It's Not Easy Being Green- The Dark Side of Kermit

Apple Matzah Kugel

I love this stuff:

9x13 pan

8 matzahs

Soak in hot water until soft. Drain but do not squeeze dry.

Beat six eggs and one teaspoon of salt thoroughly

Add 1 cup sugar
1 stick melted margarine
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Add everything to matzah mixture

Stir in one cup of raisins and four large grated apples

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

dot tip with margarine.

Schlafly: Married Women Can't Get Raped

Some of you may be familiar with Phyllis Schlafly, the arch nemesis of the feminist movement. To put it mildly her views on the role of women are controversial in many circles.

At a recent speech at Bates College she asserted that married women cannot be raped by their husbands.
At one point, Schlafly also contended that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands.

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.
This is not a view that I subscribe to. I think that a married couple has certain obligations and that one of them is to help their spouse with their sexual needs but not at the expense of one being completely subjugated to the other. Just to be clear the scope of obligations relative to needs is going to be subjective and based upon an agreement between the spouses.

I wonder how many other people (read women) subscribe to her point of view. I know that there is an audience for it, but how large is it.

On a side note but related to this I think that the biggest impediment to electing a female president will be other women, but that is a post for a different day.

Blogging Resources

I always keep an eye out for blogging resources such as Beta Blogger4 Dummies. It is a site that is chock full of useful information that can be used to improve the look/functionality of your blog.

Another site that I enjoy is Mandarin Design.

Darth Vader is watching you from Washington

"Darth Vader is one of the numerous carved grotesques on the Cathedral. Like gargoyles, grotesques carry rain water away from the building’s walls. Gargoyles carry away excess water via pipes running through their mouths; grotesques deflect rainwater by bouncing it off the top of their heads, noses or other projecting parts, and away from the stone walls.

How did Darth Vader, a fictional villain from the Star Wars movies, end up on the wall of Washington National Cathedral?

In the 1980s the Cathedral, with National Geographic World magazine, sponsored a competition for children to design decorative sculpture for the Cathedral. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader of Kearney, Nebraska who submitted a drawing of this futuristic representation of evil. Darth Vader was placed on the northwest tower with the other winning designs: a raccoon, a girl with pigtails and braces and a man with large teeth and an umbrella."

Hat Tip: FraudWasteAbuse

Top 10… Action Hero One-Liners

It is a decent list but how can you not include "I'll Be Back."

March Madness Pick

2007 is the Year of the Bruins!

Passover Lunch Menus

Miriam is providing a public service by providing a post about Passover brown bag lunches. Click here.

A Few Thoughts About Blogging

In December of 2005 I wrote a post called Why I Blog.
"Why do I blog. Why do I spend so much time sitting here at the computer staring a monitor that is filled with the fingerprints of tiny people. Why do I surf the net and engage in 21st century voyeurism.

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

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

I am able to reach out and click someone. I can see that there are others who are facing the same challenges I face or have already overcome them. I take strength in their words and I offer my own."
I am slowly approaching my third blogiversary and I can say unequivocally that I still stand by everything I wrote there. I still have things to say and things to share. I still enjoy the interaction. I still appreciate reading other blogs and in spite of the nastiness that we encounter I am still comfortable here.

Maybe it is because I am evil but the trolls don't bother me all that much. On a side note every time someone mentions troll I think of the old kids book Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The blogosphere is growing in power. Each day I hear more people discussing it. It is quickly evolving from a thing that some people did to something that many people do. I still think that most bloggers will not last, but that is a post for a different date.

Spring Is Supposed To Be About Renewal

Someone once claimed that native Californians could not and did not really appreciate the arrival of spring. I suppose that on the surface that might appear to be true, but that is really limited to a question of weather. If you spend months living a snowbound life amid gray skies I can understand how you might think that blue skies and sunshine are wasted upon us.

On the other hand I see the start of spring as a period of growth and renewal. I know, that sounds pretty hokey. It is. But there is a lot of truth to it as well. Spring makes me happy because it brings so much promise. The start of daylight savings means longer days and we're that much closer to my favorite time of year, summer.

Right now I am having a little trouble with spring because it doesn't have the same feeling of promise. Or should I say that the promises I hear whispering in the wind are not particularly exciting. I have more than a couple of friends/family who are battling serious illnesses and the prognosis is not great. I remain optimistic and hopeful that things will change and they will all enjoy a speedy recovery but at the same time I am realistic.

It is hard to reconcile how many funerals I have been to of contemporaries with my age. At the moment I feel a bit beat down. It is not something that will last. I am too ornery to feel down for very long. I learned how to use negative energy to motivate myself.

Still...

Struggling With Pesach

In a short time Pesach will be here again. I am excited about it. It really is one of my favorite holidays but lately it has been quite a struggle for me. I am not really sure why but I have less motivation than normal to try and clean the house of chametz.

I look around the JBlogosphere and I see many posts about the craziness that has enveloped their homes. One story after another in which mothers /wives speak of the challenge of getting the house ready and the fathers/husbands talk about how to keep everyone happy.

Perhaps it is because I am short on caffeine. Or maybe it is something else, but I can't say that I know exactly what bothers me this year.

On a different tack I can say that I am looking forward to the seders. My son has been working with me on the Four Questions as well as hammering me on the same question from last year.

Abba, tell me why pharoah was bad. Tell me why the plagues happened. Tell me why the Egyptians killed the babies and why G-d killed theirs. Do you think that Moshe is really dead. Does Elijah get a stomach ache from eating all that food?

Whew!

A number of years ago some friends and I played around with creating a Star Wars seder. It was kind of a goofy, nerdy concept but it would have been a lot of fun.

I am still not convinced about kitniyot. This is going to lead back to the age old discussion/comment about picking/choosing what to follow.

Anyhoo I have to get back to reality. Here are a couple of links to other posts I have written about Pesach.

Some Passover Musings

Passover

LeBron's Castle

Sports Illustrated has a story about LeBron James' new house:

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- LeBron James' 35,440-square-foot house under construction in nearby Bath Township is shaping up as a castle fit for a king -- with a theater, bowling alley, casino and barber shop.

I have a question about it all. Who needs a casino in their own home. Isn't the goal to beat the house. Isn't that part of the fun. It seems to me that when you are the house there is no point in trying to beat it.

A Look Back In Time

Every so often I like to take a look back to see what grabbed my attention in the past. Here are some links to some of the thoughts/stories that rattled through my noggin during the end of March 2006.

Iranian Policy- Understanding Their Thought Process

American Inventor

I Love Gadgets

Poland Seeks Name Change for Auschwitz

Teach Your Boy to Pee Like a Man

It Felt good

Why Men Don't Listen To Women

A Note To A Friend

Sometimes life hit us with surprises that are harder to deal with. Given your circumstances this song came to mind. On a side note I love the live version that Van Morrison did with Roger Waters.



