Gaza Update 5

Happy New Year. Goodbye 2008, hello 2009.

This marks fifth installment of round ups about the conflict in Gaza.

Here are links to the previous editions:

Gaza Round Up Part One

Gaza Round Up Part Two

Gaza Round Up Part Three

Gaza Round Up 3.5

Gaza Round Up Part 4

Gaza Update 4.5
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CNN is late in the game with Israel uses YouTube, Twitter to share its point of view. Maybe they should be reading this blog.

Haaretz has two stories that are worth looking at, Israelis who blame Israel are not helping the Palestinians and IDF recommends major, but brief Gaza ground offensive.

From The Razor Walking In Israel’s Shoes. Rhymes with Right Israel NOT Targeting Civilians.

Baron Boddisey offers Israel’s Struggle. Jewish World Review has a column called Israel's Response Is Disproportionate.

Pajamas Media The Gaza War: Is It Really So Hard to Understand? and Israel’s Morality Versus Hamas’s Morality: Who Are The “Peace Activists” Anyway?

Powerline shared Hoping for Change in Our Middle East Policy and they include a post about a DOS attack on their site at Hamas H.Q. Bombed; Power Line, too.

Harry's Place reports UK telecom firm cuts ties with Israeli company and Iranian newspaper publishes criticism of Hamas; gets shut down.

The Volokh Conspiracy discusses how Hamas is using human shields.

Israel Politik shares Aid to Gaza Continues: 31 December.

Ki Yachol Nuchal! provided a Short Mantra for Parents of Soldiers, and Others Who Love Them.

Day Five of the War in Beer Sheva at Shiloh Musings.

What War Zone has New Year's greetings, Happy New Year from Hamas!

Yid With Lid asks Do Hamas Mothers Love Their Children? and The Truth About The BOGUS Gaza "Medical Crisis"

Honest Reporting has a primer on the war here.
Gateway Pundit ran Pro-Hamas Nutjobs Glue Themselves to BBC-- Sing Moonbat Songs (Video).

That is it for now. More to come as needed.

Gaza Update 4.5

I finally jumped onboard and am part of Twitter. I am not sure yet how often I am going to use it, but who knows, maybe it will become a regular feature. You can find me at http://twitter.com/TheJackB.

This marks round up 4.5

Here are links to the previous editions:

Gaza Round Up Part One

Gaza Round Up Part Two

Gaza Round Up Part Three

Gaza Round Up 3.5

Gaza Round Up Part 4

Before we get to the round up here is an old joke:

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Dan Rather, Katie Couric, and an Israeli sergeant were all captured by terrorists in Iraq. The leader of the terrorists told them he would grant them each one last request before they were beheaded.

Dan Rather said, 'I'm a Texan, so I'd like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili.' The leader nodded to an underling who returned with chili. Rather ate it all and said, 'Now I can die content.'

Katie Couric said, 'I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take my tape recorder, then describe the scene here and what's about to happen. Maybe someone will hear it and know I was on the job till the end.'

The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Couric dictated some comments, then said, 'Now I can die happy.'

The leader turned and said, 'And now, Mr. Israeli tough guy, what is your final wish?'

'Kick me in the ass,' said the soldier.'

'What?' asked the leader? 'Will you mock us in your last hour?'

'No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass,' insisted the Israeli.

So the leader shoved him into the clearing and kicked him in the ass. The soldier was sent sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9 mm pistol from under his flack jacket, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he jumped to his knapsack, pulled out his carbine and sprayed the rest of the terrorists with gunfire. In a flash, all terrorists were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the soldier was untying Rather and Couric, they asked him, 'Why didn't you just shoot them in the beginning? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass first?'

'What?' replied the Israeli, 'And have you two assholes report that I was the aggressor?!'
*************************************

In the news we have the following stories:

David Grossman is in the New York Times with Fight Fire With a Cease-Fire. Dershowitz is in the Christian Science Monitor with Israel, Hamas, and moral idiocy.

YNET reports that the rocket that hit BeerSheva was made in China and Hamas PM: Crazy war must end unconditionally.

Jameel and Aussie Dave are still live blogging the war.

Seraphic Secret has a great post up in which he exposes YouTube's questionable behavior and reveals that the terrorists are hiding in hospitals. Go read And the Oscar Goes To...

Meryl has The result of the “lull” and discusses Hamas war crimes.

The Rebbitzin's Husband explains Why didn't Disengagement from Gaza work?

On The Fringe Writes what will it take to stop the terrorist attacks?

Yid With Lid featured the Return of the Bad Old Middle East and explains why Israel did not agree to a ceasefire.

From Joshuapundit Gaza:A Tale Of Selective Morality and Tribal Warfare.

At My Right Word Yisrael discusses a guest columnist in the WAPO
Amateur? Israel - Or Daoud Kuttab and The Washington Post? and responds to David Morrison's anti-Israel article in the Irish Times.

Martin Kramer has Hamas and the Bushes.

At Writes Like She Talks you should read Gaza-Israel rocket range map in English & Hebrew. She also has her own round up to read.

PT Watch continues to keep count.

In The Atlantic you can read The problem with Israel-Palestine blogging. Israel Matzav responds to that here.

Mere Rhetoric shares:
Breaking: Arab Youths Spray Gunfire At Israeli Mall Workers In Denmark,
Oh-So-Brave Hamas Soldiers Fleeing Into Mosques And Hospitals
and Iranian Students Storm Multiple Embassies In Totally Uncoordinated, Completely Spontaneous Anti-Israel Protests.

Right Wing News has Gaza should thank Israel.

Jules Crittenden covered French Humanitarianism.

Check out Gaza: The Hedgehog, The Fox...And The Jackal.

American Power blogged World's False Moral Equivalence Emboldens Terrorists. Rav Aviner has provided Hilchot Tzava - Halachot of the Army.

Confederate Yankee suggests that we Empty Gaza.

Not Quite a Recap- Let's Talk about Body Parts

In an attempt to escape being seen as the All Gaza, All The Time blog I am going to regal you with tales on my adventures on the high seas. You ever notice that the term is always "high seas" and never lower. Maybe the Shmata Queen is correct about short people and things getting no respect.

