It Was Never Really A Whisper

One of my favorite bloggers has returned from exile. It remains to be seen as to whether he will fade away again or if he'll hang around. In the interim I strongly urge you to take a look at A Whispering Soul.

More Keyword KAOS

Yes, Agent 99 I used the KAOS spelling intentionally. Ok, some of the keyword searches to my blog were too good not share with you all. Here is a partial list:
Horny Hasid
Meaning of keep it to one side
big dumps- Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland
Jewish Blues Brothers
Jewish Sperm Shooter (What the heck is this about?)
Men and Emotions
Children deal with death
Sexy sheep
Beef Jerky
screw you meaning
i think too much

HH #123- Take a Swing Edition

Click here.

The iPhone

Earlier this week Robert wrote a nice tribute to the iPhone. I am a gadget guy. If it beeps and whistles and does all sorts of other cool things there is a good chance that it will catch my eye. So it is not going to surprise anyone who knows me to hear that the phone caught my eye.

However paying tuition for my children's education has a much firmer hold upon my wallet so it was a virtual lock to say that I would not buy the phone any time soon. Even more so because I don't want to use AT&T as my provider. Been there, done that and could write the book about why it was unpleasant.

In spite of all these things I had to check out the phone. I needed to take a gander at it and see if the phone was worth the hype. My answer is that I think that it is. Now, I haven't had the opportunity to conduct any sort of call with it. I can't tell you whether it meets the prime directive. My cell phone is a critical business tool. I cannot afford to use one that has communication issues so we'll have to wait and see what we hear about that.

However, I can see unequivocally that the screen on the iPhone makes my Treo jealous. The fact that it also works as an iPod is more than a nice bonus. As a matter of fact I'd be afraid to leave my Treo anywhere near an iPhone as I suspect that it might get ugly.

Long story short, I want one.

Terror In Britain

A few random thoughts about the events of the past couple of days.

Unless you have been trapped beneath a heavy object you probably are aware that Britain narrowly avoided a sizable terror attack when two car bombs were discovered.

This was followed by an attack upon the Glasgow airport in which a flaming SUV tried to ram the main terminal.

CNN is reporting that new Prime Minister Gordon Brown and company have raised the terror alert to its highest level meaning terror attacks are imminent. I don't mean to sound obnoxious, but "DUH!" It has progressed beyond imminent, now there are a host of questions.

Did they have any forewarning about any of this? How far along are they in their investigation? Is there knowledge of additional attacks or is the terror level alert system merely a response to the past days? Is this being done to suss out Gordon Brown's intentions or is the timing coincidental?

Stay tuned, more to come on all of these matters. Updates are on the way.

The Land of Lost Luggage

Most people are familiar with tales of lost luggage. You check it in at the curb and six hours later are more than a little aggravated to learn that somehow it didn't make the trip over with you. Sometimes it is located and sometimes it never catches up with you. So you may wonder what happens to those lost pieces. Well you might be surprised to learn that it is possible that someone purchased your bag and is selling the items within.
Unclaimed Baggage is a one-of-a-kind store snuggled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and bordered by the 70,000 acre Lake Guntersville. Founded in 1970 by Doyle and Sue Owens as a part-time business, it soon became a full-time venture. In 1978, the Owens incorporated the company and watched it prosper as one of the great 'hidden' bargain centers for savvy shoppers.
While I can't fault people for trying to make a buck I do find it a little disheartening to read about all of these lost items.
Over one million items pass through the store annually. About 60% of the merchandise is clothing with the balance of the store dedicated to cameras, electronics, sporting goods, jewelry, designer optical, books and of course, luggage. The vast majority of items are from unclaimed baggage which, after at least 90 days of intensive tracking by the airlines, are declared unclaimed. However, lost and unclaimed cargo is also now available in special areas of the store.
I'd like to say that I wouldn't be irritated or upset by any of this. It is just stuff, but there is something that bothers me about this. I irks me to think that because of someone else's mistake my stuff is being parceled out to whomever is willing to pay.

It is hard work breaking clothes in so that they achieve maximum comfort. What do you think?

Hamas- Teaching Children to Hate

GAZA CITY (AP) -- A Mickey Mouse lookalike who preached Islamic domination on a Hamas-affiliated children's television program was the victim of a pretend beating death in the show's final episode Friday.

In the final skit, the "Farfour" character was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a "terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while defending his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added.

So happy to see that these noble people are teaching such strong values to their children. And people ask why there is no peace.

Early Morning Agitation

My mother called it waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I am referring to my mood. Cranky, agitated and irritable do not do it justice. The day started off poorly and the sad thing is that the reasons for it are trivial.

Somewhere in the middle of the night my son climbed into my bed and proceeded to try and discover new and creative ways to create bruises all over my body. I received multiple punches and kicks to my head, nose, neck, groin and legs. Did I mention that he stole the freaking covers too.

This is not a normal occurrence. He almost never wakes up anymore and on the odd occasion that he sleeps with us he normally holds still. For whatever reason this time he did not. So interrupted slumber is a big factor in why I am unhappy, but that is not all. The next door neighbor is having a new roof placed on his home. Did I mention that I hate the sound of hammers and saws in the morning. Ok, that is not entirely true, but on this morning it is making me crazy.

