San Antonio Will Win It All

It doesn't matter which one of the teams from the Least wins. Neither will defeat the Spurs.

Lebanon launches attack on militants in refugee camp

(CNN) -- Lebanon's military on Friday launched a new artillery attack on a Palestinian refugee camp north of Tripoli where Islamic militants have been holed up.

The renewed fighting comes after more than a week of relative quiet between the military and the militants of Fatah al-Islam, which is said to be affiliated with al Qaeda, inside the camp.

It was some of the heaviest daylight artillery fire seen since the start of the campaign to root out the militant faction. The fighting at the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli, which started May 20, is the worst internal violence since the end of Lebanon's civil war in 1990.

What is the difference between Lebanon attacking terrorists and Israel? The answer is that the world doesn't give a damn when Muslims kill each other, but bring in a third party and that is ok. Pathetic.

Sudan- We Will Strangle The World Cola Supply

The Sudanese ambassador has issued a threat in response to new sanctions on his country. Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post.
"It cannot happen," he said, "so rule it out." As for the Sudanese regime itself: "We are the agents of peace, people like me, my colleagues who are in the central government of Sudan."

What's more, the good and peaceful leaders of Sudan were prepared to retaliate massively: They would cut off shipments of the emulsifier gum arabic, thereby depriving the world of cola.

"I want you to know that the gum arabic which runs all the soft drinks all over the world, including the United States, mainly 80 percent is imported from my country," the ambassador said after raising a bottle of Coca-Cola.

A reporter asked if Sudan was threatening to "stop the export of gum arabic and bring down the Western world."

"I can stop that gum arabic and all of us will have lost this," Khartoum Karl warned anew, beckoning to the Coke bottle. "But I don't want to go that way."

Someone better warn this guy not to irritate the Diet Coke drinkers of the world. I know more than a few who will lose their minds without this drink. They say it is not addictive, but we know better. Go through with this threat and ten million housewives will pour into the Sudan and wreak havoc like you have never seen.

Oingo Boingo- Danny Elfman

Many of you are probably familiar with Danny Elfman. Some of you probably are more familiar with his work as a composer (theme to the Simpsons, The Batman Movie etc.). I would expect that many of you are also familiar with his time as the lead for the band Oingo Boingo.

Anyhoo, today I stumbled onto a video of a live performance of Oingo Boingo's song Insanity. The video doesn't do the song justice, nor does it give you a real sense of just how much fun the shows were, but nonetheless I am going to include it here.

I am also providing a link to the band's appearance on the Gong Show. At that time they were known as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and they definitely had a different feel to them.

If you came of age during the '80s you might appreciate the Dead Man's Party video which features Rodney Dangerfield. Fifty points if you can name the movie.

As promised, here is the Insanity video.

He Asked For Advice On Becoming A Father

A dear friend of mine will soon become a member of a club that should have a more exclusive membership than it currently does, but that is a post for a different time. For now I'll focus on sharing a bit of the conversation we had.

This past weekend we spent some time talking about the future and what it holds. Naturally the conversation turned to children. I spent a few moments bringing him up to date on what is going on with mine and then he surprised me with "what should I do to be a good father?"

The rules of the blog dictate that I offer honest responses and the truth is that I consider myself to be a good father. I am better than some and not as good as others but working at it. So when he asked me for my thoughts I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts and do what I do best...I rambled.

I told him that there is no more rewarding and no more frightening experience. I told him that he needs to commit himself to making an investment in his children, however many he may have. I expressed the need for a lot of love and affection. I told him that it is incredibly important to work with his wife on presenting a consistent message and that you can't try to be their friend and a father, but the reverse.

Young kids need guidance. They need boundaries and they need structure, but they also need room to play and to be creative.

I told him that I have never met a parent who didn't question themselves and some of their decisions. I said that there were going to be moments when you do something that eats away at you. Sometimes you make decisions that you regret. He asked me what my hardest experience thus far has been.

It is a hard question to answer. When my eldest was 13 months old he got the flu and refused to eat. We begged him to, but he was so miserable that he wouldn't. And because he had the flu he was expelling fluids from every possible orifice you can imagine. So we took him to the doctor and he was placed on an IV and hospitalized over night.

That was agonizing. I was a new father which I think made it even harder. The truth is that it didn't take very long for the IV to do its magic and in relatively short order he was fine. But it was a bit traumatic.

Of course that is many years ago so to a certain extent the memories have faded. It was hard to tell him that his great grandfather had died. It was hard because I missed my grandfather so damn much. It was hard because I wanted him to see that it was ok to be upset but not be scared because I was upset.

It was hard because he was nervous about his own mortality. I kept a straight face as I told him that there was no reason to be worried and that he was going to live a very long life, but let's be honest. There is no greater fear for a parent than losing a child. So even though on a rational level I was quite fine, there is a superstitious part of me that doesn't want to think or discuss that.

The real upshot to this discussion was that I told him that the reality is just like they say, there is no instruction book for raising kids. There are a lot of things that are clearly wrong, but beyond that there a hundred shades of gray so you really just wing it and do the best that you can.

UK Boycotts Israeli Academics-WRITE NOW

The British University and College Union voted to adopt a policy broadly supporting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, as well as calling for a moratorium on EU funding for Israeli research.

THIS IS URGENT AND TIME LIMITED:

You can join StandWithUs, Fairplay in the UK and other groups help overturn this move, but please act right now.

