The Story of The Three Cellphone Chargers

A few weeks ago we took the family down to San Diego for a quick weekend getaway. It was quite an adventure. We enjoyed a three car pileup on the freeway, the death of an aunt and the hospitalization of my grandmother, and that was on day one.

Anyway, that is background for this story. One of the beauties of the modern age is that a cellphone and a laptop provide you with a mobile office. It is a great time saver/ball-and-chain. So I rarely go anywhere without my electronic leash. This trip was no exception.

The day came and went and we returned to the hotel. As the sun went down I dutifully plugged in my cellphone and cellphone charger into the outlet in the bathroom and went off line for the evening. On a side note I should add that there was a nice sense of relief from not feeling like I had to check my email every five minutes.

The next morning came and I smiled as my children enjoyed the hotel breakfast buffet. Following our sumptuous meal we headed back upstairs to grab our things and checked out. Having had plenty of travel experience I expertly tossed the room to ensure that nothing would be left behind. However, I expertly forgot that a 3.5 year-old girl who wants to see Shamu can be quite distracting and as a result I forgot to take the both the cellphone and charger from the wall.

Twelve hours later on the road back to Los Angeles I realized what had happened. I took a quick look at the freeway and decided that I didn't want to backtrack 18 miles. Why go back when I could use my cellphone to call the hotel and have them mail the charger to me.

The first indication that my plan was flawed came during the initial call to the hotel.

"Sorry Mr. Jack, housekeeping has gone home so we don't have anyone to check your room for the charger. Please call back in the morning."

It didn't really faze me. I figured that I had a car charger, no problem. The next day comes and a very nice lady tells me that housekeeping has found my charger and that they will mail it back to me. I thank her and figure that within a day or two I'll have my charger.

But that is not what happens. The charger doesn't show up. Another call to the hotel to ask about it explains that they are sure it was sent. For the next couple of nights I spend chunks of time in my car using the portable charger. That phone is a business line, I can't let it not be charged.

After more time than I care to think about listening to late night talk show hosts prattle on about politics, sports and UFOs I decide that I am going to just buy a new charger.

What I don't know is that apparently my cellphone provider thinks that $50 bucks is a fair price for a replacement. I am irritated by this and decide screw it, I'll find a better source and so begins the quest for fire, err replacement charger.

Amazon comes through with an amazing deal. I can purchase the replacement for a penny. The only downside is that it costs $8 bucks to ship it via ground. But I don't want to pay more than $20 for a unit that costs a penny so I say screw it and order it. After all it shouldn't take that long to reach me, what is a couple more hours sitting in the car.

That couple more hours turns into excruciating pain and finally I can't take it any longer. I decide that the next day I am going to do what it takes to find a charger.

Once again I resume my quest. My steel clad steed and I drive around and locate a vendor at a local mall. He has a cart from which he sells all sorts of generic cellphone accessories, better yet he has a charger that works on my phone. For twenty bucks and change I have a replacement.

The next two nights feel like heaven. The end of the day comes and I don't have to live in my car. It is a tremendous pleasure to just relax. I kick myself for not thinking of this earlier. Don't forget that I have already ordered a replacement via Amazon. Even though it only cost a penny I got nailed on the shipping costs so technically I have two chargers for about $30 bucks.

For an additional $20 I could have saved myself the aggravation of hanging out in the car and had a charger the entire time. Or had I been willing to commit to an extra hour of travel time I could have just turned around and gone back for it. Between you and me I never liked that idea. I was afraid that I would drive back and find that for some reason or another I wouldn't be able to get the charger and then where would I be.

But I didn't do those things. I didn't spend $50 bucks for a new charger. Instead I spent the majority of three or four nights in the car waiting for the damn phone to be charged.

Yesterday I came home and found two packages on my door. The first was the charger from Amazon and the second was an envelope from the hotel containing my charger. Great, now I have three chargers for my Treo.

And I didn't even mention that in a few months I intend to switch over to a BlackBerry. Fark!

The Fear of Failure

"If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.'
Thomas A. Edison

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
Thomas A. Edison
I suppose that sounds rather New Agey, but anytime I am feeling like I have failed to succeed I try to take a look at these two quotes. Actually there are a bunch of others that I like to read, but I didn't have time to include all of them.

And that leads me to my next point/comment. The moments that I find that I am most disappointed with myself are tied into the fear of failure, not failure, but the fear of it. It is much easier to live with knowing that you tried than to say that you never did.

Most Popular Videos At The Shack

Updated to include Treppenwitz's Favorite Dance Song/Video;

One of these days I have to share my thoughts about luck and timing, but for now you'll have to settle for a partial list of the most popular videos of the last 18 months or so.

Here they are in no particular order:
Jimmy Kimmel's Blanking Ben Affleck
Does Size Matter?
Spontaneous Subway Dancing
Japanese Toilet Humor
Confession of The Moment

Children Watch as Snake eats family dog

I don't know about you but I'd be more than a little concerned about this.
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- A 16-foot python stalked a family dog for days before swallowing the pet whole in front of horrified children in the Australian tropics, animal experts said Wednesday.

The boy and girl, aged 5 and 7, watched as the scrub python devoured their silky terrier-Chihuahua crossbreed Monday at their home near Kuranda in Queensland state.

Stuart Douglas, owner of the Australian Venom Zoo in Kuranda, said scrub pythons typically eat wild animals such as wallabies, a smaller relative of the kangaroo, but sometimes turn to pets in urban areas.

"It actively stalked the dog for a number of days," Douglas said.

"The family that owned the dog had actually seen it in the dog's bed, which was a sign it was out to get it," he added.

I am not trying to pile on, but if I found a 16 foot python in my house I'd call someone sooner rather than later.

"The lady who was there threw some plastic chairs at the snake, but you've got to remember that this is about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of aggressive muscle," Rose said.

