Straight From My Head To The Keyboard

People are going crazy over this song. The Shack is receiving a ton of visitors to that little corner. A significant number of them have found this place intriguing enough to stick around.

Interestingly enough some of the visitors that spent the greatest amount of time tooling around here are from Kuwait, Malaysia, Indonesia and Syria.

A couple of years ago I had some heated arguments with a few folks about Mel Gibson. I didn't trust him and I still don't trust him. Enjoyed a number of his movies but the dude has a loose screw and if recent appearances are to be believed doesn't really like my people all that much.

Spent time surfing the radio. Listened to Tom Leykiss, Al Rantel, Larry Elder and some Air America and found that there were plenty of people calling in to complain about Israel. In some respects it was a little disheartening. They tried to write off the Seattle shooter as a mentally ill wackjob and apologized for Hizbollah and Hamas.

That bothers me. To begin with I don't believe that most of these people would allow their next door neighbor to throw rocks at their house. And I don't believe that they would respond by shaking their fingers at them.

I don't like apologists for terror. There are many nonviolent forms that could be taken, but these two groups don't use those methods.

I play it safe when it comes to terror and that means that I assume that there are wackjobs out there who think that murder is a legitimate form of protest. You'll forgive me, but when someone tells me to turn the other cheek I assume that they are bending over so that I can put my size 12 boot on their cheeks.

This is part of why I appreciate the slogan below.

Here we are in the middle of the nine days. We are at war. On a more personal note life at the Shack has been exceptionally crazy. There are stories upon stories that could be shared and may one day, but I am not quite ready for that.

Today I received treatment for the tooth I broke. Loved the dentist, didn't like the bill and am not real fond of the monstrosity in my mouth.

I am still listening to the Batman Begins soundtrack. I love it. Beyond that this evening included the following tunes.
Hate Me
Blue October
Atomic Dog
George Clinton
The Adventure
Angels & Airwaves
Funny How Time Slips Away
Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
Get On The Right Track
Ray Charles
Last Rose of Summer / Walking In the Air
Celtic Woman
Heroes
David Bowie
As Good As I Once Was
Toby Keith
867-5309 / Jenny
Tommy Tutone
Uptight (Everything's Alright)
Stevie Wonder

A Place To Write

Do you like Fiction? Check out Elster's place.

Commuting Is a Drag (on the Economy)

And in news you may feel intuitively I present the following article:

"Ron Rogers gets behind the wheel of his Acura Integra before dawn in Brentwood, Calif. His iPod, loaded with stand-up comedy and audio books, is hooked up to the car stereo.

Rogers needs plenty of audio material for his commute: He drives more than 90 miles -- roughly two hours each way -- from the San Francisco Bay Area to his job as a public relations specialist at a communications technology firm in suburban Sacramento.

Rogers is one of the 3.4 million workers that the Census Bureau has dubbed "extreme commuters." At least 2 percent of Americans wake up to a commute of 90 minutes or more one way. Not surprisingly, most of these workers live near major metropolitan centers: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California, and Washington, D.C., have the most workers with extreme commutes.

The number of super-commuters nationwide has skyrocketed 95 percent since 1990, as workers hang on to lucrative jobs in city centers but move farther and farther afield in search of better housing, low crime, and good schools.

Too Much of a Bad Thing

Unfortunately, commuting is a bitter pill that rarely gets easier to swallow. Researchers have found that people have the capacity for "hedonic adaptation" -- in laymen's terms, the ability to adjust to extreme circumstances, both happy and unhappy.

For instance, classic studies of lottery winners and paralyzed accident victims found only small differences in life satisfaction between these groups and control subjects. But certain experiences -- living near a noisy highway, for example -- become more aggravating over time, something scientists call "sensitization." Commuting falls into this category."
Once upon a time I commuted 36 miles each way. It was just peachy. I remember sitting on the 405 for hours. The one thing that it was really good for was people watching. You just never knew what you'd see next.

Sorry The Owner Is In Lebanon

Longtime readers are well aware that I enjoy telemarketers. This evening I received another call that reminded me just how uninvolved some of these telemarketers are with their jobs.

Telemarketer: Can I speak with Mr. Shack please?
Jack: Sorry, he is in Lebanon waiting to be evacuated.

Telemarketer: Oh, is there another financial decision maker in the house?
Jack: Unfortunately, no. She is also in Lebanon. Mr. Shack flew there as part of a rescue operation and now they are both stuck.

Telemarketer: Is there a number that I can use to reach them?
Jack: You might try calling the A-Team. I hear that Face can still fly a plane and Hannibal just might be able to devise a plan that you can use to reach them.

Telemarketer: Ok, I'll try calling back at a later date.
Jack: Preferably when they aren't fighting terrorists.

I hate to think about how much this person must dislike their job. They didn't react to anything, or maybe I am just one of millions of people giving the same excuse.

Obsession: What The War on Terror Is Really About

This movie explores what all Radical Islamic Extremists, who only make up 10%-15% of the Muslim population, are really trying to do, and how. You have to see this movie to get a real prespective of the problems we have in the world.