Hello.
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

Come on, now.
I hear youre feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.

Relax.
I need some information first.
Just the basic facts:
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin.
When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I cant explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Ok.
Just a little pinprick. [ping]
Therell be no more --aaaaaahhhhh!
But you may feel a little sick.

Can you stand up?
I do believe its working. good.
Thatll keep you going for the show.
Come on its time to go.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

The Shmata Queen Has A New Post

Go give her some love and leave her a comment.

Where Have You Gone MCAryeh

Your blog may be gone but I receive consistent traffic from the remains of Whispering Soul each day.

Lampooning A Blogger

In the grand old blogosphere there are certain posts that are written, rewritten and recycled ad infinitum. Perhaps the most common is the one in which a blogger discusses how nasty things can get. Now depending on who they are they may go after people for being mean or they may go after them for being weak.

This is not going to be one of those posts. All I am going to say is that I am continuing to receive fan mail and some bloggers have even chosen to devote entire posts to little old me. Now while I am flattered to receive all of this attention I am disappointed in them. It is not because they have upset or embarrassed me but because their attempt to lampoon me is so poorly done.

If someone is going to take the time to try and do it they might as well do a proper job. As the source of evil in the JBlogosphere I deserve better than to be lampooned by the simple son. Give me someone who has a command of the language, insight and wit. I suppose that they tried, but a half wit is useless in this battle.

Sigh.

Now my dear pussy cat, or should I just say pussy I'll gladly wait to see what you come up with next. And just for fun let me add that you should expect to receive a surprise real soon. Be well Mr. Bigglesworth. ;)

The Gaza Cesspool Disaster

At least six people died and many more were missing after sewage and mud flooded a northern Gaza Strip village Tuesday morning, officials said.

The hospital in Beit Lahiya reported that an elderly woman, a 1-year-old baby, a 3-year-old child and a 15-year-old girl were among the casualties. Some 15 people were injured.

The Bedouin village, Umm Naser, was flooded when the earth wall of a large cesspool sewage pool collapsed. Palestinians reported that 70 percent of the houses were completely submerged in the sewage, and residents said more than 200 people were still missing in the village of 3,000.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz instructed the IDF to provide assistance to the Palestinians through the coordination mechanism in territories. Peretz ordered the army to prepare for a possibility of evacuating the injured to Israeli hospitals.

A senior army officer, however, told Ynet that the Palestinians had no asked for Israeli assistance in the evacuation of the injured or in the delivery of medications and medical equipment.

Ziad Abu Farieh, the village council head, described the scene of the incident as "our own tsunami."

Guess who was blamed for this.

Muhammad Dahlan, member of the Palestinian legislative Council, said that the Bedouin village should be declared a disaster area.

"The causes of this incident are the Israeli occupation, the security situation and the disregard and the indifference of the responsible bodies."

Sorry Charlie, Israel pulled out of Gaza. You have had Gaza to yourself for a year. The blame lies at the feet of the PA.

The Return To Chomesh

Jameel has the breakdown.

This is A Reason To Commit Murder

Another one of those WTF stories:

A MAN who tied up and strangled a mother of two after visiting her home to make a bondage video has told a court the victim was trying to force him to commit an armed robbery.

Gareth John Bunce has pleaded guilty to murdering Margaret Wagner, 27, at her home near Warrimoo in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, in March 1997.

Giving evidence during sentencing submissions in the NSW Supreme Court, Bunce said he had murdered Miss Wagner after going to her home in order to make a bondage video.

He told the court he became angry when Miss Wagner produced two guns and asked him to hold up a service station.

"If I had an atom bomb I would have blown it up then and there," he said.

Bunce told the court the two then went into a bedroom where he tied Ms Wagner up with ropes before strangling her.

Daled Amos Israel Meme

Daled Amos put together an interesting Israel Meme last year. It is worth taking a look at again and again.

What I Like About Rochester

Of course it is the fabulous University of Rochester. Not much of a sports team, but there is more to school than that. Ask my cousin Moshe about his experience in the IT department there.

NY bus converted into oven for matzos

Here is some creative thinking you don't see every day.
SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. - It wasn't your typical fire. When police responded to a report that something smelled of smoke in the middle of the night, they found an old school bus that had been converted into a supersized oven for Passover matzos — complete with a smokestack, exhaust fans and working fire.

A building inspector said that while the bakery bus wasn't nearly up to code, it was "very creative."

The derelict red-and-white bus, connected by a plywood passageway to a single-family house, was out of sight of casual passers-by in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood and had apparently escaped the notice of authorities.

Its owner, Rabbi Aaron Winternitz, said Monday he had been making the unleavened bread there for three Passovers and was eager to do the same this year, with Passover coming up in a week.

Winternitz made them for his 50-member Congregation Mivtzar Hatorah. Observant Jews eat matzo during Passover week to illustrate how the Jews had no time to let their bread rise as they fled slavery in Egypt.

He said that the oven-in-a-bus was his invention, and that he purposely bought an old school bus because "school buses are made strong and safe."

Police Sgt. Lou Scorziello said police traced the smoke to the bus at about 3 a.m. Friday. He said the back door of the bus, formerly the emergency exit, was the oven door. "All the seats had been removed and the whole inside was an oven," he said.

Click here for more information.

I Am The Source of Evil In The JBlogosphere Part II

In part one of this series I shared part of an email I received from one of my fans. It was an uplifting tribute in which my dear cyberFreud provided their analysis of all that is wrong with me. I must say that I was moved and flattered by the attention. It seems that the dear soul is trying desperately to garner more attention from me.
Jackass,

Your pathetic and moronic attempt to cover up your own shortcomings is transparent.
In days past I would have printed more of their email but as I said below, I am lacking some of the blogging passion. I would have jumped on the attempt to make a joke out of transparent shortcomings but again I am lacking passion. It might have been good. Some snappy remark about buying new underwear or some such thing.

But alas the blogging malaise has afflicted me and I haven't the words to share. So let me wrap this up by saying that if you want to make me the villain of the JBlogosphere I shall gladly accept your title in the same spirit that Reggie Miller loved to be the villain.

Excuse me, I have to go watch some more Snidely Whiplash video so that I know how to play this role.

Davening With Show Tunes

I opted not to write a whole post on this topic. I wanted to. I thought that I might but I am lacking the passion. So instead you can go to Treppenwitz and see what prompted my thought.

One more comment about this. In my experience Havdalah and Adon Olam were the most frequent targets of being sung to an alternative tune, such as the theme to Cheers, Oklahoma or Back In The Saddle Again.

