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Showing posts from May, 2007

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, b

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

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 publi

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 beca

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". ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 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? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Teaching Math In 1960: A lo

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

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 m

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

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.

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 t

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

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.

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

$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 fo

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

Caught My Eye

The Strangest Disaster of the 20th Century. Polka Floyd , a polka band that does Pink Floyd covers. (Courtesy of Growabrain ) Answering Nature's Call in Space

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 me

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. Anyh

"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