles alone. We're going to close down Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Tucson, Phoenix, Fresno," said Jorge Rodriguez, a union official who helped organize earlier rallies credited with rattling Congress as it debates the issue."
"We want full amnesty, full legalization for anybody who is here (illegally)," Rodriguez said. "That is the message that is going to be played out across the country on May 1."I'd like to know why he thinks that people should just cross the border and immediately be given citizenship. I understand why people want to come here and am not opposed to legal immigration.
But I have a problem with just giving away citizenship. We should know who is coming in. It is not unreasonable to ask for a little background check, nor is it racist to say that I don't support illegal immigration.
Why Do You Blog?
The question of the moment is simple. Why do you blog? What do you hope to accomplish and are you happy with it so far?
How To Build Company Morale
FRESNO, California (AP) -- Lawyers for a woman spanked in front of co-workers as part of what her employer said was a team-building exercise asked a jury Wednesday for at least $1.2 million for the humiliation she says she suffered.I have to add that I love the name of the company attorney and his argument for why this was done.
Janet Orlando, 53, quit her job at the home security company Alarm One Inc. and sued, alleging discrimination, assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress.
Employees were paddled with rival companies' yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.
"No reasonable middle-aged woman would want to be put up there before a group of young men, turned around to show her buttocks, get spanked and called abusive names, and told it was to increase sales and motivate employees," her lawyer, Nicholas "Butch" Wagner, said in his closing argument.
Lawyers for Alarm One, which is based in Anaheim, California, and has 300 employees, said the spankings were part of a voluntary program to build camaraderie and were not discriminatory because they were given to both male and female workers."
"This is being done for one reason and one reason only -- money," said K. Poncho Baker, the company's lawyer."Maybe I am just tired, but I can't help but think of the world famous Officer Francis Llewellyn 'Ponch' Poncherello.
How to Deal With Writer's Block
1) Surf the net and post interesting stories. The trouble with this one is that I enjoy doing this anyhow. Or maybe that is a good thing, maybe that helps to make you think that the well never runs dry.
2) Respond to email scams and post transcripts of conversations. Again, the issue with this one is that I do this anyhow.
3) Produce a short roundup of links to posts that other bloggers have written. Hmm... I see value in this. It is not really a trick at all. Part of the reason I blog is for the dialogue and this is part of the interactivity of blogging.
4) Write stream of consciousness posts that ramble on about this and that. Ok, many of my posts ramble on. I suppose that there is no real difference.
5) Make fun of cleveland and other small midwestern towns.
6) Regurgitate old posts. Now the truth is that I have run some posts over and over again because I thought that they deserved more attention, not just because I couldn't think of anything new to write.
Ok, you got me. I don't really ever encounter any sort of blockage. I get stuck and have trouble being as concise and as eloquent as I would like to be, but for the most part the well never runs dry.
This ends post number 7,876.
It Is Just Unfair
Just Some Random Thoughts
I was listening to The Cranberries sing Zombie.
"Another head hangs lowly,In a strange coincidence as Dolores O'Riordan sang the second verse there was a very loud thump. It startled me and I jumped. I looked outside the window and saw a bunch of kids throwing rocks at the bus. That was the source of the noise.
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence,
Who are we mistaken?
But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying... "
One of their rocks had hit the bus. Had it been an open air bus I might have been more disturbed by the rock. It certainly sounded like it had hit the wall I was leaning against, but maybe it hadn't. Maybe it had collided further down, I am not really sure. All that I know was that as soon as I heard her warble on about tanks and bombs there was a very loud noise.
It has been a while since I last thought about that. Tonights flashback was a result of the shuffle function on my iTunes. The song that followed Zombie was Heroes by David Bowie. Here is a snapshot of some others.
The Man's Too Strong- Dire Straits
I Will Find You (From "The Last of the Mohicans")- Clannad
Need You Tonight- Inxs
Dragostea Din Tei- Ozone
The Unknown Soldier- The Doors
If You Were Mine 1970- Ray Charles
She's Got A Way [live]- Billy Joel
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting- Elton John
Harry's Game - Clannad
Homeward Bound- Simon & Garfunkel
Miss Gradenko- The Police
And now for random thoughts about the songs above. That Dire Straights album was one of the first CDs I ever purchased. Sounded great then and now. I picked up Graceland by Paul Simon at the same time.
