Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2008

You Might be Dead But Your Body Can Still

CNN has the full story . I'll share the list with you. I think that they forgot to include mannequin and hat/coat rack. I have a few quick comments. 1. Get married (Some people equate marriage with death.) 2. Unwind with a few friends (Sure, I always keep a corpse to pal around with. They never interrupt me.) 3. Tour the globe as a scandalous work of art 4. Fuel a city 5. Get sold, chop shop-style 6. Become a Soviet tourist attraction 7. Snuggle up with your stalker 8. Don't spread an epidemic 9. Stand trial 10. Stave off freezer burn

Wanted: Women to eat chocolate For a Year

Who wants to volunteer for this. LONDON, England (CNN) -- Scientists in the UK are seeking 150 women to eat chocolate every day for a year in the cause of medical research. The trial, at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, eastern England, will test whether a natural compound found in cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, could cut the risk of heart disease among women with diabetes. A Belgian confectionist has created the special chocolate bar containing high levels of flavonoids -- a plant compound that has been shown to reduce heart risk factors -- to be used in the experiment. Soy, another natural source of flavonoids, has also been added to the bar. Participants, who must be postmenopausal women under the age of 70, will have their risk of heart disease tested on five occasions during the year to see whether change occurs. "The hypothesis of this exciting study is that flavonoids may improve the level of protection against heart disease over and above that provi

Vocabulary Time Part 7

It is vocabulary time again. Here is part one , part two , part three , part four , part five and part 6 . It is probably time to provide a list of the words that have graced your computer screen. You'll be able to find it beneath the current words. Here are your new words: Ollendorffian gerascophobia bathysiderodrophobia hormephobia cacoethes loquendi cacoethes scribendi And here is a list of the past vocabulary words we used. saudade Scaturient Walpurgisnacht barlafumble defalcate Dactylonomy recrudesce videlicet temerarious Tentiginous Urinator usufruct Jackpudding Jobbernowl nikhedonia quidnunckery mancinism macroverbumsciolist mastigophorer matutolypea xenodochiophobia Xenodochium Knobstick effulgence divaricate

Bork, Bork, Bork, Sushi.

The following is a Guest post by The Waffle Master . Floozle; chair Harumbeldee: lamp Brap: lightbulb You've seen these words over and over in the Ikea catalog, yet the voice of the Swedish Chef from the Muppets keeps ringing in my ears. Turns out, the Japanese are having trouble with Ikea as well. (source: ) Swedish do-it-yourself furniture giant Ikea has been ordered to give better instructions in Japan after a customer suffered minor injuries assembling a chest. The man in Chiba, in suburban Tokyo, was hurt in the eye by a broken screw last July, the Japanese industry ministry said. "The cause of the accident is believed to be the customer using an inappropriate size of straight slot driver instead of a cross slot," the ministry said in a recent report. "But the instructions on the product failed to give enough information on what kind of screwdriver should be employed or to alert customers o

The Search

Assuming that I don't make any major changes this section follows Redemption . "Last night, I said goodbye Now--it seems year I’m back in the city Where nothing is clear But thoughts of me --holding you Bringing us near And tell me When will our eyes meet When can I touch you When will this strong yearning end And when will I hold you again Time in new england Took me away To long rocky beaches --and you, by the bay We started a story Whose end must now wait And, tell me When will our eyes meet When can I touch you When will this strong yearning end And when will I hold you again I feel the change comin’ --i feel the wind blow I feel brave and daring! I feel my blood flow With you I can bring out All the love, that I have --with you there’s a heaven So earth ain’t so bad And tell me When will our eyes meet When can I touch you When will this strong yearning end And when will I hold you again" Weekend In New England Euphoria, that was the word. That was what I was f


Redemption. That is what I was looking for. It took a while for me realize it. It took time to accept that I was capable of hoping for something more. But the thing that took the longest time was accepting that I deserved better . The things that we do each day turn into habits. What we eat, how we think, how we dress. They are all habits. We may be human, but we're not all that different from Pavlov's dog. Ring the bell and we come running to eat. I was no different, aside from having convinced myself that I was responsible for all of the bad things that had happened and that I deserved it. Actually that is not all that different from a lot of people. We all feel alienated. From time to time we all feel like losers who don't fit in. Don't I sound like the motivational speaker. But I am not that guy. I don't buy into that crap. Maybe it is because of my own provincial mindset, or maybe it is because I see too many of those charlatans robbing people. But then aga