Sunday Night Slamfest

Time for a quick roundup of posts here at the Shack:

The Remodeling Of A Kitchen
I Lost An Old Friend
The Seattle Shooting & Concealed Weapons
What Do I Want This To Be
Why Don't We Hear About Israeli Refugees?
'He who cannot defend Liberty does not deserve Liberty'

And as is my custom here are a couple of old posts:

Losing Touch With Friends, With Family, With Life
My Crazy Life
Three Days in Israel

The Remodeling Of A Kitchen

"It was twenty years ago today,
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years,
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

See, if I was really creative I would have written a song about remodeling the kitchen and what the past five weeks have been like to the tune of the song above. Instead I'll take you from before to after.


It began as a small kitchen which didn't make effective use of the space.

Crowded and chock full of too many items the clutter was unbearable. So we gutted it .and began to rebuild. Slowly it took shape and developed a form that looked like something functional.

Gradually the missing pieces were added and in a short time the new kitchen materialized.

I can't begin to express how happy I am that I am not stuck eating out anymore and have my own kitchen again.

I Lost An Old Friend

I wish that I had a good story to tell about this one. I really wish that I could regal you with a tale of heroism and valor. In truth I could make one up. I have a decent imagination and have been known to spin the occasional yarn.

Before I go any farther I should let you know that this particular friend has been with me for years. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that he had been around for decades. I was sad to see him go. He wasn't an emotional vampire, this wasn't a one sided friendship. Sometimes friendships just end.

I can't say that the end was totally unexpected, but I didn't think that it would go like this. It was so sudden. One moment he was there and the next he was on his way out and I was left standing there slackjawed.

Did I mention that my cheap friend didn't bother to take all of his crap with him. Oh no, that would have been the decent thing to do. Nope, the cheap bastard left me holding onto some of his things. I guess that he thinks that Jack's Shack is a storage facility.

I'd charge him rent but he'd never pay. Aww hell, the truth is that over the years he has always been there. I suppose that I am just being unfair, but how can I not be. After years of service it is not right to take off like that.

Enough of this sentimental crap and down to brass tacks. What really gets me irritated is that the quick exit is going to cost me a couple of bucks and a visit to the dentist.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I cracked a tooth tonight. Just what I needed. Feh.

The Seattle Shooting & Concealed Weapons

By now the only people who are unfamiliar with the terror attack at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle have spent the last few days in a coma.

In the coming weeks there are going to be many discussions about this incident and how to prevent it from ever happening again. One of the ideas that I have seen promoted in various places is issuing concealed weapons.

One of the advocates of this position is a commenter at Treppenwitz who had the following to say on this post.
"The lesson here is that the Federation building is one of the highest security buildings in the city, and this still happenned -- without mutiple attackers, without inside knowledge of security procedure, without detailed planning. The only thing that would have stopped him is if one of the victims or bystanders was armed. American Jews should be clammoring for concealed carry permits, but the vast majority will instead delude themselves into believing that there was some way for the gov't to disarm this evil man before he struck."
I very much disagree with this comment. If you read the reports of the incident you will see that the terrorist forced his way into the building because he was holding a gun to the head of a young girl. He had his own human shield.

Concealed weapons would have been virtually useless at this point and if someone had decided to take one out and confront the gunman what would have happened. Here are a few of scenarios.
  1. Gunman sees said gun being trained upon him and surrenders.
  2. Gunman refuses to surrender because he has a hostage.
  3. Gunman and potential hero exchange fire potentially killing/injuring the hostage and or others nearby.
A concealed weapon is really good for deterrent purposes. Beyond that you hit a grey area that concerns me. The OK Corral makes for a good story, but life has a way of changing your plans.

If you want to have a gun in your house to defend yourself, that is fine by me. But outside of that I get a little antsy about it. Perhaps I'll blog more about this later.

What Do I Want This To Be

Lately this blog has been undergoing an identity crisis. It is a little more than two years old and acting very much like a toddler. There are tantrums and meltdowns, discoveries that generate huge smiles, laughter and tears.

Sounds kind of silly to compare a blog to a person, but if you reach deep and write about what you see inside there is some truth to it.

As I sit here banging away at the keyboard it occurs to me that I really don't know what I want this place to be. Should it continue to be a source of random thoughts about this and that or am I better served to pick a topic and focus on it.

Does any of this really matter? Probably not. But as I mentioned this is a place where I air out the old noggin.

Time for this old man to catch some shut eye. See you later.

Why Don't We Hear About Israeli Refugees?

If you spend any time reading the news you'll find many stories about Lebanese refugees. There are lots of pictures of people fleeing the war, of crying women and children, destroyed buildings and an explanation laying the blame at Israel's feet.

As you review the stories you'll typically see that there is some mention of Hezbollah having fired rockets upon Israel. It is often downplayed.
You don't really see the pictures of the rockets. And you don't see too many photos of the damage they cause.

It bothers me. There are two sides in this war and it is just not right to cover both of them.

'He who cannot defend Liberty does not deserve Liberty'

Well Worth Reading- Thanks Dave!