We want to place as much pressure on the UCU leadership as we can in the next 24 hours

We want them to call a referendum of all the members to vote on the boycott issue.

Write an email now, keep it polite; don’t make it personal, but address the issues. They are:

· Express your dismay at the decision of the Congress to boycott Israeli academic institutions

· The UCU conference representatives voted for a step towards a boycott of Israeli academics

· Ask UCU leadership to condemn the boycott vocally and publicly

· Ask Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary, to confirm that she will be honoring her promise to call a referendum of all the UCU membership to ask ALL the UCU members if they support a boycott.

· Express your feelings about the boycott - Boycotts are one sided and do not help anyone;

Please send your emails to:

shunt@ucu.org.uk
pmackney@ucu.org.uk
hq@ucu.org.uk
jointpresidents@ucu.org.uk
blovejoy@ucu.org.uk
mkeight@ucu.org.uk

With a bcc to:
info@standwithus.co.il, info@standwithus.com
ucu@fairplaycg.org.uk

(Above are the emails of: Sally Hunt, General Secretary / Paul Mackney, Joint General Secretary / UCU Head Office / UCU Joint Presidents / Heads of Higher & Further Education).

THE UCU GENERAL SECRETARY HAS SAID SHE DOES NOT BELIEVE THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP OF THE UNION SUPPORTS A BOYCOTT.

YOUR PRESSURE CAN MAKE THE UCU LEADERSHIP ACT.

EMAIL YOUR RESPONSES NOW.

You can Fax the UCU at: +44 207 670 9699

More information on Boycott Responses can be found here: www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1038

Do You Have a Favorite Post?

So dear reader I have a question for you. Out of all of the posts that you have read here do you have a favorite(s)?

Inquiring minds want to know.

My Third Blogiversary- Not Quite a Farewell

The day has finally come. I am officially observing my third blogiversary. It is a day of celebration and festivity. I'd provide you with a complete itinerary of the day, but I am really freaking tired so I am going with my favorite minhag of musing about this and that.

Truth is for a while I had a couple of ideas about what this post would be about. The idea was going to be to produce something truly meaningful. After almost 5,000 posts I thought that it would be nice to come up with a really good post, but I seem to be falling short of the mark. The ideas that I had for this blogiversary post came to me during moments in which I didn't have access to paper so I never wrote them down.

It is like when you have a dream in which you manage to solve that one problem that has been nagging you. You know the one, you wake up around 3 am and there in the dark you smile and feel a tremendous sense of relief. Unfortunately in the morning sunshine that sense of relief dissipates because the solution no longer makes sense. Like I said, I never was able to write down the ideas for this post so they are lost.

But that is ok. This place is called random thoughts for a meaning. It is an outlet in which I can express my feelings and consider my thoughts about life. Certainly it is not the same as it used to be. There has been an evolution of sorts and that is how it should be.

When I first began blogging I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I didn't give any thought as to what this would be. Unlike some other bloggers I didn't start out as a lurker who became a blogger. I didn't read any blogs until I began blogging. I just started writing and went where the words took me. As I mentioned above it has been an evolutionary process.

I'd like to believe that this experience has helped to improve my writing because that has always been one of the reasons for my blogging. The interaction with others has been great. I have made some good friends and exposed to people and places that I never otherwise would have encountered. Those of you who have been following along have gotten to share the ride on some very good and some very bad times for me.

The blogosphere has given me quite a lot. Along with much of the good I have experienced some of the low points. There have been some nasty disagreements and there have been several attempts to out me. Some people have tried to use my words to hurt me. It would be incorrect to say that some of these experiences haven't upset me, but it would also be inaccurate to suggest that they were so painful that I wouldn't withstand them.

I have a special message that will be understood by those it is directed to. Do not mistake my lack of response to your petty attempts as encouragement to continue. I have always reserved my right to respond and should I ever choose to do so it will always be in a time, place and manner of my choosing. The best thing for you to do is to simply walk away. I am a Taurus, you never want to find out if the bull has been sharpening his horns or not.

Now back to our real message. As I mentioned early on in this post I am a bit disappointed that this post doesn't seem to be of the quality that I wish it would be, but that is a part of blogging. Often the posts that we think are the best are the ones that seem to generate the least response from readers. More often than not it feels like the throwaway post is the one that does better.

I don't know how much longer I will continue to blog. That is not to suggest that I am going to lay down my keyboard and retire any time soon. Blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. In theory I'd like to continue for the rest of my life. That is quite an endeavor, but I suspect that it might make for some interesting reading for my children, grandchildren etc.

Anyway for the interim it is safe to say that I am going to keep blogging until it is no longer enjoyable.

Mighty Ducks Win The Stanley Cup

I know, it hasn't happened yet but it will soon. You heard it here, first...Sort of.

Killed In Iraq- Thank You For Your Service



I found this at Kesher Talk and thought that it was interesting. My thanks and gratitude to him and other vets and my condolences to his family. Baruch Dayan Emet.

The Evolution of Math- A Joke

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this? Please read more about the "History of Teaching Math".

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Teaching Math In 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

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Teaching Math In 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
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Teaching Math In 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
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Teaching Math In 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? (There are no wrong answers)

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Teaching Math In 2005: El hachero vende un camion carga por $100. >La cuesta de production es............. :-\


Update: Just to be clear, I am not the author of this joke. It is currently floating around the net.

We're the land of the free for one reason only: We're also the home of the brave.

