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Showing posts from May, 2008

Whether The Storm or Weather The Storm

Here is another shot at some Johnny and June fiction. It is late, so we'll see if I manage to come up with anything good. If it stinks I'll just nuke it and try again. If you're curious here are links to some prior attempts. Notes For June- Fragments of Fiction More about Johnny June Johnny and June- A Rough Draft Some Notes for Fragments of Fiction May 2008 It had been clear for a long time that Johnny and June had stumbled onto something special. They had the sort of relationship that they had always wished for, more or less. It wasn't flawless. They had their ups and downs and moments of doubt. There were times when they would shake their heads and wonder why they had ever gotten involved with each other. But those moments always passed. Just when they thought that they couldn't be more upset they'd find that the anger had passed and was quickly replaced by a longing for the other. Because in spite of the hard times they knew that when things were right

Blog Features & A Few Notes

I have three other blogs besides the Shack that I more or less run, but I don't really spend much time on any of them. They kind of exist in a sort of limbo in which I tend to them upon the odd occasion. It is a bit frustrating because they started with such potential. I took much of what I had learned from this blog and tried to apply it there. The goal was to do more, improve and grow, create a bionic blog. Can't really say that I have succeeded or failed and for the moment I am ok with that. Ok, I lied, I don't really feel good about it, but I have more important issues occupying my time. That is part of the joy of being a responsible adult, making decisions about priorities and then acting upon them. So for now I have made the choice to try and focus somewhat upon this little corner of cyberspace. As I enter my fifth year I have the same goals and objectives as always. It is time to improve the writing and layout and be discovered as the next great writer so that I c

LBJ, Jews and Israel

Meryl tipped me off to this post . Here is an excerpt: "The Texas congressman’s district had only 400 Jews, but clearly the Johnson family’s Christian teachings had given him a strong affinity for Jews and their return to the Holy Land. Five days after taking office in 1937, LBJ broke with the “Dixiecrats” and supported an immigration bill that would naturalize illegal aliens, mostly Jews from Lithuania and Poland. In 1938, Johnson was told of a young Austrian Jewish musician who was about to be deported from the United States. With an element of subterfuge, LBJ sent him to the U.S. Consulate in Havana to obtain a residency permit. Erich Leinsdorf , the world famous musician and conductor, credited LBJ for saving his live. Johnson Saved Hundreds of Jews That same year, LBJ warned a Jewish friend that European Jews faced annihilation. Somehow, Johnson provided him with a pile of signed immigration papers that were used to get 42 Jews out of Warsaw. But that wasn’t enough. Accor

Dental Floss

Apparently I am floss challenged. That is not to say that I do not floss, I do. Rather I can't seem to pull the correct length. It is either too short or too long. On top of that I have large hands that I can't quite fit in my mouth. It is probably a good thing, not that I really have a standing need to stick my hands in my mouth. Some people might tell you that I am good at sticking my foot in my mouth. That is a tired euphemism, especially since my feet are even larger than my hands. I couldn't fit them inside even if I wanted to. And I don't. This is a ridiculous post, but right now my life is rather ridiculous. If you ask if that is good or bad I will say that I do not know. What does it matter and how did I get here. One more comment about floss. I have a stupid joke I do with floss in which I simulate an air conditioner. Some of you may remember the A/C displays at Sears, you know the one that used the green thread on the grill. That is all for now.

