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Showing posts from June, 2007

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

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 communicat

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 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 cent

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&#

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 bu

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 the

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:

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 post

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 b

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

What Qualities Should a Rabbi Have?

In a post that is already buried on the page I made the following remarks: I n 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 be

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.

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 archaeo

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)

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 c

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 abou

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. T

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 her

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

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

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

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 di

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.

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

For My Next Birthday Party

This looks like a hell of a lot of fun. The firetruck is pretty cool too.