Cheeseburger Leads to 911 Call

This is a real 911 call placed by someone unhappy with Burger King.

Shocking News: Adult Store Sells Sex Toys

This is so ridiculous I had to include it. Was the reporter so hard up for a story that she had to try and make one up. Ok, she didn't exactly make it up, but...

Adult Video and Books on McDowell Road in Jackson is apparently selling illegal sex toys again.

Jackson police raided the store at least two times last year after an undercover sting. Three people were arrested and several boxes of sex toys were seized.

A "3 on Your Side" undercover investigation shows that the business is back at it again and is not even discreet about selling the devices.

WLBT received the tip, so we decided to go undercover to see if it was true.
Ok, the store named Adult Video and Books in a shocking move is carrying adult toys. And we know this because of the brave undercover reporter. Come walk with me and watch this unfold.

Kandiss Crone entered the store and said "Hi...I'm going to a bachelorette party, I'm looking for a sex toy."

After looking over the stock Kandiss said "Can i have that purple one?"

As soon as the sale was completed our team walked back into the store to confront the owner.

Kandiss: "Hi charles, I'm Kandiss Crone from WLB. I understand this business was raided for selling sex toys illegally. I just purchased this sex toy and it is still illegal to sell them in the state of mississippi. Even though you were raided last year and you're still selling them, what is your response to that?"

Charles Hobby: "Where did you buy it at?"

Kandiss: "I bought it here. I just walked in about five minutes ago and I bought this. Don't you know it's illegal to sell these?

Hobby: "That's not one of the required items listed as being prohibited."

But in fact, it is. Section 97 of the Mississippi State Law prohibits the sale of such 3-dimensional devices like the one we were sold.

Brave undercover reporter purchases a purple one and then confronts the owner of the store with the so called, illegal 3-dimensional device., a fact disputed by the owner.

Hobby: "That's not a sex toy"

Kandiss: "What would you call this then? it's a personal vibrator.

Hobby: "It can be put on your arm, your neck, your leg if it's hurting or anything, it's just a vibrator."

I am dying to know if he provided a demonstration. It is a like a Monty Python skit come to life. Thankfully the brave reporter went to the police to discuss this.

JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance issued the following statement:

"The adult store is not a priority for our vice and narcotics officers. We will do the best we can. Citizens would rather see us using our resources to get drugs and prostitutes off our streets and work to decrease violent crime.

I walked in to find dozens of sex toys on the front walls of the store.

Selling the devices is a misdemeanor charge. If the person is convicted, they could be fined up to five-thousand dollars and could face six months in jail.

Israel's Lebanon Disaster

Michael Oren's piece in the Wall Street Journal Israel's Lebanon Disaster is worth reading. The following is an excerpt:
"I had fought in war before but had never seen such intensive fire -- tracer bullets, rockets, artillery shells -- nor been assigned a more horrific detail. My unit was escorting the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed on the last night of the Second Lebanon War, a few hours before the U.N. cease-fire agreement took effect. None of us understood the purpose of this last-minute offensive or, indeed, many of the government's disastrous decisions during the war. We agreed that the burden of these failures would be borne by our leaders, military and civilians alike.

Now, a year and a half later, veterans of the war are demanding that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accept responsibility for its conduct -- or risk unraveling the consensus on which Israel's survival depends.

The war began on July 12, 2006, when Hezbollah gunmen ambushed an Israeli border patrol, killing eight and kidnapping two. Mr. Olmert's response, a large-scale campaign intended to crush Hezbollah and secure the soldiers' release, was supported by most Israelis until serious mismanagement of the war surfaced. While receiving inadequate or faulty equipment -- my rifle literally fell apart in my hands -- Israeli forces were denied permission to invade Southern Lebanon and neutralize the katyusha rockets that were pummeling Israeli cities. Instead, Israeli jets bombed the Lebanese routes through which Syria resupplied Hezbollah and destroyed the organization's Beirut headquarters.

These attacks obliterated much of Hezbollah's infrastructure and killed a fourth of its fighters, but they also laid waste to a large part of Lebanon, killing civilians and squandering Israel's initial international backing. Hundreds of rockets, meanwhile, continued to smash into northern Israel, displacing a half-million civilians. Only on Aug. 13, after a month of fighting and with a U.N. ceasefire already approved, did the government authorize a ground offensive into Lebanon. The operation achieved nothing, either militarily or diplomatically, and cost the lives of 33 Israeli troops.

In another country, perhaps, such blunders might result in the resignation of senior officers but not necessarily elected officials. In Israel, though, no one is above blame. Accountability for decision making is a tenet of the Zionist ethos on which the Jewish state is based and, unlike most nations, Israel has a citizens' army in which the great majority -- politicians included -- serve. Most uniquely, Israel confronts daily security dangers and long-term threats to its existence. Israelis can neither condone nor afford a prime minister who passes the buck to their army or shirks the onus of defense. The person who sends us into battle cannot escape responsibility for our fate."
Meir and Begin resigned but Olmert ignores their example. At what point will he accept responsibilty for his actions.

Spontaneous Subway Dancing

Things like this always happen to me whenever I use public transportation.

THIS is the moment a group of Thrill seekers hiJack-son a London tube train.

Passengers were left open-mouthed when a group of commuters - including a suited man - got up from their seats and performed the dance featured in Michael Jackson's music video for hit Thriller.

Want to watch? Click here.

Middle Age Depression- I Am Not Satisified

It was still dark outside when my alarm went off. I grumbled, hit snooze and unsuccessfully tried to return to the dream in which I still had six pack abs, a fast car and a girlfriend who didn't let me sleep.