From The Archives

I stumbled onto some old crap that I decided to dust off and display again. Hate Mail You Don't Smell Like Daddy Parents- List Your Child's Most Irritating Toy/Show The Rocky Horror Picture Show Will They Know Me- I Am Going To Die The Internet's Impact Upon Sex & Relationships Selective Memories How I Write Polishing Posts- Editing Advice You Probably Won't Need

You Don't have to Pay Full Price

CNN/Money has an article that discusses how many retailers are trying to continue to bring in new customers during hard times. "NEW YORK ( -- Times are tough. The economy is weakening, consumer confidence is at a low and Americans are struggling just to buy basics like gas and groceries. So when it comes to getting goods that fall beyond the bare necessities, shoppers are getting smarter. Not only has scouring the Web for the best possible price become standard protocol before buying a big-ticket item, but more consumers are employing creative strategies for scoring hot deals on everything from stereos to sweat pants. Comparison shopping, haggling and swapping discount codes are all becoming mainstream marks of savvy shoppers. And retailers are playing along. Coupon craze Swapping online coupons or discount codes is one quick way to score a reduced price. Often simply applying the right coupon or promotion code during the online payment process can mean a savings of

The 10 worst jobs in science

MSNBC has an interesting list of the ten worst jobs in science. Read the whole article and see what they have to say, or let me walk you through an abridged version. No. 10: Whale-feces researcher No. 9: Forensic entomologist No. 8: Olympic drug tester No.7: Gravity Research Subject No. 6: Microsoft security grunt No. 5: Coursework carcass preparer No. 4: Garbologist No. 3: Elephant vasectomist No. 2: Oceanographer No. 1 Hazmat diver

Responding to Comments

Once upon a time I referred to blog posts that had no comments as orphans or something along those lines, I don't quite remember and don't feel like looking it up. What I can say for certain is that I remember being disturbed to see that some posts never received any feedback. It was kind of a silly thing to be miffed about. I really don't blog for the comments, but that doesn't mean that I don't want/enjoy/appreciate the feedback. It may be a secondary thing, but nonetheless it is nice to see that someone took the time to respond. Now many years into my blogging career I pay far less attention to that than I used to. Sure, there are some posts that I think are amazing that still never receive any comments, but I don't pay much attention to it. The comments are nice, but they don't drive the blog. All that being said I have a responsibility to respond to comments and I need to come clean about this. Lately I have been a bit lax about it. I read every comm

My Fourth Blogiversary- What Do I have To Say

It seems that another year has come and gone. Another year of challenges, struggles and more than a few victories. Another year in which I promised myself to come up with a more profound blogiversary post than the past, but still didn't. So let me get a few things out of the way. When I look back at the posts I put up during my first few months of blogging I really cringe. Some of them are just dreadful, the exact opposite of the profundities I always hope to find there. For that matter I tend to dislike most of my posts. When I read them I always find an expression that sounds tired, far too trite or falls short in some other way. When I look back I wonder what the hell I was thinking and why I wasn't more careful in my editing. And then I begin to consider all of the benefits that I have received from blogging and I begin to smile. Blogging has been the source of new friendships and provided an education in many areas that I wouldn't have normally received. I was trul

A Different Sort of Childhood

While I was traversing the fine state of Texas I took a moment to give G a shout to try and catch up. I met the old man on the first day of kindergarten, way back in the fuzzy days of 1974. Every now and then big, tall and lanky and I pull out the old photos and thank the powers that be that we weren't responsible for the incredibly ugly clothes that represent the '70s. Gosh, some of the crap that our parents made us wear is beyond hideous. Can't wait to see what happens when the children get a hold of those photos. I am ready to take a bit of abuse. Anyway, the bastage didn't bother to pick up the phone. This means one of two things. 1) Those exceptionally old ears can't hear the soft ring of a cellphone. 2) The parents of the new woman were busy interrogating him. On a side note he and I always refer to each other in the loving manner which you have just read. I don't know when it started, but it is just how we do it. All of this brings me to the point o

