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Showing posts from December, 2007

Most Popular Posts of 2007

I just realized that I haven't provided the end of the year roundup of the most popular posts of 2007. In order to provide the most accurate and comprehensive report we had three of the seventeen long time readers review the logs and tabulate the totals, A couple of ground rules to cover with you. We mulled over whether to include blog carnivals among the totals, After careful consideration we said what the hell. I have hosted Haveil Havalim about 11 or 12 times now. These posts always are among the most heavily trafficked not only when they are originally posted but long afterwards as well. For the sake of example these all continue to drive traffic here. Haveil Havalim- The Plain Edition , Haveil Havalim #106- Terrible Twos Edition Haveil Havalim #54 Big and Beautiful Haveil Havalim #61- Call Me Roger Maris Haveil Havalim #72- Handed Down From the Mountaintop Haveil Havalim:Number 97 A Sunday Special And now here is a rundown of some of the most popular posts of 2007 base

Almost Another New Year's Eve

Sometimes the hardest post to write is the one in which I try the hardest to be the most profound. I am not sure why I bother, ego I suppose. It is nice to feel pride in my creation, to look at it and know that I have produced something beautiful. But that defeats the primary purpose of this blog which is to serve as a record of my thoughts and feelings regarding a particular time or event. I rather enjoy being able to search the archives to see what I wrote about on this day last year . I mulled over trying to do a similar roundup to the one I did last year but frankly I just didn't have the time to do it. Maybe I'll get around to it later, but I doubt it. It is well after midnight here and I am wide awake. I enjoy this time of night immensely. And now for a musical interlude courtesy of my iTunes shuffle. I'll let you dear reader identify the song: I hear the drizzle of the rain Like a memory it falls Soft and warm continuing Tapping on my roof and walls. And from

Jews- The Interdenominational Melee

Sometimes I wish that I could spend my day blogging because there is just too much to blog about. Unfortunately I haven't won the lottery yet so I have to limit the amount of time in which I sit here. Not to mention that I intend to watch my Lakers take on the hated Celtics so this post is going to be shorter and a bit rougher than I would like it to be. On a side note this is one of the things that I like about blogging. I like to do kind of a free flowing, thought association, compose at the keyboard kind of a thing. It may not be as elegant, eloquent or as pretty as I'd like, but it has its own advantages. More on that later. You can find some insight on my thoughts about this at Why I Blog . Three recent posts caught my eye: All JBloggers are not the same Interdenominational smackdown Exploding Myths All three of these posts touch upon differences in opinion, some of them quite severe. As I read through them and the comments I wondered how many people just reacted. D

Bhutto's Death- Shots Fired From a Grassy Knoll

Pakistan is a just a mess. There are 16 different versions of how Bhutto died, err assassinated. If I am not mistaken the media has issued the following reports: She was shot. The shooter then blew himself up. She died from the shrapnel from the suicide bomber. She banged her head on the sunroof of the car. As she passed through Dealey Plaza shots rang out from the grassy knoll. It feels a bit like an episode of South Park. Let's see what CNN has to say about this: (CNN) -- Conflicting reports about what caused the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto are fueling questions about the circumstances of her assassination. Bhutto's political party disputed official versions of the incident, accusing the government of lying. Video footage of Thursday's attack on Bhutto contains a murky shot of a hand firing a pistol three times, but the Pakistani government said Bhutto -- who was standing through her vehicle's sunroof -- was not hit. The latest explan

Why Is She Afraid of a Snow Man?

Tuesday night my daughter and I spent time reading books together. After a while she grew tired of the stories and asked if I would look at some pictures with her. I shook my head yes and she took my hand and led me to the mantel to review the holiday cards. She inspected each picture and added a little comment "that is cute," or "I like the doggie" etc. Eventually we came to a picture in which a little girl was trying to hide from Santa Claus. My daughter took one look at it and asked me "why is she afraid of the snowman?" I guess that Santa is still afraid to show his face around here.

Catch A Tiger By Its Toe Eeny Meeny Miny Doh!