That guy didn't get up before 6 A.M. because he was just getting home. And if by chance he was home and awake then it was probably because he was preparing to go fishing or on some other vacation.

He didn't groan when he woke up because his back hurt or he had a kink in his neck. But then again he didn't live in a house, have real furniture or a full refrigerator. And he probably wouldn't have paid any attention to this article:
Middle age is truly depressing, says study

A global study on happiness shows middle age is truly miserable, although an Australian researcher says this is not necessarily so.

A study using data from around 80 countries has found happiness is greatest in youth and old age with depression being most common among men and women in their forties

"In a remarkably regular way throughout the world people slide down a U-shaped level of happiness and mental health throughout their lives," says researcher Professor Andrew Oswald at Warwick University in the UK.

"Some people suffer more than others but in our data the average effect is large."

The study is published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Let me clarify a few things. I am pushing 40, but still have a while to get there. On the whole I have excellent genes. My grandparents are about to turn 94. My great-grandmothers lived into their nineties and I feel young. So by my unscientific approach I figure that it is going to take another ten years before I am really middle aged.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling restless. My life is good, but it is not what I want it to be. There is so much to be done, so many goals, so many objectives that haven't been met.

1. Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from all men, as it is written (Psalm 119:99) "I have gained understanding from all my teachers." Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions, as it is written (Proverbs 16:32) "One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city."

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion, as it is written (Psalm 128:2) "You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you."

I have always appreciated that. The sentiment of being content with what you have is sensible, reasonable, rational even. But, I am a man of serious passion. The fire burns inside me. It always has and I cannot foresee a time when it does not.

In truth I am not all troubled by my inability to rest. The drive is part of what enables me to withstand the hard times. There are days that I just put my head down and trudge on through the muck.

Even with a good attitude there are some things that are harder to accept. The thinning hair isn't something that makes me jump for joy. It is not horrible, but it is not great. The new aches and pains aren't particularly welcome. They aren't friends of mine. They're like rockstar groupies. I don't really want them to hang around but they come with the territory.

Later tonight I plan to sit down and review the list of things that I want to accomplish. It is time to take a look at my roadmap and see if I am going in the right direction. Am I doing the things that I need to do to make my dreams come true or am I just treading water.

I know what I need and what I want. One way or another....

Penis Talk Revisited

You may recall that my post His Penis Is In The Wrong Place in which I explained my daughter's concern about the Noggin moose and his non-existent penis. It is a short post so if you haven't read it go take a look. We'll wait for you.

C'mon, hurry up. The rest of the group is waiting. Geez, Shmata Queen do you always have to read everything twice. Wait, I'll answer that. Yes!

Anyway, this past Chanukah my lovely girl received both Barbie and Ken dolls, not to mention Barbie's hot pink car. That leads me to my second off tangent comment. Every time I see that thing it reminds me of Angeleyne. If you don't know who she is you never set foot in LA in the 80's.

Now back to our story. This past weekend my lovely girl comes to me and we have the following conversation:

Daughter: "Father, I have need of your assistance."
Jack: "Daughter, how might I help thee? Dost thou need some new shiny raiments to adorn thy body. It is not as if thy mother, grandmother and aunts have failed to keep thee supplied with more attire than can fit in Rapunzel's castle."

Ok, that is far too goofy. Essentially she looked at me and asked what happened to Ken's penis. In many cases I would have turned the tables and asked her what she thought happened. In fact I really wanted to ask her what she thought. It probably would have made great blog fodder.

Instead I explained that Ken didn't have a penis. That wasn't good enough for her. She wanted to know why not. Did someone steal his penis.

Because I have a juvenile sense of humor the thought of a stolen penis cracked me up. I imagined something like this being broadcast over the police band radio: "1-Adam 12, 1-Adam 12. Be on the lookout for a stolen penis. Said genitals were taken...."you get the point.

In response to her question I said that Ken wasn't made with a penis. This still wasn't good enough. She wanted to know why G-d didn't give Ken a penis. Was he bad. Was he mean. Did he get in trouble. Are some boys born without a penis and did I know that her classmate Mark was bad, but he has a penis.

As soon as I heard that Mark had a penis I grabbed her seven year-old brother and used a napkin to scratch out a hit on the kid. He may be 3.5, but you know how boys are. Later on we're going to boost a big wheel or a Razr scooter, whichever one we can find first. And then I'll send the big boy in.

In spite of the rapid fire approach of these questions I persevered and strove to explain that sometimes toys are not made with genitals. Of course all this did was lead to a new round of questions about why toys don't have genitals and did I know that Joseph has a penis too.

By now chunks of hair are sliding down the slide of my head and in moments I am going to look as if I am undergoing medical treatment or some odd form of torture. "Dear girl" I say, "why do you know that these boys have a penis?"

With a big smirk and a toss of her hair she tells me that every boy has a penis. And now I see that I am the subject of the mischievous sense of humor of a 3.5 year-old girl who has already figured out how to manipulate her father.

So I smirk back at her and say that one day she'll find out what I learned from having 1,980,873 sisters. And just when I think that I have won she wraps her arms around my neck, looks at me with those deep brown eyes and says "I love you daddy."

Oy, I am in trouble.