Seraphic Secret is one of several blogs linking to this fine op-ed piece which was quoted in the headline.

With gratitude to our vets. Thank you for your service, you are appreciated.

Is Homework Hurting Our Children

Boing Boing has a story about some women who have written a book called "The Case Against Homework."
"Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish 2006 book "The Case Against Homework" is a fine and frightening explosion of the homework myth: that giving kids homework improves their educational outcome. The authors start by tracing the explosion in homework since the eighties, and especially since the advent of the ill-starred No Child Left Behind regime, which has teachers drilling, drilling, drilling their kids on math and reading to the exclusion of all else."
It sounds like an interesting book that I'd be curious to read. Not unlike most things in life there is a need for moderation. There is a point to homework, but there is also a point at which it loses its educational value and effectiveness.

One of these days I am going to have to blog about the over programming of children. As a kid I participated in many different extra curricular activities, but what I see now blows my mind. The children of some friends and family haven't a moment of free time, in large part because their parents have them engaged in something all day long.

I don't think that this is a healthy practice, but as I mentioned this is a post for a different day.

How To Dispose of Clutter Part 768

There are many perks to being a home owner. These include an endless number of projects, some of them planned, some of them surprises. Occasionally these surprises are really fun things like exploding toilets or a hiccuping septic system. Kind of like living in cleveland.

One of the best perks of home ownership is having a larger place in which to store your stuff. George Carlin has a great bit about stuff that really touches upon a lot of this.

Anyhoo, today I decided that it was time to tackle the garage. In theory I do this every three months but in practice it is closer to every five months. The idea is that there is a quarterly inventory of the items contained within the garage during which items are marked as needed or disposable.

It sounds great, doesn't it. The problem is that as I go through things I find too many reasons to hold onto stuff. For example item X is something that hasn't been used for quite some time, but it has great sentimental value to it so I mark it as needed. Moving along I come across old clothes. Most of the time I am good about just dumping these things. If I don't wear it then someone else needs it more than I do. It is time to give it away.

But then I take a harder look and consider a few things. It is in good shape. I am no so wealthy as to just get rid of things and the way fashion goes it just might be cool again. Let's mark it as being needed.

Pretty soon there are two piles. One of them is the pile of items that are being given away or thrown in the trash. The other is the stuff that I want to hold onto. When I am on my game the piles are unequal in size as I try to be brutal about getting rid of the unneeded items. So you may be wondering what throws my game. The answer is complicated or maybe it is just me complicating things.

My kids. They have an uncanny ability to waltz into the garage during the middle of the sorting. It could be the middle of the night and somehow they'll sense that dad's working in the garage and they'll come on down. And once this takes place there is a new battle. They have their own system of sorting that doesn't correspond at all with mine, not to mention that their position on old toys.

Any toy they see in the disposable pile instantly becomes their most prized possession. Parting with it is something that they beg me not to make them do. Perhaps this is part of the reason why this uncluttering process doesn't take place more frequently.

But I have a solution to all of this. The best and easiest way to dispose of clutter is to hire a moving company to come and pack up half the garage and all of the items contained within the family room, living room and playroom. The way I see it this saves me the angst of trying to decide what to part with as well as provides me with an enormous amount of free space.

It is almost like adding RAM to the computer. But I must admit that all things being equal I'd rather move into a larger house or add about 2500 SQF for me to fill.

I'd like to flesh this out further but I just noticed the time and if I don't take the stuff over to the donation center it is going to close and there is no way that this is going to sit in my car any longer.

As Good As I Once Was

I used to be Hell on wheels
Back when I was younger man
Now my body says 'You can't do this boy'
But my pride says 'Oh, yes you can.'
Toby Keith has a good sense of humor. I appreciate the video and more importantly the lyrics/music. I hope you do too.




Taking The Fun Out Of Eating

There is a ritual tied into my basketball games. At the conclusion of play I take a moment to wipe the sweat off of my brow and then I head into the weight room for a brief workout.

My lifting is not what it used to be. In part that is because I don't have enough time to play ball and lift weights. So as a compromise I have an abbreviated workout. Each day is ended with a stop in the steam room and some time in the jacuzzi. These stops are often punctuated with conversations with some of the boys about various topics.

This past week one of the conversations was with a gentleman who railed on and on how to eat right. He is 45 and determined to get into better shape. It is an admirable goal and one that I very much appreciate, yet I don't think that I am going to have this conversation with him again.

See, I like to eat. I appreciate the joy and pleasure of a fine meal. A good steak, great sushi, some nice scotch or a fine bottle of wine are things that are pleasurable for me. But speaking to this fellow reminds me that there are some developments that are taking the joy out of eating.

I don't like labels on food. I don't want to know how many calories, how much fat or how many preservatives are in my food. I don't want to turn my meals into events in which I need a slide rule and a compass to eat. I don't want to use the quadratic equation to determine that I am eating too many calories.

The days in which I worried about these things are gone. I don't need a mirror to see that I am thicker around the middle than I used to be. I don't need a tape measure or a scale. I know what I need to do and more importantly I know how I feel. And I feel good.

It is time to enjoy eating again. And that is what I am going to do. As long as I continue to feel this way I see no reason to act otherwise. Life is too short to spend worrying about what could happen.