America's Top 50 Rabbis

Newsweek has an article about a list that was compiled of the Top 50 Rabbis in America. Here is the intro to the story:
"April 2, 2007 issue - Last fall, Sony Pictures CEO and Chairman Michael Lynton got together with his good friends and fellow power brokers Gary Ginsberg, of Newscorp., and Jay Sanderson, of JTN Productions and started working on a list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. They had a scoring system: Are the rabbis known nationally/internationally? (20 points.) Do they have a media presence? (10 points.) Are they leaders within their communities? (10 points.) Are they considered leaders in Judaism or their movements? (10 points.) Size of their constituency? (10 points.) Do they have political/social influence? (20 points.) Have they made an impact on Judaism in their career? (10 points.) Have they made a "greater" impact? (10 points.) This system, though helpful, is far from scientific; the men revised and rejiggered their list for months, and all three concede that the result is subjective. Here, then, published for the first time, the top 50 rabbis in America:"
Click here for the list. On a side note I was surprised at how many of these rabbis I have interacted with through camp, work, shul, volunteer activities etc. Not that any of it matters, it just reminded me of how my own life crosses denominations.

Vin Scully- The Greatest Baseball Announcer Ever

As a native of Los Angeles I have been privileged to listen to some of the greatest announcers you could ever find, Dick Enberg, Chick Hearn and the great Vin Scully. I could easily dedicate an entire post to each man in which I could laud their skill and their ability to paint a picture with words, but it is Spring Training now and that means baseball.

And if you are talking about baseball you have to think of Vin Scully. Scully is an artist. He is a virtuoso, a true wordsmith and he doesn't suffer from the problems that so many other announcers have. He is able to tell stories without detracting from the game. He knows when to speak and when not to speak.

At a later date I might write a longer post praising Scully but right now I want to go in a different direction and share a memory.

The year is 2001. It is a warm summer evening and my seven month old son is teething. Inside the condo I am doing all that I can to try and ease his pain. I sing, I dance, I give him a teething ring to gnaw on. The singing and dancing are so bad he screams louder. I think that his eyes and ears hurt now too.

I am exhausted. Normally I have help but not this night. Smart man that I am, I have sent his mother out for some girly fun. I figured that it would be fun to hang out and do "man stuff" together. Now I realize that at seven months he can't do all that much, but I figure you are never too young to start learning.

Eventually I turn on the stereo and hope that I can find some music to soothe our nerves. Lo and behold the unit is set to the Dodger's home station and the game is on. To be honest I can't remember who they were playing or what the score was.

What I do remember is that almost as soon as Scully started talking my son stopped crying. He lay there with his head on my shoulder and together we let Vinny take us to Dodger stadium. It was a magic moment and a special memory that I'll always have.

(Here are a couple of links to some Scully clips:
From The Radio Hall of Fame and announcing Koufax's perfect game.)

Voices of The Fallen

Newsweek has a special section called Voices of the Fallen. It is composed of letters/videos/audio recordings that the families of fallen vets shared. Regardless of what you think of the war it is worth taking a moment to look/listen.

These people gave their lives. We can honor their memory.

Click here.

HH #111

Turn the page here.

Music For a Saturday Night

Instead of listing each song I listened to I'll provide a list of the artists.
Van Morrison with Roger Waters
Bruce Springsteen
Ray Charles
Danny Elfman
Elton John
Billy Joel
Limp Bizkit
Daler Mehndi
Robert Plant
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Killers
Tom Jones
Bob Dylan

I Am The Source of Evil In The JBlogosphere

It has been a while since I last shared fan mail with my beloved 17 readers. And now I am pleased to present you with a fragment of one of the greatest testimonials that I have ever received.
Dear Jackass,

The reason that so many people hate the jblogosphere and the jibs is because of jerks like yourself. if you leaned how to be a mensch maybe your children wouldn't be so bad and your wife would love you more. Why don't you take Ezzie and go away..."
Hmm... I mulled over how to respond to this. I played around with printing the entire email, but it was missing something called grammar. That presented a problem because it was so poorly written that I didn't think that people would be able to stomach it.

So while I sit here beaming with the pride I derived from your accolades let me share something with you. I am not sure that Serach would appreciate my taking Ezzie away. Not that it wouldn't be good for him to be exposed to real sports teams. Ask Stacey about how much her life has improved since she left the burning river behind.

I wonder how many blogs there are in the Jblogosphere. I should Ask Shifra. I would guess that there are close to a thousand that are kind of involved in some capacity or another. But in terms of how many are actively updated I bet that the number would drop pretty dramatically.

I'd write more but I am late for a meeting of the Elders Of The Jblogosphere Meeting.

Worst Accents In Movie History

Here is a link to a list of the Worst Accents In Movie History. It includes Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, Mickey Rooney and Dick Van Dyke.

How many people expected to hear those names together.

Iran 'seizes' 15 British sailors

Things continue to stay heated with Iran. There may be some confusion about whose waters they were in, but on the other hand I still think that Iran is testing. It is a dangerous game they play.
Iran 'seizes' 15 British sailors

LONDON, England (CNN) -- An Iranian naval patrol seized 15 British marines and sailors who had boarded a vessel suspected of smuggling cars off the coast of Iraq, military officials said.

The British government immediately demanded the safe return of its troops and summoned Tehran's London ambassador to explain the incident.

The Royal Marines and ordinary naval officers were believed to have been apprehended by up to six ships from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy who claimed they had violated Iranian waters.

British naval officials said the sailors, using small boarding craft, had completed an inspection of a merchant vessel in Iraqi waters when the Iranians arrived.

Commodore Nick Lambert, commander of the HMS Cornwall -- the frigate from which the British patrol had been deployed -- said the incident did not involve fighting or use of weapons.

"We've been assured from the scant communications that we've had from the Iranians at the tactical level that the 15 people are safely in their hands," he said.

The British defense ministry said that it was pursuing the incident "at the highest level."

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Lambert said the British sailors had been on a "normal, routine boarding" of a vessel that had aroused suspicions as it navigated the Shatt al-Arab, a disputed waterway that marks the border between Iraq and Iran on the shores of the Persian Gulf.
For more information click here.

The Clown Was Bored

It is a sad day when the visitors to the circus say that the clowns look bored.

The Lovers


You are The Lovers


Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.


The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.


Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that's actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can't understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I Am Going To Die & Other Random Thoughts

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting through a parent/teacher conference for all of my children. It really was a pleasure to hear their teachers provide glowing reports. I am an honest parent. I know that my kids have their moments and I know that they are not always angels. But if you believe their teachers the bulk of their misbehavior comes out at home.