It doesn't help that this is being done right outside of my office so it is making it much harder to work. As a side note let me add that I hate the noise that vacuum cleaners make. My folks say that as a baby it used to make me cry. Now it just irritates me. Something about that squeal makes me want to run screaming into the forest.

Last night I chased away a couple of teenagers who are using my street as makeout point. I know that I have blogged about them before, but I am too cranky to go searching for the post. The music in their car was so loud that it was preventing my kids from sleeping. So I headed over to the car. They were so involved that they didn't notice me standing there, nor did they realize that the rapping on the window was not being created by them.

I explained to the dear lad and lassie that while I appreciate young love I am not interested in witnessing it in such graphic detail and that it would be wise to move along. The young buck started to mouth off then thought better of it when I asked him how he felt about being arrested. I pulled this off a la Fletch.

"Are you the police?" He asked.

"As far as you know" was my response.

I absolutely hate feeling this irritable so early in the morning. It is a lousy way to start the day so I am doing what I can to set a new tone.

Updated: Some of our yeshivas are doing a piss poor job of educating our children, at least when it comes to English skills. Their posts make them look like exceptionally ignorant. The number of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is inexcusable. I can't believe that they are not more embarrassed by just how poor their skills are.

It is a sad, sad thing.

Harry Potter & Children

Here is a general question for the moms and dads. How old do you think a child should be before they start reading Harry Potter books?

Hardwood Floors- The Joys of Homeownership

I often sing the praises of hardwood floors. I love them. They exude warmth, beauty and unlike carpet they don't hide all sorts creatures. However, hardwood floors do present some challenges of their own. The primary issue is trying to prevent them from being scratched or marred.

If you have young children you can appreciate just how challenging this is. They throw, drop and bang toys on the floors. They drag chairs and other items through the house and inevitably the floors begin to show signs of the presence of said children.

In my own home there are some spots that are downright embarrassing. I very much want to have my floors refinished but I am hesitant to do so because I am concerned that the kids are going to scratch them up again.

Here is the thing, I don't want my house to be treated like a museum. I want the kids to play. I want them feel comfortable here. It is their home too. So the trick is trying to find a balance so that this is not used as a playground but not treated as a hospital ward either.

And there you have my dilemma. I am beginning to hate the way that the floors look but I don't want to throw away money either. What to do, what to do.

The Quest For Parental Validation

I wonder, do we ever reach an age at which we are no longer interested in parental validation. This is not to suggest that I have never gone against my parent's wishes or suggestions. My life is a long list of going against the grain.

But nonetheless I'd be lying if I said that I prefer to receive my parent's approval. I do.

I suppose that what makes me think of this is because as a father I see my own children seeking my own approval. They're always asking me to watch them do something. "Abba, come see what I can do!" "Abba, look at this!" It really is nice. They make me smile.

I love my children. Sometimes it is tough to keep up with them. They have endless amounts of energy and I'd be lying if I said that sometimes it is hard to look at every little thing they do. So every now and then I slip out of father mode and back into the son.

And then I remember how it feels and I am rejuvenated. It is my wish that I always remember to give them the time they deserve even when I am tired. They deserve it.

Hanging Out At The Muqata

I received a few emails from some readers asking me why things seem slow here. The answer is that I am still hanging out at The Muqata. Check it out, there are some pretty good posts over there.

Howard Cosell Interviews Lynda Carter

Sorry, this just made me laugh.

Tonight We're Serving The Baby Jesus

Talk about a special barbecue. This is not exactly what you might expect to find at Jeff's Sausages. Speaking of Jeff's Sausages if you perform a Google search for Jeff's Sausages you'll find that the Gun Slingin' Chopped Liver Chef is almost top dog.

Hat Tip for the photo goes to: Oranchak.com

Pick Up His Leg

Nobody knew that the painter had a prosthetic leg on, at least not until it fell off of him...while he was standing on the ladder.

Fortunately the fearless five-year-old boy had no problem picking up the false leg and returning it to his owner. Who was that fearless five-year-old? Well, that boy was me.

Of course if I saw it happen now I would still be willing to hop up and grab it, but I won't lie and say that I wouldn't laugh. I hope that I wouldn't laugh, but I can't guarantee it. I know, it is not very nice but it is kind of funny.

Eight Things About Me

The Babka Nosher has tagged me with the Eight Things About Me Meme. Every time I see the word Meme I imagine some opera singer singing "Me Me Me Me." Here is some information about me before I start.

Every time I do one of these things I have to decide how to answer the questions. Do I want to try and provide the cool, insightful answer that make people wish they were as cool as me. Do I want to give the funny response.

You know the one that makes you chuckle out loud so that your coworkers know that you are not really working on the spreadsheet you said you were. Or do I go with option three, you know just answer the question.


Babka is a nice lady so I'll try to set aside my insouciant nature and just answer the questions. Ok, on to the rules:

The Rules are:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ok, I tag my entire blogroll, the blogosphere and anyone else who might be interested in this. Ok, that is not really fair, but it is close to midnight and I don't have the energy to think about tagging.

1) Can I use my intro for this one. You know about how I decide to answer memes. No really, I mean it.

2) If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning. I'd hammer out danger and I'd hammer out warning. But mostly I'd hammer copies of The Sound of Music. Feh on that movie.