Before the hostilities began I had intended to work on a general recap of the blog and my life in 2008. But as the saying goes, "People plan and G-d laughs." So here I am with a watered down version that is going to cover a bunch of different things.

Let's begin by relating a recent conversation with my son. Earlier this week the big guy followed me into the bathroom and decided that it would be cool if we both urinated at the same time. Yes ladies, sometimes even the boys hit the bathroom in pairs.

As we stood there I made sure to remind him to pay attention and suggested that we follow the Ghostbuster's rule and not cross streams. In the midst of this the big guy looks at me and says:

Son: So that is what my penis is going to look like when I am a grown up.
Dad: I suppose. You'll definitely be bigger than you are now.

Son: How big will I be?
Dad: I don't know.

Son: How big are you?
Dad: I don't know.

Son: Can't you tell me?
Dad: Tell you what?

Son: How big your penis is. How many inches is it?
Dad: I have never measured it.

(It is a perfectly innocent conversation, but the juvenile side of me is fighting to whip out some crazy remarks. Something along the lines of it is 3 feet long and when I don't use it I keep it rolled up like a danish or use it as a belt. But I don't say that and he is smarter enough to know better.)

Son: Why not? Why haven't you measured it?
Dad: I never cared. Didn't have a reason to. It works just fine.

Son: Do they ever get to be too big?
Dad: Too big for what? (uh oh, where is this conversation going?)

Son: When you make a baby you have to stick it in a girl's vagina. Do they get too big or too small.
Dad: Nope. Everything works.

(Since he is only 8 I decided to try and make it simple, but at this point I just know that simple isn't going to completely satisfy him.

Son: How big are vaginas?
Dad: Big enough to take care of things.

(At this point I am tempted to tell him that it is similar to spelunking. The doctor puts on gloves, a miner's helmet and ties a rope around his waist before he dives in to grab the baby. But since I know that he is probably going to tell his mother and others I restrain myself.)

Son: I see your smile. Tell me for real.
Dad: Everything fits the way that G-d intended it to. Do you have any plans to try this any time soon.

Son: Gross. I don't even want to get married.
Dad: No problem. Enjoy being eight.

That last exchange marked another moment in which I had to restrain myself from making some obnoxious remark about things. I'll leave that particular one to your imagination.

I'll readily admit that I was happy to end the conversation. It is not that I mind talking to him or answering questions, but sometimes they go off on these wacky tangents and I never know when they might come back. But I was happy to note that he remembered enough from the how to make a baby conversation to ask relatively appropriate questions.

So back to our recap. In some ways 2008 has been an exceptionally difficult year. There is an awful lot that has happened that has been both challenging and unpleasant. But there have been some really good things too. What it really shows me is that my life really isn't that different than so many other people.

This past year I pounded out just under a thousand posts. Here is a quick and incomplete look back at some of what appeared here:

I am In Love
What Benefits Do You Receive From Being President
Holding a Grudge
Is It Blogworthy
Some of My Favorite Posts
Thanksgiving in Mumbai
Music and Fragments of Fiction
I Am A Lonely Man
Must Blogging Have a Purpose
Dear Tooth Fairy
The Disappearing Accent
I Talk In My Sleep
Food For Thought
He Put a Gun To My Head
Do You Live Your Dreams
What Is Your Number One Tip For Building Traffic to The Blog
Anonymous Blogging
She Broke My Penis
What Makes You Happy
We Still Carry The Pain of Our Past Part II

Daddy You Died
The Best Break Up Songs
What Should Children Learn in School?
My Fourth Blogiversary- What Do I have To Say
Whether The Storm or Weather The Storm

How Long Do You Wait While on Hold
Cover Songs- Part 1
For A Good Time Call...
Death Comes For Us All- When Do you Start Saying Goodbye

Dancing WIth My Daughter
Second Annual Link To Jack Day
A Life Without Regrets
Coping With Sick Parents
My Dad Has A Problem
Penis Talk Revisited
Streets of Philadelphia

The Worst Album Covers- Ethel Merman Disco Mix
Paying For Private School- Part II
Playing With Your Webcam
Cheeseburger Leads to 911 Call

Gaza Update 4

I finally jumped onboard and am part of Twitter. I am not sure yet how often I am going to use it, but who knows, maybe it will become a regular feature. You can find me at http://twitter.com/TheJackB.

This marks the fourth round up. Here are links to the previous editions:

Gaza Round Up Part One
Gaza Round Up Part Two
Gaza Round Up Part Three
Gaza Round Up 3.5

(I know, Ben-Yehuda this is technically number 5.)

CNN reports that Israel has rejected a truce. Of course reports like this make it seem as if Israel is the bad guy and do a poor job of reflecting the real reasons for the hostility. It is shameful the manner in which some people try to minimize the threat of the rockets as if people shouldn't care.

The BBC reports Israelis ponder ceasefire calls. Also from The UK We must adjust our distorted image of Hamas.

Don Surber reflects upon that last story here.

As is tradition allow me to remind you that liveblogging continues at IsraellyCool and The Muqata.

Jewish Current Issues says that A Proportionate Response Would Be to Eliminate Hamas.
Michael Totten writes What Would a Proportionate Response Look Like?.

Bookworm has a post called Hamas’ “Heroes” — and the need for total victory over evil.

Commentary discusses Sderot with Sderot Under Siege.

The Elder reports that Women and children deaths pretty low and includes If the IDF made Hamas-style videos....

Atlas Shrugs gives us ROUND-UP: UGLY PRO-HAMAS, ANTI-JEWISH RALLIES ACROSS AMERICA.

From Boker Tov Boulder Anti-Israel Pandemonium in Gaza City Fort Lauderdale FL USA

and

CNN "explains" the "evolution" of Hamas without ever using the word MURDER -- Plus, What "Truce"?

Lady Light shares her thoughts here.

A new update will be published shortly.

Gaza Round Up 3.5


This is part 3.5 in a continuing series of round ups about the current situation in Gaza. It is a collection of posts and articles from around the world and blogosphere. If you have posts that you think should be included email them to talktojack-now-at-sbcglobal-dot-net or let me know in the comments.