The Vader Sessions

Gaza Buried in Flour

There is an interesting post on Martin Kramer's blog regarding how easily misinformation is spread.
"The Boston Globe has just run an op-ed under the headline "Ending the Stranglehold on Gaza." The authors are Eyad al-Sarraj, identified as founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, and Sara Roy, identified as senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. The bias of the op-ed speaks for itself, and I won't even dwell on it. But I do want to call attention to this sentence:
Although Gaza daily requires 680,000 tons of flour to feed its population, Israel had cut this to 90 tons per day by November 2007, a reduction of 99 percent.
You don't need to be a math genius to figure out that if Gaza has a population of 1.5 million, as the authors also note, then 680,000 tons of flour a day come out to almost half a ton of flour per Gazan, per day.

A typographical error at the Boston Globe? Hardly. The two authors used the same "statistic" in an earlier piece. They copied it from an article published in the Ahram Weekly last November, which reported that "the price of a bag of flour has risen 80 per cent, because of the 680,000 tonnes the Gaza Strip needs daily, only 90 tonnes are permitted to enter." Sarraj and Roy added the bit about this being "a reduction of 99 percent."

Note how an absurd and impossible "statistic" has made its way up the media feeding chain. It begins in an Egyptian newspaper, is cycled through a Palestinian activist, is submitted under the shared byline of a Harvard "research scholar," and finally appears in the Boston Globe, whose editors apparently can't do basic math. Now, in a viral contagion, this spreads across the Internet, where that "reduction of 99 percent" becomes a well-attested fact."

50 Years of Lego

I still play with them. That's the advantage of having children. You can still play with their toys and be cool. Here is a little bit of information for you neophytes.

LEGO brick curiosities

• There are about 62 LEGO bricks for every one of the world's 6 billion inhabitants.

• Children around the world spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks.

• More than 400 million people around the world have played with LEGO bricks.

• LEGO bricks are available in 53 different colors.

• 19 billion LEGO elements are produced every year.

• 2.16 million LEGO elements are molded every hour, or 36,000 per minute.

• More than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced since 1949.

• Two eight-stud LEGO bricks of the same color can be combined in 24 different ways.

• Three eight-stud bricks can be combined in 1,060 ways.

• There are more than 915 million combinations possible for six 2 x 4 LEGO bricks of the same color.

• 7 LEGO sets are sold by retailers every second around the world.

• The LEGO bricks sold in one year would circle the world 5 times.

• 40 billion LEGO bricks stacked on top of one another would connect the earth with the moon.

Email, Email, Email

This is a post that I would have preferred to audioblog, but since that is currently not an option I'll spend a few minutes and reach out and click someone. Let's spend a few minutes discussing email shall we.

I am an email pack rat.

Way back in the early days of my blogging career I shared two posts with you called A comment about email addresses and comments and How many email accounts do I need? If you are one of the few masochists who took the time to read those posts you are probably wondering why I need 24 different email addresses. I don't blame you because I wonder about that too.

Although in truth I really do not use all 24. Off the top of my head I'd estimate that I use about six of them consistently. A few of them are unofficially retired. I check in on them once every six months or so just to see if there is anything worth looking at it.

The submissions for the great roundup of the Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere come into the talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-com. You can find the latest edition right here. If you are like the Shmata Queen and avoid roundups let me tell you, you are making a big mistake. Check it out, read it. It is right here.

Anyway, I try to work on the roundup throughout the week. Do a little bit each day so that I have a minimal amount to do Saturday night. I also make a point to file each submission in a folder. Pays to be organized, but do I really need to hold onto all of these submissions. Am I going to be audited by someone. Why do I need them. I think that I just might have to dump some of these folders, or alternatively maybe I'll use them for some massive anniversary post.

I dunno.

On a different tack but still regarding email here is another comment. I have a bunch of random email messages floating around my inboxes. They're notes that for one reason or another I have decided to save. They probably should be deleted. What do I really need them for.

I intentionally set up folders so that I could keep my inbox from being overrun. But I guess that it is fair to say that some of these aren't easily labeled. I set up a miscellaneous folder to handle those. But even with the miscellaneous folder I still find that I have these rogue messages hanging out around the inbox.

They're the Jack Bauer's of email. They understand who they serve and why, they just have their own set of rules for service.

Ok, when I start coming up with the wacky television analogies you know that it is time to end the post. This should be my biggest problem. Go read Haveil Havalim and while you are at it consider sending over an entry or hosting.

Haveil Havalim #151- The P.S.D. Edition

Welcome to the 151st edition of Haveil Havalim, the weekly roundup of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere. This edition is being sponsored by Jameel's Waffle House where you can enjoy the best breakfast in Israel.

In just a moment we'll officially launch the P.S.D. Edition, also known as Post Soccer Dad. We are in need of new hosts. If you are interested please contact me at

There is a good chance that this will be updated and or edited throughout the day so please check back frequently.

And one more request, I would really appreciate it if you could help publicize this by placing a link to it upon your blog. I hope that you enjoy it. And now on with the show.

Smooth offered Prominent Arab Editor, PA Officials Blame Hamas for Gaza Crisis and 20 Years of Research Reveals: Jerusalem Belongs to Jews. Try reading Why Arabs Suffer at The Augean Stables. Sammy has a suggestion for Egypt.

Have you ever wondered Is Gaza occupied? Carl asks Where did all the money go? 40% of Gazans have no running water. Here is a Shocka: British taxpayer money supporting PA hate education.

Maybe you should check out the UN Human Rights Council's List of APPROVED Gaza Solutions. Or Just Like Lebanon-Olmert Blows it In Gaza.

No surprises with this next story. Video: Pals fire rockets, mortars, guns at Israeli news crew. Akiva wrote A Tidbit of Media Honesty - Gaza.