3) I was on my high school swim team. By the time I hit my senior year I had a full set of washboard abs and bodyfat that was around 9%. Vain old Jack pulls out that picture and stares at it as incentive to get back into shape.

4) When I play Hearts I always try to shoot the moon. I have a gambling streak a mile wide in me, but I don't go to Vegas all that often.

5) If I was one of the Wonderpets I'd be the Turtle. He is cool. If I was a Backyardigan I'd be Tyrone. If I had to be one of the characters on Sesame Street I'd be in trouble. I can't decide if I want to be Oscar, Ernie or Cookie Monster.

6) I don't know how to play a musical instrument but If I could I'd want to play the guitar and the piano. Ok, maybe the bugle too. I'd belt out reveille outside of my friends homes. I am a giver.

7) I have 7 other blogs and practice writing in different voices.

8) I'd like to live to be a thousand or so. I figure that would give me enough time to live in all the places I want to visit, try all the careers that interest me and then no one would give me a hard time about having had 17 wives.

I Still Look For Him But He Is Not There

It is 366 days since I said goodbye to my grandfather. A year and a day. My life is so very different in so many ways. It is not a secret to say that I miss him. I do. We shared more than a surname. We spent so many hours together. There are endless stories that I could tell about him. My grandfather was a colorful man who lived life.

He lived. He loved. He was. And in many ways he still is.

Sometimes I pick up the phone and start to dial his number because I want to tell him about my day or ask him for his advice and then I remember that he is gone and I stop. To paraphrase Bogart in Casablanca I am sure that I look like a guy standing with a comical look on his face because his insides have been kicked out.

Grandpa wouldn't appreciate all the fussing over him. He wouldn't want me to feel badly about his having died. If I close my eyes I can see him smiling at me, a twinkle in those baby blues. That twinkle used to get him in trouble because you just couldn't help but wonder what he had done. I am told that I have the same thing.

But this is my blog and my thoughts. I like sharing memories with my father about grandpa. It is nice to hear his memories but sometimes it is hard too because I see the pain in his eyes. At grandpa's funeral my dad said that he had lost his hero and that is true. I know it is because my father is my hero too, so it makes sense to me.

Sometimes when I walk into my parent's house I go looking for him. He spent the last few years of his life living in the room that I grew up in. Sometimes I close the door and just sit there, trying to catch a glimpse of him. Sometimes I think that I can smell his scent.

I have had a few dreams about him. I remember bits and pieces of them. He protected me from something, can't really say what because I don't remember. I just know that he did. I don't if it was real or not because it makes me feel good.

What I know for certain is that as long as we don't forget him he won't ever really die. My son still looks at the pictures we took, four generations of the men of our family. He asks me to always tell him stories so that he won't forget who he was.

It would be easy to write more, but I think that is enough for right now. Time never stops moving and much as we might to stop it we can't. All we can do is live the best way we know how.

The Shack Speaks- A Round Up of Posts

Decided to provide a round up of posts that have appeared here:

What Qualities Should a Rabbi Have?

If Life Ended Today What Would You Regret

A Question About The Dead

Frantic Blogging Comments

My Son & The Strip Club

Evolution

Where Are You From?

Defenestrate

Morality Without Religion- A Comment to The Self-Righteous

Haveil Havalim #106- Terrible Twos Edition

Filed Under What Was She Thinking

The Sound of Music Sucks

I Am A Master Of Yard Work

You can call it Jack Versus The Oleander. Located in a corner of my yard there is a large Oleander with shrubitude. For years now it has loomed menacingly over the yard, a threatening presence. The only thing that held it in check was its healthy fear of my shrub cutting skills.

Armed with a lopper I can do an enormous amount of damage, especially when provoked. For a while there was a standoff. The Oleander maintained its position but only because every so often the lopper and I would engage in a little chop-off round the perimeter. But I think that we both knew that one day it would come to blows.

Sometime last fall the old lopper gave it up the battle. It crapped out, bought the farm, met its maker. Yes, I know that I am going on about a yard tool, but sometimes a tool can be more than just a tool.

I couldn't help but mourn the loss of the lopper. It took close to six months for me to go out and find a replacement. Koheleth said that for every thing there is a season and now is the season of the lopper.

Earlier this week I paid a visit to Home Depot with the intent to purchase a lopper and nothing more. Sadly the Depot Demons got a hold of my wallet and I was forced to purchase other items but that is a story for a different day. On this day I shall only speak of the lopper, the mighty lopper.

If I didn't know better I would say that the Oleander shrank back in fear of the lopper for it knew that in my hands it was a mighty tool. And in a matter of a few hours that overgrown Oleander shrank in size. It went from being Big Plant On Campus to just a mere shrub again.

Ok, enough of this nonsense. Apparently this is what happens when I spend 1,987 hours doing yard work in the sun.

Rod Beck- R.I.P.

He went to a rival high school, made it to the show. Interesting guy to say the least. Rest In Peace Rod.

Terrorism Awareness- Watch This

What Really Happened There.

What Qualities Should a Rabbi Have?