Comments On Old Posts, Keywords and More

There are so many little details about blogging that I find to be of interest. Keyword searches come to mind. It is just kind of neat to see how people find the Shack. For example here is a short list of some of the search terms that led people here.
does chewbacca have a penis? (WTF. Who thinks of stuff like this.)
i'm living in marina del ray man you better get a job lyric (It is Marina del Rey dude.)
teach son how to pee in urinal (Target practice- It is all about target practice.)
meaning and use of do so ( I feel like I am missing something here.)
sex with animal story (Are you interested in writing or reading one.)
origin of garden gnomes (Travelocity- You know where to send the check.)
i am sleepy (Take a nap. It is good for your heart.)
Luke and Frodo (Someone is mixing up their science fiction and fantasy.)
See what I mean. It is just so random. Sometimes the keywords give me ideas for posts. For example I could write a Star Wars/Lord Of the Rings Mashup story.

It is a coming of age story in which an unlikely hero overcomes serious adversity with the aid of some unexpected friends. Space ships and magic go well together. Darth Vader, Sauron, Storm Troopers and Orcs. Think about the cantina in Mos Eisley. Some of those creatures looked like Orcs.

Gandalf and Obi Wan Kenobi together at last. You know, you never see those guys hanging out together in the same room. They just might be the same person. Ok, scratch that nonsense. Time for the next thought.

Another thing about blogging that catches my eye are comments on old posts. From an intellectual standpoint I am not surprised that people read my blog. It makes sense. Blogging is voyeuristic. There is something interesting about it. More than that I think that people appreciate having the opportunity to see that other people face the same challenges that they do.

All this being said, it is just interesting to see that people will leave comments on posts that are relatively old. I recently received a comment from this blogger on the following post:

Is Sex Necessary? Can you Have Too Much?

If you click on the link of the commenter it leads to a post about sex and longevity. Without going into great detail, I think that it is kind of interesting.

I also recently received a comment on my Dennis Wolfberg post that I thought was interesting too. Click here and read the final comment.

A Few Musings About The JIBs

Just when you thought that the posts about the JIBs were finished there arises yet another post. I hadn't planned on writing anything else about them but I just stumbled onto two or three posts about them on other blogs so...

For a while I had considered constructing a post about the purpose of the JIBs. I still believe in them. I consider their purpose to be sound but like so many things in life the intent is sometimes different than the actual execution.

In the most recent incarnation of the JIBs there was a tremendous effort to make them into something that transcended the past. The goal was to avoid the pitfalls and problems of the past. It wasn't a complete success, but it wasn't a total failure either.

A small number of people worked hard to sow dissent and create chaos. They went so far as to create a blog which was used to smear various participants and members of the Jblogosphere. They called it satire and I called it a pathetic attempt by second rate hacks to be funny. Satire is a great thing, but it requires humor. It failed miserably, as did the attempt to besmirch the awards.

But the attempt to do so speaks volumes about the character of those involved. It is similar to the toddler who demands that the world attend to their needs. "Play my way or I am taking my ball and going home." Quite impressive.

Not unlike the past I still found the pandering and begging for votes to be silly. The blogs that used email lists to solicit votes didn't do much to prove their worth either.

However the JIBs did provide exposure to blogs that I had never encountered and that is a primary goal. I am appreciative of that and for that reason alone I want to see them continue. There is never going to be a time when everyone is satisfied with how they are run. You can't make everyone happy.

The management of the Shack is still going to push Haveil Havalim as being one of the keys to promoting your blog. It is still a great way to be a part of a community. Every time I host it I see my traffic go up. These posts continue to generate traffic long afterwards too.

That is enough on this for now.

Gene Simmons/Jon Voight On Current Events

Normally I am not big on celebrities and their P.OV. on political matters, but I appreciate those people who go against the grain and take the less popular stance. I don't agree with everything the men have to say, but I thought that it was interesting.

Here are excerpts from their interviews:
Gene Simmons

I'm guessing you're not in favor of the Iraq troop withdrawal bills being proposed right now in Congress.

It's not the policies and the bills; it's how we treat our military. It's how we treat our young men or women who go out there, at 18 years old, and risk their lives. There's no fame, they're certainly not getting rich, and a lot of them are dying, simply for something they believe. By the way, it's a volunteer army, all volunteer. The fact that anybody would have a fucking thing to say about that is astonishing. And the VA hospital that Sophie and I went to, it's about an hour and a half down the road from Malibu. These morons can't get up off their asses and out of their $10 million homes, get into their SUVs, and drive down to the VA hospital just to say, "Hey, what you do matters." Doesn't matter what they think of President Bush. It matters that 18-year-olds are getting out there and risking their lives. I didn't see a single person there. That's the most embarrassing thing. I'm furious at Hollywood.

No visitors at all?

No. Of course, if it means getting on a jet and going to Washington, D.C., to get in front of media, they're all there. But they won't get into a car where there's no media and just go and shake the hand of a vet. And we met, as you know, Vietnam vets and Korean vets and Iraqi vets, and it just breaks your heart.

Do you think the troops in Iraq don't get the respect they deserve?

I think it's worse than ever. Because it's never talked about. It's just never talked about. We used to have a dialogue. I mean, there were peace marches, and people forget this, but the Vietnam vets that came back were spat at. Now, it's just apathy.

But it seems like these people are protesting the war, not protesting the troops.
I don't see the difference. Aid and comfort to the enemy is when you do it through media and there are big headlines like "We've Lost the War" and things like that. What makes you think that any graduate of any madrassa in the Middle East doesn't blow that up? In other words, make a big copy of it and show it to everybody.

and now:

Jon Voight

You recently visited with wounded troops at Walter Reed. What were your impressions?