The Worst Place To Have Plumbing Problems

I can't think of too many places that could possibly be more problematic than in outer space. I hope that they have plenty of bottles and pots, or at least corks and rubber bands. "WASHINGTON (AP) -- The international space station's lone toilet is broken, leaving the crew with almost nowhere to go. So NASA may order an in-orbit plumbing service call when space shuttle Discovery visits next week. Until then, the three-man crew will have to make do with a jury-rigged system when they need to urinate. While one of the crew was using the Russian-made toilet last week, the toilet motor fan stopped working, according to NASA. Since then, the liquid waste gathering part of the toilet has been working on-and-off. Fortunately, the solid waste collecting part is functioning normally. Russian officials don't know the cause of the problem, and the crew has been unable to fix it. The crew has used the toilet on the Soyuz return capsule, but it has a limited capacity. They n

Thank You!!- Haveil Havalim Hosts

Haveil Havalim is the weekly roundup of posts from the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere. As many of you know the carnival was originally organized by Soccer Dad and I have since taken over the role of admin. This is a post that is long overdue to thank the many bloggers who have stepped up to the plate and taken on the responsibility of hosting as well as those of you who continue to contribute because without your help H.H. would cease to exist. So I wanted to take a moment to publicly thank those of you who have hosted and those of you who are standing on deck. Here is a list of bloggers whose help has been invaluable. Take a moment and go say hello. And please note that some of the newer hosts are already taking a second turn at bat. Past Posts Ill call Baila Esser Agaroth The Israel Situation My Shrapnel Life in Israel Jtown Underground SimplyJews Ima on (and off) the Bimah Frume Sarah's World Future Hosts Frum Satire Writes Like She Talks Soccer Dad

A Few Hikes I Might Attempt

David has a video of a pretty cool hike . It is not for the light of heart. But then again neither is the Mt. Huashan Hiking Trail. I grabbed the two photos below from Rick Archer's site . It is worth clicking through to go read more about the hike.

The Husband Store- A Joke

This is from the mailbag. A brand new store has just opened in New York City that sells Husbands. When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions at the entrance:- "You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are 6 floors and the value of the products increase as you ascend the flights. You may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you CANNOT go back down except to exit the building So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the 1st floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men have jobs. The 2nd floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids. The 3rd floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids and are extremely good looking. "Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the 4th floor and the sign reads: Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help with Housework. "

Traveling Jack's Plane Made It

I am pleased to say that my unscheduled trip to Dallas was quite successful. I am even more pleased to say that my plane did not crash. If you had a chance to check out this post you'll see that my kids were a bit concerned about this. Ok, I was minorly concerned about it as well, but not so much. Did my usual father bit with them, flashed them a big smile, hugged and reassured them and even said Tefilat Ha-Derech with them, although it most assuredly wasn't done from inside of a tank. And might I add that some days I'd like to have my own tank to drive around town in. The mileage isn't great, but it does wonders for solving road rage for other drivers. No one wants to get in a fight with the guy that can crush your car. Anyhoo, the flight out there wasn't too bad, but that is probably due to the time of departure. It left at 7 AM which meant that I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4 something am. Throughout my adult life I have tried to make a point of neve

What If The Plane Crashes

A last minute business trip has me feeling more harried than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Racing around trying to get normal errands and a slew of new ones done in half the time. Disorganized, scrambled, disjointed and a bit disconcerted. Not how I normally operate, no really it isn't. Breathless, heart pounding, too big a deal to blow and yet not big enough to take that seriously. I find myself short tempered and easily irritated, or maybe that is my normal persona. Have to be up before the crack of down to race off to the airport to go swimming in uncharted waters. Contradictions abound, confident and nervous, feeling optimistic and despondent. If only I could have a little bit more time things would be easier, but that is not how it is. It is never easy. Not for me, not for me. The trick is reminding myself that no matter what happens I always land of my feet. Better than a cat, not as graceful, but a thick skull helps cushion the blows. Gather myself and get

If You're Hairier Than Bigfoot

If you're Hairier than Bigfoot or make Cousin It look like a candidate for Rogaine you just might want to check out the Mangroomer . It is a product that I swear should be attached to a Ronco commercial . The image below cracks me up, but I have to ask why they used a hairless model to promote the superior advantages of the Mangroomer to other proven sources of hair removal such as Nair, wives, razor blades, forest fires and tuition bills. Now part of me feels badly about making fun of such a fine device, but this just begs for it. Certainly I am not as obnoxious as the people at Shaverama who had the following to say: We're going to wait for the "BUTTCRACK" shaver. Now that is the kind of high praise that every inventor wishes that they would receive. Or to dig something out of the archives, I bet that Old Doc Bean wishes that he would have had this option.