Gaza Round Up Part One

Gaza Round Up Part Two

Gaza Round Up Part Three

First from the MSM:

At Ha'aretz Cabinet debating 48-hour Gaza truce as international pressure grows and Amos Oz: Hamas responsible for outbreak of Gaza violence.

The New York Times Amid a Buildup of Its Forces, Israel Ponders a Cease-Fire. Benny Morris on Why Israel Feels Threatened. And Egypt Offers Humanitarian Aid but Is Criticized for Refusing to Open Gaza Border.

YNET reports that rockets have reached Beer Sheva. JPost has Battlefront Twitter and an essay from Daniel Pipes called Insight into Bush's 'promising' Middle East.

Der Spiegel has 'Hamas Stupidity No Excuse for Israeli Overreaction' and Egypt in Quandary as Gaza Raids Divide the Muslim World.

Jameel and Aussie Dave are still live blogging the war.

I suggest you read A Fatah Friend Writes: I'm Supporting the Israeli Air Force and Iran creates “war crimes” court for world to ignore.

At Mere Rhetoric you should review One-Third Of Hamas Launchers Too Deep In Residential Areas To Hit By Jet (Plus: Temporary Truce Rumors Debunked?)

Seraphic Secret has a post called Honest if Unlettered Arab Rhetoric.

Yid with Lid continues to cover the conflict Dershowitz on the Idiocy of Moral Equivalence, Cynthia McKinney Father Expect That She Will Try To Enter Gaza Again and Gaza War Videos You Won't See on Mainstream Media.

Soccer Dad has a good post called Reporter, heal thyself and another that explores whether Israel's actions are strengthening Hamas.

What War Zone has the Daily Gaza Update: Whatever

Boing Boing discussed technology and the war with Gaza Attacks: Two Related Reactions, in Second Life and Twitter. For a response to that post look here.

APRPEH offered Israel attacks Hamas: Euphoria Matured - Reality Settling In and Gaza War Message Confusion (what is the goal?)

Daniel Pipes has a dozen thoughts about Israel's War on Hamas.

Daled Amos took Notes On Today's Conference Call On Gaza. Mere Rhetoric took part too, America's Voices Conference Call - Operation Cast Lead.

Completing the Mere Rhetoric trifecta is this post about public relations: Israel Launches High-Tech Public Diplomacy Outreach To Explain Operation Cast Lead.

At Hot Air you'll find Assad calls for end to “massacre” in Gaza at meeting with … Arlen Specter.

Here is another note from Netivot.

Gaza Round Up Part Three

***Second Update 9:30 A.M. P.S.T.***
This is part three in a continuing series of round ups about the current situation in Gaza. It is a collection of posts and articles from around the world and blogosphere. If you have posts that you think should be included email them to talktojack-now-at-sbcglobal-dot-net or let me know in the comments.

Gaza Round Up Part One

Gaza Round Up Part Two

And now onto part three:

The IDF has some very interesting videos on YouTube. Check out IDFADESK.

Jameel and Aussie Dave are still live blogging the war. They both provide news and information that you might not see anywhere else.

The Sandmonkey is at it again with news about the Egyptian Embassy in Yemen and an Egyptian Officer that was shot by Hamas.

The WSJ has Israel's Gaza Defense. ADD Rabbi provides a valuable service with BBC Translators.

The Rebbitzin's Husband has the story Behind the United Nations' War on Israel.
At LGF you can read Washington Post: 'Amateur' Rockets 'Nagging' Israel.

Daled Amos says: Four Days After Hamas In Gaza: Now What? Here is a link on Twitter that discusses Qassams in Sderot.

Carl has a video that shows how people live in Sderot.

Soccer Dad blogged about The Media Assault on Israel and on a post that is also crossposted on Yourish he asks the question Did a Hamas lie find its way into a Washington Post headline?

Baka Diary asks Where's The Outrage in a post that puts names and faces to those killed in rocket attacks.

Yid With Lid has The GAZA Story That The Media DOESN'T Cover and a story about a Hamas terrorist who was killed.

Jules Crittenden asks So, What Next? Hyscience is Reassessing Sharon's 2005 Gaza Pullout and they also shared Palestinian girl: 'Hamas is the cause in the first place of all wars'.

The Right Truth blogged Another day and Israel is standing her ground. Incidentally I meant to blog about Caroline Glick's column in which she mentions that Hamas has legalized crucifixion. Talk about medieval justice.

Glenn Greenwald is not taking advantage of a free vacation to Sderot. Meryl has had her hands full with some of the usual knuckleheads. It is worth taking a look at Hatemail of the day.

American Power blogged about how the World Rallies to Palestinian Cause

Commentary offers Sderot Under Siege. Israel Politik says Missiles Land in Ashkelon and
Citizens’ “Press” Conference on Twitter.

It is worth reading The Gaza War in The Atlantic. From Mother in Israel we have War in Gaza: Report from the Home Front.

Tzipiyah offers In Israel, Hospitality Replaces The Need For Refugee Camps. My Right Word reports that the Israeli Navy stopped a boat from reaching Gaza and links to a clip about The Dignity.

If you want to get a sense of what it is like to fall out of frying pan and into the fire click here. You can also read about the war situation in Netzer Hazani in Ein Tzurim here.

Lest we take ourselves too seriously Benji is Liveblogging reading blogs.

Want to help? Check out Raizy's post here and Treppenwitz here.

Solomonia is getting the news out Boston: Support Israel Rally TOMORROW (Tuesday) at 5PM
Gateway Pundit is spreading the word, Support Israel Rally Tuesday Night In New York City. Back of the Hill is doing the same about a Counter Protest in Support of Israel in the Bay Area.

My Own Theme Song

A couple of years ago I put up a post about my own theme song. As I mentioned in the previous post it is time to revisit it. Since I am feeling a bit lazy I'll post it again below:

Someone once suggested that life would be far more fun if we could walk around with a theme song. I kind of like the idea. If I could do it than I would want to have a rotation of songs to use.For example, here are the top five I would want right now:

O Fortuna- Orff
Hurt- Johnny Cash version
Raiders Of The Lost Ark: The Raiders' March- John Williams
Jaws Theme- John Williams
The Empire Strikes Back: The Imperial March- John Williams
I still like most if not all of those songs, but just for kicks let's add a few more to the list:

A New Game- NFL
Requiem for a Tower Movement 4- Cornerstone Cues
Get Down Tonight-KC and The Sunshine Band (Got to give S.Q. something)
Chariots of Fire- Vangelis
You're All I need To Get By-Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

What music would you pick?