That song from Clannad is a promise to someone special. You know that I will always find you. Distance great or far has no meaning. I am tuned to your wavelength.
Need You Tonight- Sorry 'R' rated material is currently being censored. That really aggravates you doesn't it. Hee hee.
Dragostea- My son loves that song. We have a goofy dance that we do to it.
The Unknown Soldier- Not my favorite Doors song by a long shot, but good college memories associated with it.
Ray Charles- That song was a personal anthem for a short period of time in my life. Thanks for making life a little more pleasant.
She's Got a Way- Not my favorite Billy Joel song, reminds me of too many Bat Mitzvahs.
Elton- That song gives me a bad case of lead foot. I just enjoy driving to it.
Harry's Game- Not sure why but this song always makes me think that at some point in time I am going to live in Ireland. I do have Irish relatives. Maybe it is time I increase the Jewish population there.
Homeward Bound- This song instantly evokes thoughts of camp and Israel.
Miss Gradenko- A smoky club in Tel Aviv and a girl from the East coast. Not to mention a few high school parties.
Friends of my parents think that my nephew looks like me. I am not so sure about that. It is a little early to say who he looks like, but he could do worse. ;)
My sister and BIL are trying to adjust to the shock of being first time parents. The BIL needs a bit of an attitude adjustment. I think that this is much harder than he expected it to be. The boy needs to grow up faster than he wants to.
I don't know about you, but the idea of standing for a flight holds no interest whatsoever to me.
That is it for now, sleep beckons.
Standing Room Only- The Crowded Skies
"The airlines have come up with a new answer to an old question: How many passengers can be squeezed into economy class?What a lovely idea. One more selection for your consumption.
A lot more, it turns out, especially if an idea still in the early stage should catch on: standing-room-only "seats."
Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal."
"Perhaps the most extraordinary example of a new jet that could accommodate features unheard of previously is the Airbus A380. There is so much available room on the superjumbo that Virgin Atlantic Airways is even considering placing a beauty salon in its premium-class section. (No final decision has been made, according to the company.) The first A380 is scheduled to be delivered later this year.
With a typical configuration, the A380 will accommodate about 500 passengers. But with standing-room-only seats, the same plane could conceivably fit in 853 passengers, the maximum it would be permitted to carry.
"To call it a seat would be misleading," said Volker Mellert, a physics professor at Oldenburg University in Germany, who has done research on airline seat comfort and has seen the design. If such a configuration were ever installed on an aircraft, he said, it would only be used on short-haul flights like an island-hopping route in Japan.
While an Airbus spokeswoman, Mary Anne Greczyn, played down the idea that Airbus was trying to sell an aircraft that accommodated 853 passengers, the company would not specifically comment on the upright-seating proposal.
There is no legal barrier to installing standing-room seats on an American airliner. The Federal Aviation Administration does not mandate that a passenger be in a sitting position for takeoffs and landings; only that the passenger be secured. Seating must comply only with the agency's rules on the width of aisles and the ability to evacuate quickly in an emergency."
An Old Joke
One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.
One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "G-d, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform.
I'll give you exactly 15 minutes." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am G-d. I'm still waiting."
It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor and cold -cocked him; knocking him off the platform.
The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"
The Marine calmly replied, "God was too busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid shit and act like an asshole.....So He sent me."
"Ahmadinejad, in a wide-ranging news conference that included international journalists for only the second time since he took office in August, said anti-Semitism drove Jews out of Europe into Israel.
"We believe that Jews like any other human beings have the right to live in happiness and prosperity and to benefit from security," he said, according to a CNN translator. "Allow them to go back to their own fatherlands and countries."
The Palestinians and Germans, he said, are being "blackmailed" and forced to continue making amends for a war in which the present generation played no part.
And, as he has done in the past, he appeared to question whether the Holocaust took place. He called Israel's regime artificial, saying it was established in the late 1940s on a "story" and "to this day, it bloodies and kills defenseless people."