Welcome To The Insomniac's Theater- Trying To Connect The Dots

I am trying hard to find a way to integrate all of the pieces of Fragments of Fiction . The other day I took another stab here . This evening I am going to continue the process by revisiting this section . A couple of comments in response to a few emails. Pieces of this story are based upon experiences of my own and some friends. When I write I try to put myself in the frame of mind for whatever sort of story it is. I do not know how this story will end, but I do not expect it to be just sad or just happy. If I get it right it will be more reflective of the complex tapestry of life. How is that for a load of B.S. ;) "There is no pain, you are receding. A distant ships smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin. When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse, Out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look but it was gone. I cannot put my finger on it now. The child is grown, the dream is gone. I have beco

Dancing With The Stars- 7 Year Old Boy Edition

I can't stop giggling. Little titters keep slipping out of my clenched lips. Those little spurts and the semi-smirk that I know grace my face are making steam come out of Little Jack's ears. The reason for this is really quite simple. I showed him this Dancing with The Stars video clip and then told him that I had signed him up for dance lessons. LJ : "You better not have done that!" Me : "Why not?" LJ : "Because if I learn how to dance girls will want to dance with me!" Me : "One day you'll appreciate that." LJ : "No. I won't. I hate girls." Me : "You don't hate girls." LJ : "I do." Me : "You don't hate grandma." LJ : "She is not a girl, she is an old lady." Me : "Don't say that to her." LJ : "Why not." Me : "Because you'll hurt her feelings." LJ : "Why?" Me : "Because she doesn't feel old or think of hersel

Rediscovering What Was Lost- Two Kinds of Pain Revisited

This is tied into Two Kinds of Pain , at least I am trying to tie it together. The first time I heard them say she "sucked the life out of me" I giggled. I was certain that it referenced some sort of sex act. It wasn't hard to imagine it either and it was even easier to picture who I wanted to do that to me. Had I not been looking at his face I probably would have made some kind of salacious comment about it. But I had seen his face and it was clear that he hadn't said it to be funny. There was no male bravado. It wasn't a story of conquest, at least not his. If anything it was a comment about how he was conquered and then broken into tiny little pieces. Back then I didn't understand what that meant. I hadn't experienced the kind of love that overwhelms you. I didn't understand what it was like to see my partner as being the air that I needed to breathe. That sort of experience was beyond me, but not beyond my scorn. I thought that giving that much

What Kind of Thinker Are You?

Your Thinking is Concrete and Random You are naturally inquisitive and curious. You're excited by new ideas, and you are a true independent thinker. You are interested in what is possible. You like the process of discovery. You are often experimenting, challenging old ideas, and inventing new concepts. Rules, restrictions, and limit don't really work for you. You have to do things your own way, and you can't be bothered to explain yourself. What Kind of Thinker Are You?

My Family is Conspiring Against Me

hy·per·bo·le ( hī-pûr ' bə-lē ) n. A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton. I'd like to say that every story is filled with hyperbole and that this post was a prime example of it. I covered some of the chaos over here too , including the tale of the car fire in which the cats were consumed. Hyperbole. I only wish that I had engaged in a bit of hyperbole with those posts, but I didn't. I didn't even come close to fleshing out the story. I could have and probably should have painted a picture that illustrated what really happened. If you would have seen a man cradling these dad cats in his arms you'd have a better picture. If you would have seen his girlfriend's reaction to the car fire, witnessed her flailing her arms, hysterical crying and slip into catatonia you would have a much better understanding. Confession, there was not catatonic episode. I couldn't help my

Thirty-Something Grandmothers

I cannot foresee this being anything other than foreshadowing an extremely serious problem. I take a very liberal position on a lot of social issues, but this is stupidity perpetuating stupidity. There's no argument that will make me believe that there is just one way to raise children, but children raising children is a formula that will fail. "As a result of Britain's high teenage pregnancy rate - the worst in Europe - many women are becoming accustomed to looking after their grandchildren while still in their thirties - and without any sign of a husband. The new phenomenon raises questions about the social consequences of generations of children being brought up without fathers. The majority of the women involved don't regret having babies but some who became parents in their teens told a BBC documentary they wished they had done things differently. Miss Bailee, whose daughter became pregnant at 15, and has an eight-month-old daughter, said: "I put Rickei