Odds and Ends

After spending most of the past two days focused upon politics I need to spend a bit of time decompressing. So this post is going to be nothing more than odds and ends about this and that.

The 17 long time readers know that I find the holiday season to be tedious. But I have to admit that this time of year I do appreciate the fine food that I seem to stumble and trip over everywhere I go. The only problem is that my metabolism seems to have gone on vacation. The pants are a hair too tight and my shirts, well they could fit better too.

So from a man who hates making resolutions here is one that I will live up to. I am going to move into the gym. Actually I made a decision a while back to get more serious about lifting again and I followed through on that. I have a standing date with my weightset and have been good about living up to my obligations there.

In addition I have been good about using my perfect pushups and have been reaping the rewards. However, I have noticed that age is impacting my workout in ways that it never used to. I seem to have lost a bit of my elasticity in my shoulders and joints. I notice creaking and aches that never used to show up come by and visit me far too often.

We picked up a Wii as a Chanukah gift for the children. I picked up Guitar Hero for me. It has been surprisingly fun and a good distraction at time. I am not very good at it yet, but I am making progress on the easy level.

A while back I blogged about having my own theme song. I still like the idea. I think that I might revisit the topic. See you in the next post.

Gaza Round Up Part Two

************Updated 5:36 P.M. P.S.T.********************
The first round up I produced about the current situation in Gaza can be located here. Part two can be found beneath this. As always I will do my best to try and update this as possible throughout the day. If you have posts that you think should be included email them to talktojack-now-at-sbcglobal-dot-net or let me know in the comments.

FYI- I gather these links from a variety of places. In some cases I am tipped off via email and sometimes through the blogs I am visiting. I do my best to try and provide credit where it is due. My apologies for any credit that I miss giving out.

We'll start out with some links to stories in the MSM:

CNN reports that Israel is in an all out war with Hamas. There are a number of blogs linking to this story moaning over support for Israel's actions. As always I'd like to see what they would say if their next door neighbors spent all day throwing bricks at their homes.

The Washington Post reports that Israel is pounding targets in Gaza. Nice to see that some people keep repeating the "we may not like it, but Hamas is the legally elected government so we have to deal with them line." They are being dealt with in the appropriate manner. You don't hold hands with people who are trying to kill you.

The Grey Lady wrote about Arab Anger. Great, show your anger with Hamas and then let's see what happens.

Surprise, surprise, the protests have started.

Spiegel Online reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel blames Hamas for the current violence.

In the blogosphere we have a collection of posts that are worth reading. Take a look at:

Palestinians Need Israel To Win.

The Gaza war on Twitter and Hamas shot Egyptian guard, Egypt blams Hamas for israeli attack

From Ricki's Mom we have Israeli News.

The Rebbetzin's Husband asks What is a Refugee Camp? At the Augean Stables The Double Disgrace of Hamas: Victimizing their own People.

At Writes Like She Talks there is another short roundup of posts about this topic. Solomonia has a number of good links as well.

Double Tapper shows a better way to use Rockets. From What Warzone we have By Far, the Most Signficant Development in the Gaza Conflict That No One is Talking About.

Treppenwitz calls it Revenge of The Nerds. A Soldier's Mother who writes What I Want...and What I'll Do.

Daled Amos provided Israel At War: A Primer, International Law and The Fighting in Gaza and Did Someone Mention Hizbollah?

Daled Amos also found Israel's War On Hamas Now Includes YouTube. In case you are wondering, it is a war.

Joshuapundit blogged that IDF Troops Have entered Gaza. At Shiloh Musings there is A Prayer for Our Soldiers and Campaign War.

Dave shared Gaza: The real reasons Israel - finally - retaliated (Update 4)

Arpeh has Gaza War In The Eyes of The BBC and Me.

Jameel is still liveblogging here. Aussie Dave is doing the same here.

Westbankmama is offering Some Perspective. The Other MCCAIN blogged Appeal Against The Thunderstorm.

Avodah Ivrit shared Insanity.

Carl has Sky News: Will Israel undertake a ground operation? and Israel's sorry history in Gaza.

Atlas Shrugs shared Hear O Israel and JEWISH GENOCIDE WATCH: IRANIAN PROXY HEZBALLAH PROMISES ATTACK ON THE JEWS.

Over at Hot Air we have Video: Israel attacking Hamas’ infrastructure of power. Michael Oren writes in The New Republic about a Crisis and an Opportunity and Yossi Klein Halevi has Why Gaza Matters.

BTW, Memeorandum has some other worthwhile links. Soccer Dad has Hamas And Its Boosters.

Gateway Pundit provided Surprise!... George Galloway Joins Violent Pro-Hamas Rally at Israeli Embassy in London (Video) and Pro-Israel Protesters Mobbed By Hamas Supporters in Toronto.

GP also linked to a post by Winston about the protest. Yid With Lid says that Israel Must Regain its Deterrence and discussed Disproportionate Response.

The Sand Monkey said My Head Hurts and Ghaza Again.

Dov Bear shared a post here and joining the war here. Tikkun Olam has Last Night of Chanukah,or: Oferet Yetzukah.

Seraphic Secret reveals Why We Fight.

He is Eight-Years-Old

In a few moments or so the day will officially become December 29 and I will be the father of an eight-year-old boy. Some of you will read this and smile as you recollect when your child was this age and some of you will have no frame of reference at all. But let me tell you that I am continually surprised to realize that not only am I a father, but I have a child who is not a baby any more.

Actually he hasn't been a baby for a very long time now, but not unlike many other parents I wonder where the time went. I look at him and I see hints of the baby he used to be but more than anything else I see small hints of the teenager to come. And I suspect that I might even see a few inklings of the man that he will one day be.

I told him earlier today to take his time growing up, there is no rush. It is something that my parents often told me and a lesson that I am trying to pass along. I suppose that I am trying to absorb it myself as well. Or maybe it is just my personal struggle with aging that I am confronting.

