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Showing posts from February, 2008

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

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 w

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 h

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 "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 b

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. Enjoy.

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

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

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. Judaism 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 As

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 Everything On our own We don't need Anything 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 Wo

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 o

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

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 paren

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.

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

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

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 do

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.

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 a

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 c

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

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 officiat

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 un

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

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 bigge