My son's teacher had many good things to say, but one thing stuck out. She told us about how loyal he is. She said that he looks out for his friends and that he is sensitive to their needs. I was and am proud of everything else she said too, but the loyalty struck a chord with me. It is a trait that runs deep within my family. My siblings and I are fiercely loyal, especially to each other. So it is gratifying to see that the children have picked up on this.

The expression about being loyal to a fault is a good description of me. If we are tight I am going to be there to help you, even when you are playing the fool. The older I get the harder it becomes to maintain relationships. People get busy and grow less tolerant of the shortcomings of others, but I don't let things fade. Others walk but I endure.

Strangely enough Amazing Grace is playing on iTunes. It is a version that is done with bagpipes. It makes me choke up a little and not just because I remember Scotty playing it for Spock. It reminds me a bit of the friends that I have lost. Sometimes I wonder if I am anomaly. Just short of 38 and I can say that I know a half dozen cancer victims not to mention those that were lost in automobile accidents etc.

And then there are a couple of friends who are in dire trouble now. Their situations are different. One is dying from a terminal illness and the other has a different issue that could end up being terminal as well. I find it terribly distressing and frustrating.

Blame it on my being male, but I so very much want to try and fix things. If I could lend them some strength I would do so. It is a reminder of the importance of health and to a certain extent my own mortality. When I think about those that have passed on at a young age it is a reminder that it could happen to me. I am going to die.

Sometimes I wonder about it. I am not afraid of death. I haven't any reason to be afraid, at least not for myself. I am obviously concerned about the impact it would have on my loved ones. If I look at genetics I have every reason to be optimistic. Grandparents and great-grandparents who lived well into their nineties is a good sign. I have often said that I always figured that I would outlive most people. I am not gloating about it, just what I think will happen.

Sometimes I wonder if this blog will be something that I do for the rest of my life. Sometimes I think that it would be kind of neat to be able to look back at 100 years of my thoughts about life. And then sometimes I think that one day I will lose the urge and will walk away. I'll set down my pen and never look back.

There won't be any drama, no farewell tour, just silence.

Name Your Top 10 Songs

Ok, time for another light post. What are your top ten songs?

When The Wealthy Look Out for the Less Fortunate

Live in a luxury home for a $150 a month.

And Trep Thought Hooters Was Bad

Treppenwitz bemoans the death of Israeli culture here. Just wait until toys like these show up in Israel. Oy.

This Disgusts Me

Animals behave like this, people do not.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi insurgents used two children as cover to get through a checkpoint in Baghdad and then blew up the car while the kids were still inside, a U.S. general said Tuesday.

The car went through a checkpoint Sunday and parked by a market across the street from a school, said Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Two adults jumped from the car, leaving the children in the back. Moments later, the car exploded, witnesses said.

Whose Reality Is it Anyway

An acquaintance and I had a discussion about our personal philosophies. We have a difference of opinion about how to go through life. This person offers a view that goes something like this:

"I expect the worst from people and when they do better I am pleasantly surprised."

My view is a little bit more optimistic. I don't spend much time considering what people are going to do because I am working on my own plan. My life works because I make it work, not because I am surprised or disappointed by others. Pleasant and unpleasant surprises are just part of life. It really depends on your response.

That leads to the next disagreement. I said that I don't want negative energy around me. I don't need it. This other person says that they don't believe in any of that and accuses me of wanting to live in my own reality.

Well isn't that what people do. Don't we all live in our own reality. Don't we all have our views on life and how the world operates. Don't tell me that I live in my own reality as if I am out of touch when you are doing the same thing.

As I explained to them, if someone starts a conversation by expressing their concerns about various issues there are multiple ways to respond. If you choose to respond in a fashion that you know irritates them you are spreading negative energy. It is not helpful. It doesn't help them to change the situation. All it does is irritate them. There is enough nonsense in the world without adding to it.

My philosophy works for me. If a negative approach to the world works for others I haven't any problem with it as long as they don't try to drag me down with them.

Jack's Experience In the Ladies Room

Originally posted here. Sorry for the lack of new stuff, been kind of busy.

I have a dysfunctional digestive system. I write about it frequently as I have done here, and here. That probably gives you more information than you wanted, but I am going to continue on and regal you with one of my many tales of the loo.

For those who are interested in my motivation in writing about such things part of this stems from my embarrassment/anger/frustration regarding this little problem. I like to make fun of it because I feel better, and yes Shmata Queen I know that one day I should get a colonoscopy. Frankly I have the exit system down so making it an entrance bothers me greatly.

This particular incident took place a number of years ago. I had been going through a spell in which my stomach had been doing quite well and had been more relaxed and adventurous in what I was willing to eat. On that fateful day I had taken on a chilidog and some coffee. Under the best circumstances it was not a great combination but for me it was even more dire.

Initially I didn't notice anything. I had eaten the food and enjoyed my meal immensely. It was a gastronomic feast that was soon to turn into a gastrointestinal nightmare. {cue horror music now.}

I was minding my own business tooling along the 405 when the attack hit. There was a tickle followed by a gurgle and a rumble. Another gurgle gave proof to the night that soon there would be a mad rush for an exit. I knew that it was going to be similar to the rush for a free sample at Costco.

I was in an unfamiliar part of town but nature smiled upon me and I exited the freeway at breakneck speed and made for the first restaurant I saw. I couldn't tell you the name, but I can tell you that the nice girl up front understood my garbled and frantic gibberish to mean "show me the bathroom now or no one will want to eat here any longer."

I followed her outstretched arm and just managed to avoid knocking over a busboy carrying a bucket of dirty dishes and a waiter armed with three plates of hotfood.

Without looking up I straightarmed the bathroom door and jumped into an empty stall. My fingers fumbled and strained to unhook my belt and pants and at last I was able to engage in the task for which I had come.

If you are easily grossed out than you should hang up your spikes now.

Aside from the almost immediate relief one of the first things I noticed was that the air had grown toxic. I was choking on my own fumes, not to mention that there was an endless supply. I was unnerved to realize that I didn't have any medication on me and had at least 20 miles to go before I would be encased within the refuge of my home.

Lost for a brief moment in thought I hadn't heard the bathroom door open. Footsteps, light footsteps that sounded like a pair of heels made their way in. I stiffened as I realized that the heels were accompanied by what was clearly a pair of feminine voices. In shock and horror I lifted my size 12 Reeboks off of the floor.

In my haste I had entered the wrong bathroom and now I was frantically trying to figure out how to exit. There were a couple of problems with that. First, the rumble and gurgle were in full effect. They and their crew of noisemakers had. not finished playing with me. There was a marching band with a full horn section. It is hard to leave when the band is still playing When the Saints Go Marching In.