A moving, powerful address an IDF Golani Brigade commander, Cap. Uri Lavie to his troops before going into battle against Hizbullah:

"This is our time to rise to the challenge, put on the helmets and the bullet proof vests and make sure that the northern border is secure.

We shall fulfill any mission in a most effective manner, in face of any challenge.

If we shall not fulfill our mission we shall forfeit the right to exist.

We shall not lose this war, which we did not start.

Our duty is to serve as a defense force of the Jewish People, and to secure the peace of mind of the civilians in northern Israel.

If we shall not do it, no one will do it in our place.

For two thousand years we waited for the establishment of the Jewish State, and we are not going to roll back because a bunch of terrorists assume that they can scare us.

He who cannot defend Liberty does not deserve Liberty.

If we will not be able to fight until our last drop of blood, in order to secure the Liberty of our People on its own soil, our People will not enjoy Liberty.

There is time to talk and there is time to act. At this time, when missiles and Katyushas afflict the North all the way to Haifa, in addition to the two kidnapped soldiers, the ten soldiers killed and the dozens injured, it is time to fight and not to talk. We are the force, which has been chosen to fight, and we shall perform in the most effective manner.

I will be the first one to enter the battle and the last one to come out, and will do everything in my power to get you out alive and well. On Friday, with G-D's help, we will rejoin with our families. However, I cannot do it alone. Once we cross the northern border, you should exercise full alert and full responsibility toward your fellow soldier." (Ha'aretz, July 27, 2006)"

International Visitors

I just took a snapshot of visitors from the last 15 minutes and noticed that my blog was mentioned in a chat room and has been getting more than its usual share of ME visitors.

Welcome. Salam. Shalom. Howdy.


Num Perc. Country Name

1718.48%CanadaCanada

66.52%SwedenSweden

55.43%GermanyGermany

44.35%EgyptEgypt

33.26%Syrian Arab RepublicSyrian Arab Republic

33.26%IsraelIsrael

22.17%FranceFrance

22.17%NorwayNorway

22.17%NetherlandsNetherlands

11.09%DenmarkDenmark

11.09%MoroccoMorocco

11.09%Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

11.09%SwitzerlandSwitzerland

11.09%AustraliaAustralia

11.09%NigeriaNigeria

11.09%Indonesia

One dead in shooting at Jewish center

(CNN) -- One person was killed and five others were wounded, three critically, in a shooting at the Jewish Federation in downtown Seattle, Washington, police said.

Police have detained a suspect who is of Pakistani descent, said a law enforcement official.

Authorities do not believe the suspect was affiliated with any radical political or religious group, said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Gomez.

"We believe, at this point, it's just a lone individual acting out some kind of antagonism toward this particular organization," he said.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is helping with the investigation because the attack involved a religious organization, police said.

Several witnesses told The Associated Press they saw a man shoot a woman on a sidewalk near the building.

One witness on the first floor of the building told the AP she heard shots and crashing sounds on the second floor.

Five victims, all women, were taken to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, according to a media line at the hospital. Three victims required surgery for injuries to the knee, groin, abdomen or arm. The hospital listed them in critical condition.

The other two injured women were in satisfactory condition, according to Harborview Medical Center. The hospital said one of the two women is five months pregnant.

While responding Friday afternoon to reports of shots fired being fired at the center, police received a call from a man identifying himself as the gunman who said he was holding people hostage, Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said. An officer "was able to talk him out" of the building, he said.

The suspect "was confronted by officers and peacefully gave up," said Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz."

Needless to say I am quite concerned about this. The AP is reporting the following:

"Staff members said they overheard him saying "'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,' before opening fire on everyone," Meislin-Dietrich said. "He was randomly shooting at everyone."

Police would not confirm the account."

A Cell Phone Question

Hi Folks,

I am going to rely upon the wisdom of the masses. I need to get a new cell phone and am debating between the The Sprint PCS VisionSM Smart Device PPC-6700 and the Treo™ 700p by Palm.

I am curious. Does anyone have any experience with either of these phones and if so, what are your thoughts?

yalla ya Nasrallah - song from Israel



Hat Tip to Bagel Blogger Interesting. What do you think?

Anderson Cooper on Hezbollah

Anderson Cooper related his time with Hezbollah.
We'd come to get a look at the damage and had hoped to talk with a Hezbollah representative. Instead, we found ourselves with other foreign reporters taken on a guided tour by Hezbollah. Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings. Once, when they thought we'd videotaped them, they asked us to erase the tape. These men are called al-Shabab, Hezbollah volunteers who are the organization's eyes and ears.”

Gesturing to racks of music CDs in a building that had lost at least one of its walls, Cooper remarked, “You see their CDs on the wall still.”

He continued: “Hezbollah representatives are with us now but don't want to be photographed. They'll point to something like that and they'll say, ‘Well, look, this is a store.’ The civilians lived in this building. This is a residential complex.

“And while that may be true, what the Israelis will say is that Hezbollah has their offices, their leadership has offices and bunkers even in residential neighborhoods. And if you're trying to knock out the Hezbollah leadership with air strikes, it's very difficult to do that without killing civilians.