In a post that is already buried on the page I made the following remarks:
In fact I suspect that if you conducted a survey of traits required to become a rabbi piety and devotion might not even make the top of the list. Right up there at the top would be stories and story telling. Just for kicks I'll address that question to several of the blogging rabbis:

Rav Fleischmann, RWAC, Fly Fishing Rabbi, Rabbi Sedley and any other rav who wishes to answer. I look forward to your replies.
(I'll have some remarks about what qualities I think are most important at the bottom of the post.)

I am pleased to say that there are a number of responses that are worth looking at, or should I say all of them are. This is the kind of interaction that I appreciate about the blogging world. As I have mentioned before every now and then I have an interest/urge to go get smicha. I haven't spent as much time exploring it as I probably should. I suppose that you could say that it is because I am not really interested or because I am and am afraid of it.

Really it doesn't have to be an answer that is relegated to the either/or pile. There are shades of gray. I suspect that one of the reasons is that I find davening to be so darn challenging. Some days I am completely engrossed and others it is the furthest thing in my mind.

I know for certain that part of it is because the title brings a lot of expectations along with it and I am not sure that I am willing to wear that mantle. This is why I consider the qualities a rav should have because it helps to define what sort I would want to be.

I have experience working at several shuls. I know the politics. I hear the stories that my friends tell me (did I mention that I know many rabbis) and it doesn't excite me. I don't care what denomination you are, we all share certain things in common and politics is right up there.

As a result of all this I have kind of placed getting smicha on the back burner...for now. I am still young. I don't see a need to rush. I know myself well enough to know that if I want to do it, I will.

If I were to become a rabbi I think that this is the kind of rabbi I'd want to be. A good listener. A great storyteller. Worldly and knowledgeable about life and Judaism so that I could provide solid, well thought out answers. Warm and friendly, so that people would feel comfortable sharing their thoughts/problems with me.

That is the rough outline and obviously it is subject to modification. More on this at a later date.

Music Meme- Furious five

Chaim wants to know the 5 songs that are stuck in my head. So here they are:
Hotel California: The Gipsy Kings
Maybe I'm Amazed- Paul McCartney
The Letter- Joe Cocker
Suspicious Minds- Elvis Presley
Ghost Riders In The Sky- Johnny Cash
If you spend any time reading the blog then you know that I can't pick just five, so here is another set just because:
Chiri Bim- Craig Taubman
Love Reign O'er Me- The Who
Knock The Cover Off of The Ball- Soundtrack from The Natural
Lux Aeterna- Clint Mansell
More Than This- Roxy Music
And yes I have been listening to Don't Stop Believin, but then again Journey's greatest hits is already loaded on my iTunes. If you are of a certain age it is a virtual guarantee that your sister/girlfriend whatever would go nuts every time Faithfully came on the radio.

Haveil Havalim #122

Click here.

Some Masada remains questioned

MASADA, Israel - An Israeli anthropologist is using modern forensics and an obscure biblical passage to challenge accepted wisdom about mysterious human remains found at Masada, the desert fortress famous as the scene of a mass suicide nearly 2,000 years ago.

A new research paper published Friday takes another look at the remains of three people found at the site and given a state burial by Israel as Jewish heroes. The remains, the study says, could actually be those of the Jews' Roman enemies.

The remains of two male skeletons and a full head of woman's hair, including two braids, were found in a bathhouse by archaeologists in the 1960s. They were long thought to belong to a family of Zealots, the fanatic Jewish rebels said to have killed themselves rather than fall into Roman slavery in A.D. 73, a story that plays an important role in Israel's national mythology.

The bathhouse remains became a key part of the site's story. Yigael Yadin, the renowned Israeli archaeologist in charge of the first dig, thought they illustrated the historical account of Zealot men killing their wives and children and then themselves before Roman legionnaires breached Masada's defenses.

Upon finding the remains, the crew "relived the final and most tragic moments of the drama at Masada," Yadin wrote in his book documenting the dig, mentioning that the woman's "dark hair, beautifully plaited, looked as if it had just been freshly coiffeured."

"There could be no doubt that what our eyes beheld were the remains of some of the defenders of Masada," he wrote.

Along with other bodies found at Masada, the remains were recognized as those of Jewish heroes by Israel's government in 1969 and given a state burial, complete with Israeli soldiers carrying flag-draped coffins.

But anthropologist Joe Zias and forensics expert Azriel Gorski write in a paper in the June issue of the journal Near Eastern Archaeology that the remains buried with honors may not have been those of Jews at all, but of Romans.

For the full story please click here.

A New Way To Use The Telephone

In the course of my travels I stumbled onto a company called GrandCentral. I haven't signed up yet but I think that I will. Here is some information about them:
What is GrandCentral?

Get all the same calls, but in a whole new way.

GrandCentral doesn't replace your phones; we just link them together and help them do more. How do we do that? We give people One Number...for LifeTM - a number that's not tied to a phone or a location - but tied to you.

With GrandCentral, you can be reached with a single number, answer a call at any phone you want, seamlessly switch phones in the middle of a call, and even know whether a call is important before you take it.

What else can I do with GrandCentral?

We're not your typical phone company. And these aren't your typical features.

* Check your messages by phone, email, or online
* Keep all your messages online for eternity
* Record and store your phone calls (just like voicemail)
* Quickly (and secretly) block an annoying caller
* Click-to-dial from your address book
* Surprise your callers with a custom voicemail greeting
* Turn your Mp3s into the ring tones your callers hear
* Forward, download, and add notes to your messages
Are any of you familiar with them?