Where's The Beef- At Arbys

There was an English teacher at my high school who looked an awful lot like the Where's The Beef woman in this commercial . Alas, it appears that Wendy's is going the way of the dinosaurs. (AP) After two past rejections , the owner of Arby's shaved roast beef sandwich restaurants is buying Wendy's, the fast-food chain famous for its made-to-order square hamburgers and chocolate Frosty dessert, for around $2 billion. Triarc Companies Inc., which is owned by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, said Thursday it will pay about $2.34 billion in an all-stock deal for the nation's third-largest hamburger chain started in 1969 by Dave Thomas. Wendy's had rejected at least two buyout offers from Triarc.

The Great Matzah Shortage of 2008

This week I received a couple of interesting phone calls/emails from various friends who complained that they have run out of matzah. It surprised me as more often than not I hear stories about families that have too much matzah. Well it seems that there might be more to the story than I realized. I just stumbled across a story on the New York Times about this very topic. "The reasons behind the matzo shortage range from manufacturing problems, decisions by some stores not to carry the product this Passover and vague talk of a possible work stoppage. “It seemed like the whole region had a problem getting it in,” said Jason Hodges, a supervisor in the grocery department at a Whole Foods in Miami. A person who answered the phone at a ShopRite in Philadelphia said stores there were sold out, as was the Food Emporium in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., in Westchester County. “We heard there was a strike or something,” said the Food Emporium manager, Frantz Baptiste. “The first shipment we h

Snapshot of Recent Posts

Here is a quick rundown on recent posts here at The Shack A Look Back To Help Look Forward Jack's Pesach Round-Up- Lakers Edition Family Photos Revisited Come Talk To Me The 50 MPG Car Unsettled, Unsatisfied, Unyielding Daddies Love Their Sons- Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker Edition Passover- The High Cholesterol Holiday Chores for two: Why men don't pitch in

A Look Back To Help Look Forward

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create. -Albert Einstein This morning my son came to me and told me that he was frustrated because he felt like there wasn't enough time to learn everything. I asked him what he meant and he told me that he mean everything. He wants to learn everything. I suppose that I must have smiled because he looked at me and told me that it wasn't right for me to laugh. I said that I wasn't laughing and he said that I was and it is only because I already know everything. That really made me laugh. Maybe he read my post about eternal life . Ain't Got You - Bruce Springsteen That song has a lot of meaning for me. The lyrics speak to me . Sometimes I wish that I could write and sing the way he can. I don't sing well, but I do sing loud. I can belt it out, but the problem is it sounds like hell. It is a strange po

Jack's Pesach Round-Up- Lakers Edition

Hello and welcome to my Pesach round up of posts that caught my eye. This is the Laker's edition. In a few short weeks we'll all be able to celebrate as another Laker championship banner is raised. It is too bad that Abbagav has retired because I know that he is another true believer, but I digress. Some of you may not be aware that Haveil Havalim, The Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere is not going to come out this Sunday. However it is going to return on April 28 at . You can participate by submitting your blog post 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 . Updated : Thanks to the magic of computers I somehow lost a ton of the posts that were here. I had thought about recreating it, but I am just not up for it. My apologies. In the interim here is a partial for your consumption. Soccer Dad discussed Hillary's transformation . Jameel's waffle

Come Talk To Me

( I had trouble sleeping and wrote this post late last night. I thought about nuking it and starting over, but decided to run it anyway. I don't plan on editing it, so take it for what it is worth. ) Come Talk to Me - Peter Gabriel Some people are afraid of cemeteries, I am not. Sometimes I visit my grandfather . I sit down next to his grave and listen. Every now and then I share a story with him about what is going on in my life. In an age of Bluetooth earpieces it probably doesn't look like I am the crazy guy on the subway who sits there talking to himself. Although I tend not to do it for too long. After a few minutes it feels a bit screwy so I switch from speaking out loud to telepathy. Ok, telepathy is not exactly what I am doing either, but it is after midnight and I am tired. Shaking the Tree - Peter Gabriel Every time I see this video I expect a wild hora to break out. On a side note it reminds me a bit of people at camp dancing to Pata Pata , don't ask me why