A plastic chair? If you are going to try and do something that might antagonize the snake and or save the dog it better be more than that. Here is a blurb about this from another news source.

Sydney - An Australian man whose pet dog was eaten by a giant python as his family watched in horror is afraid to leave his children alone at home in case of another snake attack, media reports said on Wednesday.

Can't say that I blame him. I feel badly for the children, that can't be easy to see.

Tuesday Night Tunes

A really odd mix of music, but I like it.
I Like It, I Love It-Tim McGraw
Swing- Trace Adkins
A Country Boy Can Survive-Hank Williams Jr.
All My Rowdy Friends-Hank Williams Jr.
Monday Night Football-
-Hank Williams Jr.
Knights of Cydonia-Muse
Cherry Cherry- Neil Diamond
Sweet Caroline- Neil Diamond
I Alone- Live
Lightning Crashes- Live

My Dad Has A Problem

There are moments in your child's life when words fail to convey just how deeply you love them. Sometimes those moments are matched by moments when you can't believe how this amazing person has managed to make you want to set your hair on fire and run screaming through the woods.

And of course there are an infinite number of moments that lie somewhere between the poles of happiness and Hopping Mad.

If you have spent any time really reading this blog you are probably aware that old Jack has a digestive issues that sometimes sends me running for the hills. Most of the time I am just fine, but every now and the folks below decks, you know the ones that live in steerage decide to make their presence known.

So dear reader allow me to tie the children and digestive system together. Today I had the privilege of taking Jack the younger to school. Most of the time I am not able to do this, so we were both excited. But even though he was excited I never forgot that the dear lad has a devilish streak in him so I made sure to keep a close eye upon him. Keep him on task so that we could leave enough time to get to school before the bell rang.

I was ever so pleased by how the morning went. I made him breakfast, saw that he was dressed, teeth were brushed, hair combed all in plenty of time. It was perfect and then capricious chance made an appearance.

Just as we were heading towards the door the phone rang. I intended to ignore it, we have voicemail for a reason. The dear boy had other plans. With a bounce in his step he glided over to the phone, picked it up and answered it.

By the look on his face I could tell that it was someone that had to speak with me. I took the phone from his hand and found myself conversing with a major VIP and consequently was unable to ask if we could reschedule the call.

That wasn't the real issue. The problem was that it was at this moment that the engine room rang the deck and insisted on stopping the ship. I apologized to my son and hurried off to ask Scotty and company to recharge the dilithium crystals post haste.

Upon completion of my task we headed off to school and headed straight for the office to get a late note for my son. And that's where the imp decided to zing me. He walked into the office and told the woman behind the counter the following.

J: I am not lazy. I didn't mean to be late.
Office lady: That is good.

J: I would have been here on time, except my dad has a problem.

If I am not mistaken there was an echo and the words "My dad has a problem" repeated over and over. It was just the sort of thing you want hanging in the air.

As the office lady stared at me I offered a tooth filled grin and made some sort of comment about kids saying the darnedest things.

She brushed it off, handed him the late note and the two of us headed down the hall. I looked at him and said that we need to have a discussion about what is appropriate for conversation and what isn't.

He told me that he already knew what I was going to say. So I looked at him and asked him to tell me.

"Don't play with your penis in public."

Just as he was telling me this two of the fifth grade teachers walked around the corner. The look on their faces made it quite clear that they had heard him say this. Maybe I was feeling overly self conscious, but that look made me wonder if they didn't think that he was chastising me.

Great. The office lady thinks I have a problem and the fifth grade teachers think that I am playing pocket pool. I can't wait for his Bar Mitzvah, I am so going to tell a few of the old stories.

Speaking of old stories I came across a slew that I thought I'd share with you again.
Mr Nobody Made Me Do it
Proud and Humbled By the Four-Year-Old
Things My Four-Year-Old Has Done
A Six Year Old Wonders
Where Babies Come From
Profanity- The Children Learn New Words Part Deux
Sex & Children
Great Moments In Parenting- Parts of our Body That Grow
Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I
Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part II

A Name For My New Band

We're going to be called Discretion and Judgment. What do you think?

A Public Service Announcement

Here is a short synopsis of this audio post. It contains a short announcement about interactive opportunities on the blog, comments about what a beach is and somehow a snort.

And for those who haven't been paying attention here is a short list of some recent posts here:
Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman
Jimmy Kimmel's Blanking Ben Affleck
Making a Man- Raising A Boy or Is He Raising Me
How I Deal With Pain
HH #155- The Falling Asleep At My Computer Edition
Chasing Cars- I like These Lyrics
She Needs To Know About Boys
Young Workers- Are They Spoiled or Just Confused
Have you Ever Owned a Waterbed?

Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman

I was reading an interview that Natalie Portman did with the Times Online and came across a few things that caught my eye.
"It’s hard to imagine that in 2002, she co-hosted a new-year party with Britney Spears. What on earth did the two have in common? “We both had the same first job. We both understudied for an off-Broadway musical called Ruthless. I never met her, but I took over from her when she left to join the Mickey Mouse Club. So we connected over that. She invited me to a few things and my guy friends at college said, ‘We have to go.’ I’m sad to see how everyone’s treating her now."
"And, of course, while Portman is famously Jewish, Johansson is a lesser-known Jew (because of her Scandinavian father, she’s called “the kosher Danish”)."
Ok, not that I care of make myself the arbiter of all that is hip, cool or interesting, but I have never heard her called The Kosher Danish. Not that any of this really out matters, but part of the joy of the blog is being able to document these random thoughts.

Jimmy Kimmel's Blanking Ben Affleck

Some of the loyal readership may not be familiar with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and his girlfriend Sarah Silverman. Without going into a ton of details last month Sarah decided to serenade Jimmy with a video entitled "I'm F*cking Matt Damon."

Last night Kimmel responded with his own video called "I'm F*cking Ben Affleck" music video. It has an all star cast including Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Huey Lewis, Cameron Diaz and Harrison Ford.