I was deeply impressed by them. Most I spoke to were young people, around 20 years old. And they were really very eloquent, very positive, very respectful. You have to be proud of the children we're turning out from looking at this group of people. For me, I would much rather hear from these guys than the people who are presenting the news on television on a daily basis.

Were you able to gauge the mood among the troops—have they lost a sense of mission?

These guys say, well, it's possible to win it. And I'll tell you one thing they said that was very remarkable: the increase in troops that has been recommended by the president, they say anybody who's over there knows the value of backup and we should be behind this. When you're out in that situation in danger, you want to know you've got backup. Only one guy said he wasn't going back to Iraq, and he had been wounded a couple times. But all the other guys wanted to go back. One young woman, a very attractive young woman, had her leg amputated. But she says she's going to find a way to get back into it. She just reupped and she said they would find something for her to do.

Do you think it's possible to win the Iraq War?

Here's what I think: this is a real war, extended beyond the borders of Iraq.

As in the more general war on terror?

The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it's not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can't. Anyone who has paid attention to what [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious—they're calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that's what's going on. We could lose this war.

Was the Iraq war part of the war on terror before we got there?

I'm interested in talking about this, but it's been so politicized, it's very disturbing, very dangerous. My view of it is this: they say our president lied to us. Well, he didn't lie to us, everybody else had the information he had, and they voted for that tactic. And the idea of weapons of mass destruction, whether they were in fact removed to other places, to Lebanon, to Syria, that's still in play, we don't know the full answer of where all that stuff went, because they had it, they have the pieces. Now, whether someone else has them or whether we're playing a careful game not to reveal that we know where things are, that's another big aspect of it. The Administration's in a tough spot, because if they say they know where these pieces are, and they can't get at them, they're alerting other energies to know where they are.

So you think the Administration might know where the WMDs are?
We've got to be careful here. I want to have a conversation with a citizen who is trustworthy. I don't want to be talking to somebody who's going to use what I say to cause a sensation and make a few bucks.

This is a question and answer interview, so we're not going to take anything you say out of context.

I've got to know what your intentions are, what your purposes are. Because people call me up about my family matters and stuff like that, and they're only interested in selling a newspaper, they want to make things sensational, they don't give a damn about my well-being, or my family's well-being, or anything, and I don't like it. And these considerations, when I'm talking about our United States, this is serious business, and people are continuously using this stuff for nonsense—people are politicizing this stuff for their own ends. It's one of the biggest dangers we have right now. The irresponsible use of innuendo and falsehoods. It's a very big danger.

For the full interview with Gene Simmons Click here.
For the full interview with Jon Voight Click here.

Al-Qaeda Torture Handbook

The Smoking Gun has information about materials taken in a US Army raid on a house in Iraq.
MAY 24--In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal." Along with the images, which you'll find on the following pages, soldiers seized various torture implements, like meat cleavers, whips, and wire cutters. Photos of those items can be seen here. The images, which were just declassified by the Department of Defense, also include a picture of a ramshackle Baghdad safe house described as an "al-Qaeda torture chamber."
I am more than a little disturbed by this. Scroll down the page and you can see the drawings here.

Hat Tip: EOW.

Balls Of Fury

With a name like Balls of Fury it got my attention. And of course any movie that has Christopher Walken is worth at least ten minutes of my time. Although I have to admit that this movie has a very good chance of being horrifically bad.

Charlie Pace & Driveshaft Forever

Their second tour of Finland was great. You, All Everybody rocks! Of course there are a few people who never realize who they are hanging out with.

Songs That You Have To Sing Along With

It is no secret that I love music. Every couple of weeks I write another post in which I refer to song lyrics or list the last dozen songs that graced my stereo. Music is passion. Music is feeling. Music is emotion. Music touches you in places that are hard to reach. Music is a snapshot in time. Turn on certain songs and the memory parade makes an immediate appearance.

It is a universal experience. One of the most popular posts I have written is:

What Are Your Favorite Song Lyrics? Not a day goes by in which it doesn't receive traffic. Music has that kind of power and influence. To me it is not a surprise that there are some songs that you just have to sing along with.

Initially when I was writing this post I thought that I would share five or six songs with you and that these would represent the songs that I have to sing along with. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that I cannot limit it to so few. There are too many good songs that catch my ear and hold me.

Instead I am going to try and come up with a slightly different angle. Here is an incomplete list of songs that are virtually guaranteed to make an appearance at campfires, parties and random gathering of people.

Hmm... I wonder if this is going to date me.

Your Song- Elton John
Rocket Man
- Elton John
You Have Got a Friend- James Taylor or Carole King
Great Balls of Fire- Jerry Lee Lewis (If there is a piano this is a gimme)
Pinball Wizard- The Who
Cat's In the Cradle- Harry Chapin
You've Lost That Loving Feeling- The Righteous Brothers (Thanks Top Gun for killing this tune)
The End- The Doors (Obviously this is an end of the night, slightly inebriated tune)
Brown Eyed Girl- Van Morrison
Wonderful Tonight- Clapton (How many times have you seen some guy try to sing this to his date. It can be painful to watch.)
Piano Man- Billy Joel
Forever Young- Alphaville (I included this because of one of my little sisters. How many times did she and her friends cry listening to this song. Oy.)
In My Life- The Beatles
Down On The Corner- CCR
Simon and Garfunkel- (It is getting late, so I am just throwing everything in. Sorry, the screen is a hazy shade of winter.)
Do Wah Diddy- Manfred Mann
Thank God I am A Country Boy- John Denver
Hotel California- The Eagles

As I said this is incomplete and it is too late to keep typing. What am I missing?