Here is what I know. Men like this are the reason why Africa burns and the world is silent. Men like this are the reason why mothers cry over the deaths of soldier sons. Men like this are the reason why we have to be vigilant so that we can continue to say never again.As I write this I think about the relatives that I lost, the family memories that will never be shared and the senseless deaths of so many. There are others who suffered far greater than I, but this should never be about comparing who lost the most.
We remember because the world doesn't change and human memory is short. We remember because genocide can still happen and it is our charge, our obligation and our responsibility to fight so that it does not happen.
We remember and because we do we know that we won't ever go silently into the night again.
Two Kinds of Pain
We all live in our secret worlds, but some of us never have the strength to leave our shelter and walk under sunny skies.
I used to.
I used to live in a place I called paradise. I could look out on the world and from my window and gaze upon waters that called out to me. Deep blue seas that embraced me like a child in the womb. The seas were always calm and at night they would gently rock me to sleep.
But it wasn’t real. I didn’t live on a boat. I didn’t live on the beach or remotely close to the water. It was all an illusion, a mindfuck that I created to make myself happy. The problem was that I hadn’t realized it. I didn’t have a clue as to how precarious my own happiness was and once that was shattered I knew nothing but darkness. I wandered aimlessly in a fog, not knowing where I was going or what I was doing. It didn’t matter, I didn’t care.
I said it before, there are two kinds of pain and mental is far worse than physical. You can always find a way to escape physical pain, but you can’t run from your own mind. Philosophers had long ago figured out that hell existed, that there was a devil, except he wasn’t a guy with horns, a pitchfork and a tail. The church had made that guy up. The devil was someone familiar with you, someone who knew your most intimate secrets and your darkest fears. The devil knew you, knew how to torment your soul.
The devil knew all this because he was, he is…you.
That’s right, the devil is not supernatural. There is no Lucifer, no Satan, and no Beelzebub. It would be better for us all if he did exist. No, the devil is just a man, a person that lives inside us all.
See when they wrote the bible and told the story of getting banished from the Garden of Eden they were not talking about a mythological place, they were referring to the end of innocence. They were talking about that time when life hits you in the mouth, knocks you down and beats you senseless. They were talking about getting hurt in places that bandages don’t stick, cuts that you cannot stitch, they just keep bleeding. And even if you manage to stop the bleeding that stinging sensation never really does go away.
(From Fragments of Fiction)
I Had a Dream
You helped me to remember that love is meant to sting, that to be apart is to feel an ache that no drug can touch and to be together is to know the meaning of union.
You are my drug of choice, an addiction that I cannot give up. My air and my blood, the wind that fills my sails and were I to lose you I would be forced to revisit that dark place that I used to live in. I would be hollow inside, an empty shell and who knows what might choose to occupy that place.
I knew the day that we kissed that life was going to be different. Few people understand because so few have had the experience and even then few walk that path. When you walk through fire you risk being burned but you also open yourself up to untold rewards.
When just holding hands brings incredible pleasure, when whispers and caresses offer the height of joy and passion there is something special.
When I kissed you I felt your legs go weak and I held you tightly but I was not concerned because my arms were made for holding you tight and feeling your heart beat against mine gives me all the strength that I require.
I had a dream that became reality.
(originally posted here)
I am currently cleanshaven. It is a state that I enjoy but not one that lasts as I have a beard that is quite active. It is one of the perks of having darke features. My shadow shows early and often. I can grow a full beard in around three weeks or so. It is not really of much value to me.
I suppose that if I really wanted to adjust my look it is something that I could do with a certain degree of ease, but it still isn't all that valauble. One of these days I may discover a way to make money from it, but for now I am still looking.
In the interim I'll continue to grow a beard around twice a year or so and then shave it when I get bored with it.
Those of you who haven't grown bored with this and are still reading along are probably wondering when this might get interesting. More importantly you are probably wondering if I am going to share any insight about shaving. Well, be glad that you hung out because I am and I will.
Most of the time I use an electric razor. I have tried Remingtons, Brauns and a host of other brands, but in general I prefer a Norelco.
I like it because it fits comfortably in my hand, gives a closer shave and frankly I tend to be be brand loyal in my purchases. On average my electric razors seem to last about four years or so, which is why I recently found myself laying down some cold hard cash for this bad boy.