Love To Read? Check out BookMooch

I stumbled onto BookMooch care of Ann. It sounds pretty darn interesting.
I have fallen in love with BookMooch. It's a book trading site wherein you create an inventory, gaining 1/10 of a point for each book you include. Then you get points (3 if you're sending internationally) for books you agree to send out. You are deducted 2 points for each book you have sent to you. Simple, but effective.
Of course I do have a small problem with this. I hate getting rid of my books but that is a different story.

Things Rattling Around My Skull

I used to do these long introspective posts much more frequently. Back in the good old days when the blog was safe. A refuge that felt like a secret hideaway. Br'er Rabbit's laughing place. In those days the blog was so very bright and shiny. It felt so much more comfortable to tear down the walls and just let the river flow.

That changed. It changed. It changed. It changed. I can't place my finger on one exact reason. There is nothing in here that I cannot discuss with anyone. But that doesn't mean that I want to.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture 2007. It gave me an opportunity to meet a number of bloggers. It was a new experience for me as I have intentionally maintained my distance but I am quite glad that I went. It was nice speaking with them and I was pleased to see that we had more to talk about than just blogging.

As Judith of Kesher Talk mentioned blogging can provide unexpected intimacy with others. If you consider your relationships usually you work up to feeling comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts with others. Bloggers just skip this and let loose.

I am not surprised by any of this. In spite of the picture I painted I wasn't unaware that others were reading my thoughts. But for whatever reason it just didn't bother me. Lately that is not the case. I find myself being far more reserved than I used to be.

Can't say if this will continue or go away. We'll just have to see what happens. For now I seem to have lost my voice.

Guest Blogging

If you don't see me here it could be because of my guest blogging responsibilities here.

A Few Movie Thoughts

In my life I have learned that there a few things that hold true. Cub fans are serious masochists, the Olympics were better when they came every four years and Red Sox fans were blessed with the appearance of an aberration similar to Halley's Comet. Once every hundred years or so they win a championship.

I also believe with perfect faith that LA will again experience a sports year like 1988 in which the Dodgers and Lakers won the championship and even the Kings were exceptionally competitive.

That brings me to the topic of the moment, movies. David smartly remarked that a person's taste in movies can be quite revealing about whether they might be the kind of people you want to hang out with. Now much as I'd like to spend a few minutes discussing the list of movies he came up with I am going to go a different direction and refer back to another old post called

Too Many Sequels

I won't rehash the entire thing here, but suffice it to say that I am still irked about something. During the past few years we have been inundated with remakes of old movies. Very few of them have been any good. With all of the so called creative people around you would think that we might see something new.

If I remember I'll have to come up with a post that expands upon this further.

Summer Solstice 2007

(Another recycled post. This one ran here.)

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Wikipedia provides this explanation:
"The summer solstice is an astronomical term regarding the position of the sun in relation to the celestial equator. At the time of the summer solstice, Earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most tilted towards the sun, causing the sun to appear at 23.45 degrees above the celestial equator, thus making its highest path across the sky. The summer solstice is the day of the year with the longest daylight period and hence the shortest night. This day usually occurs on June 21/June 22 in the northern hemisphere and on December 21/December 22 in the southern hemisphere. The actual date changes due to differences between the calendar year and the tropical year."
I have been rather fond of the day for years, primarily because it marks the beginning of summer. Summer is easily my favorite season, especially early in the summer. There is something about early summer that just makes me smile. Maybe it is because it is filled with so much potential.

I also find the summer solstice to be interesting because of Stonehenge.
"Stonehenge (stōn'hĕnj') , group of standing stones on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, S England. Preeminent among megalithic monuments in the British Isles, it is similar to an older and larger monument at Avebury. The great prehistoric structure is enclosed within a circular ditch 300 ft (91 m) in diameter, with a bank on the inner side, and is approached by a broad roadway called the Avenue. Within the circular trench the stones are arranged in four series: The outermost is a circle of sandstones about 13.5 ft (4.1 m) high connected by lintels; the second is a circle of bluestone menhirs; the third is horseshoe shaped; the innermost, ovoid. Within the ovoid lies the Altar Stone. The Heelstone is a great upright stone in the Avenue, northeast of the circle. It was at one time widely believed that Stonehenge was a druid temple, but this is contradicted by the fact that the druids probably did not arrive in Britain until c.250 B.C. In 1963 the American astronomer Gerald Hawkins theorized that Stonehenge was used as a huge astronomical instrument that could accurately measure solar and lunar movements as well as eclipses. "
I don't know about you, but there is something very cool about the place. I haven't been there, but it is on my list of places to visit.

New Bruce Willis- Live Free Or Die Hard

I love action movies and am a long time fan of Bruce Willis. I am definitely going to check this out. One of these days I'll have to blog about Die Hard and why it means a bit more to me than other action flicks.

Anyhoo, if you are interested here is the first eight minutes of the movie and some additional clips.

Blogging for Ego, For Experience, For What

(Grabbed another old post from the archives.)

One of the things that I love about the blogosphere is that I am a part of community.

Community, not one, but many.

I rise up into the ether and find myself a part of a community of bloggers, of those who share my faith, interests, goals, objectives and so much more.