Making a Man- Raising A Boy or Is He Raising Me

(This is one of many posts in which I recount stories about things my children and I did. I try hard to be a good parent. As I read through some of the older stories I have to ask whether I am raising him or if he is raising me. Perhaps I'll blog about that later.)

This afternoon I proved that a really old man can still beat a young child in a footrace. Ok, there was never a moment of doubt that this 38.75 year old boy could beat the seven year-old in a sprint. The day will come when that kid can take his old man, but for now I am going to enjoy these moments of triumph.

And then I thought that my heart was going to burst. My head swam. My throat constricted and for a moment the world spun and it was all his fault. We had just finished our race and were standing in the driveway laughing about it. That kid looked up at me and asked me if I could teach him to be cool.

I was in shock. I am not cool, I want to be cool. There are moments when I feel cool. There are moments when I feel more like Cary Grant and less like Ralph Kramden, but...

Really, who hasn't had a moment where they wished they were cool. I won't lie and say that it hasn't happened. Of course it has. But that is not who I am. I am not that guy. People don't naturally gravitate to me and try to do what I do. I am just a big goofy guy. I am 230 or is it 240 pounds of happy-go-lucky boy pretending to be a man.

Fortunately I had to take a moment to catch my breath so it gave me a chance to consider how to answer him. My answer wasn't profound or unusual, but it was something that I try to do so it was easy to sell.

I said "Little Jack, the coolest thing that you can do is be yourself, whoever that person is."

Of course he asked me to explain it. I tried, but I can't say that I am certain that he got it. All I want is for him to be happy. Part of being happy is being happy with yourself, so that is what I am trying to do. I want to teach/help him be comfortable with himself. Learn to be in the moment and appreciate what he has.

Whatever I said must have satisfied him, at least for the moment. From my perspective it was one of many conversations we have had and will continue to have in which I try to help make him into a man of character and integrity.

That is the goal. That is the objective. Time will tell.

How I Deal With Pain

(This is a small insert in Fragments of Fiction)

I don't like change. Never have. My mother used to tell me that I shouldn't be so rigid, that I should just let go and roll with things. It is a nice sentiment, but it is not me. I am more like the Oak tree from my parent's backyard. Solid, stable, unyielding and somewhat forbidding.

Ok, the forbidding part might be a bit of an exaggeration. I like to think that I have a look that can make your heart stop, but as of yet I am not so sure that it is true. But the rest is true. I am solid. I am stable and somewhat a good way.

If you could see inside my head, if you could peer inside my mind and see how and what I see you might understand. Long stretches of desert punctuated by distant mountaintops. The desert is a symbol of the lonely guy that lives inside. He is not empty or shallow, there a depth to him.

Days are filled with exceptional heat and the nights with deep cold. The place looks a bit dead but if you look hard enough you can see signs of life. There may not be a single road to the mountain, but there are any number of trails that can be taken.

I know, it is an overly dramatic image, but what can I do. We all want to be understood. We all want someone to be able to look at us and understand who we are. So I cannot help but try to show her. She took my heart, or did I give it away. I can't quite remember anymore.

What I know is that when she smiles at me I feel the warmth of the sun on my back and my load is lightened. For a long time there was nothing but sunshine between us. In my heart I knew that the dark moments would come but I never believed how hard they would be. It never occurred to me to think that the highs would be matched by such lows.

I suppose that it makes sense for this to be, but it has been a challenge. At times the pain has been...exceptional. Angst filled moments of anguish interspersed with cries of rage and the occasional tear.

But because I am a dreamer I always retreat into my imagination. I seek solace there. I picture myself as a sailor whose lost his way at sea. The compass is gone and the cloud filled skies make it impossible to rely upon the stars for guidance.

So I do what all sailors must...I sail. Each day I go through the regular routine and attempt to handle my chores without exception. It is not always easy. Sometimes I find myself wishing for a rogue wave, but those are few and far between.

One day the sun will break through the clouds and I'll see signs of land. That is the hope and the dream. Until then I bow my head and pray to whomever and whatever will accept my wishes. This storm will end and life will change...again.

HH #155- The Falling Asleep At My Computer Edition

The button below contains a link to a special message. Ok, it is not that special but it is a message that you can listen to. Just click and enjoy.

Hello and welcome to Haveil Havalim #155- The I am Falling Asleep At My Computer Edition. I encourage you to spend some time sifting through the many posts here. There are some very fine writers to read.

Also, please be aware that this will be updated and edited throughout the day so be sure to come back throughout the day.


Samuel Scott linked to Kosher Kitchens.NY's Funniest Rabbi offered Ki Tissa 'Tudes.
EJP presents A Shared Jewish Community and Anti-Semitism 2.0 a.k.a. The Facebook Dilemma

From Wolfish Musings Guest Post: Why Gedolim Fail. I think that I once heard someone mutter Sheitel Shmeitel.

Would you agree or disagree that Retirement is Not a Jewish Concept. Ask the grouchy old bear or better yet read a guest post about Orthodox eating disorders.

Mottel has Jerusalem of my Soul -A Song of Ascents. You never know when you need to know How to alienate more Frum Jews.

From a Simple Jew Question & Answer With Yirmeyahu - Sanzer Chassidus. SuperRaizy has a PSA called Jewish Mother Needs Marrow Donor.

Mottel presents Purim Koton in Thought posted at Letters of Thought. Schvach Yid presents Schvach - פני

Dan presents My Jewish Birthday. Sammy shared Human Rights Watch - MR. MAGOO WANABES.

Lion of Zion asks How Did Jewish Women Know When To Light Shabbat Candles in the 18th C.?
frummy twelvestep presents Egypt and the 12 Steps.

A Simple Jew presents Question & Answer With Rabbi Dovid Sears - Minhagim Under the Magnifying Glass

Baruch Pelta presents New Location for A Response to One Above and Seven Below posted at Orthodox Freelancers Guild.