Thus far it has done a solid job of keeping my face boyishly fresh in appearance. But as good as it is, it still doesn't match the ability of a standard razor. In that particular category I generally lean towards the Mach 3. I use the plain old Mach 3, but I understand that the turbo is not all that bad.
However, the best shave I have ever received by far is with a straight razor.
I am guessing that most of the readers have seen pictures of a straight razor. If you watch older movies it is a common sight to see a man getting a shave in a barbershop. However, if for some reason you are not familiar with it here is a little info you can use.
Method of Use
"Straight razors usually consist of a hollow-ground knife blade sharpened on one edge. The blade rotates on its tang between two protective pieces called scales; when folded into the scales, the blade is protected from accidental damage. Scales are made of various materials including plastic and wood; they were once made of ivory, but this has been discontinued.
To be effective, a straight razor must be extremely sharp. Before every use, one must strop the blade on linen and then on leather to align and prepare it. The blade must also be sharpened regularly by honing with a special stone. Strops prepared with pastes containing fine grit are also used for honing. A face's worth of thick hair may require multiple stroppings for one shave, but a blade is usually sharpened only two or three times a year.
In the heyday of straight razor shaving, wealthy users maintained a weekly "rotation" of seven razors to reduce wear on any one piece. Straight razors were often sold in special boxes of seven. However, many users owned only one razor.
Straight razors are still manufactured. Dovo, of Solingen, Germany, and Thiers-Issard of France are two of the most well-known European manufacturers. Feather Safety Razor Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan makes a razor with the same form as a traditional straight, but featuring a disposable blade."
I have had the pleasure of going to the barber for this type of shave on a number of occasions. I loved it. There is something quite nice and invigorating about this. For that matter I enjoyed this so much that I am playing around with the idea of purchasing my own straight razor.
There are a couple of things holding me up. One, is that due to the time factor I am not sure that I want to spend the money. One doesn't rush while shaving like this, at least not unless you want to bleed like a stuck pig.
Don't Monkey Around
"FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -- Police hunted Monday for chimpanzees that escaped from a Sierra Leone preserve and mauled a group of local and American sightseers -- a rare attack that left one local man dead and at least four other people hospitalized.
The U.S. Embassy warned Americans against traveling to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, from where the chimps escaped before the Sunday attack on a taxicab filled with Americans and others.
The Sierra Leonean driver died as the chimps ripped his body apart and the three Americans were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries, a top police official, Oliver Somasa, said.
Another Sierra Leonean man in the group had his hand amputated after the primate mauling, Somasa said. U.S. officials had no further comment. The Americans were in Sierra Leone to help construct a new embassy building, Somasa said."
What I Fear
It is not something that I want to write about. It is not really something that I want to think about, but I don't know how to ignore it because if I do I cannot possibly fix it. And if there is anything that I know about myself and about life it is that if I do not try to fix things I will not be able to live with myself.
Whenever I have a problem I try to boil it down to its most simplistic form and then I attack it. In this case the challenge in front of me is how to help my father and my grandfather.
Two years ago my father had a major illness during which he suffered a major heart attack and underwent a triple bypass. The doctors uniformly agreed that he beat the odds and that they expected him to die. It was a major event and not totally unforeseen.
Part of the reason that they think that he survived is that he is incredibly strongwilled. He spent three weeks on a ventilator. During that time he managed to extubate himself twice, with his tongue. I spent hours flying between Los Angeles and the East Coast worried sick that I would land and find out that my father had died.
With much gratitude I say that he did not. I could not be more thankful, but at the same time I have this fear that he is heading down the wrong path. His eating habits are atrocious and that is what scares me. His weight is an issue. He is not taking good care of himself and the reason that he isn't is because of his own fear of his father's mortality.
My grandfather is almost 92 and in deteriorating condition. During the last six months or so he has been hospitalized twice. Both times we were told that there was a good chance that he wouldn't be coming home. Both times he came home and both times we were told that in large part it was because he is too stubborn to die. Strongwilled men run in the family, do you see a theme here.
Anyway, my own father is hiding his stress and fear for his father in his food. I can't ignore this and I have told my father so, but I can't stop him. I can't take the food away from him. I can't always be there to monitor it and neither can anyone else.