Cosmic X shares Putting Pressure On Shas. Soon it will be The Yahrzeit of Ilan Ramon.
At The (not) Forgotten Prisoners of Zion you can watch
the Daughters Of Zion Video.

At Judeopundit you can read Qassam Brigades Info: "What if the Zionist entity executed its threatens and assassinated your leaders, How your response will be look like?"

Hamas spent months cutting through Rafah wall.

Joshuapundit posted
Hamas Destroys Another Section Of The Gaza Wall And Beefs Up Control Of Its New Stronghold.

From Fresno Zionism we learn Three myths about Israel and the Palestinians. From Mere Rhetoric Terrorist Wing That Had Been "Totally Dismantled" By Fatah Launches Attack, Murders Israelis.

The Jerusalem of My Soul and In the Desert of Judah.

Joe Settler wrote about the
Diaspora and the Future of Jerusalem.
From an Urban Kvetch Birthrighters Can Now Share Israel Experience With Parents.

Eric presents The Israel Situation: UN Anti-Israel Bias Continues.
Soccer Dad presents
What the support says.

Solomonia shared
Top EU official: Gaza siege not a war crime and MSM Plays Along with Hamas Photo Staging (Updated).

From Daled Amos In Gaza, Some Journalists Remain In The Dark.

The Sandmonkey says
Gaza lessons and facts. After all there is a Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza.

A Mother in Israel asks Where are The Parents?. Israeli Satire Laboratory manufactured Government Crushes Insurgency in Sderot, Blames Settlers.

For a slice of life is Israel you might want to try Why am I Not Surprised?, Riding the high school application roller-coaster or Yosef presents Disengagement of 2008. Try taking a gander at Why am I Not Surprised?

Have you ever heard "Ma, we live in a slum" Ask a Soldier's Mother about Thermal Success.

From My Shrapnel we have Rugellach to Die For. Sometimes It cannot get better than this...
And now for More on Arafat's blood hoax.

In the beginning there were billboards. Dan says Welcome to!. Have you read Ice Man: Olmert freezes entire West Bank cold.

Rafi shared a shameful tale: Haredi man beaten in Bet Shemesh last night. He followed up with The letter I sent to Haredi MKs about Bet Shemesh violence.

DovBear blogged about it as well
The victim's words and A call to action.


Tamara blogged about Using Virtual Worlds to do a Mitzvah. And now a A Tale of Two Tu B'Shvats. Lvnsm27 also blogged about Tu B'shvat and so did Batya with Celebrating TU B'Shvat.

And just to be thorough here is one more
Tu B'Shevat Celebration for your review.

Some titles beg for attention: Goat-manned outposts. And now for the Non-Orthodox News Round Up - The Israeli Edition.

TherapyDoc discussed Therapy and Religion. Attila presents Unintended consequences. Rabbi Neil Fleischmann ponders Hope and Think.

Here is some important information about How seating arrangements at weddings affect Jewish Geography.

DovBear wants to know Are women the blacks of Orthodox Judaism? Batya blogged about Moral Codes.

Yo Yenta asks Why Is This Bestseller Different from All Other Bestsellers?. I enjoyed reading
Myths About Judaism in Movies and Television.

Lubab wants to know Will Jews and Gentiles Ever Be Able to Join Hands?

And from A Simple Jew: Question & Answer With Shoshannah Brombacher - Painting, Chassidic Stories, & Classical Music.

Most days it feels like I am ready to tear my hair out, not cover it. Shira covered New Blood Libels.

Abacaxi Mamão had this to share about a conference:
Overheard (and Learned) at LimmudNY 2008. Steg brings us this ditty "Baruch Hashem" Usage at Epidemic Levels, Baruch Hashem.

Dixie Yid provided New Seminal Work on Rav Klonymous Kalmish Shapiro; the Aish Kodesh and Learning Kabbalah: A Guest Posting by Rabbi Micha Golshevsky.

Seraphic Secret shared The Death of Education and Torah at Hebrew Union College.
Schvach says
Behold, Neither Slumbers Nor Sleeps

Lion of Zion asks Is There Really a Tuition Crisis
? Heichal HaNegina has an awesome story about a great Rebbe, R. Yechezkel of Kuzmir.

Jacob wants to know Why the heck does it take so long? Ezzie offered Them Cheatin' Jews.

Daf Notes learned
Paying Up a Debt of his Fellow and Distinction between Charity and Returning a Lost Object.


At Jewschool they blogged about Obama’s Jewish “Problem”. Sammy shared Obama's Scary Anti-Israel Advisors.

Friar Yid has issues with some people: Give me back your oxygen. Aussie Dave knows that the world is full of winners, especially The Darwin Awards. KRG shared it is 35 Years.

Elisson notes that listening to speeches is a cure for insomnia. Barbara blogged about Israel and Obama and Honor Killings. Ghandi is the topic of Schvach's post The Descent of an Honored Reputation.

Soccer Dad's post explains Why they hate us. Irina is out on The Lawyerly Front. Over at Atlas Shrugs you can read about an Anti-Israel rally and Obama: The Anti Israel Candidate.

Watcher reports Egypt: Border Guards Can Shoot "Palestinian Brothers"

From Bookworm: Britain’s descent into madness. Over at Plancks Constant you can read about The Right to Insult Muslims.


And now for posts of a personal nature.

We'll begin with my post
Streets of Philadelphia and then continue on to Elie's post about Aaron's Birthday - 2008.

Baila reminisced with 26 Years Later... Raizy explains Why Teaching Is Sometimes Worth It.
Fearless exterminators are needed. Read Giant Hornets and Bullet Ants and Bot Flies, Oh My and find out why.