Steg provided a definition of
Left Wing Modern Orthodoxy. Mother in Israel enjoyed a movie about The Rav.

Shira wrote
An Eye for an Eye. Friar Yid has the answer to More questions.


Batya presents Why Don't They Demand That The Kassams Be Stopped? Yisrael Medad presents Holy Hole! and Now, Where Else Did They Burn Books?

Treppenwitz has Faith in human nature. Sometimes you need Strength vs. "Strength"

Over at Yourish you should read The modern-day Hitler speaks again. The EOZ shared Benny Morris' letter to The Irish Times .

Soccer Dad continues his prolific pace with Confirming the kill and More mor.

Jameel wants to know who is Monopolizing Jerusalem. It is a topic that is being blogged about by many others as well.

Lady Light shared Not Hateful Comments, Just Facts. Arlene in Israel is Standing Strong.

West Bank Mama offered Preparing For the Next War. And from This Ongoing War we receive 1,150 rocket attacks last year; 400 so far this year.

Carl provides the inside scoop on how Rachel Corrie died. Linda wrote about An Absence of Hope. Balabusta in Blue Jeans wrote Haim Smadar.

I always thought a snow day had more snow than you can see at For This? Dry Bones has a post called The Jewish Homeland (1998).

If you don't subscribe to Daniel Gordis' Dispatches I urge you to do so. Go take a look at Back to the Mishnah.

Carl has some advice for Olmert with Israel's 'exit strategy' and 'Defense' against Kassams useless.

Robert J. Avrech presents Home Game posted at Seraphic Secret. Satiricohen shares Israel to Dismantle Army, Foreign Office to Assume Defense of Country.

Lion of Zion had this to say: Mamzer of the Month: Daniel Machover. Gila Weiss presents To Die in Jerusalem, Part I and To Die in Jerusalem, Part II.

Ben-Yehudah presents How Does He Know? and How Does He Know? - part 2.

The waffle king shared the story of Captain Joe. Avrohom adler presents Pigs in the Future.

The Big Felafel says
Another Lesson Learned: Just be a Crybaby. Benji has important information: BREAKING NEWS: Hamas taken over by 7 year-old.

On the Face produced Prime Time Palestinians. At IsReali you can read WSJ Loving Israeli Wine.


At Gates of Vienna the Baron posted If Kosovo Can, Why Can’t Palestine? Ocean Guy knows What We’re Up Against.

Israpundit says Kosovo bought and paid for by Saudi Arabia. The Elder of Ziyon has a post called
Hate taught in British Muslim school .

Judeopundit posted New York Times braces for revenge. At Israel Matzav you can read that
Congress wanted to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Sammy offered Clinton's Church Publishes Anti-Israel Books and The State Department "Ain't Got No Class"

Chana shared some thoughts about Albert Bitton. DA posted Muslims: They Love Obama, They Love Him Not.

Tzvee says Jews Should Support Barack Obama.


Elisson is a proud father.

Frum Satire said
Jewish Facebook: it was only a matter of time. He also provides advice Frumster Marketing: How to get the most out of your profile!

Jacob wants people to stop throwing sheep at him. Ben-Yehudah presents A New Religion?

Shira has "Tax widow's" lament--a CPA's spouse grouses. Zahava presents Choosing to be Frozen. CR has managed to learn another lesson.

Rivka wants to know Breakthrough or breakdown? On my blog I offered She Needs To Know About Boys, The Body Watcher and the The Art of Pretending.

Elie shared
TV Trivia Thursday #12. Pearl says it is Not Open To Discussion.

Maybe Pearl should talk to Therapydoc about Constructive Criticism. Tamara channels folk rock with Where Have All the Honeybees Gone, Long Time Passing.

Sarah wishes that she would learn. Click here to find out what. Aussie Dave has a special request.

A little
Fish babka might do the trick. B2 at Toner Mishap has found a use for SpongeBob that is a bit off of the beaten track.

Interested in doing business, than you might want to read
Blogs Israeli entrepreneurs should know. Want to learn more about the Church of Spock.

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.

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Chasing Cars- I like These Lyrics

It is one of those songs that make me think of that feeling you get when you first fall in love. More to the point it reminds me a bit of the past, those days long ago when I was all of 17 and the future was completely unwritten.

Some other songs that kind of hit that mark for me include Jack and Diane, The River and The Boys of Summer to name a few.
We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

[Chasing Cars lyrics on]

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

She Needs To Know About Boys

My daughter is determined to continue her quest to make all of my hair fall out. If you are not familiar with this or want a quick primer go take a moment to read Penis Talk Revisited. It should help bring you up to speed.

This past weekend the family headed down the fabulous 405 to go visit Seaworld. It was our second trip out there so the kids had a good idea about what was there and what they wanted to do/see.

The day started out innocently enough. There was a dolphin show and a visit to see the seals and otters. Much oohing and awing about the animals was shared, especially during the pet show. Midway through it all my daughter climbed into my lap, placed her arms around my neck and kissed me on the cheek. As my spine slid out of my body she looked me in the eyes and said "I love you daddy."

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't beaming from ear to ear, especially when the woman behind us told me that is beautiful and that she loved her hair. What can I say other than I am a proud father.

What I didn't know is that her preschool is training her to be an assassin. My daughter the killer looked me in the eye and told me that everyone has private parts. She was very serious about it. I nodded my head and told her that she was right. Then she told me that children need to listen to their parents and that they shouldn't go anywhere with strangers because a stranger might take them.

I told her that she was right and assured her that her parents would never let anything happen to her. One day she'll realize that she doesn't have her own security detail and that things can happen, but for now I don't have a problem with telling a white lie.

And then she hit me with it again. "Daddy, does Shamu have a penis or is she a girl?" I smiled and said that there were boy and girl whales. But that wasn' t enough for her.