The 50 MPG Car

I have been meaning to blog about a story I read on Newsweek for a while now. The subhead on the story says Why automakers don't sell a car that gets 50mpg . It is an excellent question and one that really needs more attention. This is not just an environmental issue, it is economic. As it becomes more expensive to operate a motor vehicle we will see it begin to impact the economy at large in all sorts of places. There is no doubt in my mind that we have the ability to produce these vehicles. It really has been a question of desire. Gas is still cheap enough that most people do not have to stop and consider whether it makes financial sense to take a drive for pleasure, go to the store etc. But the day is coming where it is going to be harder and until we see that day I question whether we'll have a strong enough push from consumers to see change. Let's take a look at some excerpts from this story. "Wouldn't it be great if you could drive a car that gets 50 mile

Unsettled, Unsatisfied, Unyielding

Sometimes the words flow freely and sometimes they come out in a trickle. I blog to vent. I blog to escape the small irritants that aggravate me. I blog to share my pain and express it in a way that helps me to understand who I am and what I am about. I blog because I am unsettled, unsatisfied and unyielding in my search for the things that provide meaning and substance in my life. The blog is my secret world . It is a place where I share my hopes and dreams. It is where I admit my weaknesses and sometimes roar in anger. Some of what I write embarrasses me. It is too raw. It is too personal. It is too emotional and it leaves me feeling too vulnerable. So I erase it. I delete it. I make jokes about it. I pretend that it doesn't bother me. And sometimes that works. Sometimes I don't like what I write because it sounds ridiculous. Sometimes I read it and wonder am I really this big a moron. Sometimes I think that I should just suck it up and live. And then I read it again and

Daddies Love Their Sons- Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker Edition

My son is at a great age. He is old enough to watch some of the cooler movies and still young enough to believe in the magic. During the past couple of weeks he and I watched the original Star Wars trilogy. We had great fun talking about the characters and what happened. While we watched I made a point to periodically check out the look on his face. I watched his eyes get wide and listened to him gasp and or cheer as warranted by the scene. But he really caught me off guard with his reaction to one particular scene during Return of the Jedi. It is in the video just below this. If you watch you'll see the fight between Luke and Darth Vader followed by the Emperor's attempt to kill Luke. As the Emperor sends lightning shooting into Luke's body there is a moment where Luke screams "Father, please!" At that moment my son grabbed my hand and said he won't die, his dad will save him. I sat in silence. I wanted to let him learn what happened for himself. I watch

Passover- The High Cholesterol Holiday

When I asked people to share their favorite Pesach memories I forgot to include one of my own. One of the things that I like best about Pesach is the food. There are some dishes that only come out once a year. One of my favorite is my mother's Apple Matzah Kugel. However as much as I like it, there is only so much kugel that I can stand. I love fried matzah (matzah brei) and I love brisket, but there is a limit to these too. As a not quite recovering carbaholic it is tough to go all week without it. Ok, it really isn't that hard to do. The hard part is being told that I can't have it. Take a memo, if you don't want me to do something you should never tell me that I cannot. Call it childish, call it obnoxious, call it whatever you want, but the fastest way to encourage me to do something is to say that I cannot do it. It just makes me see red, but I digress. Back to the matter at hand, food. Passover recipes are chock full of items that are sure to send your cholest

Chores for two: Why men don't pitch in

I don't know how I stumbled onto this article, but something tells me that if I had somehow ended married to this amazing catch I'd be divorced. It is a polemic about household chores and who does more. As you might have gathered this woman goes on and on and on about how hard women work and how men do not do anything around the house. Call me what you will, but I found her shrill rant to be annoying. And the poor schlemiel she is married to, whatever is he going to think of her portrayal of him. Let's take a look at this. "And yet everyone acts as if Jeremy deserves some kind of medal just for making a run to the supermarket. No one has ever suggested that I’m a heroine for doing the things every mother is expected to do. I admit that my husband helps out more than many men, but here’s another news flash: It isn’t because he’s such a fabulously enlightened being. Left to his own devices, he would doubtless park himself in front of the TV like some sitcom male-chau