Authorities still haven't determined if these guys were taunting the tiger. Regardless it is a tragic event. SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The last minutes of a 17-year-old boy's life were spent trying to save his friend from a brutal tiger mauling at the San Francisco Zoo, only to have the animal turn on him, police and family members said. Carlos Sousa Jr. and his friend's brother desperately tried to distract the 350-pound Siberian tiger, but the big cat instead came after Sousa. "He didn't run. He tried to help his friend, and it was him who ended up getting it the worst," the teen's father, Carlos Sousa Sr., said Thursday after meeting with police. The heroic portrait of Sousa and a timeline of the dramatic Christmas Day attack emerged as officials revealed that the tiger's escape from its enclosure may have been aided by walls that were well below the height recommended by the accrediting agency for the nation's zoos. San Francisco

New studies confirm chest compressions alone

"Two large-scale studies published in the Dec. 18 issue of the American Heart Association’s medical journal, Circulation , report that the chances of surviving cardiac arrest are no better – and may be worse – when bystanders perform mouth-to-mouth breathing than if they press on the chest without interruption. n part because of the hesitance of bystanders to initiate CPR, survival rates following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have remained dismal and virtually unchanged despite several changes of the CPR guidelines over the past four decades. In the two latest studies, research groups from Sweden and Japan compared survival rates of cardiac arrest victims after bystanders used either traditional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing or Chest-Compression-Only CPR. Both studies found no statistically significant difference in survival rates. The Swedish study, led by Katarina Bohm, RN, of the South General Hospital in Stockholm, analyzed outcomes of nearly 10,000 cases, while a team

Iranian Jews slam 'emigrant stunt'

Those wacky mullahs are behind this story . I don't believe for a moment that the Iranian Jews are serious. (CNN) -- -- The well-publicized landing of 40 Iranian Jews in Israel on Tuesday spurred glee among some Israelis and the immigrants themselves and drew public scorn from a surprising quarter in Iran -- two officials from its centuries-old Jewish community. One of them described the emigration as a "misinformation" campaign and defended their lives under the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The arrival in Israel was publicized as the largest single group to arrive in Israel from Iran since Iran's Islamic Revolution, and the immigrants traveled via an undisclosed third country. Other Iranian Jews have immigrated to Israel over the years. Blogger Karmel Melamed responded here . "You may wonder why the Jewish community leaders in Iran are so willing to praise the regime that is holding them hostage. The answer is simple... duress ! The

Are Soul Mates Real or Fabricated?

What is a Jew to do on Christmas? Well if you skip the movies and Chinese food you just might find yourself sitting around the house with other Jewish friends. And as you watch 16 boys and 7 girls of assorted sizes and ages run in circles you might find yourself contemplating the great mysteries of life such as: Will they ever get tired? Could they scream any louder? Boy I am glad that my son isn't behaving like that. Don't they teach him anything. I wonder if they have any ice cream. I really like peppermint. Or instead of being lost in your own world you might fall into the group conversation about whether there is such a thing as soulmates or besheret. I have tackled the topi c in a few different places and from different angles . Given the things that I have seen and experienced during the past number of years it is a topic that I wrestle with. Apparently more than one of my friends are as well. I can't say that I am completely surprised by this. Some of

Magic Johnson- All Class

Bill Plaschke has a nice column about Magic Johnson . I have run across him a couple of times and every time I did my experience was very similar to the one that Plaschke describes. Here is an excerpt from the piece. "Hovan, in town for a medical conference, was shopping on Rodeo Drive with family that included his 9-year-old daughter Emily and two nieces. Across the street, the girls saw a giant man in a white sweatsuit whom they immediately recognized. "It was Magic Johnson, and they started begging me to cross the street and take his picture," Hovan said. The first thing that struck the doctor was, how are these little girls so familiar with an athlete whom they never saw play? How did they even know Magic Johnson? Then he realized his nieces, who live in Southern California, know him from their father being a longtime Lakers fan. And his daughter knew him from watching him on the TNT studio basketball show, seeing his Magic Johnson Theatre and visiting one of hi

Will Smith angry over Hitler comment

Here is an update to the Will Smith post . I hope that this is accurate. " It is an awful and disgusting lie ," Smith said in a statement Monday provided by his publicist. "It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation." "Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet," read the statement.

Will Smith- Hitler Tried To Do The RIght Thing

I have been a fan of Will Smith for a long time. I think that he is a fine actor and he has always seemed to be a good guy. Until today I don't remember ever reading anything about him that made me shake my head in disgust. But the comments he made in a recent interview make me wonder what the hell is wrong with him. Take a look at this interview : Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good. "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today'," said Will. "I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good'. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming. I agree that most people are good. I don't believe in original sin or the idea that we are all naturally sinners. But I also believe that there are evil people in the world and Hitler ranks right up there. It is patently wrong to try and excuse Hitler's actions by saying he did what