It is making me lose my own hair watching this. A short time ago he and I had what you could term a battle about this. As we fought I kept hearing all of these voices in my head and one of them said Kabed et Evecha, veh et eemecha. (Honor thy father and thy mother).
I struggled with it because part of me felt an obligation to be careful about how I spoke to my father and part of me said that because of the obligation I have to my mother, sisters and all of the grandchildren I had to be tougher. Part of me said that because of the obligation to my father I had to make myself harder and find the key to breaking his will on this.
But if he won't change I am not sure that anything can be done. If he has forgotten the fear he had of dying and how close he came I am not sure that I can illustrate it for him. On the other hand I can't not do anything.
As for my grandfather I can see him winding down and it is killing me. I see the light in his eyes dimming and I am not satisfied. His quality of life is fair and could be better, but only if he decides to make it happen.
In a few months it will be three years since my grandmother died. All of his sisters are gone and he has little contact with his brothers. Most of his friends have died and the few that haven't are in homes. Add his having gone blind and other physical ailments and you have a recipe for depression.
The man is clearly depressed and I understand why. But, if he can find the strength he doesn't have to be. There are still so many good things, but he just cannot seem to feel the heat of the sun on his back. Blue skies don't mean as much and now I fear that he lives in a world of shadows.
So I watch as my father does what he can to try and pull him out. I am not a passive bystander. I interact with him and try hard to get that smile. He has an infectious laugh and so many incredible stories.
During the six months of my father's illness my grandfather leaned on me and told me stories that I had never heard before. I know how he lost his virginity. Who it was, where and when. I know about how he fell in love and how he wished that he would have stayed in the carnival business. I learned more stories about his time hustling pool and two trips through the army.
I know stories that I will forever treasure and never share. They are ours. They are part of a special bond. I am the oldest grandchild. He and I have done so much together and share so many stories. I have tried so damn hard to help, to break through the wall that he has erected but he just won't let it happen.
So you want to know what I fear. I fear that as he dies he is taking my father with him and I can't seem to do a fucking thing to stop it. It reminds me of an experience I had when I was about ten or so.
Some of the neighborhood boys set up a little tug-of-war. I got conned into trying to beat a bunch of the older boys by myself. They let me beat them the first time and then the second they all pulled and I got yanked to the ground. But I couldn't let go of the rope. I tried to stop them, I yelled and screamed but I couldn't stop myself from being dragged and I couldn't let go.
I was so damn angry. I remember the burning tears and the shame. I remember the fear and I remember the pain. But most of all I remember the frustration I felt. In this respect I am no different than my father and my grandfather, we all have those feelings.
And now you have my fear. Now you hear my cry of fright and my admission of vulnerability. Now you know that I am searching for a car bumper to tie that rope to. Now you know that I am trying so very hard to find a way to fix things and that my fear is that I am just not trying hard enough.
One day I am going to have to sit down and tell my children that their grandfathers are gone. There are two questions. When will this conversation happen and will I be able to take comfort that I did all that I could.
Right now I just don't know.
Time for a Bris
A Few More Random Musings
I like Pepsi and I like coke.
When I was a younger man, so much younger than today I never need anyones help in any way. But I still needed ice cream.
A good pizza, a good beer and a clear summer night- this is the recipe for a good time.
I miss being able to eat with reckless abandon. I miss being able to survive for months at a time on 3 hours sleep. I don't miss being a poor college student.
People I would have liked to have met:
King David, Samson, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Shoeless Joe Jackson, David Ben-Gurion, Casey Stengel, Harriet Tubman, Teddy Roosevelt, Ghandi, Winston Churchill, Julius Caesar, Leonardo Davinci, Galileo, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, JRR Tolkien, and Benjamin Franklin. There are others.
If I had a hammer there might be a hole in the wall I am staring at.
Three Blind Mice, see how they run. What are the odds of finding three blind mice? What are the odds of finding all three together?
If I could relive a year of my life it would be 1988, or maybe 1985.
If I could go back in time I'd be rich.
If I could still dunk a basketball I still wouldn't be in the NBA.
If I had to pick one movie to watch I might have to poke out my eyes. I don't know if I can do that.
I once hit a guy in the head with the bible. It was in a hotel courtesy of The Gideons. I don't know who the hell they are but they do get around.
