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Showing posts from July, 2006

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. T

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 jo

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

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 m

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 th

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 disar

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 un

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 17 18.48% Canada 6 6.52% Sweden 5 5.43% Germany 4 4.35% Egypt 3 3.26% Syrian Arab Republic 3 3.26% Israel 2 2.17% France 2 2.17% Norway 2 2.17% Netherlands 1 1.09% Denmark 1 1.09% Morocco 1 1.09% Saudi Arabia 1 1.09% Switzerland 1 1.09% Australia 1 1.09% Nigeria 1 1.09% 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 Medic

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 Vision SM 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?

Speaking Without a Filter

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 Israe

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 mome

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.

Some Popular Posts

Playing around with the old stat counter we see that these are some of the most popular posts of the moment. It is a mixture of the very serious with the relatively trivial. Three Days in Israel- Graphic Images A Soldier Says Tefilat Ha-Derech A Little Digestive Distress- Chicken Vindaloo A Boy Named Mookie The Supermarket

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 W

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.

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.


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

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 fro

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 y

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 BokerTov Boulder Greetings from the French Hill (Jerusalem) Israel at Level Ground (Jerusalem) Israel Matzav (Jerusalem) IsraellyCool Jameel @ Muqata (Central Israel) Kishkushim (Haifa) Lazer Beams (Ashdod) Rock of Galilee Shiloh Musings (Shiloh) WestBankMama (Samaria) WORLD A Balaboosteh (Australia) [PICTURES] Life-of-Rubin (New York) [VIDEOS] Meryl Yourish (Maryland) Yeshiva World AGGREGATORS The Truth Laid Bear's Mi

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 s

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

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 suppo

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.

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"

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, 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: : 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: J

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

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;