When I think back to the time before he was born I realize that I look at it as having been a different life. I remember what life was like, but in some ways I don't really remember anymore. What I know is that every decision that I have made for the past eight years has been tied into him, whether I was conscious of it or not.

Since he has been on Winter Break I have made an extra effort to take advantage of the time. I have tried to make sure to do more fun things with him and to let him help me with more chores around the house. It is not that I didn't let him before, but his school work takes priority and sometimes it was necessary to do the work without him.

He has helped to repair a drawer and a gate. He has talked to me about all sorts of school stuff, including his education about Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Jackie Robinson. He has spent time teaching me how to do second grade math and then asked me how it was that I already knew how to do it.

I got a kick out of the look on his face when I told him that I have already been through school. "You mean that even though you didn't have computers you learned this stuff."

We have spent time playing on the kids new Wii, Lego Star Wars is a particular favorite. I am amazed sometimes that a movie I loved as a kid has turned into a bonding exercise.

In between we chased each other around the house, threw a football around and terrorized the girls because according to him that is what we are supposed to do. Who am I to argue with such logic.

Just before he went to sleep we spent more time telling each other secrets and I did my best to answer some of his questions. A short while ago his mother and I let him know that there is a chance that he may go to a new school next year. Thus far he has spent his entire school career in private school and is nervous about public school.

I told him not to worry about it and that everything would work out, but I have to admit that I am nervous about it too. I don't want to have to take him out of his school, I love it. But we'll have to see what happens.

Anyway, that is enough about the big guy now. Maybe I'll write more about it all later.

Gaza Round Up Part One

**Updated**
Here is a quick roundup of posts about the current activities in Gaza. I am jammed for time but I'll do my best to try and update this as things progress. My apologies for the lack of organization.

At the Augean Stables you can read Astonishing Statistic: How does this operation rank in the history?

Jules Crittenden shared Gotcha. Nasrallah is threatening to open a second front. For more on this check out Israel Matzav.

EOZ has a post about how the terrorists use their own people to try and gain the upper hand in Hamas leveraging Gazan lives for political gain. Confederate Yankee Writes about it as well in Because Monsters Are Always Monsters.

From Seraphic Secret: IDF Targets Hamas Military Targets and Egypt: "Hamas is to Blame."
Esser Agaroth provided What Took 'Em So Long?

The Rebbitzin's Husband Kassams, Air Strikes, Gaza Invasion, UN Resolutions, Withdrawal, Kassams... and then what?

Solomonia Israel: Abandoning failed policies? and Nature Takes Its Course in Gaza (Updates).

Bookworm wrote about The Pieta. And Mere Rhetoric shared Palestinian Authority, Arab Countries: Of Course This Is Hamas's Fault.

Yourish delivered Hamas is fighting the last war, redux and War snark. At Shiloh Musings they discussed the Seventh Day of Chanukah.

Jameel is live blogging. Hot Air says Hamas gets its war. What War Zone offered the obvious title, Here We Go Again.

Yid With Lid covered GAZA ATTACK!!!! Is Israel's Policy of Restraint FINALLY Over ? and Obama's Silence on Gaza Speaks Volumes. Not to mention US Terrorist Group CAIR Rips Israeli Action in Gaza.

Judeopundit on Soccer Dad's blog has Guardian: "Analysis: The latest attacks in Gaza rank with Deir Yassin and the Sabra and Shatila massacres" it is also crossposted here.

From Daled Amos IDF Strikes Back At Hamas in Gaza Israellycool is live-blogging the Israeli retaliation against Hamas as well.

Westbankmama shared Tzav 8 - Reserve Soldiers Are Being Called Up. Tzipiyah posted We Will Not Put Our Heads Down In Shame!

A Soldier's Mother has a post called Dawn. Baka Diary heard the Jets all day long.

Tel-Chai Nation is talking about the activities as well. Treppenwitz asks 300 Dead What.

My Right Word shared the following: Marty Peretz goes gung-ho, Today's Quiz and Just Sitting Around.

Here is a link to CNN's report about the situation. Jewlicious has Hamas’s Winning Strategy. Backspin said: Hamas Blocks Gaza's Wounded From Treatment.

Gateway Pundit says: Hamas: Israel Bombed Islamic University in Gaza ...Update: Egyptians Fire on Palestinians!

More to come my friends. If you have a post or hear of something worth including let me know in the comments or send an email to talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net.

Things That Aggravate Me

I woke up this morning in a foul mood and had planned on going off on a rant about all sorts of things. But due to time restrictions I am going to save that rant for later and share a couple of quick comments about things that aggravate me.

Parking lots are a central source of aggravation. It is a virtual guarantee that I am going to get aggravated by something in a parking lot, especially if it is a Trader Joe's or Costco parking lot. The problem is that a parking lot is a place that is designed to make people focus on themselves and that is what happens, drivers pay little to no attention to what is happening around them.

I always get stuck behind the jackass who decides that they are going to drive less than a mile per hour down the lane in the hope that they do not miss a space. Driving speed in a parking lot is a touchy thing, because I get irritated with the fool who thinks that it is ok to pretend to be Jeff Gordon in the lot as well.

I get especially irritated with the person who thinks that parking headfirst in the space applies to other people. Perhaps they have neck trouble and think that backing into the space will make it easier to pull out when they leave. In that case I wish that they'd never get behind the wheel because if you can't turn your head what the hell are you doing driving.

You people irritate me almost as much as your counterparts inside the freaking grocery store. There is enough material here for a separate post. I could write about those people who are next in line at the checker but decide to run off for one more item or their friends who carry 11 items into the ten or less line.

Yes, I am the guy who counts how many items you have and yes I will move your cart out of the way if you are not back in time. Your time is no more valuable than mine. Make a list before you go to the store and check it off as you go. As for the too many items guy well I know that if I let you sneak by with eleven you're going to decide to try and slip by the next time with 25. Feh on you.

Two more quick comments about things that aggravate me.

Unsatisfying meals- I love to eat. It doesn't have to be gourmet and it doesn't have to home cooked every time. There is something thoroughly disappointing and disturbing about a unsatisfying meal, especially when there is nothing at the meal that is enjoyable. More on this at a later date.