“As bad as this damage is, it certainly could have been much worse in terms of civilian casualties. Before they started heavily bombing this area, Israeli warplanes did drop leaflets in this area, telling people to get out. The civilian death toll, though, has angered many Lebanese. Even those who do not support Hezbollah are outraged by the pictures they've seen on television of civilian casualties.”As the video showed a group reporters and photographers interviewing a single woman on a blanket, Cooper explained, “Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them — and questions about why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.

“After letting us take pictures of a few damaged buildings, they take us to another location, where there are ambulances waiting.

“This is a heavily orchestrated Hezbollah media event. When we got here, all the ambulances were lined up. We were allowed a few minutes to talk to the ambulance drivers. Then one by one, they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians. That's the story that Hezbollah wants people to know about.

“These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.”

Cooper concluded: “Hezbollah may not be terribly subtle about spinning a story, but it is telling perhaps that they try. Even after all this bombing, Hezbollah is still organized enough to have a public relations strategy, still in control enough to try and get its message out.

Emphasis in bold is mine.

Sensory Overload

It is about a month or so since the real craziness began in Israel. You remember, that was when the terrorists grabbed Gilad Shalit. In the blink of an eye the normal state of affairs was thrown for a loop and then Hizbollah jumped in to the fray.

Out here in the galut we stayed glued to our computers, exchanged emails, got on the telephone and began our own moblization to support our family, friends and companions in Israel. The JBlogosphere began pushing and the community rose to the occasion.

I have no doubt that we have been part of the battle and been working hard to do what little we can to help Israel. It is important, critical and crucial work combating the misinformation and propaganda being promoted and purveyed throughout the world about what is happening.

In the age of the Internet information circles the globe in moments. A katyusha lands in Haifa and from thousands of miles we see it happen in real time. The IDF responds and we see it. During the most intimate moments we are there.

How many pictures have we seen of mothers/fathers wailing over the caskets of their children. There is little to no privacy. Their grief is our grief, their pain is our pain. We share it all. And though it is good that in some small way we are able to be a part of things there is a danger of sensory overload.

The adrenalin rush of fear, excitement, hope and anxiety is not something that you can maintain. There has to be some down time. You have to be able to push it aside and engage in some normal behavior because it is just not healthy to walk around like that.

For those of us who are not in the line of fire it is much easier to say and much easier to do. But the sad reality is that this is not going to end tomorrow and probably not the next day or day afterwards.

The reality is that we are in this for the long haul and if we are going to be there then we have to take care of ourselves so that we can be there to help.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I can say that I am going to mix it up a bit. For my own sanity and sense of well being there is going to be a mix of posts. I'll still be on top of everything but I need to throw some of the old stuff back in.

Am Yisrael Chai

Worth Repeating

From an earlier post Mark Steyn on Multiculturalism
"In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

This makes sense to me. It ties in well with stories about converts who face death sentences, riots based on cartoons or murders of people because of their ethnicity/religion. The time is coming when we are going to have to make a decision whether to push or be pushed.

You Are How You Camp

This little ditty in Slate caught my eye.
"If there's a more reliable Rorschach than sleep-away camp, I'd like to see it. How you responded to being shipped off (often at an appallingly tender age) to a cluster of cedar cabins beside a mountain lake; to being taught Native American crafts, chants, and songs of dubious authenticity; and to being subjected to various painful hazing rituals—many of them involving underwear—reveals an awful lot about your fundamental character.'
Ok, since I am in control of the blog I am going to pick out the description I like best.
'The final category is people who really, really, really enjoy camp. These are the camp cultists. You probably expect me to say that these campers grow up to be utterly incapable of functioning in a noncamp environment, and end up sleeping on the streets in cardboard boxes. In fact, the opposite is true. Camp cultists grow up to be chief executive officers of major corporations, name partners in Wall Street banking firms, Cabinet secretaries, governors, and presidents of prestigious foundations. Their universities invite them to serve on their boards. Their home towns name schools after them. They are the Establishment. Longtime Disney CEO Michael Eisner is a camp cultist, having published, in 2005, Camp, a memoir of his bygone days at Vermont's Keewaydin Canoe Camp, which bills itself as the nation's oldest continually operating summer camp (it was founded in 1893), and whose Web site invites alumni to donate securities to something called the Keewaydin Foundation. I haven't read Eisner's book, but according to Amazon.com, its "statistically improbable phrases" include "winds ceremony" and "Indian circle."

For camp cultists, summer camp is an experience that lasts a lifetime. When they're too old to be campers, they come back as counselors. When they're too old to be counselors, they send their children in their stead. When their children eventually succeed (on the third or fourth try) in getting themselves thrown out of Camp Weecheewachee, for infractions too ghastly to contemplate, camp cultists send money. Lots and lots of money. If it weren't for camp cultists, half the summer camps in the United States would be forced to close their doors, depriving today's campers of this essential early exercise in psychological sorting."

Call me a cultist. I never outgrew the place and considered becoming a director. One day I will go back again, but when I cannot say. I am not ashamed to say that the majority of my closest friends come from those days. I have many fond memories of camp.