Dan presents The right to be ambitious. Aidel Madel is doing The “I Can” Exercise. Shira is Steppin' Out. Rabbi Sedley shared Anthrax Guitarist becomes frum?

I'd like to be exhausted for the same reason as Chana. It'd be nice to be a student again. I'd shout Long Live the Hydrox! Wolfish Musings are Frozen In Time. Do you have Chionophobia.

Here is a post about a different sort of movie A Light For Greytowers Premieres in NY!">New Chick Flick: A Light For Greytowers Premieres in NY!

And from Canada's famous Jewish atheist we offer Reflections At 47. Ocean Guy is sharing the Daughter Going Away Blues Shuffle.

Doesn't everyone have a Kibbutz Love Story. Ok, maybe not like that one. JB has important information How Does STARBUCKS Deal With a Recession? Free Refills!

Dean has a link to the car for me.

Don't forget to check out The Extreme Weather Kosher Cooking Carnival.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim
using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Old Material Sees Daylight Again

My apologies for the lack of new content, been a little busy. Good news is that new material is coming. In the interim here is some old material that some of you may not have seen before.
If Life Ended Today What Would You Regret
Question About The Dead

Where I Come From
Why an orgasm really is all in the mind
Oh Chanukah- Some Assembly Required

Top 10 Romantic Movie Moments

CNN is offering their list of the top 10 romantic moments in film. Casablanca is number one on my list. I am trying to decide what others I would include.

What do you think?

Quotes about Love and Life

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
~ by Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion -
I have shudder'd at it.
I shudder no more.
I could be martyr'd for my religion
Love is my religion
And I could die for that.
I could die for you.
~ by John Keats ~

I'd like to run away
From you,
But if you didn't come
And find me ...
I would die.
~ by Shirley Bassey ~

You will never know true happiness
until you have truly loved,
and you will never understand
what pain really is
until you have lost it.
~ by Anonymous ~

The most precious possession that ever comes
To a man in this world
Is a woman's heart.
~ by Josiah G. Holland ~

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ by Mark Twain ~

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
~ by Ray Bradbury ~

Never, never, never, never give up.
~ by Winston Churchill ~

Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts the opponent's pressure, and the temporary failures.
~ by Vince Lombardi ~

Haveil Havalim Is Coming

Just a short reminder about the upcoming edition of Haveil Havalim. I am still accepting submissions.

Please feel free to submit your post using our carnival submission form. In return I'll ask that you help to promote the carnival by providing a link to it when it goes live.

Also, if you are interested in hosting please send me an email or leave a comment and I'll we'll make the appropriate arrangements.

One Less Set of Footsteps

"We been runnin away from
Somethin we both know
Weve long run out of things to say
And I think I better go

So dont be getting excited
Oh when you hear that slammin door
Cause therell be one less set of footsteps
On your floor in the mornin

And weve been hidin from somethin
That should have never gone this far
But after all its what weve done
That makes us what we are

And you been talkin in silence
But if its silence you adore
Therell be one less set of footsteps
On your floor in the mornin"
One Less Set of Footsteps-Jim Croce

Some of my favorite songs are those that tell a story. I'd like to be able to write as well as old Jim and so many other songwriters. Or maybe what I am saying is that I'd like to be able to write a song. It is something that I have played around with quite a bit, but never really delved into.

Brevity is not my strong suit and it seems to me that songwriting requires that. Afterall how many really long songs are there. I suppose that you can list Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Bohemian Rhapsody and Layla among those, but I haven't got the stones to try to place my stuff in the same category as those guys.

You Need a Belt

Gun ownership for private citizens is always a hot topic. But I am guessing that most people will agree that if you can't keep your pants up while shooting, you aren't responsible enough to own a gun.

Another Keyword Search

Here is another sample of how some of you ended up here. Some of the searches kill me because they are just so out there. I am half tempted to spend some time using these search terms to write a post.

Anyway, I left a few comments about the terms. They are on the right.
favorite song lyrics
comic book religion
how to make hard boiled eggs
pressured into having children
interpretations evel knievel (Sounds like someone is writing poetry in honor the departed E.K.)
arabic thomas the tank
grammatical errors and mistakes in harry potter (They need the fixus mistakus spell.)
meaning going commando (A picture illustrates this beautifully.)
how long does love last?
how to teach a child to lose gracefully
throw roses in the rain meaning
human eaten alive by animal
what is the meaning in princess bride? (Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. Prepare to die!)
guinness book of world records most bras unfasten in one minute ( This is why I carry a scissors.)
why women like to suck (Five words. Something tells me that three and four should be removed.)
how to use sex doll (If you need instructions you aren't old enough to use the doll.)
how much is sperm worth
why do hard-boiled eggs spin
orthodox shave norelco
is it ok to have a beard if you are bald? (Not unless you have a prescription from your doctor.)

The Crooked Finger

I spent part of the evening listening to Clannad and a few Enya songs. You can find a partial list below:
The Theme To Harry's Game
In A Lifetime
I Will Find You
Only Time
It's In The Rain
Exile- From L.A. Story- this one always catches me. There is that great quote in the beginning of the video "Why is it that we don't always recognize the moment when love begins, but we always know when it ends." That got me through more than one rough moment.
Today marked one week since I had the splint removed from my finger and two weeks since the dislocation. The docs told me to take a full two weeks before I started playing ball or lifting anything heavy again. I made it one full week.