"Can I see Shamu's penis, does it look like yours and my brother?"

Crap, my baby girl just nailed me. I tried to explain that animals have private parts too and that somethings were just for them.

"But daddy, I saw a doggie go potty lots of times. Animals aren't people."

Playing for time I asked her why she wanted to know and she said "I need to know about boys." I told her that she had plenty of time to learn about them. She looked at me and explained that sometimes she and her brother fight, so she wanted to know more so that they wouldn't fight anymore.

It is a beautiful thing to watch. She is so damn sharp, I just wish that her point didn't have to prick me. It was an innocent question, just a child's curiosity. It is not that I won't can't talk to her about these things, I will. I am just guilty of being madly in love with a dark eyed beauty who believes that I am Superman.

Of course my baby is already working on her female look of death. Men, you know the one I am talking about. It is that look that women give us when they are preparing to launch a verbal onslaught in which they attempt to eviscerate you for not remembering, listening or doing some unimportant something or other.

Having called my hand I decided to try and go full bore to see if that would take care of the situation.

"The boy whales have a penis but you can't see it because it is underneath their bodies. We can't see that part very well because they're swimming in the tank or the ocean."

That held her for a moment and then she threw the ball back at me.

"Can you draw a picture of it for me?"

Inside my head there was much cursing. I looked for baseball bat or brick wall to bang my head with. My daughter wants me to draw whale porn.

Without thinking I mentioned something about proportionality and said that it would be too big for the paper. The words had barely left my mouth when I realized that I had made a poor choice.

"How big are they daddy?"

It is not fair. I am not supposed to have a discussion about how big a penis is with her. My daughter is not supposed to interrogate me or ask me to compare the size of my own pal, period end of story.

Just as I was getting ready to try and sputter some other response a guy carrying Cotton Candy walked by. I was so happy to see him I almost kissed him. That would have made a fine ending to the story...

Years from now my kids would tell the story of how their father got arrested for sexually assaulting the Cotton Candy Man. That is just great, what an image. Fortunately sanity prevailed and the conversation took a turn for more mundane things like "Dad, her candy is bigger than mine."

What Can Your Body Endure?

This kind of trivia always catches my eye:

What is the hottest curry you can bear to eat?

The active ingredient in curry or chilli is capsaicin. The more capsaicin present, the hotter the curry. Ordinary Tabasco sauce is about 260 parts per million capsaicin. A habanero chilli contains about 17,000ppm.

Theoretically, the hottest curry you could make would be a bowl of pure capsaicin crystals. This dish would be 10,000 times hotter than a vindaloo.

Although capsaicin does not actually cause a chemical burn or any direct tissue damage itself, the impact on the nervous system of such powerful stimulation is similar to an allergic reaction. As well as incredible pain, you could expect uncontrollably streaming eyes and nose, upper body spasms, and severe difficulty breathing for 30 to 45 minutes.

In fact, our ultimate curry would be five times stronger than the pepper spray used by police for riot control.

Provided you are healthy with no history of heart conditions or asthma, it might be possible to survive a teaspoon of pure capsaicin, but impossible to eat anything else for a few hours.

Theoretical limit: 5g capsaicin
Current record: 0.1g

In 2005, Blair Lazar refined 500g of capsaicin from chilli peppers to create a sauce. He tried a single crystal. "It was like having your tongue hit with a hammer," he said.

How fast can your legs carry you?

The question of how fast it is possible for a human to run is more complicated than it sounds. Even deciding who is today's fastest human is tricky.

The current world record for the 100m sprint is held by Asafa Powell of Jamaica, who clocked a time of 9.74 seconds in 2007. This gives an average speed of 36.96km/h, but since the runners must begin from a standstill, this includes the time taken to accelerate.

Sprinters in a 200m race will complete their second 100m in a shorter time than the first because they are already running at full speed as they cross the 100m mark.

Since the advent of electronic timing in 1968, the men's world record for the 100m has been beaten 11 times (but never by more than 0.05 seconds). Improvements in track and running shoe technology or the effects of wind and altitude are the most likely causes of this.

Most of the forward force in a running stride is supplied by the quadricep muscles. These are attached to the knee by the quadriceps tendon. Work done by Dr Gideon B. Ariel in the 1970s suggested that any time faster than 9.60 seconds would require forces high enough to rupture this tendon from its attachment point. Taking this as the fastest possible time for the 100m would give an average speed 37.5km/h.

Top sprinters peak around the 80m mark. Taking this as a guide, it's possible to estimate a runner's maximum speed as 11.96m/s or 43.06km/h.

Theoretical limit: 43.06km/h
Current record: 42.52km/h

In 2007, Asafa Powell ran with a 1.7m/sec tailwind. Despite this, he only improved on the record by 0.05 seconds.

How many bee stings can you survive?

2243: the greatest number of bee stings ever survived.

600: the theoretical dose needed to give a 50 per cent chance of death.

Want to learn more? Click here.

Young Workers- Are They Spoiled or Just Confused

The Dallas Morning News has an article that caught my eye about the generation called "The Millenials." Much of it resonated with me.

"They've been overparented, overindulged and overprotected," she says. "They haven't experienced that much failure, frustration, pain. We were so obsessed with protecting and promoting their self-esteem that they crumble like cookies when they discover the world doesn't revolve around them. They get into the real world and they're shocked.

"You have to be very careful in how you talk to them because they take everything as criticism."

I would never say that this describes all of the Millenials but it is dead on for a bunch that I have encountered. Some of the comments I have heard about how unfair it is to have to work, what they think they deserve etc. just throw me. Listening to it makes me feel really old.

But the thing that really blew me away was reading that some parents are still so involved in their children's lives they feel entitled to call their office on their behalf. If my mother or father contacted my employer to complain about how I was treated or buck for a raise I'd be irate.

Eventually they have to grow up and fend for themselves. This helicoptering thing isn't going to help that at all.