Top Draft Busts of the Modern Era
Brian Bosworth, Tony Mandarich, Todd Marinovich, Ki-Jana Carter and Ryan Leaf. Oy vey.
A Little Reader Feedback
You used to be funny. What happened?
You used to have hair. What happened?
Jack (could be considered a funny retort, or just snarky.)
Why don't we see any pictures of you?
Don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder about people with porn star names.
Is that your wife wearing the cockroach?
No, it is my brother Franz Kafka.
Stacey's blog needs updating. You usually pretend to be her and you. What are you going to do about it?
Congratulations, you made it on this list twice. Now if you only made sense we might have something to work with.
Why doesn't your penis talk to you like Neilochka?
I used to be funny without resorting to dick jokes. Or didn't you read Sam's comment from above.
I know that you wrote Datingmistress Jerusalem. Just admit it.
I guess that you are trying to be mysterious. A word of advice, when you do this don't email me from your office.
Texas college bars students from posing for Playboy
"SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Baylor University in Waco, Texas, which bills itself as the world's largest Baptist college, has threatened to discipline female students if they pose for Playboy magazine, which is trying to recruit models from the college.
Playboy photographers came to Baylor's hometown seeking models for a photo spread on women of the Big 12 college athletic conference, of which the college is a member.
Baylor Vice President for Student Life Samuel W. Oliver sent an e-mail to women students this week warning that any who "associate" with Playboy would be subject to the university's disciplinary processes.
"Playboy is clearly antithetical to Baylor's mission and associating with the magazine would be a violation of the code of conduct," Oliver wrote in the e-mail. University officials said punishment could include suspension."
Am I the only one asking how they would know if one of their students posed in the magazine. Sounds like one hell of a job to me. I can just hear the dean explaining why he had to purchase the magazine for business purposes.
Some Stories That Grabbed Me
Phony doctor arrested after fake breast exams
"Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a 76-year-old man Thursday who they say was going door-to-door in a Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood offering free breast exams.
Two women accepted the exams, BSO officials said.
At about 9 a.m., BSO investigators say, Philip Winikoff drove to an apartment complex near the 3200 block of Northwest 40th Street. Carrying a black ''doctor's'' bag, he walked up to the building and told a 36-year-old woman that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams.
The woman let Winikoff, of Coconut Creek, into her apartment and the phony doctor began the exam. The woman told police that after Winikoff touched her breasts, he moved his hand to her genitals and further assaulted her. Realizing he was not a doctor, she called BSO, but Winikoff had already left her apartment and found another victim; a 33-year-old woman in the same complex.
Deputies found Winikoff on Northwest 40th Street and arrested him."
"Clinical web site may be target of porn seekers
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - It seems that online dermatological images, intended as a references for doctors, are sometimes being used pruriently.The idea that a searchable archive of clinical photographs was being misused first occurred to the site's curators when they noticed a marked jump in queries for images of genital areas.
In light of this, Dr. Christoph U. Lehmann and colleagues, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, emphasize in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that "anonymous misuse of collaborative archives must be anticipated, addressed and prevented to preserve their integrity and the integrity of the learning communities they support."
The researchers assessed request patterns received by the site over a 6-month period, in terms of diagnosis, age group and anatomic site.
Of the more than 7800 dermatological images available on the site, 5.5 percent involve genital regions. However, 12 percent of queries for a specific diagnosis involved a genital area. Also, 37 percent of the requests for an anatomic site involved a genital region, and 12 percent of the 10,000 free text queries were for images of genitalia."
US comedian called world's 'unsexiest' man
"BOSTON (Reuters) - Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac Inc. duck in television commercials for the insurer, was crowned "unsexiest man in the world" by an alternative newspaper on Tuesday.
"The parrot-voiced, pickle-faced comic is to sexy what Kryptonite is to Superman," The Boston Phoenix wrote.
New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson came in second followed by film critic Roger Ebert, television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw and Fox television co-host Alan Colmes. Even actor Brad Pitt made the list, as the newspaper's 100th-least sexy man."
Blame Bush & Blame The Republicans
There are two basic reasons for this, at least if some of my friends, fellow bloggers and citizens are to be believed. All of the ills of the world can be blamed upon Bush and the Republicans.