Over the weekend the kids spent some time with their grandparents. My mother took the opportunity inspect my hand and reminded me that she and my father had given me fingers that were straight. I smiled and waved a crooked finger at her. It is not quite clear to me yet whether the crookedness is due to the swelling or if that is going to be a souvenir of the incident.

Some people tell me that I have fat fingers, others have described my hands as being meat hooks. I don't really know. What I can say is that life has left me with quite a few scars and a host of stories. As long as the finger works I don't worry too much about whether it is straight or crooked.

Today I chose to test it. I returned to the gym and played ball for the first time in two weeks. I was a bit rusty. I felt a bit tentative about it, so I made sure to bring some tape along. Alone in the locker room I sat and taped my my ring and middle fingers together. Before I went out I made a point to try and flex them and then I lightly punched the locker. No pain meant that I felt confident about playing.

I'll be cautious and take tomorrow off, but come Friday it will be time to do battle again.

Blogging For Dollars

A while back the Shmata Queen asked me if I had ever considered a career as a professional writer. Now mind you, the Queen never asks just one question at a time. She is a one woman interrogation squad who can fire off 1,298,098 questions off of a single breath.

I have learned through trial and tribulation to always carry chocolate with me. As soon as the first barrage hits I toss her the bar and for a couple of moments I am free to speak without interruption.

Anyway, as I told the queen I'd love to make enough money to support a family by blogging, or at least make enough to provide a nice supplemental income. The question has always been how to make this happen. There are various companies out there that are searching for bloggers to work for them. Most of the time they are interested in people who are experts in a particular field.

I am an expert in a number of areas. The problem is that these areas are already being covered by other bloggers or they haven't any interest in paying for information about my areas of expertise. There is not a whole lot that can be done about that, aside from using "da Godfather" technique of leaving a horse's head in their bed. Do you know what kind of heat you get from PETA for killing horses. It is unreal. Besides, there is nothing worse than the lecture I get when I come home covered in blood and smelling like a stable.

So what is a blogger to do when he/she can't find an employer to pay them to blog? The answer just might be to Bleg.
A blog where one asks for donations; a cross between blog and beg.
The confession of the evening is that I have considered blegging...many times. Want to know why? Good, I am glad that you asked, although in truth it is probably not that interesting.

As the 17 longtime readers know I am a very curious man who likes to push the limits. Sometimes I am curious to see what would happen if I asked people for money. I wonder how much I could generate. I have all sorts of smartass ideas that I would use of it. Maybe I wouldn't get any, or maybe I would get quite a bit.

What would happen if I could convince everyone who comes through to donate a quarter a day. I just might earn enough to pay for the good people of cleveland to get out and move somewhere decent.

Who knows.

Actor Heath Ledger found dead

What a waste. I guess there won't be any sequels for him.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor Heath Ledger is dead, the New York Police Department said Tuesday.The Academy Award nominated actor was 28.

Streets of Philadelphia

Initially this post was going to be about the challenge of trying to take care of summer camp for my kids. Some of you are probably shaking your heads wondering why in the middle of January I would be worried about this. Chances are you're not parents, but we'll hit that story on a different day.

I was seventeen years old when I found out that my dad's brother was gay. I don't mean for that to sound overly dramatic. It wasn't a secret. It was never hidden from me. I never thought about why he wasn't married or considered anything about his personal life. Maybe that is more of an indictment about being a self-obsessed kid, I don't know.

Somewhere around the time I turned seven he moved from Los Angeles up to San Francisco. We still saw him on a pretty consistent basis. We'd go up to visit and he'd come down to see us. So it wasn't like I didn't see him. For whatever reason it just wasn't something that I thought about.

The day that I found out that he was gay was one of those moments in which you are surprised but know that you shouldn't be. My middle sister and I were up in the Bay Area for a youth group convention and had arranged to have dinner with our uncle.

It is funny how the passing of time muddies your memories. I can't tell you what we ate, but I haven't any trouble remembering my sister asking my uncle if he was gay. He laughed and said that he was. He was surprised that she had asked.

For a moment I was speechless. At seventeen there are so many things going on in a boy's head. I wanted so very much to be seen as a grownup. I remember calling the waiter over and ordering a beer. My uncle laughed and so did my sister. I wasn't upset or angry, but for a moment I was a bit confused at what to think.

But I loved my uncle so I just drank the beer and tried to look cool. I must have looked kind of silly, but he never did anything to make me feel foolish. Just smiled and resumed the conversation.

I think that I was twenty when I found out that my uncle had been diagnosed as being HIV positive. That was harder because I knew what the most likely outcome would be. It was harder because as a young man who was trying to figure out what life was about I looked up to the older men in my family.

My uncle didn't have any kids. My uncle and my father were very different men, but in some ways so very similar. In my uncle I had a confidant that I could speak with about things that I might not approach my father with. There was a special relationship there. It was safe to hit him with the stuff that I knew would get me blasted at home.

Since I was in college it was easier to find excuses to head up north and spend some time with him. It was interesting to hear his perspective about various family stories, especially a few about my dad. It wasn't like my uncle didn't chastise me if he thought that I was screwing up. He chewed me out on more than one occasion.

It was a bit surreal. This voice that was a cross between my dad and grandfather would start in with the same cadence and expressions that I was used to. I didn't mind. He didn't do it all that often, just regarding a couple of situations in which I was acting like a jerk. I can say that now, I was a jerk about those things, but back then...

It took a while for the disease to really get a hold of him, not nearly as long as I would have liked, but a while. Slowly it began to eat away at him. We watched as it took things from him. The disease tried to rob him of his dignity, did things that were truly awful to watch, but my uncle never gave in.