It is a place that I find fascinating. I frequently speak about how I love the interaction and sometimes the voeyeuristic component of this. I peak into lives and see people who I think are just like and I watch others who are so very different.

I learn about them and myself and I really believe that I am growing, at least that is the hope. I know for certain that this has been a positive experience for me if for no other reason than the outlet it provides as well as the chance to work on my writing. I need the practice.

And I know that the outlet provides me with a certain freedom to say things I might not say and to admit things that I might not otherwise. So here is my confession of the moment.

I check my stats way too frequently. I look at Technorati to see if people have decided that I am a necessary part of their daily diet, have they blogrolled me or have they unblogrolled me. I am interested, but in truth I am more touched when someone writes a post because of something they said, wrote, saw or experienced here.

I am sometimes frustrated when there are no comments, especially on posts where I really feel like I have hit a homerun.

So the reality and the truth is that there is some ego involved here, a bit of a come love me component, but I accept that. Is it wrong to admit this, should I be ashamed that I would like for people to look to my blog for this and that.

I don't think so. I feel a little foolish admitting it, but as I said, this is the place where I let those things out, where the dark corners get to see a little light.

I am still a dreamer, a person who lives in the stars. I am not just a father, not just a mealticket or provider.

I am still that boy who dreams of playing a professional sport, who wanted to be part of some amazing story like a Harry Potter or LOTR book.

Blogging really has done a lot for me, I am truly thankful. And if the time comes when I decide I need to hangup my spikes I likely will not announce it. I will probably avoid making a big deal of it because I don't want a bunch of people begging me to stay and if they do not I will be pissed off and mildly hurt.

Silly ego.

Better to walk away and leave a little mystery to where I have gone and if I will return.

Foreign Currency- Looks Like Monopoly Money to Me

(originally posted here)

Call me what you will, but every time I see foreign currency I can't help but think of it being Monopoly money. It is hard to take it seriously, especially those wacky Canadians and their looneys and tooneys.

A pocketful of those and you'll weigh an additional 18 pounds beyond your standard weight.

Americans Are Growing Shorter

New research shows that Americans are coming up short, but not in terms of money or lifestyle. Our growing problem is with our height.

The study, conducted by the University of Munich and Princeton University, found that the United States had the shortest population in the industrialized world, and the reason may have to do with the way people live.

America's first president, George Washington, stood a commanding 6-foot-2. In Washington's day, our country's residents were the tallest in the world.

"It's well known that the Americans held the title for 200 years," said University of Munich professor John Komlos. "Ever since the colonial times, the Americans were the tallest."

Today the Netherlands towers above the rest of the world as the tallest country, with an average height of 6-foot 1, without the wooden shoes. In 1850, Americans were two inches taller than the Dutch.

In Denmark, men average 6 feet in height, a couple of inches taller than the American male average of 5-foot-10.

For the full story click here.

Some Posts That Deserve More Attention

Here are some links to some posts that are worth checking out again. Some of them are pretty good and others are just so-so.
Some of my Cars
Have You Made Friends Through Blogging?
Toilets & Stamps
How Did You Become a Blogger?
Two Kinds of Pain

It is Official Carter Has Lost His Mind

This is just ridiculous commentary.

The Blues Brothers

Figured that I'd post a few more clips of scenes from some of my favorite movies:



You can try this one and this one too.

It Gives Me Goosebumps

I love the scene in the video below.


Here is a link to the trailer for the movie. Here is a link to the post that initiated all this. And since we are talking baseball here is a link to a clip from Field of Dreams.

I Hate Leftovers

I am a socially conscious individual. I am well aware that there are many people in the world who are far less fortunate than I am. I am a very lucky man who has been blessed with many different things.

I do what I can to contribute to society. I teach my children to give back and remind them that there are starving children around the world who would love to be able to eat those yucky items whatever they may be.

All that being said, I hate leftovers. Call me a hypocrite, call me whatever, I prefer not to eat them. Ok, that is not entirely true. I have yet to meet the leftover pizza that I couldn't eat and truth be told leftover chocolate cake isn't all that bad either.

Given a little bit more time I could probably come up with some more items that I don't eating, but why do that. It would ruin my post. I still don't like leftovers.

Some Links That Caught My Eye

Here are some links that caught my eye:

Over at Jewbiquitous they have Blog Apathy. Although it looks like their definition is a bit different from my own.

Meryl has an interesting story called
The son of a Nazi converts to Judaism. Over at Israel Matzav you can read about how Israeli Hospitals are taking care of some of the Palestinian wounded.

Who knew that Johnny Sack and Hilary Clinton eat at the same diner.

Google has thrown its hat into the alternative energy ring and is pushing a 100 MPG car.

One more reason not to live in cleveland. It contains the number one zipcode for foreclosures in the nation.

Interested in a $10 DSL plan? Click here. This woman is the sausage queen.

Study Debunks Myth That Women Want Sex Less

Bachelors might have sex on their minds more than their single female counterparts, but once in a committed relationship, men and women have similar attitudes toward the act, a new study finds.

The results, published in the April issue of the journal Sex Roles, reveal how sexual stereotypes, in which guys want to go for it and gals tend to resist, don’t hold when romantic feelings come into play.