Far Too Much To Spend on a Children's Party

CNN has a story about extravagant birthday parties for children that made me shake my head. (LifeWire) -- Two years ago, Stephanie Kaster of Manhattan set out to plan the birthday party of a lifetime for her daughter. Granted, little Sophie didn't have many parties under her belt with which to compare it: She was not yet 3. "I just thought, 'If I go to another paint-a-ceramic-bowl or stuff-a-bear party, I'll shoot myself,'" says Kaster. So she booked a fondue restaurant, hired a musical troupe to perform as the Wiggles (her daughter's favorite group) and ordered a four-layer cake. Each guest took home a Fisher-Price guitar and custom CD. The price tag? $5,000. "I couldn't believe that I'd ended up spending that much," Kaster says. I am well familiar with the challenges and costs involved of throwing a child's birthday party, but there are limits and then there is the realm of the ridiculous. The example above is ridiculous. Let

The World's Fastest 95 Year-Old Man

One of these days I am going to take the various posts I have about my grandparents, print them out and put them into a folder. It is on that giant list of things that have to be done. I'll get to it. No, really I will. My grandmothers have gotten short shrift on this blog. There is an awful lot that could be said about them and I have been negligent about sharing it. In part it is because I spent more time with my grandfathers than my grandmothers, but that doesn't mean that they didn't play a very large role in my life. Not long before I got married Grandpa Jack took me aside offer some friendly advice. He looked at me and said something to effect of "You'll never find anyone who can make you happier or more irritated than a woman." With a smile on his face he told me that I should always squirrel away a couple of bucks for myself. Just some kick around cash that I could have for myself. I remember smiling and nodding my head. My other grandfather had s

What is Your Favorite Pesach Memory?

My son asked me to tell him about my favorite Pesach memory. It is the kind of question that should be a gimme. It doesn't involve body parts or questions about sex. There is no philosophical discussion such as the one about why people do bad things or why is there war. It is just a simple question in which I get to tell him about my favorite memory of the 35 or so sederim that I remember. Yet the truth is that I found it to be more than a little frustrating. I don't have a favorite story, at least I can't seem to think of one and that bothered me a little. It seemed to me that with so many experiences to choose from I should be able to pick one or two, but I just can't seem to pinpoint those extra-special moments. It made me wonder if perhaps I hadn't taken them for granted. So I spent some time thinking long and hard about Pesach and realized that I have a hundred favorite memories. Perhaps it is a cop out, but it is true. So here is a brief list: 1) The way t

Thursday Afternoon Music

Machar Ani Babayit (Tommrow I'll Be Home) - Ethnix Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley & The Wailers No Woman No cry - Bob Marley & The Wailers " You All Everybody "- Driveshaft Woke up this morning - A3 Centerfold - J. Geils Band Freezeframe - J. Geils Band City of New Orleans - Arlo Guthrie My first, my last, my everything -Pavarotti & Barry White (If I could sing like Barry I might have stayed single forever. ;) " Scream "- Billy Idol The Man's Too Strong - Dire Straits Bonus: Adam Sandler In The Wedding Singer . Back later....

America's Top 50 Rabbis

Last year Newsweek shared a list of America's Top 50 Rabbis . The second annual list is here . The excerpt below shares how the list was developed. Not unlike many lists I take this one with a grain of salt. Here is the second annual version of the list—generated by Michael Lynton, (chairman & CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment), Gary Ginsberg, (executive VP, global marketing and corporate affairs, News Corp.) and Jay Sanderson, (CEO and executive producer, JTN/JTN Productions)—of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. In the fall of 2006, the friends, interested in the future of American Jewry and the evolving role of the rabbi, started a conversation that eventually became "the list." The machers ranked the rabbis based on the following unscientific criteria: • Are they known nationally/internationally? (20 points) • Do they have political/social influence? (20 points) • Do they have a media presence? (10 points) • Are they leaders within their commu

Weird News

Sometimes we just have to share the junk we stumble over. Here are a few stories interspersed with my comments. He Took The Gator For a Ride ... the trooper noticed a 6-foot alligator contentedly riding next to the back window of Johnson's car. Johnson said he found the gator on the side of a road. I feel confident that the trooper was able to assess the mental state of the gator, but wait, there is more to the story. What happened when in a separate incident a different officer spoke with Mr. Johnson. Johnson advised the officer that there was a water moccasin snake in his car and that the snake had already bitten him on the hand. An animal control officer found the snake and removed it, Longbotham said. Johnson refused medical treatment for his hand. Early Sunday a resident of a local mobile home park said Johnson knocked on his door and asked for help hauling a big television out of a mobile home, Longbotham said. "The neighbor told him that's not your house,"