It was made worse by the comments of the ladies in there who had any number of suggestions for how and what I should do, talk about catty.

So I sat there and waited for them to leave. As my legs began to go numb and my feet started to tingle I despaired of ever leaving. More women were coming into the bathroom. It felt like there was a steady stream of visitors. The more polite among them entered without being too obvious about the immediate gag reflex, but there were plenty of who coughed.

The situation was summed up well by a little girl who said "mommy, it stinks in here!"

After untold agony and frustration I made up my mind to make a run for it. So I pulled up my pants and massaged feeling back into my legs. I summoned up a ton of attitude and waltzed out the door of the stall and the bathroom to a number of shouts.

The only thing that I remember hearing was this: You didn't wash your hands.

TV - B - GONE

V-B-Gone™ universal remote control turns off virtually any television! It's the ultimate jammer tool for reclaiming public space. It works at airports, bars, offices... any place that needs a break from the idiot box. Clarity of mind, one click at a time.
Click here for more information.
I still want something like this to jam the radios of the jerks who think that they need to play their car stereos at denture rattling volumes.

Blog-Habayit

Every now and then I come up with another screwy combination of words that I use to describe blogging.

Blogadaisical

Blogapathy

Blogfusion and Blogstration

Blogrisma

And now I present Blog Habayit or Blog Ha-Bayit.

DovBear's Quality Proposal

The grouchy old bear says:
So far not one big blogger has written to tell me that s/he is willing to help judge the proposed quality awards. I don't understand their indifference.

Our blogs are successful (in part) because smaller bloggers read us, and link to us. I can't understand why the big bloggers aren't willing to return the favor by helping to organize a contest that recognizes high quality posts, written by smaller bloggers, and rewards them with links and traffic.
I am a cranky cynic who appreciates Dovie's idea but is not so sure about the concept. The idea of having a panel read/judge posts is not a horrible idea. It certainly has merit. The issue is more along the lines of trying to determine who the panel members should be.

You see the fact that someone has a big blog is not indicative of quality writing. Some bloggers have managed to grow based upon the community that has formed around them. It is kind of the dive bar concept. You don't go there for the food/drinks but for the atmosphere around the place.

To paraphrase Cheer's " it is a place where everyone knows your name." There are a number of different blogs out there that are like this. You don't go there expecting to see the blog-ha-bayit (landlord/blogger) produce brilliant content. You go because it is fun to hang out with the people around there.

To be clear, I do appreciate the grouchy old bear's idea and his effort. We'll have to wait and see if it pans out.

Walgreens- Unfair Pricing

Over at the Freakonomics blog they have a post that is quite disturbing.
Many of his patients, he explained, must pay for their drugs out-of-pocket, and yet even the generic drugs at pharmacy chains like Walgreens, Eckerd, and CVS could cost them dearly.

So Wolf began snooping around and found that two chains, Costco and Sam’s Club, sold generics at prices far, far below the other chains. Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. Here are the prices he found at Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac:

Walgreens: $117

Eckerd: $115

CVS: $115

Sam’s Club: $15

Costco: $12

Those aren’t typos. Walgreens charges $117 for a bottle of the same pills for which Costco charges $12.

I was skeptical at first. Why on earth, I asked Wolf, would anyone in his right mind fill his generic prescription at Walgreen’s instead of Costco?

His answer: if a retiree is used to filling his prescriptions at Walgreens, that’s where he fills his prescriptions — and he assumes that the price of a generic drug (or, perhaps, any drug) is pretty much the same at any pharmacy. Talk about information asymmetry; talk about price discrimination.

Read the whole story.

Flying The Unfriendly Skies

A British Airways passenger was refused compensation and told by the airline to "get over it" after a corpse was placed in the row where he was sitting last week.

Paul Trinder, 54, a businessman from Brackley, Northamptonshire, spent more than £3,000 for a first-class ticket from Delhi. He awoke during the flight to find that cabin staff were propping up a dead woman almost next to him. "The stewards just plonked down this body without saying a thing," he said. "I remember looking at this thin, sparrow-like woman and thinking she was very ill."

The woman had been in economy class when she died soon after the plane left Delhi. "She kept slipping under the seat belt and moving about with the motion of the plane," Mr Trinder said. "When I asked what was going on, I was shocked to hear she was dead."

Mr Trinder, who was kept on board the plane when it landed and questioned by police and a coroner, contacted British Airways to complain, but was told to simply "get over" the experience.

Apparently the overhead compartments were full. Sorry, that's not really funny. At least she was quiet. Not funny either, but...

Who Remembers Calculator Watches?

When I was in seventh grade I really wanted one of these. Never did get one.

A Survey For My Jewish Readers

I received a request to post a link to a survey.
More info on the survey:

The study looks at issues regarding Negiah (premarital touching) and Niddah / Taharat HaMishpachah (family purity). Niddah and Negiah play an important role in the every day lives of Jewish men and women. The collection of handbooks on this topic grows from year to year, yet we know very little about how Jewish couples, men, and women experience and observe Niddah and Negiah. Anecdotal evidence and our previous research have led us to conclude that many couples and individuals are experiencing difficulties with this aspect of the Halachah. We are inviting the Jewish community at large to participate in this important survey to shed light on these difficulties and explore some ways to address them. Given the intimate nature of these matters, this brief, online survey is totally anonymous, and no identifiable information is collected.

If you are interested in participating please click here.

Haveil Havalim #110

Soccer Dad has the scoop.

New Indiana Jones Love Interest

Cate Blanchett is in negotiations to star opposite Harrison Ford in the long-awaited fourth installment of the "Indiana Jones" series, her publicist confirmed Saturday.

"She is in negotiations, yes," publicist Lisa Kasteler told The Associated Press. She did not elaborate.

Filming is scheduled to begin later this year, with Steven Spielberg on board to direct. The movie is being produced by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas' Lucasfilm Ltd.

Click here for the full story
I am keeping my fingers crossed that this turns out to be a good movie. Raiders is still my favorite of the bunch.

It Is Only Two Bucks

This past Tuesday morning my son tried to convince me to let him skip school so that he could come to work with me. It was an intriguing offer. I love being a father. I love spending time with the kids and little Jack does nothing but help me learn more about the world around me.

As a child we spend endless hours asking "why" about anything and everything. We are still young enough that the world is consistently filled with wonder. We haven't become worn down with worries or jaded by repeat experiences. So it really is refreshing to be around the kids. Even though it is sometimes hard to consistently be barraged with questions it is a job that I relish.

On the third shelf of my third bookcase there is a book called "The Way Things Work," copyright 1973. My father bought it so that he could use it to help teach my siblings and I about the world. It is a book that I have always loved. It holds nothing but good memories for me and for a long time I looked forward to being able to share it with my kids.