$10 Airline Ticket

For the cost of a burger and beer, I bought an airline ticket.

That's right. I flew 667 miles, and it cost me only $10.

I am always looking for a good travel deal, and when I heard about Skybus Airlines, which offers at least 10 seats on each of its flights for $10, I went online and booked a ticket.

And that's the only way to buy a ticket. Skybus takes no-frills flying to a new level. Self-service is the theme here. The airline has no phone number. Passengers are encouraged to check themselves in online or at airport kiosks. About the only thing I didn't have to do was pilot the plane.

First Day of Flights

I decided to fly on the airline's first day of service. The airline is based in Columbus, Ohio, and all flights go through Columbus. I bought a ticket from Portsmouth, N.H., to Columbus, and then back again the next morning.

Both flights were comfortable, but unfortunately, the first one was not on time. The plane left 71 minutes late. Not a great start for a new airline.

Skybus' departure was big event. Most of the airport staff came out onto the tarmac to watch the flight. Even some Transportation Security Administration screeners came up to the windows to watch.

The plane — one of two new Airbus A319 jets leased from Virgin America — was roomy and quiet.

Skybus plans to lease 15 planes by the end of the year as it adds capacity. The planes have 144 seats, a few more seats than the typical Airbus A319. Skybus has a contract to buy 65 new jets from Airbus. Those planes will seat 156 passengers, making for an even tighter ride.

We'll see if this catches on. They are hampered by being based in Ohio, not to mention their food policy.

And like in movie theaters -- which also count on food sales to help their bottom line -- don't plan on brining your own food.

The airline's witty "rules of flying" state: "Oh, and don't sneak food onboard unless you brought enough for the whole plane."

"We're discouraging that because that's part of our profit model," Diffenderffer said. "But we're not food Nazis. Nobody's going to take away their sandwich."

I don't know about that, but if you are interested you can check them out here.

Some Posts That Are Worth a Second Look

Every now and then I like to give some old posts another shot at being read. Here are some that you might want to take another look at:

Suha Arafat Wants To Share Her Wealth With Me

The Dodgers of My Youth- That Infield

Doubt is Healthy And Other

It is Better Than Toilet Paper

Jack Versus The Hacker

My Son Speaks to G-d But He Doesn't Answer

What I See- Part One


Basketball As A Metaphor For Life

Basketball As A Metaphor For Life. I like the way that sounds. I'd like to say that I deserve credit for coining the phrase but I am fairly certain that it has been used before. For that matter I can guarantee that there have been numerous statements that use that line. We could create a Madlib.

___________ As A Metaphor For Life. My inclination is to come up with several examples, the more ridiculous the better. In this case I am going to ignore the inclination and share a simple conversation I had with my son in which I used the phrase that adorns the top of this post.

The big guy and I were enjoying a father/son moment over the weekend. One of the ongoing components of our conversation is that I ask him if he has any questions for me. He always does. I can't help but smile as I think of the look he gets on his face as he tries to decide what to ask me. Some questions are more serious than others. I can't say that I remember exactly what led to the basketball as a metaphor for life story, but I can share how that went.

Little Jack wanted to know what I like best about the game. I told him that it is a hard question to answer, but that parted of it is because basketball is a game of desire, a question of will. Success in basketball is more than talent and more than luck. It is a question of imposing your will and desire to succeed upon the other team.

And in my opinion the best example of that is rebounding. Anyone can shoot. If you practice long and hard you can become a decent shot, but not everyone can rebound. Rebounding requires effort. Rebounding is more than being in the right place at the right time. Rebounding is about tracking the ball, anticipating where it is going to fall and then finding a way to get it away from all of the others who are trying to do so too.

I love that. I get off on out working and out hustling the other guys. Rebounding is one of those places in which you demonstrate desire. Hard work is the hallmark of a great rebounder. Oh sure you can find holes in the theory. You can mix great players with bad, tall with short etc.

But all things being relatively equal it really comes back to who is willing to work harder and that is a good life lesson.

There are a lot of ways to measure success. There are a hundred methods we can use to try and say why one person is more successful than another, but why complicate it.

If you want to make it. If you want to be successful you can follow the same path as the great rebounder. Dig, dig, dig. Hustle, push, grind, pull, push, hustle and dig. Get to the ball first. Use your body to block others. Find ways to play smarter so that you do not exhaust yourself. Use the angles to shorten the court.

Work hard.

That is the simplest way to put it and that is essentially what I explained to him. It is nice to be talented. It is even better to be lucky, but in the end the one thing that we can control is ourselves. And that means that we can control how hard we work. We can outwork the others by taking that extra step.

I am not sure that the big guy followed all of this. In fact I am sure that some of this went over his head, but that is ok. It is a good life lesson and if this helps it sink in than I am happy.

Share a Blogging Tip Sunday- Err Monday

Here is a feature that we started last week. The idea is that this is a post in which you are invited to share tips/suggestions that your fellow bloggers can use to improve their blogs.

The floor is open.

A Confession

I don't like going to see the dentist. That is not unusual. Not really all that different from many people I know, but then again it is my mouth and not theirs. And now I am stuck with an unexpected visit.