Three Days in Israel- Graphic Images

This is a very powerful video that shows you what happens after a suicide bombing. May we all live to witness a real and true peace.

Be forewarned, it is graphic and disturbing.

American Jews and The Military

Carl at Israel Matzav has an interesting post in which he discusses the current war and whether there is a connection or disconnect between American and Israeli Jewry.
"Yesterday, I saw a survey that indicated that 81% of Israelis (with Arabs included in the survey) support the current action in Lebanon. 81%. You can bet that the percentage of American Jews in favor is much lower.

I think that most of us have noticed that the strongly pro-Israel community (which I define to mean the people who either are contemplating or who have made aliya, or who visit here on a regular basis) is moving more and more to the right of American politics, while the majority of Jews are remaining Democratic and on the left. There is no shortage of attempts to explain why American Jewry remains so liberal - particularly in light of the fading Democratic support for Israel. At the rally in New York this week, Hillary Clinton winced when Elie Weisel said "Thank God George Bush is President."
I am not sure how many people still classify themselves as being a member of one party or another. In my unscientific poll of friends, family and assorted others I found that many people are really beginning to view themselves as being Independent. They may be a registered Democrat/Republican but they increasingly find themselves having a harder time identifying with the parties.

Stereotypes also play into this. I think that there are still many people who like to view the Republican party as being composed of affluent white men who support big business as opposed to the Democrats who are supposed to be the party of liberals and progressives.

I would also assert that most people really are not familiar enough with the party platforms to explain what the party beliefs are and or why they adhere to those particular items. We live in a busy and hectic world and few people are willing to take the time to try and really understand the issues so they opt for the easy way out.

Anyway, that is my short two minute thought on this. I may come back and revise and or develop this further.

Darth Vader The Musical

Somewhere Andrew Lloyd Webber's fingers are twitching.

Darth Vader's Little Brother

Sometimes it is hard to have a famous older brother.

Lulei Demistafina

How many people remember ClooJew? For a brief time the guy was everywhere. Every post I hit included him and his Lulei Demistafina comments.

But no more. Alas poor ClooJew, I remember you well.

More Updates

To stay abreast of the situation in Israel you can continue to check:

Aussie Dave

Jameel


Israel Matsav

And there are plenty of others as well. Stay tuned this isn't over by a long shot.

Tzfat

Amshi asked me to post his message:
The situation in Tzfat is desperate and there are families living with no electricity, who have absolutely no food at all! Even if they tried to buy some, most stores are closed. Ezer L'Shabbos is getting food from a supermarket on credit, but can't for much longer without paying. They also have to pay to have it delivered since most of their volunteers have left Tzfat. Sadly, the most vulnerable - large families with small children, Baali Teshuva without family support systems, are the ones left behind and are suffering. Please make checks out to Ezer L'shabbos and get them to Shloma Edelstein or drop them off in the mailbox or Pushka at Rabbi Twerski's shul (Ateres Shloime- corner of E29th & K).

You can also mail checks made out to Ezer L'Shabbos to: Tzfat Emergency Fund c/o Ordinal, 1412 Avenue M #2467, Brooklyn NY 11230.

AMSHINOVER@GMAIL.COM
this is an audio post - click to play
this is an audio post - click to play

Yoda Breakdancing

Yoda is a talented guy.

This is the hidden video of yoda breakdancing from the Episode III DVD.

The Israeli Ambassador Speaks

Kesher Talk has the rundown here.

Watching From a Distance

It is not easy to watch the events in Israel unfold from a distance. It may seem strange or sound silly to some people, but I find it very troubling. There are friends and family to be worried about and all of the other usual concerns.

So I go through my little checklist of things that I do to make myself feel better and find that they ring a little hollow. Sure I have my own troubles and challenges but I am not worried about bombs or missiles being dropped on my head.

And it all comes back to a desire to get on a plane and go to help. You know this is one of those times in which reality really smacks you in the face. There is so much more to say and suddenly the words just won't roll off the keyboard.

Let me try and sum it up here. I truly don't wish ill on the innocent and I feel badly for those who are going to pay a terrible price for things someone else did, but I don't see too many options.

Nasrallah and company need to be eliminated and their names erased from memory. G-d speed to our soldiers and those that protect our safety.

My Next Invention

I have a problem with some of my fellow drivers. It is with those people who think that the rest of the world is interested in listening to a deep booming sound. It is with those people who feel the need to turn up their car stereo so loudly they guarantee that they will they suffer permanent hearing loss.

I could care less what you are listening to. Howard Stern, Rap, Rock or whatever floats your boat is fine with me. The one thing that irritates me is that you think that I want to listen with you.

I don't. I have no need to share and this is why I am working on a special invention.

It is a little device that I'll call the bass blaster or radio killer or something along those lines. It has one purpose and that is to disable your radio. I look forward to watching the confused look on your face when you realize that there is no longer any need to bob your head to the music.

I get downright giddy thinking about how much fun it is going to be to save your hearing so that your ears can do more than decorate your head. Stay tuned and see what happens.

War Updates in the J-Blogosphere

There is a great resource for updates on the war at the Jblogosphere blog. You can find it here. Or read below.


