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Showing posts from November, 2006

I Hate The Holiday Season

Yes that is right. I hate the holiday season. I hate being told to be of good cheer. I hate reading about the fake war on Xmas. I hate being assaulted by all of the crass commercialism. I hate being told that we should be nicer now than during the rest of the year. I hate emails that are blindly sent out without regard for whether the message is of interest to all of the recipients. I hate all of the stupid decorations. Gaudy is not cool and I don't care if they are Jewish or Xtian. I dislike them all. I hate fighting crowds at the mall. I hate reading about knuckleheads shooting each other over a video game system. I hate the stupid elves that try and get my children to take a picture on Santa's lap. Don't they know that I wished Death upon Santa . I hate knowing that my cousin the Grinch rolled over and gave in. I hate most Elmo toys. That little red fiend's voice grates on my nerves. I hate all of these stupid battery operated toys that beep, squawk and whistle. The

Is This The End of The Wiggles

"SYDNEY, Australia - The lead singer of the hugely popular children’s group The Wiggles announced Thursday he will stop performing after being diagnosed with a chronic condition that causes dizziness, fatigue and nausea. In a video-recorded statement, Greg Page said a little-understood disorder called orthostatic intolerance had left him debilitated. “It’s not a life-threatening condition by any means, but it is one that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life,” said Page, 34, who is known for his bright yellow T-shirt. “It means that I’ll no longer be able to sing and dance as I want to, and as a result I’ve decided to stop performing with The Wiggles.” Page, who helped found The Wiggles in 1991, handed his yellow T-shirt over to his understudy, Sam Moran, who has been performing with the group for more than a decade as a backup singer and dancer. “I’ll miss being a part of The Wiggles very much, but this is the right decision because it will allow me to f

Help a Brother Out- A Request For All Who Read This

I stumbled onto a video at Shoshana's blog that gave me an idea. If you watch the video you'll see that it is a commercial for an insurance company, but I like the overall message and it gives me an idea. Here is my request for everyone who reads this post. I'd like to ask that we all take a moment to help someone out. It doesn't have to be someone you know, nor does it have to be a stranger. All I ask is that we each take an opportunity to do something nice for someone else. A few examples/ideas from the video and my own thoughts: Hold the elevator door open. At Starbucks pay for a cup of coffee for the person behind you. Let that guy on the freeway on-ramp get ahead of you. This is all kind of spur of the moment impulse, but just for the heck of it, let's try it. Let's see if we can't make a few people smile and help to improve the world around us. If you feel like it you can blog about this or leave a comment about what you did. Let me know what

A Few Random Thoughts about Life and Blogging

My grandfather ZL" used to say that you cannot screw an old head on young shoulders . He was so right. I miss him still and always will, but at the same time I always feel his presence. He also used to tell me that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. He was so right, but it is still so hard for me to be truly patient. I should be more patient with my posts. Some of them should and could be so much better. All I need to is spend more time rewriting them, but I just don't want to. I don't really know why, but I really find it hard to force myself to spend time polishing them. Been at the beach a half dozen times recently. I parked my car and sat on the sand and listened to the sound of the sea. Had a strong urge to go sailing, I still have such wanderlust. My daughter gives the best hugs. She just throws that little body into it. I love her so much. I love how she puts her head on my shoulder and goes to sleep. So much trust and so much faith in me. It is an awesom

More Powerful than a Great White Shark

It was big. It was mean . And it could bite a shark in two. Scientists say Dunkleosteus terrelli might have been "the first king of the beasts ." The prehistoric fish was 33 feet long and weighed up to four tons. It had bladed jaws, a flesh-tearing feature that the sharks it preyed upon had not yet developed. Now scientists have learned Dunkleosteus had the most powerful jaws of any fish ever, its bite rivaling that of T. rex and modern alligators . The creature lived 400 million years ago. " Dunkleosteus was able to devour anything in its environment," said study leader Philip Anderson, at the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. Fast and powerful Scientists already knew Dunkleosteus was the dominant predator of its time. But Anderson and Mark Westneat, Curator of Fishes at the Field Museum in Chicago, used a fossil of the creature [ image ] to make a computer model of its muscles and its bite. They conclude that c

Hummer Loses To School Bus

Maybe we need to ship a few of the big yellow beasts overseas. Source

Abba Museum- The Shack Creates a Movement

On the heels of this post ( Did You Listen to Abba? ) comes news that the city of Stockholm is going to create an Abba museum. "A museum dedicated to Abba is set to open in Stockholm in 2008. The museum will feature outfits and instruments used by the band, along with handwritten lyrics. In a statement, the band said: "It is nice someone feels compelled to take on our musical history." Can you hear the drums Fernando. A simple 20% of the gross sales for the first five years will be considered adequate compensation.