Wow, I feel so much better. Just having written that makes me feel like the weight of the world has come off of my shoulders. I don't have to take any personal responsibility for anything. I can ignore prexisting conditions and just shrug my shoulders. I didn't vote for Dubya. I didn't ask for this. It was those other guys. You know, the ones that hate everyone who isn't white, drive big cars and want to live in a caste system.
I don't have any accountability because I am not a red state denizen. For that matter it is perfectly acceptable for me to point my fingers at them and make fun of anyone who is. The stupid yokels. They drive pickup trucks, believe in incest and enjoy making moonshine.
It is such a relief to know that living in a Blue state automatically raises my IQ by seventeen points. It is good to know that I have a boogeyman that I can blame for the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. It is good to know that I can blame every bad thing that has ever happened to me to one little group of people.
Whatever would I do without the Republicans. How could I live without Bush. They make life so much better because you know that they are the reason the world sucks. Why if they didn't exist you just know that Osama would have become a doctor and that Saddam would have been the next Mother Theresa.
If they didn't exist you just know that we would all drive solar powered cars, wear hemp clothing and there would be a tax system that allowed for free healthcare, free education and free housing. What a world it would be.
End of sarcasm and beginning of pseudo-rant.
I am done listening to all of the moaning, groaning and bitching about how Bush and the Republicans are responsible for all of the evils of the world. It is time to suck it up and take a big dose of some STFU coffee.
There are a lot of bad things going on right now and a lot of good things. Dubya and company are part of both as are the administrations of many of our past presidents. Outsourcing, environmental issues, and even foreign policy problems existed long before this admin. I am not interested in talking about who created them and or who made them worse.
I don't want to jerk off making lists about the best and worst presidents. I want action. I want to see people pick their asses off and make a difference. I want to see them help their communities. Clean the beaches, paint over graffitti, demand accountability of themselves and others.
I want to see people work to affect change. I want to affect change and see the effects of action and I want it to happen sooner than later.
Quit your bitching. What are we going to do to fix things. How are we going to improve the schools. What are we going to do to improve healthcare and housing issues.
Change your damn attitude and do something positive and stop blaming others for why life isn't better.
Feh on you and this stupid crying. I am sick of it.
The Perfect Gift For Your Wife/Girlfriend
Customers Scurry to Buy Designer's `Roach Brooch'I could have a lot of fun with this one. I can think of a few people who deserve one.
"A piece of jewelry that features a live hissing cockroach attached to a chain has brought his Utah boutique a lot of attention -- and sales.
SALT LAKE CITY — Designing for his first fashion show, Jared Gold understood that a unique piece of jewelry could draw a lot of attention to both his work and the wearer.
His eye-catching creations are alive. And they're cockroaches — 3-inch-long Madagascar hissing cockroaches bejeweled with Swarovski crystals and attached by a chain to a pin.The "roach brooches" are free to crawl around on a blouse or jacket, attached to a limiting lead. They hiss when upset and, unless the wearer is careful about the roach's feeding schedule, they can soil your couture clothing.
A curiosity for sure, but when Gold revived the idea this year for his Salt Lake City boutique even he was a little surprised by the result. He can't keep them in stock.
"Oh, there they are," exclaimed Linda Sanders, a fourth-grade teacher, as she gently picked up a roach. Sanders had made the nearly hourlong drive from her home in Orem to see the brooches at Gold's store.
"I love all animals," Sanders said, as a roach climbed all over her denim jacket. "The teachers would hate me."
But within 10 minutes, Sanders was signing a receipt for the purchase of her roach, attached to a chain and pinned to her lapel.
"The kids will love it," said Sanders, who has a tarantula and two chinchillas in her classroom.
On a busy Friday evening, many of those visiting the Black Chandelier clothing store were there to see the roaches.
LeAnn Kay, of Salt Lake City, saw a story about the brooches on television and came to see them for herself. Gold and his cockroaches also were recently featured on an episode of the reality show "America's Next Top Model" on the UPN network.
"Initially I was taken aback, and I was appalled," Kay said. "The more I looked at it, the more interesting the idea became. You know, art for art's sake. It's a very intriguing idea."
Taking the mundane or grotesque and making it pretty or taking something pretty and making it slightly disturbing is what Gold says interests him as a designer.