CellPhone Contracts- Sunday Music

I was about to rant and rave about the stupid *^&%^*$%*^ cellphone contracts and decided to share some of the songs I listened to instead. So without further ado here they are: Weekend in New England - Barry Manilow Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley & Allison Krauss Kashmir - Led Zeppelin Walk On - U2 Where The Streets Have No Name - U2 Ain't Got You - Bruce Springsteen I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush Barracuda - Heart Beth - Kiss Feel Like Making Love - Bad Company One Less Set Of Footsteps - Jim Croce Home Sweet Home - Motley Crue I think I love you - The Partridge Family Thunderstruck - AC/DC Loaded - Primal Scream Vincent - Don McLean Long Walk To Freedom - Ladysmith Black Mambazo The Mans Too Strong - Dire Straits Our House - Madness

My Beard

When I think back on my childhood I can remember wondering how long it would take to grow a beard. I used to wonder if it was something that took a really long time or if I could do it overnight. Growing a beard was something that I thought was pretty cool. In part it was because I thought that anyone who grow a beard was an adult and could do adult things and in my mind that was something I wanted. Little did I know that one day I would become a modern version of a werewolf. If you asked me when it happened I don't think I could tell you. One day I was this clean shaven kid and the next day I was covered from head to toe in in thick black hair. We all know how cruel children can be. Fortunately I have very sharp teeth to go along with the fur so the comments were kept to a minimum. For some reason people find howling and barking at the moon to be disconcerting. Maybe they are just jealous of my coat. With a beard like this you don't really need a jacket. That is a plus. Then a

Jewish GIs in Iraq

CNN has an interesting story about Jewish soldiers in Iraq. Jews in Green also often has some interesting stories. BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In the waning sunlight hour of a chilly winter afternoon, a chorus of Hebrew prayer rises from a small, fluorescent lit room on the outskirts of Baghdad. Friday sunset marks Sabbath, or Shabbat, for observant Jews at U.S. Army Camp Striker, Iraq. Leading the Shabbat service is Chaplain Andrew Shulman, one of just three ordained American rabbis serving hundreds of Jewish-American troops stationed throughout Iraq. "Being deployed away from home brings people to the chapel," says Shulman. "You don't have a lot else going on a Friday night here. Back at home, you are competing with the movies and the long weekends and everything. Here, people are really looking forward to breaking up the monotony of the week." U.S. Army officials estimate that fewer than 1 percent of the some 16,000 service members in Shulman's 3rd Infa


It is another Saturday night and I am back at the keyboard clickety- clacking away destination unknown. G came home today. Technically the old man doesn't live here anymore, but if you ask him he'll tell you that LA is still home. I am looking forward to hanging out with the big guy and he is big. Just short of 6'4 with arms like a gorilla, and hairy like one too. Hee hee, I am laughing just thinking about it. He knows about the blog but hasn't ever seen it. It is a good thing because with those simian like arms he could smack me from 6 feet away, and he would. There aren't too many people who aren't called mom or dad that have known me longer than he has. When my son heard that G was going to be coming over he asked me if we were going to act like little boys again. I guess he remembers watching the two of us wrestle on the floor last year. G turns 39 next week but I can assure you that the wrestling will continue for as long as we are physically capable

Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part II

Hello and welcome to to Are You Smarter Than a Rabbi Part II. For those who are late to the party may I recommend that you read the first part by clicking here . Before we get started I'd like to refer back to a comment from the first post. Kol Ra'ash Gadol provided an answer to my son's question. If he wasn't so young you'd probably find his response to be kind of rude. Here is what KRG said: Tell him that I told you that girls aren't jealous not to have a penis, because all out parts are neatly tucked away where they can't get hurt. And I'm a rabbi, so I can be smart about some things like that. bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah! [rofluIwm] My son's reply to this was to ask if she knew a lot about a penis because she had a father or brother. I didn't ask him to clarify, but it was clear that his disdain for girls overrode his respect for rabbis. If you want to see something funny watch his face when you tell him that one day he'll think that gir

A Short Roundup

If you haven't been around here is a quick list of some of the posts you missed. Kosher Cheeseburgers Meet Breakfast Sausages It Made Me Spit Blood A Different Sort of Children's Book This Is How I Roll Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I My New Toilet Great Moments In Parenting- Parts of our Body That Grow I Have Never Driven In The Snow Uninvited Guests- What Would You Do? And your blast from the past: Building The Blog The Long And Winding Road

It Made Me Spit Blood

The first time he hit me in the mouth was a shock. It was a sucker punch. I didn't see it coming. In school they would have said that it rang my bell and it did. For a moment I wasn't quite sure where I was or what had happened. I suspect that he hit me another time or two, but I am not really sure. Maybe that is why I fell. I'd like to say that I took his best shot and laughed it off, but that wouldn't be entirely true. As I felt my legs go out from under me I reached out, fumbled for something to hold onto. With my right hand I managed to grab onto an arm, or maybe it was a shoulder. I am still not real sure. But what I do know is that I pulled him down with me. It wasn't intentional. Just a case of dumb luck but sometimes dumb luck is all that you need because I landed on top of him. And then it was on. Two guys clutching, scrambling, grabbing and cursing at each other. I didn't know who he was or why he had hit me. I just knew that I was angry and that