A poor night's sleep drives me crazy. Now I am sure that I am one of many who find this to be irritating, but I don't care about you, I am writing about what aggravates me. And at the moment the terrible night I had has left me foaming at the mouth.

Most of the time I sleep well. It doesn't matter if I am stressed out, hungry or whatever, I fall asleep. But every now and then I find it difficult to fall asleep and sometimes suffer from bad dreams. Well, last night was one of those nights.

I couldn't fall asleep and when I did I had a million different nightmares. So I woke up this morning spitting blood, breathing fire and shooting laser beams from my eyes. That is pretty good if you work as a spawn of hell or are employed as a superhero. But it is not as enjoyable for a guy like me.

So if you'll excuse me I am off to go storm around the house and wreak havoc somewhere. If I have to be this cranky I might as well share the moment with someone else.

HH is Live

You can find it here.

Milk

I saw Milk. It was excellent. Actually managed to catch a number of other flicks including Defiance, Rachel Getting Married and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I enjoyed them all, but liked Defiance best. Got a few others to hit including Gran Torino and Revolutionary Road.

Eastwood has long been one of my favorite actors. I don't agree with much of Sean Penn's politics, but he is a fine actor. Who would have thought that the man who played Jeff Spicoli would come so far.

I think that I'll probably add to this post later on. At the moment it is a bit too late and I am a bit too tired and pissed off to write any more.

Who says I love You First

This has got to be one of the dumbest articles I have ever read. I have to wonder if the author truly believes what she has written or if this was a feeble attempt to meet a deadline. If you read the article you'll see that this woman says that men should always be first to say "I love you."

"So what happens if you get there first and you say it and he's not there yet? What happens when your "I love you" is met with a "thank you," or worse, a deer-in-headlights look? Well, it stings, sure, but more than that, it can stop a perfectly happy and healthy relationship in its tracks before it's even too far from the station.

If a woman asks a man out and he says 'no,' at least she knows where she stands with him and she doesn't waste any time pining over someone who isn't interested. Same thing goes if she makes a move on him and she's rejected.

If she's in a serious relationship -- one where the expression of love has been made clearly by both partners -- and she's eager to make a deeper commitment, there's nothing wrong with proposing. At the very least, it'll start a conversation of where the relationship is headed so the woman can decide for herself if and how long she's willing to wait if the man isn't interested in getting married yet.

But an "I love you" uttered too soon, before the man has processed his feelings and reached the same level of adoration could end a relationship that just as easily could have had an eternal shelf life. As soon as those words are said, they change the dynamic. If a man isn't feeling the love quite yet, he may suddenly feel pressure to manifest that emotion. And if the woman doesn't get the response she expected, it could damage her confidence enough to derail the whole relationship entirely."

I suppose that part of what annoys me about this nonsense is that there is a lack of logic here or at least a lack of acknowledgement that men run the same risk. If a man tells a woman that he is in love with her he risks her bolting from the relationship just as she does in the reverse.

I Hate Christmas

So the Chanukah holiday madness continues to plague my life. Ok, that is a really unfair characterization of one of my favorite holidays, but I kind of like the way that it sounds. So because I like to use this blog as both a place to vent and a chronicle of my life allow me to share more notes about the current Chanukah season.

Chanukah season comes from the mouth of the almost eight-year-old boy that lives with me. The guy I call "Little Jack" told me he hates Christmas and that Christians don't know how to share. I look down at the big guy and say that there is no reason to hate Christmas. He replied with a large dose of almost eight-year-old boy logic and reason.

"Christians need to share the holidays with us. All we ever see are Christmas decorations and Christmas songs. Why aren't there more Jewish things. That would be more fair."

Being the good father I smiled in a fatherly way and said "there are a lot more Christians here and because of that there tends to be more Christmas stuff. There is really no reason to hate it."

He grimaced at me and said that there was no reason why they couldn't share better and that for every Christmas show there should be at least one Chanukah. I told him that I understood, but sometimes life isn't fair and that it is still not a reason to hate the holiday.

"But dad, they are celebrating a lie. Santa Claus is a fat faker!"

I asked him why he said that and where he had heard such things. He told me that I had taught him that Santa was fake and that we didn't believe in Christmas or Christian things.

I replied and told him that was correct and then asked him if I had ever told him that he should hate Christmas or that it was a lie. And that was where he really hit me with another solid dose of almost eight-year-old boy logic and reason.

"No, you never said any of those things. But if it is not real then it must be a lie and I hate being lied to. And I really hate being lied to when people can't share. Why can't they share better!"

Now I have to admit that I can see exactly how he came to his conclusions and part of me was proud of his deductive reasoning skills. However, I don't want him running around saying these things to other people.  It is not right and I made sure that I explained it to him.

I told him that it is ok for people to have other beliefs and that we didn't care. As long as they are not forcing those beliefs upon others we don't care. I explained that if someone told him that his beliefs were predicated upon a lie he would be angry. He asked me to repeat that line, "predicated upon a lie" and then asked me to explain what it meant. Note to self, don't be surprised when he uses that line upon me. 

We went back and forth for a few more minutes about being tolerant and why I would be intolerant of him telling other kids that Santa isn't real and that Christmas is a lie.  Eventually he told me that he understood, but he did tell me that he wants to talk to Santa. I asked why and he told me that he wants to tell him that he shouldn't try and fool kids into believing that he is real.

So the gift I got out of this conversation is the knowledge that the big guy can be just as stubborn and singleminded of purpose as his dad. 

Two days after this conversation he told me that he wants to go visit one of our elderly neighbors to help decorate her tree. I hesitated for a moment and then asked him why he'd want to help if he hated the holiday. He looked at me as if I was stupid and said, "I don't hate it that way dad." And then he proceeded to make me feel very proud as he told me that he thought that since our neighbor was old it would be really nice to help her decorate her tree and make her smile.

A few other notes to share. Every Chanukah we tell the children that we need to go through their old toys and find some to give away to children who don't have any. The dark haired beauty was irritated with her older sibling and tried to show it by piling up some of his new gifts and suggesting that they would be good gifts for other kids.

As you might imagine this was not well received by the big guy. His father however has to admit to trying hard not to smile. It is hard not to when a pretty little girl in a princess dress smiles at you. Oh did I mention that she used her magic wand to give to me everything I want including "super magic."