Traveling Jack's Sideshow Extravaganza

It has been one heck of a week. I have been in and out of so many juke joints I am not quite sure what day of the week it is. Anyhoo, I may or may not have time to write some new posts so for now I am going to leave you with an invitation to search through the archives or spend a little time reading/re-reading these golden oldies. Later on I might have to read them myself and see if I still agree with what I wrote. Why The Baal Teshuva World Irritates Me Morality Without Religion- A Comment to The Self-Righteous The Long And Winding Road The Long And Winding Road Part Two The Long and Winding Road Part Three The Long And Winding Road Part 4 Playing Games With Telemarketers What The Hell Happened to Courtesy Blog Questions We Ask Ourselves Back later, I hope.

Thursday Afternoon on iTunes

When We Dance - Sting All I Want Is You - U2 I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan Layla - Derek and the Dominos I've Loved and Lost Again - Patsy Cline One - Metallica Franklin's Tower - Grateful Dead Lola - The Kinks The House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals Roll over Beethoven - Jerry Lee Lewis

From The Mailbag

Readers email me all the time. Here are a few notes and the foolish answers that I decided to share with you. Can't say that they are all that insightful or interesting, but nonetheless they are yours to consume. Dear Jack, Who are Johnny and June? Thanks, Dave Hill Dear Dave, I see that you are busy. Far too busy asking questions. Don't you know that curiosity killed the cat. The answer is that you know Johnny and June. Thanks, Jack Dear Jack, You seem like a real pain in the ass to deal with. How do people deal with you? -Mike Mike, Usually with a deck of marked cards. Jack, How would you describe yourself? Yours, Maxine Dear Maxine, Here is your answer: A work in progress. How's that. Jack, What is your relationship to Jameel's waffles? -Rafi Rafi, I'd say murderous. He cooks 'em and I eat 'em. Hi Jack, How many bloggers have you met in person? -Marc Hi Marc, Approximately 6. Thanks, Jack

Walkabout- Time To Look For Answers

Freestyle blogging coming fast and furious. Various thoughts about things that I think I think or might not think that I think or could think that I think. It doesn't make sense to me either. My father took a moment to complain/comment that my son has the same habit of asking for advice and then doing his own thing that I do. I had to laugh. I don't think that my dad is all that different. It is kind of a rite of passage of the tribe of Jack. You find yourself troubled about something and seek out answers only to ignore everything that was suggested to you. I like the idea of the Aboriginal walkabout. It is that time when you go out into the bush by yourself and take some time to learn about yourself. Sometimes I remind myself that change is not in and of itself a bad thing. The fear of what could happen can be worse than the actual event. It is not always easy to turn off your mind and sit in the silence. Sometimes the easiest way for me to do it is to exercise until I am p

Keywords For May

Here is an abbreviated list of keywords that were used to find this little corner of cyberspace. It never ceases to amaze me how people stumble onto/into this joint. When love comes walking in meaning of zohan you follow your heart and your head will come favorite song lyrics what did dr. seuss do for the war the heart wants what the heart wants Anne from cleveland Heights explaining death to children redemption meaning sex on the side when was the saying heroes are made, not born made trust in our love poison frogs and ant can not have random sex with someone you love what is the meaning of get the best of me if you go triple platinum it has nothing to do with richie's pizza jerusalem westin adventures how to be a better car salesman when you die what happens to your penis meaning of baruch dayan emes Hamat gader synagogue Sing like William Shatner You will smile again funny bathroom noises ethics of pirkei

Business Cards That Will Get You Business

Here are some pix of a few that I liked with links to the whole load .