Last year I had the ignominious pleasure of breaking a tooth. Doc says that it could have been for any number of reasons. Truth is that I don't really care all that much why. It happened. One moment I was chewing and then the next there was a strange object in my mouth. I spit it out and voila, a piece of porcelain had decided to go AWOL.

The good doctor fixed me up with a nice crown. Such a nice euphemism, crown that is. Problem is that crowns cost a small fortune but you can't really sell them to anyone. If you are running short on cash you can't hock them. If Guido the killer pimp decides to collect the cash he is losing because you ran off with his best girl you are still stuck. Oy, Risky Business reference just made me realize that I am getting older.

Anyhoo, the point is that this morning the crown I received last year jumped ship. So now I get to go visit the good doctor yet another time and ask to have this thing recemented. I am overjoyed at the prospect of this. That thumping you feel is the shock wave emanating from the joyous African Ant eater dance I am doing now. Fifty points to whomever identifies that pop culture reference.

Have you taken a look at Haveil Havalim? You really should. Click here.

"Interesting" Lullaby Music For Baby

I recently stumbled onto Baby Rock Records. These guys have taken various rock tunes and turned them into lullabys for children. Now I consider myself to be pretty progressive but I admit to being somewhat surprised to find artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Kiss, Nirvana and Metallica among the offerings.

Look at the lyrics for Hurt:
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
I don't know about you, but it just strikes me as being a little off for a lullaby. Although I have to admit that they have taken it to a different place. I Was Made For Lovin You by Kiss is actually kind of fun.

Maybe playing I Want To Be Sedated by The Ramones will make your baby cooler. I don't know. What I can say is that since they offer the Stones I was disappointed not to see Gimme Shelter, that song just rocks.

Haveil Havalim- The Plain Edition

Who would have ever thunk a drive-in in Buffalo would be the headquarters for the 117th edition of Haveil Havalim. I suppose that using a drive-in dates me. It is probably a good 15 years since I last went to a movie at a drive-in.

Of course some of you come from homes in which you have never been to a movie in a theater let alone a private car or truck. They were fun, drive-in's that is.
So maybe we should switch modes and move to something a little more modern such as this little doohickey below.

Go out and buy more Ipods. It will help keep Apple stock up and in turn you'll help keep a smile on Avrech's face, not to mention the good old Psycho Toddler who only recently joined the rest of us in using 21st century devices. ;)
Anyway, you'll have to put up with one more comment or two from me. This is approximately the seventh time that I have hosted Haveil Havalim. I have never seen as big a response as I did this time. I easily received more than 130 submissions. Of course some of you sent me seven or eight submissions from your own blog. My apologies for not being able to use all of them.

One more special request. It would be greatly appreciated if you could link to this post on your blogs. The more exposure that HH receives the better.

And now on to our carnival. My apologies if it is not organized as well as it could be, it was a busy week.

World

Simply Jews blogged about the Iranian arrest of a US citizen. Liorah writes that Pakistan may ignite a war. Jihadists continue to use technology to promote their cause. At Jihad Watch there is a discussion about The Islamist's War. Yid With Lid says The Muslim American Society Promotes Terror. Welcome To American Idol "Jihad Edition."

Over at Slightly Mad there is a list of
fine restaurants to eat at. Fiery Spirited Zionist has an opinon on Why "palestine" should never come into existence. Solomonia reports Mubarak: Hamas will never sign a peace agreement with Israel.

According to Israel Matzav
Arab countries despair seethe over 'Palestinians'. Carl also offered Gaza 'Palestinians' pray for 'occupation'. The Augean Stables offers As Palestinians Self-Destruct, They Blame Israel.

Over at Yoni The Blogger we learn that:
U.S. Aired Nasrallah Speech Because No One Knew Arabic.

Dag shares memories of the
Six Day war. Daled Amos shares 3 SOLDIERS FROM THE FAMOUS 6 DAY WAR PHOTO SPEAK. Sadly, no surprise here: Syria claims Eli Cohen's grave is 'inaccessible'.

Judaism

Jerusalem Joe offers Why Women Are Exempt From Prayer In Judaism – A Jungian Explanation. Meryl received an email asking for help locating lost relatives. Chana needs the bracha for Mentos. Back of The Hill says Spoken Of In Daniel. Over at a Simple Jew there is a Guest Posting By Chabakuk Elisha - "Heimishe" Racism.

Drew Kaplan covered
White Days. A Mother in Israel provided Tzniut/Modesty roundup--Lots of links.

Rabbi Sedley offers 29th Iyar - Tefillat HaShlah. RWAC discussed Platonic Relationships. Jerusalem Joe asks Is Your Jewish Mother A Maximizer, and What Can You Do About It?

What do you think: Har Ha-Bayit - yea or nay today?

TG discussed being an
Informed Jew. Over at Frum Satire we learned that Fish a nightmare for the cholent fan. It is not a date without Funny Shidduch Stories.

Wolfish Musings asks
What, Exactly, Is Expected Of Us? Ezzie provided a post on Jewish Economics. Did you know that everyone is a prophet these days.

Planck's Constant offered
Shavuot and a world without Jews. DovBear wrote about Arousal. What do you know about chalitza and chultza?

Over at Daf Notes you can find
ONE THOUSANDTH POST - HEAVENLY VOICES - YEVAMOS 14 and Daf Yomi - Yevamos 15 - NEW RULINGS REGARDING A MIKVAH AND ERUV.