Mildly Addictive

Click here.

Haveil Havalim: Edition 155 Announcement

I am still gathering submissions for the upcoming Haveil Havalim #155. The audio post below provides some information about that. Please contact me regarding any questions you may have.

P.S. The Shmata Queen likes to say I talk a lot, but that is not entirely accurate. Let me lay it out for you. You know how some people are able to type at a clip of 100 Words per minute, well that is how fast she speaks.

The old queen takes a breath and bam! You are under assault. She can recite the first 500 pages of War and Peace in less than two minutes. I can't compete with that. Instead I have to wait until she takes a breath again.

It is a bit like trying to run across the freeway during rush hour, you have to bob and weave your way through it. I just know that once I start I better continue or she'll leave me in the dust. And now if you excuse me I am going to find a helmet and a quiet place to hide.

Jack's Early Morning Mumbling

Ice Castles


Monday Morning Music

What are you listening to this morning?
Who Are You- The Who
Baba O'Riley- The Who (P.S. In spite of appearances, that is not Psychotoddler playing with them.)
Waiting On A Friend- Rolling Stones
I Want to Break Free- Queen
Who Wants to Live Forever- Queen
Christine- Siouxsie and the Banshees
Dear Prudence-Siouxsie and the Banshees
Love my Way-Psychedelic Furs
Ghost In You- Psychedelic Furs
Life is Beautiful- Sixx:A.M.
Pressure- Billy Joel
I Go To Extremes- Billy Joel

Have you Ever Owned a Waterbed?

Ok readers, it is time for yet another question. Have you ever owned a waterbed?

How to Train a Husband

File this Newsweek story under the "We're Not As Stupid as You Think" category. Before we comment on this story let's take a look at a story from a U.K. publication that provides the average time it takes for a man to propose.
"The average man proposes two years, 11 months and eight days after first meeting their love, research has revealed."
And it takes the average married man five minutes to tell the newly engaged man to run and never look back, but I digress. Let's take a look at this ridiculous Newsweek story.
"Attention, frustrated wives: if you want your husband to start listening to you and stop leaving his socks on the floor, all you need is a little patience and a lot of mackerel. Such is the putative relationship advice of Amy Sutherland, a journalist who spent a year at an animal-trainer school and decided to apply the trainers' techniques to her husband's annoying habits. According to Sutherland, the key to marital bliss is to ignore negative habits and reward positive ones, the same approach animal trainers use to get killer whales to leap from their tanks and elephants to stand on their heads. So to teach her husband, Scott, to stop storming around the house when he couldn't find his keys, she practiced what trainers call Least Reinforcing Scenario, which means she ignored his outbursts, and didn't offer to help with the search. To prevent Scott from hovering over her while she tried to cook, she engineered "incompatible behaviors" by setting a bowl of chips and salsa at the other end of the room. Soon she had a key-finding, salsa-eating mate and, she says, a happier marriage."
Sounds like a great marriage to me. It is so easy to picture her putting out her dear spouse's water bowl for him. Of course none of this accounts for her behavior and that she might have more than a couple annoying habits of her own.
"While Sutherland claims that animal-training techniques work on both genders, in another new book, "Seducing the Boys Club," Nina DiSesa advocates a gender-specific approach to changing people's behavior. DiSesa, who was the first female chairman of the ad agency McCann Erickson, argues that women should use their femininity to manipulate the men they work with and advance their careers. Instead of criticizing an employee's ad proposal, she flatters him for his "brilliant" idea, then sweetly asks if he had any other inspirations. "Women use these tactics with men all the time," she says. "We're mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters. We know how to handle men, we just don't do it at work."
Blah, blah, blah. How many times have I heard/read the same foolish comments about how women control men. Most of us are very aware of what is going on. Don't think that our response is solely based upon your master manipulation.
"While DiSesa's tactics may appall feminists, the appeal of Sutherland's approach is obvious: no tearful couples-therapy sessions, no tantrums about unmet expectations. But Sutherland says it's not a quick fix. In fact, she was the one who wound up being retrained, as she taught herself not to take her husband's actions personally, and not to react when he did things that annoyed her. DiSesa also says she retrained herself to stop criticizing and confronting the men she worked with, and instead use "S and M," seduction and manipulation, to get her way."
Right, bat your eyes and we'll swoon. We just can't help ourselves, especially if we think that helping you we'll lead right to your bedroom. It is laughable. Actually the part of Sutherland being retrained is kind of funny.

Whatever. Treat us like children or animals and you get what you deserve.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - I loved This as a Kid

Once upon a time I was a boy who lived in a house with a small Black and White television set. We didn't have a remote or any sort of recording device. Yes, I know that it sounds primitive. Imagine a home without a VCR/DVD, TIVO, Cable/Satellite or home computer.

In the Jurassic era of television you didn't have the luxury of renting movies or television shows. If you had to use the bathroom you did your best to hold it until the end of the show. If you were a sports fan and you didn't want to miss the big game you had two choices. Throw a fit so that your parents/wife would let you stay home or bring your trusted portable radio with the white earbud to the party.

Back in those days the networks were run by mysterious, superbeings who would magically beam shows to your living room. Once a year you'd get the opportunity to make some popcorn and watch beloved shows like the Wizard of Oz or Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Unless you were The Shmata Queen in which case you were doomed to live beneath blackened skies and snow covered plains. Every day you'd pray that the river wouldn't burst into flames and that the Browns wouldn't lose because if they did it was your fault.

Some Stories are Hard To Relate To

This one just kind of threw me. It was hard not to roll my eyes, shake my head and ask if this is for real. Let me share some excerpts.
"And we wonder why men are afraid to commit, when women like me are depicted as hormonally charged sperm-bandits interested in nothing beyond the urge to have a child."
Bitter, bitter, bitter. Attitude impacts everything doesn't it.
I don’t know of any woman my age (35) who hasn’t spent several years in love with a boyfriend, only to have to give up on the relationship after realising that children and commitment were not going to happen for ages, if at all.
Sorry, sounds to me like you and your friends have questionable judgment in people.