As the war around Israel rages... here is a list of many of the Israeli and other J-bloggers who are "live-blogging" the war, in alphabetical order (some are bigger on updates, some on commentary, so be sure to look at a number of them)...

Please e-mail serandez at verizon dot net or any of the other members of this blog with other blogs that are live-blogging. Thank you. We will try to update as we are able.


ISRAEL
WORLD
AGGREGATORS
WHAT YOU CAN DO
ISRAELI NEWS SERVICES
Ha'aretz
Israel National News
Jerusalem Post
Ma'ariv
YNet News
Israel News Now
Israel English News Aggregator
RALLIES
NEW YORK

Sunday, July 16, 2006 at 11:00 am.
Meet at the Syrian Mission to the UN, 820 Second Ave. (between 43rd and 44th St.) for the demonstration. The group will then walk to the Israeli Mission, 800 2nd Ave, for a memorial service. Rally against terror and in solidarity with the government and people of Israel. Demand the release of Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. (Sponsored by the President's Conference, JCRC, and UJA-Federation.)

Monday, July 17th, at noon.
Across from the UN at 1st Ave. and 42nd Street, New York, NY.
Rain or shine. Speakers include: Elie Weisel, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Frank Lautenberg, Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman, and others.

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Monday July 17, 12.45 - 2.00 pm
On the steps of the GPO, Melbourne.
Wear blue clothing and ribbons.
A community initiative.

WASHINGTON

Solidarity with Israel Rally
Wednesday July 19, Noon
Freedom Plaza (Penn & 14th NW)
JCRC of Greater Washington

Do The Dead Walk In Dreams

I woke up a very short time ago from a very fine dream. It was one of those dreams in which you fight to stay asleep if only to keep holding onto the feeling you had in the dream.

My grandfather and grandmother were in it. I am typing so quickly because even though it was so vivid and real to me the dream is already to starting to fade, why oh why do the details start to blur so quickly.

In the beginning we were at my parent's house and my grandfather just kind of showed up. Everyone was in shock and surprise over this. I looked across the room at my father and our eyes met for a moment. I gave him a look that said you are going to have to explain what happened to all of his stuff.

And then all of a sudden I was in a different room and place with my grandfather and my grandmother. They were walking and moving freely, as they did in my memories. The walkers and canes were gone. It was like when I was a very little boy. They moved with the strength of their youth.

I was so excited to see this and them. It is almost three years since my grandmother died. But there she was. Her hair had been done recently and she was busy doing a bunch of things. She yelled at my grandfather and he just giggled and said something back to her. It was their normal banter.

But even in the dream I knew that something was off. I started babbling at him about everything that had happened. When it came to telling him about how he had died and I had to call my dad I got choked up. He walked over and put a hand on my head and hugged me.

It was so surreal because for years now I have been quite a bit taller and broader than him, yet in the dream it was like I was that little boy who used to go out with him all the time.

As he comforted me and I tried to spit out far too much information in too short a time the alarm went off. I woke up and stared at the ceiling. I had been defeated in my efforts to continue sleeping so that I could continue the dream.

And now I sit here at the keyboard trying to hold onto it in a different way. Do the dead walk in our dreams. Was I just visited by my grandparents because if they do and I was I am quite happy. And even if they don't, I still feel good.

I'll have to spend some time thinking about this one. If you saw me you'd probably see me with a bit of an odd bemused smile on my face. I miss them terribly but after what I was just a part of how I can not smile.

Why I am Angry- Hezbollah

I have a problem with Hezbollah but then again I have a problem with any person or group that thinks that it is ok to murder with impunity. Hezbollah used to say that if Israel left Lebanon they would stop attacking Israel.

Well Israel did just that. Six years ago they conducted a complete withdrawal, at least the UN and much of the world approved it. Hezbollah did not because they needed an excuse to keep fighting and now they have attacked Israel yet again.

Hezbollah claims that they kidnapped the soldiers as a way to force a prisoner exchange.

"Immediately after the Hezbollah attack, the organization's Al-Manar television station began broadcasting clips calling on Israel to release Lebanese prisoners held in Israel in return for the soldiers.

The group in particular emphasized the release of Lebanese militant Samir Kuntar, jailed in Israel since a 1979 attack in the northern town of Nahariyah, in which he entered an apartment and murdered three family members and an Israeli police officer.

Al-Manar also broadcast video clips of previous Palestinian and Lebanese attacks on IDF troops.

"Fulfilling its pledge to liberate the [Arab] prisoners and detainees, the Islamic Resistance... captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine," the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah said in a statement."

Let me provide you with more background on the terrorist Samir Kuntar:

"Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas's terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life. Kuntar's name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family.

It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar's mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.

It is hard to read this without choking up and harder yet not to be angry. Hezbollah has crossed too many red lines. It is time for them to pay for these actions and it is time for their supporters to receive the bill that is due for carrying their debt.

Worth Reading

Elder of Ziyon: What if Israel had never been created?