Movies Use The Same Scream Sound Effect

I thought that this was interesting. My thanks to Panopticist for this. "In 1951, a sound designer on a Gary Cooper western called Distant Drums needed to overdub a scream onto a scene in which a man is killed by an alligator. He brought a contract actor into his studio and rolled tape as the man did six brief, anguished screams in one take. These screams were then added to the Warner Brothers sound library, and over the next couple of decades they found their way into dozens of Warner Brothers films. In the mid-'70s, a young sound designer named Ben Burtt gave these sounds a name: "the Wilhelm scream," after a character in one of the earliest films that utilized the sounds. A couple of years later, Burtt was hired to work on a film called Star Wars . As an homage, he overdubbed the scream onto a scene in that film. Then he overdubbed it onto a scene in The Empire Strikes Back . And Return of the Jedi . A fellow Lucasfilm sound designer began using the Wilhelm t

A Mosaic of My Black Eye

Make your own .

The 100 top TV catchphrases? D'oh!

TV Land has compiled a list of the 100 greatest catchphrases in TV. Here is part of the list : - "Aaay" (Fonzie, "Happy Days") - "And that's the way it is" (Walter Cronkite, "CBS Evening News") - "Baby, you're the greatest" (Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, "The Honeymooners") - "Bam!" (Emeril Lagasse, "Emeril Live") - "Book 'em, Danno" (Steve McGarrett, "Hawaii Five-O") - "Come on down!" (Johnny Olson, "The Price is Right") - "Danger, Will Robinson" (Robot, "Lost in Space") - "De plane! De plane!" (Tattoo, "Fantasy Island") - "Do you believe in miracles?" (Al Michaels, 1980 Winter Olympics) - "D'oh!" (Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons") - "Don't make me angry ..." (David Banner, "The Incredible Hulk") - "Dyn-o-mite" (J.J., "Good Times") - &quo

A Tax Shelter

BOZEMAN - Call it recreational robbery: An out-of-state resident sets up a dummy company in Montana, buys a motor home under that company name and escapes tens of thousands of dollars in sales taxes. And there is nothing illegal about it. In California, where a majority of RV buyers are escaping a sales tax as high as 8.75 percent, depending on where the buyer lives, law enforcement officials and lawmakers are crying foul at this loophole. Some Montana officials, however, don't see it as a crime; they see dollar signs. Private business wins by gaining out-of-state business. The state wins by getting more registration fees.The perceived problem has gotten so much attention in California that that state has created a law-enforcement program specifically to deal with it. The California Highway Patrol has a program called Californians Help Eliminate All The Evasive Registration Scofflaws, or CHEATERS, which asks people to report California residents suspected of having a vehicl

Love Without End, Amen

"I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye. Fightin' was against the rules and it didn't matter why. When dad got home I told that story just like I'd rehearsed. And then stood there on those tremblin' knees and waited for the worst. And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love, A secret that my daddy said was just between us." He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then. It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen." When I became a father in the spring of '81 There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father's son. And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end, I took my daddy's secret and I passed it on to him. And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love, A secret that my daddy said was just between us." He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then. It

The vanishing holiday bonus

" We're seeing the holiday bonuses disappear ," says Brian Drum, president of Drum Associates in New York. "Thirty-five years ago, when I first dealt with a lot of companies that used to pay the so-called Christmas bonus, it was a gift. Today, as companies are becoming larger and consolidated, they are giving because it's performance-related." Tying rewards to the performance of the company serves to motivate workers, employment specialists say. Nowhere is that more evident than on Wall Street. Bonuses are reaching the stratosphere, rising an estimated 10 to 15 percent this year over 2005. Those rewards can average $1.7 million for managing directors of Wall Street banks. For top-tier bankers, they can swell to $20 million or more. "The financial-services industry has the notoriety of paying the highest bonuses," Mr. Drum says. "They can be multiples of a person's salary. In the more industrial companies ... probably not a lot of bonuses

Michelangelo Meets McDonalds


Soccer Fans Are Problematic & The French are Worse

I have written about the dull game here , here and here . Now we can add this to the list: PARIS, Nov 24, 2006 (AFP) - A French police officer — a black man in plain clothes — shot dead a Paris-Saint Germain football fan after being turned on by a mob during racist violence that followed the team's defeat by Israeli side Hapoel Tel-Aviv. Antoine Granomort, who was in custody Friday morning, fired his handgun into a threatening crowd near the Parc des Princes stadium late Thursday after seeking to defend a French fan of the Israeli club from attack, police and witnesses said. A 24-year-old man was killed and a 26-year-old who was wounded is in serious condition in hospital, police said. Five fans were in police custody Friday morning and face possible charges for "racist and anti-Semitic insults", police said. "Four young people presumably from the Jewish community were rounded on by a group of supporters of PSG. They decided to separate, and one of them Yanniv