It takes about an hour to decorate a cockroach. Gold's head seamstress, Aja Davis, is the studio's "roach wrangler."
"We have our secret way that we prep them. They excrete this wax that no adhesives will stick to," Gold said. "After months of trial and error, we finally figured out how to get jewels to stick to them."
The jewels and clasp are attached to the roach's hood, or carapace, a hard shell that covers its head. Gold says his staff is very gentle with the roaches. He doesn't even like to make them hiss."
Hat Tap To On The Mark at Toner Mishap
How Do I Respond to This?
What does that mean?
What is she referring to? Was it a slip of the tongue or intentional. Is this the newest fad in greetings and salutations. Is it similar to cool, groovy, awesome or tubular. Does my ignorance show my age. Am I just not cool enough to get it.
Maybe it is nothing. It probably is. Whatever, it threw me for a moment.
Which Hero Would You Want to Be?
Songs I Enjoy Driving To
So let me grab the iPod and see what we have here to share with you.
Charge of the Batmobile- Batman (Original Motion Picture Score)
Attack of the Batwing - Batman (Original Motion Picture Score)
Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)- Elton John
Hotel California- The Eagles
America- Neil Diamond
Going Back to Cali- LL Cool J
A.M. Radio- Everclear
Who Needs Information- Roger Waters
(Ghost) Riders In The Sky- Johnny Cash
Where The Streets Have No Name- U2
We Will Rock You- Queen
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You- Led Zeppelin
Back In Black- AC/DC
Battle Without Honor or Humanity-Battle Without Honor or Humanity
Beds Are Burning- Midnight Oil
Behind Blue Eyes- The Who
Blue Danube Waltz- Orchestra of the Vienna "Volksoper"
Bright Side Of The Road- Van Morrison
Car Wash- Rose Royce
Casey Jones- Grateful Dead
Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne
Viva Las Vegas- Elvis (I can't count the number of times I listened to that while driving to Vegas)
Dr. Feelgood- Motley Crue
Friends In Low Places- Garth Brooks
Get Up (Sex Machine)- James Brown
Gimme Shelter- The Rolling Stones
There, that should do it for now. As I mentioned earlier it truly is incomplete, but it is a good start. What do you like to listen to?
If I had a Swimming Pool
I Was Infected with A_Z Meme
That A-Z memeBiur Chametz tagged me with this little ditty.
Not me. Born and raised in Los Angeles.
Scotch and Beer with the occasional Bourbon.
Chore I Hate:
Doing the Dishes.
I love dogs, but cats are different. Feh.
The Internet, Stereo/iPod
Essence of Monkeytown
Gold & Silver:
I like brass.
Only when I can't sleep.
Bishop of Bullfrog
3 wives, 27 kids and six or seven girlfriends.
Upright and breathing.
Most Admired Trait:
I don't know, you tell me.
Number of Sexual Partners:
Overnight Hospital Stays:
I prefer a hotel.
She is not much of a boxer but she sure can dance.
Time I Usually Wake Up:
When my eyes open.
I can turn my skin inside out.
Vegetable I Refuse To Eat:
This is a family blog.
Are fun to play with.
Yummy Foods I Make:
I don't tag, I slap kick and bite. If you want to do this, be my guest.
On this Day- From Answers.com
|Tuesday, April 18, 2006|
| Hayley Mills |
Use 1-Click Answers™ to Alt-Click any word.
- Danube: raging river forces thousands to flee in Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria (story)
- raloxifene: osteoporosis treatment turns out to be better at reducing risk of breast cancer than the current therapy, tamoxifen (story)
- Jane Fonda: "I'd like to protest against US involvement in Iraq, but I have too much Vietnam baggage" (story)
- Paul Revere: began his ride to warn the Massachusetts colonists that the British were coming (1775)
- San Francisco earthquake: ignited an inferno, killing hundreds and reducing the city to shambles (1906)
- Laundromat: first one opened, in Fort Worth, Texas (1934)
- Clarence Darrow: lawyer who defended evolution in the Scopes "monkey trial" (1857-1938)
- Eric McCormack: Will on Will and Grace (43)
- Conan O'Brien: host of Late Night With Conan O'Brien (43)
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