AbbaGav: Ok, That's It

Yourish: Media Bias Round Up

Treppenwitz: Blogs of War

The Muqata

Updated:

Read Free Lebanon And pay attention the Open Letter to Ehud Olmert especially this section
"The Lebanese are trapped within their own nation.

We urge you not to hit Lebanese infrastructure, Lebanon is a friendly country, rather hit and destroy Hezbollah's infrastructure in the country.

The IAF raids on suspected Hezbollah strongholds will have a limited effect on this terror organization; an infantry offensive is needed to clean up Southern Lebanon from the threatening missiles and launching bases , destroy Hezbollah infrastructure and consolidate security.

On behalf of thousands of Lebanese, we ask you to open the doors of Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport to thousands of volunteers in the Diaspora willing to bear arms and liberate their homeland from fundamentalism. We ask you for support, facilitations and logistics in order to win this struggle and achieve together the same objectives: Peace and Security for Lebanon and Israel and our future generations to come.

As of the fighting continue in the north of Israel in order to create security, at the Lebanon Israel border, we ask the world’s nations to endorse your political action and wish you full success in your deterrence against terrorism’s autonomy in Southern Lebanon and Gaza.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Help Lebanon in order to help yourself."

Israel Matzav
Arabs encourage Israel to crush Hezbullah

A Simple Test

Hi folks,

As I have previously mentioned the old template and I are fighting for control of the blog. For some reason it is refusing to allow me to use paragraphs so I am trying to find a temporary solution while I sift through code looking for the problem.

So I am curious to see if this works.

Thus far I have been unable to solve this particular problem. I have a few ideas that I McGyver into making this easier to read, but for the interim you'll have to accept my apologies about how this looks.

Adam West Meets Gandalf and Aragorn

The Saga Begins

This Template is Hosed

Just the kind of thing to make my day.

More on Blogging

La Shawn Barber talks about why she blogs.

Hezbollah Continues Their War

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Hezbollah guerrillas killed seven Israeli soldiers and captured two more Wednesday, prompting Israeli airstrikes and military raids inside southern Lebanon, Israeli officials said.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told reporters that "direct negotiations" would be the only way to return the soldiers and their capture was "our natural, only and logical right."

He demanded the soldiers be swapped for jailed Palestinians held by Israel, which is what Palestinian militants are demanding to free Cpl. Gilad Shalit who was captured in Israel last month.

Nasrallah said the two soldiers taken Wednesday had been moved to "a faraway place." Israel has repeatedly refused to consider any swap for its jailed Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Hezbollah attacks were an "act of war" and blamed the Lebanese government, which he said would be held responsible.

He promised a "very painful and far-reaching" response, The Associated Press reported.

I expect that we are going to see a very aggressive response. Israel cannot sit on its hands and should not be asked to do so. You can expect to see many changes soon. It is a very fluid situation.

A Little SchoolHouse Rock

Ok, Raise your hands if this song helped get your through a test or two.



But Conjunction Junction takes the cake. What a catchy tune.

It Was a Bad Date

I found this little ditty at GonzoRangers. I'll share a portion of it.

Here is the story:

6/4/2006 - Dinnertime

So Joanne meets Darren on JDate.com, and they set up a date for June 4th at the China Grill in NYC. They go out to dinner and Joanne offers to split the bill, but Darren insists on paying.

6/19/2006 - Evening

Darren leaves a message on Joanne’s home answering machine telling her that since she didn’t want a second date that she should split the cost of the dinner with him, and follows up with this email:

————————————————————-

From: Darren Sherman :
Date: Jun 19, 2006 8:48 PM
Subject: Date
To: xxxxx@xxxxxx.com:
Cc:
Sorry things didn’t work out. I guess you changed your mind.

Here is my address for the $50 bucks:
XXX East XXth Street, Apt. XXX
NY

Take care,

Darren

More hardcore Shermantor action after the jump…

—————————————————

6/20/2006 - 8:13 AM

Joanne goes into work on the 20th and has the following email waiting for her:

From: Darren Sherman:
Date: Jun 20, 2006 8:13 AM
Subject: Darren
To: xxxxx@xxxxxx.com:
Cc: Darren Sherman

Joanne,

I wanted to follow up on my email and call to you last night to ensure you received my messages for the $50.

Please acknowledge by replying to this email that you will be sending me the $50.

I hope you understand from my point of view.

Thanks,

Darren Sherman

=———————————————————

6/20/2006 - 9:32 AM

Joanne sends the following email to Darren:

From: xxxxx@xxxxxx.com :
Date: Jun 20, 2006 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: Darren
To: Darren Sherman:

Darren,

I just received your emails and also your message from last night. I was away andam just getting back this morning. I had every intention of calling you andmeeting to go out but your email has completely turned me off and i find it extremely tacky. I will not be sending you any money
since i offered that night to pay and you told me no that you would take care of it.