He was tough. He handled it, often with a smile. The men in the family are famous for being strong willed and he certainly showed it then.

By January of '94 it was clear that the end was in sight. Each day I'd call his apartment and check in with him. Most of the time I would hear voices in the background. They belonged to his friends. He was too weak to do much so they'd come over and handle the chores. They really demonstrated what true friendship was.

Eventually he stopped answering the phone. I'd call and someone would fill me in on how he was doing. If he was up for it they'd give him the phone and we'd spend a couple of minutes talking. In time that ended too. He was just too tired to talk, so I'd ask them to put the phone to his ear and I'd tell him about my day.

I don't think that I told him that I loved him enough. In fact I am not sure that I ever did. It is far easier for me to share my feelings here, than in person. And fourteen years ago I was far more reserved about such things.

It would be really dramatic if I could say that when I heard the phone ring I knew what the news was, but it wouldn't necessarily be true. I am not certain about it. What I do know is that I was the one who got the call.

I told my mother. I told my father. I told my grandfather and grandmother. I can't express what that was like. I can't tell you the horror I felt when my grandfather began to cry, how ashamed and sorry I was about that.

I was almost 25, old enough to know that it wasn't my fault, but I felt like it was. Even though I knew better I still felt like I had stabbed my grandfather, not that it was easy telling my parents. It wasn't, but my dad was my dad. He was and is eternally protective of his children. He made a point of asking me how I felt.

His first impulse wasn't selfish, it was to make sure that I was ok. He and my mother disappeared into a room and then a short while later he and my grandfather went out.

I remember when they left. It was hard watching them go. I felt like a little boy who was too young to do grownup stuff. It was hard being left behind, but then again they needed to grieve.

It is almost fourteen years since my uncle left us. He missed all of the weddings, never got to see us become parents. He missed out on sharing so much. But I still remember and as long as I do I suppose that he'll never truly be gone.

A Guide to Predicting Your Medical Future

Newsweek has an interesting article called A Guide to Predicting Your Medical Future. In personal health news the wife thinks I am crazy to consider trying out for American Gladiators.

Every man needs to have a mountain to climb. This just might be one of mine.

Work Out At Your Desk

They call it the Springflex UB. It is a space age, state of the art method of trying not to get fat while sitting behind your desk. I think that it would be great for my office because most of the time I work in nothing more than a pair of shorts and running shoes.

As you can see it works off of resistance. What do you want to bet that some schmo is going to find a way to bend this back, lose his grip and then pop himself in the mouth and or nose.

"Hey Bob, how did you end up on disability?"

Now that is a conversation that could be all sorts of fun. Anyhoo, I'll let you know if I decide to try it out.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Here are links to what I wrote last year and the year before.

Haveil Havalim- A New Beginning

It is a bit after midnight here in the City of Angels and I am almost ready to head off to my bed but to quote Frost I have Miles to Go Before I Sleep. One of those tasks is to draw up a quick post about Haveil Havalim.

The inimitable Soccer Dad is passing the baton to me so now I get to play conductor. No wait, I prefer the expression passing the reins. It is the wannabe cowboy in me. I rather like the image of being out on the range driving my herd towards the new pasture. Oops, that sounds a bit like I am calling you sheep, doesn't it.

Anyway, I am pleased to have this opportunity and wanted to take a moment to mention a few things. Haveil Havalim is the weekly roundup of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere. It is a chance to promote your blog, expand your readership and to find new blogs to read. It is a win-win situation.

Please feel free to submit your post using our carnival submission form. In return I'll ask that you help to promote the carnival by providing a link to it when it goes live.

Thanks for your time, we'll cover more later.

American Gladiators

Last week I dislocated the ring finger on my right hand. It happened so quickly that it didn't hurt. One moment it was fine and then the next part of it was pointing in the wrong direction. I tried to pop it back into place. I figured that if I did it quickly I could prevent it from swelling up too much.

It was a nice idea, but it didn't work. I tried three times, but each time I stopped. It wasn't because it hurt, but because I was afraid that I would make it worse or permanently injure myself, which leads me to my next comment/confession.

I like watching American Gladiators. No, I don't just like watching, I want to try out for it. I want a shot at the gladiators. I don't care about winning the contest. I am not interested in doing it for the money. I want to do it because the competition with the gladiators intrigues me.

It is still as cheesy as the original show. It is goofy, but I wanted to do it then and I still want to do it now. But here is the difference. When I was twenty I was rock solid. I was in the best shape of my life. That is not the case now. I am not who I was. I can't do everything I used to and that is part of why I want the shot.

I want that opportunity to stare them in the eye. I won't smile. I won't laugh. I won't stand there talking trash. They producers won't like me. I won't look good in spandex. I won't be the effusive, energizer rabbit. But the getting slightly older, rooting for Brett Favre crowd will love me.

There is an open casting call coming up next week, maybe I should attend. If nothing else I could have all sorts of fun filling out the application. They ask some great questions:

40) Do you smoke? Yes_______ No_______ Sometimes_______

Only when I am on fire.

43) In the lines below write a short poem or rap:

There Once was a man named Jack,
Who never once used crack.

That is pretty short. Think they'll like it.

44) Draw a picture of yourself inside the box. I drew a picture, but it is outside of the box. I like to color outside of the lines.

55) Have you ever created a website or posted any materials on any website (including
My Space, MSN Spaces, Facebook, YouTube and similar sites?) YES NO
(Circle One)
If YES, describe the website(s) you created and/or the materials you posted.