“Men experience a lot of pressure in our society to have sex with a number of different partners,” said one of the study’s researchers, Paul Perrin, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Florida, “the opposite of what women experience as kind of the gatekeepers of sexuality.”

Past studies, the scientists point out, have shown that compared with women, men are more sexually permissive, endorse casual sex at higher rates and masturbate more often.

And even in dreamland, men are from Mars and women from Venus. A recent study showed men were more than twice as likely as women to report dreams about multiple sex partners.

Click here to read the whole story.

Keyword Search- How You Found Me

In an ongoing feature here at the Shack we bring you a partial list of keyword searches that led here:
random thoughts
dennis wolfberg
sopranos finale meaning
ranking the nba finals teams, from best to worst
why is it called terrible twos
you raise me up on my ipod
$10 airline
sailing around the world
men and emotions
chewbacca bathroom
yevamos pilegesh
appropriate greetings
morality and religion
how do they have sex
how to pee like a boy
use visualization to get a bigger penis
yerushalayim lyric
the meaning of the song mustang sally

Pepsi Cucumber- It is Refreshing?

I like Pepsi and I like cucumbers, but Pepsi Cucumber? I don't think so.

Hat Tip to PureLandMountain.com

The Perfect Post- Or Quality Control Of The Blog

Somewhere in the deep dark depths of the remnants of what was once an exceptional memory are fragments of of stories I once knew and I knew many. Those stories are probably the foundation of the man that some people said should become a rabbi.

In fact I suspect that if you conducted a survey of traits required to become a rabbi piety and devotion might not even make the top of the list. Right up there at the top would be stories and story telling. Just for kicks I'll address that question to several of the blogging rabbis:

Rav Fleischmann, RWAC, Fly Fishing Rabbi, Rabbi Sedley and any other rav who wishes to answer. I look forward to your replies.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Sometimes I wonder if I have tarnished the image of my blog by posting virtually every silly post that I create. There is no question that the quality of my posts is not uniform. Some are very good and others are relatively bad. So the question remains, do I do myself a disservice by posting everything.

This reminds me of a tale about the Preacher of Dubno that I once read. I am not going to attempt to relate why that is relevant because I have already unsuccessfully tried to do three different times. I wasn't happy with any of them which is why you don't see anything about it here.

I'd continue this but I have run out of steam or maybe it is because I am going to watch Big Love now. Aww heck, if you want more of my thoughts on this try reading this old post. Here I am repeating myself, I thought that it would be a few more years before I turned into my father.

Krofft Superstars

This show reminds me a bit of my youth and no that was not in cleveland.

Some of my Cars

One of these days I need to scan in photos of the cars that I have owned. I have three photos below of cars that are similar to those that I used to drive. None of them are exact so I cannot paint as close a picture as I would like to, but this will do for now.

1977 Chevrolet Impala Station Wagon. The old family hand-me-down. It was plain white and since it was a family car not one that I wanted to drive. However since I didn't have enough money to buy my own it worked.

It even made an appearance at my university. I can remember showing up at more than one even with no less than 18 guys in the car. It was a traveling party. I especially remember going on some late night food runs. The guy at the drive-in window didn't quite believe me when I told him that I need 54 hamburgers, 36 cokes and 28 orders of fries.


1969 Dodge Dart Swinger with a Slant 6 225- My Dart was brown and a bit dinged up. Technically it is my first car because it was the first one that I actually purchased. I bought it from a friend of my grandparents. It was about a week before my senior year of high school.

I loved that thing. Used to go down to the pick-a-part so that I could pick up some cheap parts to fix it up.

When I bought this car I gave my folks the station wagon back and had the darn thing held up better it would have come to college with me. Instead the Brown Bomber went through a series of mechanical mishaps draining my meager savings faster than I could replace it.

It holds a special place in my heart. I remember doing donuts in the quad in it and using the enormous trunk to help some juniors sneak out to lunch. Rascal that I was I kept them in the truck for a good quarter mile while making sure to hit a few dips and fishtail around some corners.
1977 Chevrolet Camaro- I didn't have T-Tops in mine, but it was a similar powder blue. I loved that car. It was fast and fun to drive. I took it everywhere. That Camaro was a witness to some of my best moments even some of my lowest.

I drove it up and down the coast and halfway to Vegas on more than one occasion. This car went through mudslides, fires and the LA Riots with me. Let me tell you that driving through some of the char-broiled sections of town was an experience, but the steel bumper and knowledge that I could make it fly made me quite comfortable.

Over time it eventually began to suck me dry. New suspension, new transmission, new A/C, new tires and more began to take the fun out of it. Eventually the power steering unit blew and I reached my limit. I sold it and moved on to a Toyota Camry.

It was 1993. If I had only managed to hold on to it a little bit longer we would have weathered the 1994 Northridge earthquake together. Sigh. I still miss that car. Actually I miss things about all of them.

Haveil Havalim #121- Thank Your Father Edition

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."
George Strait

Welcome to the June 17, 2007 edition of Haveil Havalim. It is Father's Day so you'll have to indulge me as I jump in with links to two of my own posts called A Father's Day Post and Father’s Love Their Daddies Too.

For many reasons it has been a particularly difficult week so I apologize that this edition is not up to snuff. But per my own father's guidance I have given it my best effort. Sometimes that is all you can do.