A Different Sort of Children's Books

Slip Sliding Into The Office

One of the many reasons that I love living in Los Angeles is because of the weather. It suits me. Most of the time I can wander around in a t-shirt and shorts quite comfortably. But every now and then the weather gods decide to punish me. Today was one of those days. It is raining here in the City of Angels. Thanks to the extra precipitation my morning commute was extended a bit longer than normal and my entrance into my office building more closely resembled rhythmic gymnastics than my ever so exciting sashay. That is a sad attempt at trying to cover up that I slipped on a wet floor and slid into the lobby. I didn’t fall down as hard as I could have. No one will make any money off of a videotape of me sliding into home. For that matter it was relatively early and I am not sure that anyone noticed. Or if they did the selfish bastards didn’t bother to ask if I was ok. So I picked myself up and shook off the dust and wandered over to the elevator and waited for it to arrive. As I s

This Is How I Roll

Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I

The almost seven-year-old hit me with a new series of questions today. I love it. I love his interest in the world around him and how it forces me to constantly think about what I believe and why and how to best explain things to him. Sometimes the answers to these questions spur new questions or simple spin-offs about the original ones. And let's not forget how simple comments can lead to all sorts of new stuff. You'll recall that in an earlier post I recounted his curiosity about body parts and whether they ever stop growing . I did my best to answer his questions without providing too much information. He doesn't always need to know how to build a watch, sometimes it is enough to just tell him the time. Anyhoo, today we revisited a topic that I think is important. How to pee in a public restroom. As alluded to in previous posts there is an art to this and since most preschool teachers are female it is not being passed along as well as it should be. This really sho

Liveblogging The Survivor Finale

I used to be a big fan of the show but over the last few years I have grown tired of it, especially the finale. Why? Because every finale consists of people crying because someone lied to them. It is a show that is designed to force you to massage the truth. After umpteen seasons it is virtually impossible to come up with a strategy that hasn't been seen. People are going to lie. They are going to promise you the world because they think that it will help them win a million dollars. Stop crying about the lies. Grow up and deal with it.

Saturday Night Music

I have received a lot of feedback asking for more lists of the music I have been listening to. I'll let you decide what I listen to while I work/exercise and what I listen to when I am trying to wind down. Here is a recent snapshot of some of what I have been listening to on iTunes. The Hustle - Van Mccoy Funkytown - Lipps Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac Tusk - Fleetwood Mac And I Love Her - The Beatles Norwegian Wood - The Beatles Visions of Paradise - Mick Jagger What hurts the most - Rascal Flatts I Melt - Rascal Flatts Ring of Fire on the Johnny Cash Show - Ray Charles Seven Spanish Angels - Ray Charles and Willie Nelson Danny Boy -The Irish Tenors You'll Never Walk Alone - The Irish Tenors Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Babe - Barry White BOLERO -RAVEL Mr. Brightside - The Killers What I have Done - Linkin Park Numb/Encore FULL - Jay Z and Linkin Park Without Me - Eminem Breathe - Prodigy Lips Like Sugar - Echo & The Bunnymen Adam's Song - blink-182 Don&#

You Can Live Your Dreams

Life doesn't have to be a series of slaps in the face. Reality today doesn't have to be the cold reality of tomorrow. You can live your dreams. You can make it happen. Hold on tight and don't lose focus. Sometimes you are climbing the mountain but it always leads into the valley below.

Great Moments In Parenting- Parts of our Body That Grow

The almost seven year-old boy and I have an ongoing ritual of talking about life and the things that happen. Many of the best conversations come just before his bedtime. In part that is because he is trying to stall and in part because he is already lying quietly in bed and in a thoughtful mood. Here is a transcript from a recent conversation. Son : I heard something at school. Dad : What did you hear? Son : Justin said that some parts of our bodies never stop growing. Dad : What did Justin say? Son : He said that our hair, our nails and our skin never stop growing. Dad : Ok. Son : Is that true? Dad : You and I should spend a little time researching this. Do you know what that means? Son : Yes. We'll go to the 'puter and look at the encyclopedia. Dad : We don't have to use the computer. We can always go to the library and use the research books to find this information. (Have to make sure that he knows how to do things the old fashioned way.) Son : D