Not quite sure what "super magic" is, but I think that it must be pretty good. Maybe I'll do some research upon this and report back later. That is it for now.

I Loved This George Will Essay

This is fine essay recounting some of the events of 2008. It is worth looking at. Here are a few excerpts:
"If 2008 were not divisible by four, this would have been The Year of Gen. David Petraeus. During the presidential contest between an African-American from Chicago and a plumber from Toledo, eros reared its beguiling head, so: Coming soon to a Cineplex near you, "Republicans in Love," a romantic comedy about conservatives who advocate extravagant presidential powers and who this autumn favored putting the governor of a national park (the federal government owns 63 percent of Alaska) in close proximity to those powers."
and
"Peanut allergy had its 15 minutes as a cause of public health hysteria, long enough for the vigilant schools of Union County, N.C., to ban PB&J sandwiches. In New Haven, Conn., an eighth grader was suspended, removed as class vice president and banned from a school honors dinner because he bought a banned substance from a classmate. The substance was Skittles, the fruit-flavored candy. A food fascist explained that candy sales violate the school system's wellness policy. In Prince William County, Va., police were called when Randy Castro, 7, a first grader, became the subject of an incident report titled "Sexual Touching Against Student, Offensive." While still 6 he had smacked a classmate's bottom. Residents of New York City are becoming obese almost three times faster than other Americans, which is probably partly explained by nanny-mayor Michael Bloomberg's jihad against smoking. Compulsory calisthenics—"Central Park at 6:30 a.m. Be there or be fined!"—cannot be far off."

Madoff Madness- Elie Wiesel

I haven't commented on this story here. Made remarks on other blogs, but haven't said anything here yet. But I expect that I will. I am very angry. I know people that were affected. Some of them are going to be ok and some are not. But it is not about whether people will survive or not.

It is about a fundamental flaw in this man's character that allowed him to ignore the devastation that he was unleashing upon so many. There are a lot of different charities that I could write about, but I am taking the "easy road" because this story is out there already.

Survived the Holocaust to see his work so severely damaged by the greed of another. Terrible.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity lost more than 15 million dollars -- nearly all of its assets -- in the alleged fraud scheme run by Wall Street baron Bernard Madoff, the fund said Wednesday.

"We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had 15.2 million dollars under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities," said the foundation, which aims to combat anti-Semitism, on its website.

"This represented substantially all of the Foundation's assets," it said.
"We are deeply saddened and distressed that we, along with many others, have been the victims of what may be one of the largest investment frauds in history."

The statement added that the foundation "remains committed to carrying on the lifelong work of our founder, Elie Wiesel. We shall not be deterred from our mission to combat indifference, intolerance, and injustice around the world."

Wiesel, 80, a Nobel laureate and prolific author who survived the Holocaust, created the foundation some 20 years ago to foster international dialogue and youth programs to teach tolerance.

Chanukah 2008 Continued

You know that line about those who forget history are doomed to repeat it? Well tonight kind of made me think of that. Let me set the scene as best I can.

The year is somewhere around 1976 or '77. Your hero (that is me) is a young schoolboy. Happy, well adjusted and glad to recite all of the Welcome Back Kotter lines with his friends, "up your nose with a rubber hose" was a personal favorite.

My family is at home. My sisters and I are involved in different activities around the house. At some point in time my middle sister and I have a disagreement about something. I can't remember what I did, but like a good big brother I really aggravated her. She hauls off and belts me in the mouth. It doesn't hurt, but it does knock out a loose tooth.

I am infuriated by this. Looking back I think that I was more upset by the idea that my little sister got one over on me than anything else.

Flash forward to the present. The family is at my folk's house. It is filled with aunts, uncles and cousins. I hear my son scream and he comes marching up stairs holding his mouth. I see blood and ask what happened. He hands me a tooth and tells me that his younger cousin kicked him in the mouth and knocked out his tooth.

That younger cousin just happens to be the youngest child of the sister that knocked out my tooth. He is truly sorry and tells me repeatedly that it was an accident and it probably was.

A little bit later all if forgiven and forgotten and we go to light candles. I bask in the glow of the lights and the smiles on the faces of the kids. We finish the blessings and the kids run and sit in the living room. I look at my father and say that he should get ready to play grandpa.

We walk over and my son tells me that they are all ready to get their gifts. I look at him and say that we're not doing gifts tonight. My niece looks at me and says, "don't tease us Uncle Jack." I smile and tell her that I am not.

Jaws drop and confused looks from the children are pointed towards us. My son takes the lead again and says that it is not funny, the joke is over. I assure him that tonight there are no gifts and then the heavens unleash a torrent of young voices upon us.

I quiet them down and remind them that the holiday is not only about gifts. I give them two minutes of patented parent P.R. and add a dose of guilt. And then I remind them that another reason we are not exchanging gifts is because not all of their cousins are there. Not to mention that the good news is that they will get gifts the next night.

Kids shrug their shoulders at me and grumble for a moment. I offer a free kick in the pants or punch in the nose. No one takes me up on it. They run off to play and I look at my father.

"What are you looking at," he asks. I tell him that I want his opinion on how I did. He smiles, pats me on the shoulder and says "you're learning." I smile back and tell him that it is still ok for him to give me a gift that night.

He smiles and sticks out his hand. I place my hand in his, knowing what is coming.

"Congratulations."

And the lesson here is that old family tricks never die, even those that still aren't funny. Ok, I laughed, but that is a long story in itself. We'll save it for a different day.

At Least We're Not Homeless

Every day I wake up and find myself repeating the same stupid phrase to myself, "At least we're not homeless." It is a mantra that I use to pretend that I feel ok about our situation. It is one those stupid mind tricks that people use to try and convince themselves that the situation really isn't that bad. It is no different from saying "things could always be worse."

Well, I hate that fucking line. Stop telling me that things could always be worse. Sure they could. I could have a terminal disease. I could be injured in some sort of industrial accident and be paid the grand sum of $10,000 for the loss of an eye. Or I could be eaten by a wild animal.

Sure, things could be worse, but that doesn't make me feel better. It doesn't remove the sting of the current pain. It doesn't make me feel any less worse. It doesn't help to tell me that my situation isn't my fault. I know that it is not really my fault. I know that I am not really responsible for my predicament.