Carnival of Family Life- Link Below

I decided to participate in the Carnival of Family Life this week. You can check it out below.

Welcome to the Carnival of Family Life

Notes From The Past Week of My Life

I am beyond tired so this is going to be a short synopsis of the past week or so.

Here at The Shack we sent Mom and Dad Benimble off on a two month journey to the East Coast, Amsterdam and da Holy Land.

Somehow they forgot to pack the webcam so the prodigal son ran to their home and arranged for FedEx to ship it to their secret East Coast hideout.

Freaky FedEx forgot to stick it on a plane. Old Jack used his candlestick to light a fire beneath their butts to locate and ship package. FedEx promised a full refund. Little shipping store in strip mall is run by people who speak limited English and therefore had a terrible time understanding my request and FedEx's confirmation of the refund.

It took a good 45 minutes, but I received my refund. They refused to give me cash and sent me out with a check.

There is nothing like being in the middle of a multiple car pileup on a freeway. It adds so much to your life.

This can only be enhanced by news that your great-aunt has died accompanied by news that your grandmother is in the hospital. Did I mention that being advised of this news while watching Shamu's show is great fun.

More fun and excitement is generated when you continually receive The Phone Sex Surprise. One of these days this moron is going to learn how to dial the phone. There is an upside as the moron has promised to take me on a nice trip. The downside is that he intends to do some very nasty things to my body. Well, I suppose rough love is better than no love at all.

More on all this later. For now I'll leave you with this and some links to some old posts you might want to read again, or for the first time.

Jack Versus The Rent-a-cop

Cruising At 34,000 Feet

Random WebSites You Might Enjoy

Haveil Havalim #154

It is hard to blog from the middle of Seaworld so this will be short, Haveil Havalim #154 is live and worth more than two zuzim, two agaroth and two pennies.

Check it out

The Body Watcher

My apologies for the sudden ending- kids came home and I had to wrap it up.
My line of work makes it hard to find a date. It is not because I have a job that makes me work too many hours or a crazy boss. It is because of what my job is. I work in a morgue as a body watcher. In simple terms that means that when the morgue receives a body I am given the task of cleaning and preparing it for burial.

More often than not it means watching the distraught loved ones of the deceased sob or curse over the corpse, sometimes both. Grief manifests itself in any number of ways. Sometimes I think that I should go back to school and learn how to be a shrink. Heaven knows that a lot of these Joe's could use some serious psychological help.

As you can imagine many women are a bit uncomfortable calling a body watcher their boyfriend. I once had a girlfriend who was so unnerved by my job she would demand that I scrub my hands in water that was just short of scalding. I tried to make her feel more comfortable by telling her about the stiff who came in with a stiff...well you know.

Anyway, I tell her about the owner's crazy wife. She used to be a doctor but gave it up to live on a farm on a mountaintop with her slacker boyfriend. After many years of living off donations from her children and heaven knows how many drugs she decides that she wants to come back to reality.

So she divorces the slacker, moves off the mountaintop and seduces Mr. Schlatter, the owner. At least I think that it is how it went, I am not really all that clear. All I know is that Mrs. Schlatter is not quite right. I can't tell you how many stories there are of her antics inside the meat locker, (that is what we call the room with the bodies).

In this particular case Mrs. Schlatter couldn't help but notice the condition of this body. It is almost as if she is spellbound. She waddles over to the side and proceeds to stare at it like it is the most beautiful thing she has ever seen. She she fully enraptured by it and for a moment I am afraid that she might try to touch it.

By this point in the story people are either laughing hysterically or squirming off the edge of their seats. Not my girl. She is horrified, so much so that she is enraged and demands that we file charges against her. You can't imagine a moment that was more uncomfortable than this one.

The Art of Pretending

The problem with being poor is that sometimes you are forced to do things that you find distasteful, and that is putting it mildly. Money doesn't buy happiness, but it presents you with options. If you are lucky you grow up in a world of plenty of options. That gives you the power to choose and that is a rare and special power indeed.

Choice was a luxury that was far too rich for my blood. We lived a hard scrabble life. Can't say that we ever went hungry or were cold because we didn't own a jacket, because that is just not true. We had those things, except the food was the opposite of gourmet and the clothes were....Well, they were anathema to fashion. We wore what society rejected. People refused to buy these things and as a consequence the stores sold them for next to nothing to people like me.

That is a phrase I have grown to despise, people like me. It is ugly and demeaning. It used to make me feel small and worthless. Over time I learned to hide my pain. You wouldn't have known the shame that I felt because it lay beneath my mask. But it was there, always close to the surface, hidden but always there.

It is a part of me now. It was part of what shaped and molded me. Shame and anger, dust, dirt and despair. The fear of not fitting in and the fear that maybe I would fit in, but not with the people I wanted to. Where did I where and to no one. That is how I felt and how I learned the art of pretending.

The art of pretending helped me to get jobs and get out of tough situations. The art of pretending was my security blanket and my curse. The art of pretending might have helped get me in the door, but it never fixed the pain.

Still, over the years I gained a thicker skin or maybe it is a thicker head. You can decide for yourself which way it went.

A Woman May Not Control Boys

From Sports Illustrated:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas activities officials are investigating a religious school's refusal to let a female referee call a boys' high school basketball game.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association said referees reported that Michelle Campbell was preparing to officiate at St. Mary's Academy near Topeka on Feb. 2 when a school official insisted that Campbell could not call the game.

The reason given, according to the referees: Campbell, as a woman, could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs.

Campbell then walked off the court along with Darin Putthoff, the referee who was to work the game with her.

"I said, 'If Michelle has to leave, then I'm leaving with her,"' Putthoff said Wednesday. "I was disappointed that it happened to Michelle. I've never heard of anything like that."