I have a blog in which I discuss various escapades and post silly videos.
You get the gist of this. I'll keep you posted as to what happens.

General Housekeeping Notes

Sometimes when I start these notes I feel a bit like Captain Kirk. You ought to hear a disembodied voice as the narrator, "Blogdate 01192008...we have entered the template redesign star system...."

This evening I spent a chunk of time working on updating my template. I have been meaning to do so for quite some time, but until tonight had been unable to find a spare block of time. Ok, that is not really true. I hadn't been willing to use the free time I had to take on the project.

Truth is that tonight I should have tackled a dozen other projects that were more important and more pressing than this one, but sometimes it is much more enjoyable to blow off responsibility. Besides it is a three day weekend so I have plenty of time to fix the motion detector, repair a gate and engage in some heavy labor.

In case you are wondering I am pleased to say that I had the splint removed from my hand. The very next day I celebrated by driving to the gym and spending an hour shooting hoops. I had to fight not to play. I really miss being out there. I love the competition.

Pranks For Nothing

Those Wacky Japanese Are At It Again

Superman Leaves Class

Japanese Toilet Humor

Fake Marrriage Proposal

I Still Feel Like a Fool

Three long years ago I wrote The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves. I can't say that I remember that day or exactly how I felt when I wrote it, but I can speculate. I can guess what must have been on my mind, not that it matters.

Because the thing is that as I sit at my keyboard I still feel like a fool. I still feel like a teenager who is on the cusp of finding those answers he seeks. That one elusive thing that would make sense of the world is just beyond my grasp. I can almost taste it, but not quite.

I am a tortured soul. Restless and second guessing the decisions I have made and continue to make. Don't get me wrong, I am not stuck in self-pity. I am who I am and the decisions I have made are mine. Some of them have been very wise and some not so smart. I take responsibility for them.

Some of my friends are very good at just going along with life. They just accept what they are given and they're happy, or so they appear to me. I am not as good about that. I feel deeply. When I am happy I am quite happy and when I am not, well life can seem pretty dismal.

Failure is something that I have grown familiar with. There are things that I have failed at. I am good at many things, perhaps great at some and others a failure.

In spite of it all I don't feel like a failure. Maybe it is a mind game, but I still believe that a failure is someone who doesn't get back up when they get knocked down. That is one thing that I have going for me. I don't give up easily. I am not always smart enough to recognize that I am losing, but then again that determination is sometimes why I succeed.

Life has its moments. When I look back at the last five years there is a lot to look at. Some of it is very unpleasant. I have been to so many funerals and said goodbye to so many people. Financially it has been up and down and up and down. That is great if you are on a carousel, fabulous if you are describing sex, but not so much fun when you are taking care of a family.

If you are wondering why I am babbling like this, well it is safe to say that I got punched in the mouth today. Not literally, but that is how I feel. So I am here at the keyboard venting. In a few minutes the sad guy will be replaced by the man with the burning anger and I'll take advantage of that.

I'll use that energy to take care of some thing. I'll channel it and we'll see it serve me instead of me serve it. And that is the difference between being 20 and almost 40. Twenty years ago it would have been very hard not to run and scream.

Now I scream in cyberspace. It really works out well. My throat doesn't hurt. The neighbors don't complain and I can't think of a third reason so I'll end this post here.

Paralyzed- The Homeless Man

He stood there along the left side of the freeway offramp. Holding a sign saying that he would work for food or shelter he stared off at the oncoming traffic. About six feet tall, wearing a blue jacket, jeans and a pair of boots he watched and waited.

We made eye contact, I in my car, and he standing at the side. For a moment I was ashamed. Ashamed because I had been wallowing in own sense of insecurity and doubt. Ashamed because I felt like I had failed. Upset because my touch seemed to be more of a curse than a blessing. Unsure and unwilling I had been paralyzed and afraid to move.

And there he stood by the side of the road. No roof to cover his head, no visible possessions that I could see. For all I knew everything that he owned was on display. Inside my car I was ashamed because it was clear that in so many ways my life was better than his. I wasn't the one who was forced to beg for help. I wasn't the one in the cold.

But between the two of us it seemed to me that I was the one who had the poorer attitude and that is why I felt such shame. As I sat there at the signal I wondered whether I should try and help. I considered opening my pocket and giving him what I had to offer.

It seemed the right thing to do, the proper thing. Still I hesitated. I hesitated because right now things are tough. I hesitated because I wondered if I was being conned. And then when I decided that it wouldn't hurt to give him something the light changed and the moment was gone.

Perhaps I'll go back. I don't know.

Fourteen Years Ago The Earth Shook

Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake. The pictures in this post are all from places I knew well. One is parking structure at my university and another is of the Bullocks department store that used to be at the Northridge Mall.

I saw Schindler’s List the night before the quake. I remember it well. I went with a friend who wasn’t Jewish. We spent several hours after the movie talking about it. She wanted to know if I had lost family in the Holocaust and what my thoughts were.

By the time I got home I was wired. I couldn’t sleep so I sat up until the wee hours of the morning. Eventually I fell asleep, but not for all that long. The quake hit just a short time after I had nodded off.

I woke up to screams, violent shaking, car alarms and the sounds of breaking glass. When I stepped outside into the cool night air I saw a different Los Angeles. The power was out all throughout the city. The lack of city lights made the stars in the sky seem far more intense than normal.

The whole thing took place in less than a minute. One moment the world was normal and the next it had changed dramatically. And that is all I have to say about this for now.

Almost 20 years

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of this spot. Hard to believe, not many have kept going since then. I have barely kept up...