But the thing is that no one is going to rescue me. The government isn't going to bail me out. I don't have any reason to expect that I am going to win the lottery, find the golden goose or magic beans. Sometimes shit happens and you laugh about it and sometimes you find that shit gets poured down your back. I don't know about you, but I don't find that be particularly funny.

What I do know is that even though I may not be responsible for my situation I am the only one who can get me out of it. And at the moment I haven't got a clue as to how long it is going to take and truthfully little hope that things will not get worse.

So I stand here before you doing what I have been taught to do, be responsible, be accountable and take it like a man. And I keep repeating my little line, "at least we're not homeless" but what no one hears me say are the two words I never mention out loud, "not yet."

He Ate Seven Pounds of Latkes

I love latkes, but this makes my arteries ache. I have to add that knowing that there is an Association of Independent Competitive Eaters makes me feel good. It is proof that there is a hobby/profession for everyone.

A 23-year-old mechanical engineering student downed 46 of the potato pancakes in eight minutes to win a contest at a Long Island deli.

Pete Czerwinski says he'd never eaten a latke before consuming about seven pounds of them Sunday at Zan's in Lake Grove. The Toronto bodybuilder says he's just "a power eater" whose brain never signals that he's full, according to the Long Island daily Newsday.

Association of Independent Competitive Eaters Chairman Arnie Chapman says Czerwinski demolished the contest's previous record of 31 latkes, set in 2006.


Happy Festivus



One more post about the greatest holiday: The Angry Morning- Festivus

What is Chanukah

I intend to write a post about the holiday, but again find myself very tired. So for those who want a serious explanation about the day I offer you this link.

Haveil Havalim #197

Haveil Havalim #197, the weekly carnival of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere is now live here.

The Secret of Gift Giving

There is a secret for giving gifts, but not everyone knows what it is. The bad news is that I am not going to offer it up in this post. However I will share a few thoughts/comments about giving gifts.

In many families there is one relative who is known for giving terrible gifts. That is the sort of thing that you never want to be accused of saying about another and it is definitely something that you don't want to be said about you. But the reality is that most of us have received a gift that we found less than inspiring.

And though we tried to pretend to be grateful it was hard to smile and offer thanks for having received something that we just couldn't believe we had gotten. One of these days I need to dedicate an entire post to this topic, but not now.

The thing about the secret to gift giving is that there really are multiple secrets to be aware. There is the secret to giving a gift to a spouse or significant other, there is the secret to trying to be the cool aunt/uncle/friend/parent and the secret to trying to make sure that other parents do not hate you.

Since I am a father I am going to share some tips for how to make sure that parents do not hate you. Believe it or not there are some relatively simple rules that you can follow.
  1. Don't give gifts that make obnoxious noises. Sirens, beeps, whistles and screeches are bad. As a rule of thumb I reciprocate by providing the child of the gift giver with a drum set. Or if they are single I hire a marching band to visit them during the early morning hours on the weekend.
  2. Don't give gifts that require 36 hours to assemble. It is not cool. The kid doesn't like it and the parents definitely do not.

Those are the two primary ones. Obviously there are others. And just as obvious is the rule that if you dislike the parent and child you should give them a gift that is obnoxiously loud and requires a degree in engineering to assemble.

And there you have it my friends, a practical toolkit that you can use to your benefit.

Chanukah Begins Woohoo- Night One

I think that I am in a bit of a blogging rut again. I am just not happy with the quality of my posts so I keep nuking them and starting over. Every time I say something like that the Shmata Queen accuses me of trying to generate more comments to feed my ego.

I usually respond to those accusations by making fun of the burning river and reminding her that she has lived more than half of her middle aged life outside of that place. 1...2...3...DUCK!

In case you are wondering that was strictly for myself. The queen has this big black purse that your grandmother would be jealous of. I can't believe how much junk she has in there. I think that she thinks it is sort of like Felix the Cat's Bag of tricks.

Let me tell you, the last time she managed to hit me in the head I saw stars, they were in her eyes. Those bright eyes positively glowed. All hail the lovely queen. Ok, enough of the fake fawning and homage and back to the point of the post, it is Chanukah.

It is one of my favorite holidays. I can give you a million reasons why. I can talk about how even though it is a minor holiday in importance, it is quite significant. But it is really late and I am not in the mood to be very serious. So instead I'll opt to say that the serious post comes later.

Right now let's say that I like the holiday because of the memories of the past and those that we are creating now. The look on my kid's faces is classic. Let me tell you if you really want to have fun tell your children that you are getting them socks and underwear for gifts and then really give it to them. Watch as they try to maintain their composure and be grateful.

It is a great tool to use to teach, the holiday that is. We always spend time talking about why we celebrate it and why we should be thankful for what we have. And they also get my lecture about why I hate the holiday season and the message that there is one time of year to be good.

We usually give the kids something every night, but not every one of those gifts is a major one. The formula is to try and give them each one big gift and a bunch of little ones.

More on this later.

Haveil Havalim is Coming

No, really it is. We haven't forgotten about you. Hang in there, it is like one of those really cool Chanukah gifts that you can't wait to receive.

The Duggar's one More Time

I must admit that I have been surprised to see just how much traffic the Duggar stories generate. This post from last May is constantly being pinged by people:

The Duggar Family Revisited

Anyway, they apparently just had baby number 18:

Michelle Duggar has given birth to her 18th child.

The Arkansas supermom delivered the baby girl by Caesarean section Thursday at Mercy Medical Center in Rogers. The baby, named Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar, weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Recent Posts

In case you haven't been around here is a quick roundup of recent posts:

Thursday Night

I seem to be doing a lot of the the music posts lately. But it is my blog and I enjoy doing these. So here is a short look at some of what I listened to today.

Breakfast at Tiffanys- Deep Blue Something
Dela Dela - Sacred Spirit
Amazing Grace- R.Carlos Nakai
Insomnia- Forever Faithless
Atomic Dog- George Clinton
Closer to Fine- Indigo Girls
I'm a Man- Spencer Davis Group
Gimme Shelter- The Rolling Stones
No More Tears- Ozzie Osborne

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...