Please do not call me or send me another email i would rather not hear from you at all. And for future reference in the dating world you may want to rethink the tacky approach about asking someone for money like that perhaps that is why you haven’t met anyone or have seen them again.
———————————————————-

6/20/2006 - 10:03 AM
Darren leaves a voicemail on Joanne’s cellphone, telling her he was hoping she’d do the “right thing”. He threatens to issue a summons to get the $50 he wants for the meal. He actually calls her cheap in the voicemail. You can hear it in all its glory by listening to VM-01.WAV now.
6/20/2006 - 10:22 AM
After waiting an entire 19 minutes, Darren decides his argument would be better served if he forwarded Joanne a snippet from his Amex bill:

From: DS: : xxxxx@xxxxxx.com:

06/04/2006
CHINA GRILL NEW YORK NY
FOOD/BEVERAGE
FOOD-BEV 107.83
TIP 20.00
Reference No: XXXXXXXXXXXX

More Detail

127.83

Do the right thing Joanne.

Thanks,

Darren

Aren't people great. And that was just a portion of the material.

Another Blogger Disappears into the Sunset

I'll miss reading your posts.

Did You Ever See The Wave

The Wave is one of those movies that was shown in a thousand different venues- school, camp, youth groups and more.

So, did you ever see it?

Neo-Nazis in the US Army

This is a real problem and it needs to be handled ASAP.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists have increasingly been able to infiltrate the U.S. military due to recruitment pressures created by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a watchdog group said Friday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist activities in the United States, said thousands of hate group members are now in the armed forces, especially in the Army, increasing the threat of domestic terrorism.

"There is mounting evidence that military recruiters and commanders, under intense pressure to meet manpower goals with the country at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, have relaxed standards designed to prohibit racist extremists from serving in the armed forces," the center's Chief Executive Richard Cohen told Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a letter.

Cohen asked Rumsfeld to appoint a task force to determine the full extent of the problem and to adopt a "zero-tolerance" policy toward racist extremists in the military that could be rigorously enforced.

"The Army's dealing with that," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said when asked to comment on the issue.

He added that it was incumbent on individual commanders to address any activities that are inconsistent with "good order and discipline."

Shortfall in recruiting numbers

The military toughened its peacetime policy toward extremists in 1996, after decorated Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh was convicted of detonating a truck bomb that killed 169 people in Oklahoma City.

But the Montgomery, Alabama-based center said in a report that military officers were proving less likely in wartime to weed out extremists, especially those in combat units."

Look at this next section.
'The Defense Department investigator quoted in the report said he has identified 320 extremists over the past year, only two of whom have been discharged."
That is more than a little disappointing to say the least.

Why Dancing Should Be Forbidden

This is kind of fun to read.

"But let us turn our attention again to the dancers, at two o'clock next morning. This is the favorite waltz, and the last and most furious of the night, as well as the most disgusting. Let us notice, as an example, our fair friend once more.

She is now in the vile embrace of the Apollo of the evening. Her head rests upon his shoulder, her face is upturned to his, her bare arm is almost around his neck, her partly nude swelling breast heaves tumultuously against his, face to face they whirl on, his limbs interwoven with hers, his strong right arm around her yielding form, he presses her to him until every curve in the contour of her body thrills with the amorous contact. Her eyes look into his, but she sees nothing; the soft music fills the room, but she hears it not; he bends her body to and fro, but she knows it not; his hot breath, tainted with strong drink, is on her hair and cheek, his lips almost touch her forehead, yet she does not shrink; his eyes, gleaming with a fierce, intolerable lust, gloat over her, yet she does not quail. She is filled with the rapture of sin in its intensity; her spirit is inflamed with passion and lust is gratified in thought. With a last low wail the music ceases, and the dance for the night is ended, but not the evil work of the night."

But wait, it gets better.
"The girl whose blood is hot from the exertion and whose every carnal sense is aroused and aflame by the repetition of such scenes as we have witnessed, is led to the ever-waiting carriage, where she sinks exhausted on the cushioned seat. Oh, if I could picture to you the fiendish look that comes into his eyes as he sees his helpless victim before him. Now is his golden opportunity. He must not miss it, and he does not, and that beautiful girl who entered the dancing school as pure and innocent as an angel three months ago returns to her home that night robbed of that most precious jewel of womanhood--virtue!

When she awakes the next morning to a realizing sense of her position her first impulse is to self-destruction, but she deludes herself with the thought that her "dancing" companion will right the wrong by marriage, but that is the farthest from his thoughts, and he casts her off--"he wishes a pure woman for his wife."

She has no longer any claim to purity; her self-respect is lost; she sinks lower and lower; society shuns her, and she is to-day a brothel inmate, the toy and plaything of the libertine and drunkard.

How can I picture to you the awful anguish of that mother's heart, the sadness of that father's face, or the dreadful gloom which settles over that once happy home. Neither their love nor their gold can repair the damage done. Their sighs and tears cannot restore that virtue. It is lost, gone forever. Ah, better, yes, infinitely better, would it have been if instead of placing their only darling in the dancing school, they had laid her in the grave by her little sister's side while her soul was pure and spotless.

But how is it with her ball-room Apollo? Does society shun him? Does he pine away and die? Oh, no; he continues in the dancing school, constantly seeking new victims among the pure and innocent."


All this because of dancing. Maybe I should spend some more time watching Saturday Night Fever.

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...