Random Thoughts About Blogging

Blogging is something that anyone can do, but very few do it well. Mind you when I say very few it is a number that is relative to the total number of blogs. How many blogs are there now? Technorati says that they are currently tracking 60 million blogs and that more than 175,000 new blogs are created each day. Think about that. That is an incredible number. It is huge, just immense. It leads to many questions. How many of those blogs are good. How many will last more than a few months, let alone a couple of years. How many of the good ones will be able to maintain a high level of quality. Life is different in cyberspace. Some might say that bloggers age in dog/blog years. With a little less than three years of blogging experience I am already an old timer, a real alter cocker . When I look at the corner that some of us call the Jblogosphere I am still amazed by how many newcomers there are each day. New blogs and new aggregators show up like clockwork. If you are one of t

The Moon Is Following Us

One of the quirks that we Angelenos share is that we tend to refer to our freeways in a slightly different manner than large numbers of the population outside of here. Examples: "I was stuck on the 405 for hours" or "Traffic on the 10 westbound is not all that bad." In my experience other parts of the country generally eliminate using "the" in front of the highway/freeway number. Not that it matters, but this always sounds strange to me. The setting for this particular post is the 405. In particular the southbound ride from the Valley into the Westside. That is where I was when from the back of the van my son announced "the moon is following us." It made me smile. The moon holds a special place in my heart because I know that those I love the most share that same moon with me. Even when we are far apart I know that the distance is bridged by that shiny object in the sky. I tried hard to explain this to my son, but I am not complet

The most influential figures in American history.

From the Atlantic I present: The most influential figures in American history 1 Abraham Lincoln He saved the Union, freed the slaves, and presided over America’s second founding. 2 George Washington He made the United States possible—not only by defeating a king, but by declining to become one himself. 3 Thomas Jefferson The author of the five most important words in American history: “All men are created equal.” 4 Franklin Delano Roosevelt He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it. 5 Alexander Hamilton Soldier, banker, and political scientist, he set in motion an agrarian nation’s transformation into an industrial power. This list also includes Babe Ruth, Herman Melville and Elvis.

He Was Beat Up By a Cheerleader

Someone is going to have some 'splaining to do about this one. Here is a link to the Youtube footage .

Most Widely Read Posts Of the Past 30 Days

I was curious to see if there were any serious changes between the last time I did this and now. Here is a short sample: My Brother- A Lesson in Simple Physics A Kissing Test Your Favorite Posts- Greatest Hits of the Blogosphere Why The Baal Teshuva World Irritates Me From Indiana Jones Personal Papers How Long Will You Keep On Blogging? And what do we learn from this? I'll save answering that for a different day.

My Brother- A Lesson in Simple Physics

Many years ago in a galaxy far far away called high school there were numerous groups of people. In everyday parlance we refer to them as cliques. If memory serves in The Outsiders they were referred to as the greasers and socs (pronounced soshes). At our school there were several different groups but we didn't use any of the aforementioned names. In fact the names that we used don't really matter.What does matter is that there were people there who thought that bullying was an appropriate behavior. It is a sad reality of not just school, but life. Bullying is something that some people just don't grow out of. Anyhoo....... My brother and I were pretty lucky as we didn't have too many issues with other kids. That doesn't mean that people didn't try and pick on us. They did, but it usually didn't work out well for them. As my grandmother used to say we come from a long line of stubborn that you really don't want to be on the wrong side of. Still,

A New Fragment

Fragments of Fiction is a story that I have been working on, more off recently. There was a time when I used to love seeing a movie with a happy ending. There was something very satisfying about watching the hero/heroine miraculously overcome some incredible challenge and ride off into the sunset. It was very "Norman Rockwellish." It just fit the image of how I thought life should be. Life was always going to throw out a few hurdles to get beyond, but why shouldn't I be able to glide over them and land ever so softly on the far side. But time has a way of teaching you that you aren't Baryshnikov. You can't pretend to be Michael Jordan and soar over the problems of the world below. Sometimes you slipped and instead of soaring you flew face first into the hurdle. It is a good reality check, having the breath knocked out of you. You can call me a pessimist, but what I really learned was that most of the time things didn't work out for the hero. He got th