It also helps to show me how old I am. Chapter VI discusses radios and has a large section devoted to various aspects of television including information on vacuum tubes, transistors and a discussion about black-and-white versus color television.

Chapter VII is called Handling Messages and Data. It starts out with a discussion on typewriters (I still have my old Smith-Corona) and then heads off to cover typesetting, phonograph records/players, tape recorders and punched card systems. I imagine that there must be an updated version covering a few minor details like computers, email, the Net etc. But I digress.

Little Jack's request to play hooky was denied. I explained to him that his education is among the most important things he does and that every time we are together I try to find something to teach him. He was disappointed not to be able to hang out with me, but he understood why. Besides I promised that we'd have some time to hang out later to which he said "what will you teach me?"

I explained that it would be a surprise and we let it go at that. Truth is that I had no idea what I was going to teach him about, but I knew that something would come up. The opportunity came later in the week during a trip to a store that uses a bullseye for a logo.

We were standing at the checkout line. The cashier was ringing up our items so that we could pay and get out of dodge. As she was scanning the various items we tried to give her a couple of coupons. There was no response but I assumed that after she finished scanning the items she'd simply take and scan the coupons as well.

While I was waiting for her to do so I inserted my credit card into the machine.

(Note to the Shmata Queen. When you know that you are going to have to pay for something it is useful to take out your cash/credit card/checkbook in advance. Or the rest of us can wait while you rummage around in that enormous bag of junk.)

Soon enough the cashier finished her scanning and I tried to give her the coupons. "We don't do double coupons," she said. I told her that was ok. I didn't care about that, I just wanted to get the normal benefit from using them. She snarled something at us and said that we should just pay.

I explained that I had mentioned several times that we had coupons to which she replied "I was busy doing something." For a moment I considered asking her in the most unpleasant way possible if she needed to be skullfucked back into reality. But I figured that while it made for a pleasant image in my head it wouldn't solve the problem and would exacerbate the situation.

So I asked her to adjust the total. She looked at me and said that I created a problem because I had already placed my credit card in the machine. Here is how the conversation went after that.'

Cashier: You need to cancel your purchase.
Me: I can't. There is no icon, no link and no button to push. Can't you cancel it.

Cashier:
You are asking me to do more work.
Me: No, I am asking you to do your job.

Cashier:
Fine. I'll cancel it.
Me: Thank you.

Cashier:
The coupons aren't working.
Me: I am sure that you can fix that.

Cashier:
It is only two bucks.
Me: Are you suggesting that I should lose two bucks because you are incompetent.

Cashier:
You are holding up the line.
Me: If you don't change your attitude and immediately refund my two dollars there will be a major problem.

Cashier:
Sir, I don't like your tone.
Me: If you don't like it now try telling me again that this is my fault. Better yet suggest that I am at fault because you can't figure out how to do your job.

I won't bore you with the exchange that came after this. She told me that she didn't know how to work the register and I asked her to get a manager. In between this another customer in line yelled at me for being cheap. I must have given him my best steely eyed glare because as soon as I looked at him he turned away and looked at the floor.

Approximately fifteen minutes after she began scanning my items I received my two dollar refund. It was an incredible waste of her time and mine, but as I explained to the children it was the principle of the matter.

It wasn't my fault that she ignored the entreaties to take the coupons, nor was it my fault that she had trouble processing it. Had she been pleasant and apologized for the inconvenience I might have said screw it and walked away.

If you are going to work in retail you need to know how to just nod and smile.

Chest presses, not breaths, help CPR

In a different life I spent a number of years teaching CPR and First AID .
Chest compression — not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation — seems to be the key in helping someone recover from cardiac arrest, according to new research that further bolsters advice from heart experts.

A study in Japan showed that people were more likely to recover without brain damage if rescuers focused on chest compressions rather than rescue breaths, and some experts advised dropping the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR altogether. The study was published in Friday's issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

More than a year ago, the
American Heart Association revised CPR guidelines to put more emphasis on chest presses, urging 30 instead of 15 for every two breaths given. Stopping chest compressions to blow air into the lungs of someone who is unresponsive detracts from the more important task of keeping blood moving to provide oxygen and nourishment to the brain and heart.

Another big advantage to dropping the rescue breaths: It could make bystanders more willing to provide CPR in the first place. Many are unwilling to do the mouth-to-mouth part and become flummoxed and fearful of getting the ratio right in an emergency.

Sudden cardiac arrest — when the heart suddenly stops beating — can occur after a heart attack or as a result of electrocution or near-drowning. It's most often caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. The person experiencing it collapses, is unresponsive to gentle shaking and stops normal breathing.

In the new study, researchers led by Dr Ken Nagao of Surugadai Nihon University Hospital in Tokyo analyzed 4,068 adult patients who had cardiac arrest witnessed by bystanders. Of those, 439 received chest compressions only from bystanders, and 712 received conventional CPR — compressions and breaths.

Any CPR attempt improved survival odds. However, 22 percent of those who received just chest compressions survived with good neurological function compared with only 10 percent of those who received combination CPR.
Click here to read the whole story.

Pesach Soda/Shamrock Shake

Off the Broiler caught my eye with two different posts. The first is about Kosher for Pesach coke.
Kosher for Passover Coke: Its the Real Thing Baby
For many of us this isn't all that much of a novelty, but it grabbed me because it reminded of a post I want to write.

Jews who observe Pesach have to adjust our regular diets to comply with the laws surrounding the holiday. In many homes the seders are well planned, elaborate meals that are a tremendous pleasure to eat. Sometimes the meals that come in between are not so well planned so one finds all sorts of culinary challenges.

Tied into this is the effort made by some in the food industry to create Pesadich food products that resemble their leavened brothers. In recent years I have noticed that they seem to be having more success. The end result is that there is less of a distinction between the two. This begs the question of whether this is a good or bad thing. But like I said that is a post for a different time.

The next post that caught my eye is about the Shamrock Shake. If you have kept Kosher your entire life this might not be of any interest to you whatsoever, but for me it is something that brings back warm memories. My grandfather ZL used to take me to get one of these fabled shakes. Here is the link:
The Elusive Shamrock Shake

A Blog I Enjoy Reading

I have often said that I enjoy blogging because of the interaction with people I might not normally get to meet. It is not your basic voyeurism, it is more than that. It is a chance to look through the window and see more than half dressed people.

It is a chance to get to know and understand these people in a way that you might not ever have the opportunity to do.

Long time readers of the blog might recall reading my posts. You Should Be a Rabbi Parts I and II. In them I discussed some of my thoughts about the rabbinate as well as mentioned my interest and appreciation for NY's Funniest Rabbi. Fortunately the good rabbi is still blogging so I am still able to enjoy his posts.