And now on to the show:

As our opening act I offer for your consumption Question & Answer With MoChassid - Are You A Good Father? To which I add my own question. At what point do we make our analysis of our performance as fathers. Do we have an annual review. Should there be some sort of report card. Ok, it is a bit tongue in cheek, but still I wonder about this kind of stuff. It is good blog fodder.

Judaism

Frum With Questions presents How many Rabbits does it take to make a black hat?
Sometimes Rafi wonders how honest are we really? Orieyenta reminds us that Jews Come in All Colors.

Fortunately I have never suffered from
Simcha Blisters. Cosmic X presents The Joy Of Doing A Mitzvah. Nuch Epes Ah Chosid presents Hut Bitachon. Vet Alles Zein Gut – (Have belief everything will be ok)

Ari's blog presents Are Out-Of-Town Communities Viable? Yitzchak Goodman presents The Clearance Sale on Silver Linings. Avrohom offered PILEGESH - Yevamos 37 - Daf Yomi and Dixie Yid presents Chochma vs. Bina - Practical Manifestations.

Dag presents Standards for Jewish schools and organizations. A Simple Jew presents Theft Or Tax Evasion? - Getting To Bottom Of A Chassidic Story. Malachi Rothschild presents When Relevance Trumps Tradition.

Every now and then we all wish we had superpowers. Maybe that is why Mom blogged about The truth about the Jewish superwoman. I think that this would make a great name for a band: Ten Minutes A Day For Tikkun Olam With "The Five Tibetans."

I don't know, maybe we should ask the guy who wrote Jewish Music Insider: Shwekey: Sibling Rivalry?

A lack of sleep might make you Babel Brained and Bobble Headed by: Schvach Yid. Someone once told me that California would be the setting for a modern version of Korach. Muse has her own thoughts Korach, a Kadima kind of Guy.

Jewish Atheist provides an explanation called Why We Leave Orthodoxy. Maybe he just wanted to Upgrade to Cohen. If nothing else we know that he escaped the Yeshiva life. The title of this next post just begs you to read it. I'm an Orthodox Jew, my brother-in-law is a Fundamentalist Christian - Shawarma brought us together

Mark Freedman, MD presents A CUT BELOW posted at Bunk.

Israel

Soccer Dad presents The Endless Car Chase. muse presents Yoni's Photos of the pilgrimage to the graves of Yehoshua Bin Nun & Calev Ben Yfune and HOMELESS in Jerusalem!

Yid With Lid
offered Barak, Peres and Olmert, the Trifecta of Israeli Disasters and Palestinians Finally Support a Two State Solution.

I thought that the X-Ray machine is supposed to help prevent terror attacks. Elder of Ziyon blogged about The Calm in Gaza. The good people went to visit Arafat's old homestead. Meryl covered that little ditty here.

Solomonia covered the chaos in Gaza too. Gail has a good cartoon about the situation.

Gilad Shalit is not forgotten as Olah Chadasha presents
One Year Since You Been Gone. Israel Matzav blogged about this too Gilad Shalit's kidnappers, murderers of Americans on 'Palestinian Authority' payroll.

Ben-Yehudah presents Peres wins Presidency and The S'deroth Conspiracy. Speaking of Peres here is Israel's new President - in his own words.

The title of this next post reminds me of the old movie Poltergeist. They're Still Here. Muse presents Nothing exciting can be good news! posted at Shiloh Musings.

Friar Yid presents
Hamastan Good for the Jews? Not likely. Daled Amos offered his thoughts here.

SnoopyTheGoon presents
Now for some carefully expressed glee and What a punch line!

Bookworm provided a link to a Must See Internet Slideshow and Has Israel got the Palestinians where it wants them?

Daniel Pipes wrote about The Soviets Six-Day War.

Assorted Topics and Miscellanea:

Here is an example of a real mensch. Me-Ander came face to face with.... a famous jblogger. This next post is heart wrenching. I still love you more than life itself...

Ocean Guy discussed War With Iran. Jameel offered a post about this too. Robert Avrech offered Home and Tolerance In Indonesia.

Some would say that What Was Lost Might Yet Be Found. Or perhaps Lost and Found is the way to go.

And now it is time for an
Announcement & Blog FAQS. What were you doing Ten Years Ago.
Have you ever met Flat Shloimie?

Ezzie blogged about cleveland winning the championship. It was a tremendous victory.

Jewlicious found a boy who doesn't have a career in singing, perhaps performance art. Perhaps you'd be interested in seeing Homer versus the Golem. Irina presents In Which I See a Painfully Familiar Face.

Where Would You Honeymoon
? After 30 years do they still remember their honeymoon. Go say Mazal Tov to Shira. Do the same for Psychotoddler. Is it just me or does he look like a baby in those pictures. Whoa. At least we know that in Mrs. B he didn't make a poor choice.


The Second To Last Day Of School used to make me crazy. I couldn't wait for vacation and the opportunity to go to a Summerfest. Or maybe I'd attend a blogger meet and greet. It is a Roomba not a Rhumba.

Call me crazy but I think that there just might be a problem with stealing home in the holyland. I also wonder Have You Made Friends Through Blogging?

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

P.S. This may be updated throughout the day so be sure to check back in and don't forget to help promote this on your own blogs.

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 ...