Your Favorite Posts- Greatest Hits of the Blogosphere

*A quick administrative comment. Some people are still submitting their entries so it is likely that this will be updated at least a couple of times. There are a couple of formatting issues that are wreaking some havoc, please bear with me. Also, please note that this was not limited to any particular topic. Hello and welcome to the Your Favorite Posts- The Greatest Hits Of The Blogosphere. Before we begin here a couple of comments to share with you. Most bloggers appreciate the interaction between themselves and their readers. With the exception of The Shmata Queen every blogger that I have ever spoken with has told me that they really appreciate receiving comments on their posts, especially those posts that they feel very good about. Yet, the funny thing about blogging is that sometimes our best work is overlooked. And that is where this comes in. It is a chance for our greatest hits to see a little sunshine again. Or if you want to go with a different analogy, it is similar

Send Me Your Best Post- Greatest Hits of The Blogosphere

I want to do something new. I am interested in compiling a new roundup of the Greatest Posts of the Blogosphere. There are some other bloggers who have similar operations going on, but let's face it, in a world of 1 billion blogs there is room for a couple of these. Here is the idea. Send an email to Talk to jack now at sbc global dot net with your favorite post and I'll do the rest.

Three Almost Random Thoughts

Millions of people are outraged by OJ's latest move. Millions of people say that they are going to refuse to buy the book and will refuse to watch the special. Millions of people will reluctantly watch the special. It is like a train wreck or car accident. You don't really want to stop, but you do anyway. One of the reasons that people love James Bond is because he is human. No special powers, just training and some cool gadgets. Oh, did I mention the cool car and the beautiful women. It is easy to pretend that you are him. Chuck Norris is one bad dude.

The Dilemma- Do You Tell

My children and I have an ongoing discussion about being a tattle-tale. They are good kids and for the most part they play nicely together. However like all children they have their moments when they just lose it and begin to fight. Their mother and I try to let them work it out. We don't insert ourselves unless it is clear that they cannot resolve the issue. Of course like most children they often engage in their own preemptive strike. Here are a couple of their favorites. "Dad! Esther hit me!" "Daddy, Jon took my toy!" In case you are wondering, what I hear sounds more like the adults in the Peanuts shows. "Wah wah wah wah." This has led to the grand conversation of trying to teach them not to be tattle-tales. It is not such a simple thing, because at the same time I am working hard to help them understand when it is not ok to keep secrets. That leads me to my next hypothetical issue. If you know that there was an immoral, unethical, l

Gifts For The Children of The Obscenely Rich

For the entire list click here Junior Off Roader Gasoline-Powered Vehicle for Two $32,350 Get an early start on teaching your kid how to drive a car with this gas-guzzling two-seater. Children can even tune into the radio with a fully functional removable tape deck, with speakers on both sides. The car shifts into three different modes and has adjustable leather seats. Tires: 20 x 8.00 - 8 Fuel: Unleaded gasoline Weight: 300/20 kg Recommended for 7-year-olds to 12-year-olds Lego Life-Sized Batman $27,000 This Caped Crusader can guard your child from all that lurks in the night. A statue stands 6'6" tall and is made of Lego bricks, with a yellow utility belt and heavy cape fabric. It comes in three parts to assemble. Product dimensions: 24" L x 24" W x 78" H Recommended for 6-year-olds and older Tumble Outpost $97,510 This giant playset includes a lookout tower with double rock-climbing walls,

Your Favorite Post Update

Here is some clarification regarding this post . The idea is for you (the reader) to send me your best/favorite post from YOUR blog. This roundup is designed to serve as a way to showcase your work. The topic can be about anything. It is your choice, your decision. All you have to do is send me an email with a link/URL to your post. If you so choose you are also welcome to promote this on your blog. As a matter of fact, if you do a good job you might even win a free waffle courtesy of Jameel . ;) And don't worry, there will be no more comments about the gun slingin chef. ;) As was once said "Friends, Bloggers and Countrymen lend me your Posts!"

His First Time With A Woman

I miss so very many things about my grandfather. I miss watching the fights with him. I miss the stories that he told about the Jewish fighters. I miss his jokes and I miss the quiet moments in which we said nothing but enjoyed each others company. I miss the trips to the steam room to schvitz and I miss going to the movies with him. I miss talking to him about my job and my life. I miss the card games and the stories about the great battle of Victorville. I miss the tales of his time in the carnival and the adventures he had in New Orleans. I miss the stories about how Kowalski showed up at my grandparent's door demanding to take my grandfather on in another round of pool and all the yarns about life in Chicago in the '20s. I miss the stories about his friend Blinkie and so many others including his first time with a woman. Grandpa was one hell of a storyteller. I only wish that I had half his ability.