A short time I stumbled onto the blog of yet another rabbi. It is called Rabbi Without A Cause and it has become a new favorite. I appreciate the honesty and the consistency with which he posts. Read about how the big scary rabbi has a problem with women. Hey, do you think that anyone is going to find my blog by doing a search for big scary rabbi. ;)

On a more serious note, he really does produce posts that I find to be interesting because for lack of a better expression he is able to let his hair down. You get a chance to look behind the mask that the rabbi is usually forced to wear.

I Love The Soundtracks to 'Westerns'

It is a little after 9 at night and the Shack has grown quiet. All of the children are sleeping and god willing they will stay that way, safe and sound all night long. It is time to bang out a few posts and unwind.

So here I am at the keyboard, or should I say that I feel like I am out on my horse. The headphones are on and I am listening to Elmer Bernstein's theme to The Magnificent Seven. I love it, as I do most Westerns. You can blame it on my father. I spent a few hours here and there watching Shane, Rooster Cogburn, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and The Magnificent Seven among others.

It is easy for me to close my eyes and picture myself riding across the Ponderosa. It is not hard to imagine myself walking through a set of swinging doors into the Six Gun Saloon. I'd tell the bartender to give me a shot of whiskey, shoot a steely eyed glance about the bar and wait for the first fight to break out.

Because you know that sooner or later some hombre is going to try to cheat at cards, or be confronted for rustling cattle and then all hell is going to break loose. For a moment I'll stand back and watch but it won't be long before someone makes me spill my drink and I enter the fray.

I am not the smash a bottle over the head type of guy. Nope. Old Jack is the pick you up and throw you through the window or over the bar kind of guy. Things will move along until some poor sod decides to break a chair over my head. That is the wrong thing to do because it will just piss me off.

I'd write more about it but I don't want to spoil the movie by giving away the best moments in the trailer. More on this at a later time.

Rosie Irritates The Hell Out of Me

She has become one of those love or hate figures in American society. It is kind of a sad thought. She is an entertainer who has clawed her way into a position in which she can pontificate about whatever strikes her fancy.

Now granted that describes quite a large number of people, but at the moment she is the one who has attracted my ire. She doesn't deserve a long post so I'll keep this relatively short about what annoys me.

There are people who are so angry with Bush that they will oppose anything he or his administration does. They engage in a "cut off my nose to spite my face" mentality that I find to be unacceptable. Listening to her defend Khalid Sheik Muhammad is revolting but she does it because she thinks that it will help her hurt Bush and company.

I am not a fan of Bush but I am practical and I understand that even when I disagree with our leaders it is better to help/hope than to demean and denigrate. I suppose that is part of it. I just find Rosie to be incredibly negative. She doesn't come across as being particularly insightful or intelligent.

The ability to shout and talk over people is not indicative of anything positive. Unfortunately there are many who feel otherwise.

Next post.

Jews With Blogs Awards

I forgot to mention that Jameel received a prize in the illustrious JWB (Jews With Blogs) awards . You can find out more here. Or if the link doesn't work try this URL: http://muqata.blogspot.com/2007/03/voted-most-likely-to-drive-ice-cream.html

Jack's Recipe For Fun

Dear Reader,

If you ask those who know me best they will all tell you that I am a connoisseur of fun. Wherever I go I can come up with a surefire way to beat boredom. I have all sorts of nifty tricks. If you really want to chuckle join me in a toy store.

But for those of you are who not lucky enough to spend time in person with me I'd like to share this recipe for fun. It is a personal favorite which is why I have been doing it all week long. Are you ready for this?

Jack's Recipe For Success:

Take several small children and give them the stomach flu. Make sure that they are tired, cranky and able to spew out strange smelling liquids all over your home. When you are covered in said strange smelling liquids remember to laugh out loud because not everyone is fortunate enough to wear their toys like you do.

That is pretty much it. The rest is up to you.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Confesses

In the next few days we are going to be reading quite a bit about this. We'll have to see if how things shake out. I won't be surprised to see a few changes here and there. In the meantime here are some excerpts for your consumption.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement read during the session, which was held last Saturday.

The transcripts also refer to a claim by Mohammed that he was tortured by the CIA, although he said he was not under duress at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo when he confessed to his role in the attacks.

In a section of the statement that was blacked out, he confessed to the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, The Associated Press has learned. Pearl was abducted in January 2002 in Pakistan while researching a story on Islamic militancy. Mohammed has long been a suspect in the killing.

Using his own words, the extraordinary transcript connects Mohammed to dozens of the worst terror plots attempted or carried out in the last 15 years and to others that have not occurred. All told, thousands have died in operations he directed.

His words draw al-Qaida closer to plots of the early 1990s than the group has previously been connected to, including the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing. Six people with links to global terror networks were convicted in federal court and sentenced to life in prison.

It also makes clear that al-Qaida wanted to down a second trans-Atlantic aircraft during would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid's operation.

Mohammed said he was involved in planning the 2002 bombing of a Kenya beach resort frequented by Israelis and the failed missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet after it took off from Mombasa, Kenya. He also said he was responsible for the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia. In 2002, 202 were killed when two Bali nightclubs were bombed.

Other plots he said he was responsible for included planned attacks against the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Empire State Building and New York Stock Exchange, the Panama Canal and Big Ben and Heathrow Airport in London none of which happened.

He said he was involved in planning assassination attempts against former Presidents Carter and Clinton, attacks on U.S. nuclear power plants and suspension bridges in New York, the destruction of American and Israeli embassies in Asia and Australia, attacks on American naval vessels and oil tankers around the world, and an attempt to "destroy" an oil company he said was owned by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Sumatra, Indonesia.

He also claimed he shared responsibility for assassination attempts against Pope John Paul II and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

In all, Mohammed said he was responsible for planning 28 attacks and assisting in three others. The comments were included in a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon, which blacked out some of his remarks."

Here is a (http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/03/14/transcript_ISN10024.pdf) link to the PDF of the Transcript. For some reason I am having difficulty copying and pasting from it. I encourage you to review it. It is quite a list and should serve as a stark reminder of just who we are up against.