Fred Shockey, who was getting ready to leave the gym after officiating two junior high games, said he was told there had been an emergency and was asked to stay and officiate two more games.

"When I found out what the emergency was, I said there was no way I was going to work those games," said Shockey, who spent 12 years in the Army and became a ref about three years ago. "I have been led by some of the finest women this nation has to offer, and there was no way I was going to go along with that."

Somebody has got to establish some boundaries otherwise these women are going to get way too uppity. It frightens me to think of the consequences. Husbands around this country tremble at the thought of women gaining power. Oy.

My Next Car

CNN has a story about my next car. It is a car that you can drive on land and sea. To be clear, it doesn't matter whether it is fresh or saltwater.

It's called the "sQuba," and conjures up memories of James Bond's amphibious Lotus Esprit from "The Spy Who Loved Me." That fictional vehicle traveled on land and, when chased by bad guys in a helicopter, plunged into the water and became an airtight submarine -- complete with "torpedoes" and "depth charges."

But "Q" isn't responsible for this one.

The concept car -- which unlike Bond's is not armed -- was developed by Swiss designer Rinspeed Inc. and is set to make a splash at the Geneva Auto Show next month.

Company CEO Frank Rinderknecht, a self-professed Bond fan, said he has been waiting 30 years to recreate the car he saw Roger Moore use to drive off of a dock.

The sQuba can plow through the water at a depth of 30 feet and has electrical motors to turn the underwater screw.

You'll have to break out the wetsuit, however.

The car has an open top, meaning that the two passengers are exposed to the elements.

"For safety reasons, we have built the vehicle as an open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency," said Rinderknecht, 52.

Passengers will be able to keep breathing underwater through an integrated tank of compressed air similar to what is used in scuba diving.

The sQuba's top speed on land is about 77 mph, but it slows down to 3 mph on the surface of the water, and 1.8 mph underwater.

The Relationship Is Over- When Do You Say Goodbye

A buddy of mine just finished getting divorced. Last Thursday they signed the final docs and now he is officially single again.

Over the course of an evening he talked about his marriage and what happened. He shared some of his hopes and dreams and explained how surprised he was that things didn't work out between them.

He said that the split was bittersweet and that though he was happier not to be wed to her, a part of him was still sad. I told him that what he was saying made sense and reassured him that he had done the right thing.

I don't know if it helped him but I hope that it did. One thing really stood out during our talk and that was the question of knowing when to walk away. How do you determine that you are not going through a phase. When do you decide that you cannot salvage things. When do you say goodbye and walk away.

It is a hard question to answer. I am not sure that I really know, but it is something that I am mulling over.

Valentine's Day- Stop Oppressing Men!

It is time for the annual Valentine's Day bash fest. Here are a few words about it.

And now here are links to some prior posts about this foul day. The comments on some of them are kind of fun.
Valentine's Day Should Be Banned
Married for More Than 70 Years
Valentine's hype can force tough decisions
Random Babbling About Valentine's Day

The Couple That Pees Together

Things You Might Be Interested In

Another quick audio post about what is going on here at The Shack.

I won't Shed Any Tears About this Story

Ynet reports Hizbullah announces Imad Mugniyah killed. Mugniyah has a long list of accomplishments. While I won't pass out candy or ring bells, I won't lie and say that I don't find a certain satisfaction in knowing he is not around to participate in any more acts of violence and terror.
"Mugniyah, one of Hizbullah's founders and its operational commander, is believed to be the mastermind behind the attacks against the Jewisj embassy and the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in1994.

He is also wanted for the hijacking of a TWA airplane in Lebanon in 1985 and the abduction of westerners in the country during the 1980s.

The United States considers Mugniyah to be the man behind the bombing at the American embassy in Beirut in and the attack against the Marines headquarters in Lebanon in 1983, which killed over 200 Americans."

A Bigger House & More Money

"Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money." Satchel Paige
As I roam through the house during the quiet of the evening I realize that 50 percent of the advice I received about buying this place was useless and 50% was less than useless. The sum total of that is none of that was worth a damn, but that is a story for a different day. Or maybe it is just a matter of my not having anything clever to share. You do know how very much I like making the smart remark.

The advantage or should I say curse of hindsight is that it gives you the opportunity to see what you should have done. Not like I really wanted to have instant replay of my life. The last thing I want to do is be able to watch my mistakes replay themselves over and over again like some real life version of Groundhog Day.

In any event I find myself in need of a bigger house and more money. The current establishment is lacking in a number of areas, not the least of which is a proper room for a gentlemen to take of his business. This is not to say that the place is devoid of the fine attributes a home should have, it is not. The problem is that it is long on promises and short on delivery.

All of the aforementioned clatter is just my way of avoiding discussion of the issues I should be dealing with. It is not that I mind dealing with the challenges we all must face, but it is far more pleasant to consider how close I came to convincing Ann Stacey to sleep with me the night of our senior prom. Just remember that if anyone asked if Ann Stacey and I shared a tumble in the tulips I will neither confirm or deny it. For the glory of posterity and gentlemanly honor it shall remain a mystery.

Ah, Ann Stacey, now there was a fine woman. Smart, compassionate, sexy and quite willing to laugh at my jokes. I do recall that when I met her she was dating the dumbest Dutchman I had ever met. To be fair this has always been an issue of dispute between us, but what married couple does not have a few of these.

Yes dear reader, the same Ann Stacey from my senior prom eventually had the good sense to marry me. I won't tell you how long it took her to gain this sense, I'll just let it be known that for a short time she was mentally and emotionally impaired. Fortunately I was able to help her see the right of it which led to an immediate improvement in all aspects of her life.

And now that I have rambled on yet again I suppose I should comment on that which brought you here today.

Not Quite Abandoned

I didn't think it had been as many months away from here as it has clearly been. I was certain I had updated this place in December and ...