At Crossing the Rubicon you can read about
Torah Portions and Nostalgia. Steg wonders Do I Need An Image-Adjustment? Over at My Obiter Dicta we found Ignorance and Hillul HaShem.

Gil Student adds his two cents to
The Problem with Education Today.

Israel

Jerusalem for Every Jew is the title of a post at Frumhouse. Simply Jews blogged about "family relationships" with My brother, my enemy. Over at Oleh Musings you can find A Few Musings, Occasioned by Rockets. Guide To The Perplexed blogged about Ali Abunimah's One Country.

Video of Jewish Children Running to Bomb Shelter During Attack Smooth covered Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day as did Treppenwitz and the Seawitch. Tsimcha.com covered it too with Yom Yerushalaim: A SECOND MATAN TORAH!

Esser Agaroth observed A
Little Divine Displeasure Perhaps? At Freedom's Choice you can find If I Forget Thee… A Very Personal Recollection. Miriam wonders if anyone remembers going to Israel with NCSY in '1975?

Am Echad asks
Why were "Messianic Jews" marching in Jerusalem?

Akiva has some heartbreaking posts about the situation in Sderot
here, here and here. Boker Tov Boulder blogged about the terrorist handbook. One Jerusalem has more about Sderot here. Meryl has her own round up about Sderot here. Joshuapundit blogged about this as well as did Aussie Dave and Yid With Lid. Rafi has his own thoughts and so does Joe Settler.

ISL presents
Peter Principle Becomes Law of the Land in Israel. Sometimes a response is required as in Striking Back. Israpundit proffered Sderot-the next Yamit.

Seraphic Secret blogged about
Fourth Generation Warfare. The Spine discussed Palestinian Unity. That leads us straight to Gaza Civil War Watch: 40 Dead in Factional Fighting. Or should we say Statehood Please.

Have you ever seen
a tankless parade. I enjoyed reading about The Dancing Man. Backspin provided Understanding the Six Day War. Rafi went on an adventure.

Caught: One would-be assassin from Doctors Without Borders read all about it at BokerTov Boulder.

Have you ever been to
Hamas Kindergarten. Elder of Ziyon presented The death of Oslo. Perhaps it is time to think about Life after the PA. Shiloh Musings says Hesder, the "Arrangement" is "cracking".

And sometimes there are those
One of those great, "only in Israel" experiences. Then again we have stories about drivers swerving around an injured motorcyclist. At the Muqata More Only in Israel...a picture.

Carl reminds us that
Israel has more than one leader sleeping at the wheel and he asks Are Goldwasser and Regev dead? Yo Yenta is blogging about Oil Insanity.

This headline caught my eye:
Holy stinky washing machine batman!

Over at Not a Fish we find: Best way to deal with British promoters of anti-Israel boycott… - Updated"

Politics

Cross Currents wishes that we Had More Harry Trumans. Over at Daled Amos The Media Has Spoken The C Word. One of these days I am going to have tune into that new show Lifestyles of The Rich and Terrorist.

MyRightWord wonders,
if the Hamas are described as having a "military" wing, their wingers are still termed "militants"? Omri provided "International Boycott" Of Palestinians Actually Meant "Triple The Amount Of Aid". Of Course It Did.

Judith found the last edition of HH to be incredibly geeky. Let's hope that she like this one better. Here is the speech that George W. Bush should have given care of
Kesher Talk. Some people question Yahoo!'s actions in removing a site.

Miscellaneous

The Waffle King wonders what comic book characters Jblogosphere denizens would be. Ra'anana Ramblings is cruising down Memory Lane.

Over at EllieTalk she wonders about the
Deadliest Catch. This is not about boy bands. It is about Old kids on the block.

A Bisele Babka wants to know Who is Coming for Lunch. AbbaGav is on a half hiatus. Soccer Dad met the JIBs with Jabs.

Rav Fleischmann proclaims.
I Love The Smell Of Blogging In The Morning. I wonder what that smells like.

Raggedy Mom is turning into her mother. You must read Aaron: Two Years Gone and The Book of Ben. Mottel discusses how people see others. You know Everyone Needs Therapy.

And now for poetry.
My Life In Haiku.

How many people missed out on the
Great Blogger Bash of '07. Irina covered her summer plans. I don't know about you but I miss having summers in which I could make summer plans.

Elisson wrote about the
Combover Hassidim. Congratulate Ocean Guy on his blogiversary here.

Nobody Irons like
Grandma. Jewish Atheist discussed Pleasure vs. Happiness.

And now I present
the Milton Friedman Choir - The Corporation. What about Hot Guys- Frum v Non-frum.

Everyone should have this kind of love for their spouse, Robert: Not Too Normal.

What Makes a Mentch. Shoshana covered the story of an Israeli woman and the WNBA. Miss Worldwide had a close encounter of the Blogger Kind.

Pearl offers
A Shout-Out to Blogland. KCC #18 is live.

A Whispering Soul is still
MIA. Call me crazy but I think that he still might come back, or maybe he has under a new name. Looking for new digs try checking out Schvach.

And thus ends this edition of Haveil Havalim. As always credit for starting this goes to Soccer Dad.

Esser Agaroth will be hosting the next edition. Thanks again for playing.

P.S. This may be updated throughout the day so don't be afraid to check back in.

Lightning Is About To Strike

Lightning is about to strike again, not a doubt in my mind that we're going to see it live and experience in 3D. Some lips are bound to ...