The Future of Europe

Daniel Pipes (http://www.danielpipes.org/article/4323) offers several potential scenarios regarding the future of Europe. I encourage you to read the whole piece. Here is a short excerpt for each scenario:
Muslim Rule- To sum up: this first argument holds that Europe will be Islamized, quietly submitting to the dhimmi status or converting to Islam, because the yin of Europe and yang of Muslims fit so well: low and high religiosity, low and high fertility, low and high cultural confidence.[2] Europe is an open door through which Muslims are walking.
Muslim Rejection- Or will the door be shut in their face? American columnist Ralph Peters dismisses the first scenario: "Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having babies, Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time. … predictions of a Muslim takeover of Europe … ignore history and Europe's ineradicable viciousness." Instead, depicting Europe as the place "that perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing," he predicts its Muslims "will be lucky just to be deported," and not killed. Claire Berlinski, in Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too, implicitly agrees, pointing to the "ancient conflicts and patterns … now shambling out of the mists of European history" which could well trigger violence.

This scenario has indigenous Europeans – who do still constitute 95 percent of the continent's population – waking up one day and asserting themselves. "Basta!" they will say, and reclaim their historic order. This is not so remote; a chafing among Europeans, less among elites than the masses, loudly protests changes already underway. Illustrations of that resentment include the anti-hijab legislation in France, irritation over the restrictions of national flags and Christian symbols, and the insistence on serving wine at state dinners. A movement spontaneously developed in several French cities in early 2006 to serve pork soup to the poor, thus intentionally excluding Muslims.

Muslim Integration- Such optimism, unfortunately, has little foundation. Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, have more babies, and cherish their own heritage. They could encourage non-Muslim immigration or acculturate the Muslims already among them. But such changes are not now underway, nor are their prospects good. Instead, Muslims are cultivating grievances and ambitions at odds with their indigenous neighbors. Worryingly, each generation appears more alienated than its predecessor. Canadian novelist Hugh MacLennan dubbed his country's English-French split the "Two Solitudes"; one sees something similar, but far more pronounced, developing in Europe. Those polls of British Muslims for example, find that a majority of them perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities and want Islamic law instituted.

The possibility of Muslims accepting the confines of historic Europe and smoothly integrating within it can virtually be dismissed from consideration. Even Bassam Tibi, professor at the University of Göttingen, who has often warned that "Either Islam gets Europeanized, or Europe gets Islamized," has personally given up on the continent. Recently, he announced that he is leaving Germany after 44 years' residence there, to move to Cornell University in the United States.

Viral Posts, Memes, Blog Things

Blogging provides a great forum for watching the effects of viral marketing.
viral marketing

An online advertising approach that functions somewhat like word-of-mouth. The "viral" refers to how quickly it propagates, but its purpose is not to cause damage like a computer virus, but to make an offer available to the masses. The ad is disseminated via links in e-mail, blogs and Web sites that all point to some service or product people might want, whether free or paid. (http://www.answers.com/viral%20marketing)

I find the viral aspect of this to be fascinating. A short time ago I blogged about Visual DNA. I had seen it over at Mark's place and found it to be interesting. In a relatively short time a number of my readers had their own posts about it. That was about a week ago.

Since then I have seen it on a hundred different blogs. I am fairly confident that it was on a hundred blogs long before I stumbled upon it. Of course I'd like to say that I was among the first to find it, but I doubt that.

Memes are like that too. There are a million different versions that circulate. You have the A-Z, the name your top 5 movies/vacations/books/CDs and a host of others.

I suppose that part of what I find so fascinating about this is that thanks to the Net these are experiences that millions of people around the world can share in. I am not sure I'll ever reach a point where I am not somewhat amazed by just how small the world has become.

Illegal Aliens

I don't know about you but the description of people as illegal aliens has always struck me as being kind of funny. It is not really a laugh out loud, guffaw kind of funny. It is more like a bemused smile.

Perhaps it is because I think in very graphic terms. I picture these little green men in a spaceship landing in the middle of some cornfield somewhere.

It is similar to people describing the land of the burning river as being civilized, a bit of a misnomer.

Should I be Jealous of Jameel?

Nice award if I do say so myself.
http://muqata.blogspot.com/2007/03/voted-most-likely-to-drive-ice-cream.html

Do You Love Movies?

You might enjoy playing Movie Madness.

Hat Tip to Mark.

Petition To Ban Water

This Penn and Teller stunt is just scary. The lack of common sense and unwillingness to take a moment to consider what they are signing is just frightening.

Bart and Lisa Take On UPS

I love this one. It gets moving about 1:30 into it.

A Bathroom Surprise

In a past life I was involved in a high powered corporate job. During the time at Megacorp we were given all sorts of extracurricular training. Much of it was the typical rah rah stuff that so many companies ply their employees with. Don't get me wrong, some of it is pretty good stuff. Upon occasion I was even able to take their advice and immediately apply it to my life.

One of these days I'll share more about my experiences at Megacorp, but for now allow me to reminisce about what one motivational speaker shared at a sales meeting. He told us all that success in life was solely based upon having a positive attitude. "Smile at every surprise and they will always be positive experiences

Well color me disappointed and pissed off with that advice because no matter how hard I try it doesn't translate well into each situation.

Sometimes it is hard to put the happy spin on the events of your life. One day I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that someone had stolen my car stereo. Another time I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that a good friend had been killed in an automobile accident.

But that is far too serious a tone for this post. What I intend to write about is the bathroom surprise. Yes my friends, it is that time again, bathroom post time.

This afternoon I found myself responding to a desperate call of nature. I had thought that I would wait to take of my personal needs until I returned home, but the dysfunctional digestive gods laughed at my desire and thus I was forced into another public bathroom adventure.

I have a little game that I play in public bathrooms. I pretend that no one else has used the toilet. Yes, I know that it is silly, but I am rather particular about where I place my behind even if it be upon the crinkly, crackly wax paper covers provided by Bobrick. Full disclosure: I am not being paid by Bobrick or anyone to write this post.

A gentle rumble reminded me that time was of the essence so I carefully navigated across a few lanes of traffic and found a local establishment that I like to frequent. As I parked the car another rumble emanated from my belly and I knew that I was going to need to hustle. So as I headed to the Men's room I carefully unhooked my belt and prepared to do battle for my own stall because you never know when you might find yourself stuck to the seat.

And then I entered the room itself, this den of stinky-stank. Slowly I turned, inch-by-inch, step-by-step I headed towards the middle stall. With a gentle push the door opened and I received one of those unpleasant surprises I mentioned earlier.

Remnants of a prior visitor greeted my eyes. That is most definitely not what I wanted to see. Call me what you will, but the entire stall was now tainted and all I wanted to do was leave. Instead I was momentarily paralyzed. The last thing I wanted to do was touch anything there, but at the same time I knew that I shouldn't just leave it. Truth is that I wanted to, I really did.

My reverie was broken by the sound of the door opening. Now I knew that I had to be the master flusher because if I didn't it was a given that the newcomer would think that I was the phantom pooper.

Ok, I just ran out of steam. My apologies, but I can't figure out a suitable ending for this crap so I am going to just let it go here.

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...