The Israeli Flying Car

Wired reports : A group of Israeli technology and defense firms are working on what could become the world's first robotic aircraft for evacuating, and even treating, soldiers injured on the battlefield. Let's just hope the technology is a little slicker than the concept art (right). Israel's Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies is working with local techies and arms-makers to build " MedUAV ," a combination of ducted-fan flying drone and robotic ambulance. According to Defense News ' Barbara Opall-Rome, the Institute is hoping -- hoping -- to start test flights in 24 months. Eventually, the idea is to carry up to four passengers at speeds of 150 knots and heights of up to 10,000 feet . (If the whole thing looks retro-futuro familiar, that's because Urban Aeronautics, makers of this concept drone , is one of the companies behind the robo-medevac.) Six of the 119 soldiers killed in Israel's 33-day war with Hezbollah might ha

Cheapest and Most Expensive Gasoline

Courtesy of CNN Money . Comments forthcoming. Most expensive places to buy gas Rank Country Price/gal 1. Eritrea $9.58 2. Norway $8.73 3. United Kingdom $8.38 4. Netherlands $8.37 5. Monaco $8.31 6. Iceland $8.28 7. Belgium $8.22 8. France $8.07 9. Germany $7.86 10. Portugal $7.84 108. United States $3.45 Where gasoline is cheapest 1. Venezuela 12 cents 2. Iran 40 cents 3. Saudi Arabia 45 cents 4. Libya 50 cents 5. Swaziland 54 cents 6. Qatar 73 cents 7. Bahrain 81 cents 8. Egypt 89 cents 9. Kuwait 90 cents 10. Seychelles 98 cents 44. United States $3.45

Birthday Gifts

Excuse for me sounding childish, but I received virtually no birthday gifts this year. It surprised me. What surprised me even more was that the lack of gifts bothered me. I wouldn't have guessed that it would, but it did. Got a gift card for Barnes & Noble from some family members. I appreciate that. I love books and will most definitely make use of the card. The funny thing is that I can't figure out what I want to buy. It is not something that happens to me. I can always find a book or two that interests me. But for some reason I can't quite make up my mind as to what to get. I have a bunch that I am considering, just not sure what. For a while I played around with the idea of buying a CD, but in the iTunes era I rarely find an entire CD that I want. It is much easier and far more economical to buy the few tracks that I truly like. I need to find a chunk of time to go wander the aisles and see what catches my fancy. Perhaps the MLBF Chronicles.

Tis But a Flesh Wound

The Rebbitzen's Husband tipped me off to this one: "PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A newspaper photographer got a little too close to the action at the state high school track championships -- and was speared through the leg by a javelin. Ryan McGeeney of the Standard-Examiner was spared serious injury Saturday, and even managed to snap a photo of his speared leg while others tended to him. "If I didn't, it would probably be my editor's first question when I got back," McGeeney said. The 33-year-old McGeeney, an ex-Marine who spent six months in Afghanistan, was taking pictures of the discus event and apparently wandered into off-limits area set aside for the javelin. Striking just below the knee, the javelin tip went through the skin and emerged on the other side of his leg. "It wasn't real painful. ... I was very lucky in that it didn't hit any blood vessels, nerves, ligaments or tendons," McGeeney said." Best of line of the art

Notes For June- Fragments of Fiction

As I bang out the pieces to the latest editions of Fragments of Fiction I have made a habit of sharing some of my notes with you. Not sure if anyone besides myself appreciates it, but I think that at some point in time it might be of interest. June sat down and brushed her long dark hair and tried to relax. She lived a very busy life and had precious few moments to herself. Alone in front of the mirror she wondered how life had come to be like this. She prided herself on her practicality and had always considered herself to be someone who could bloom wherever she was planted. It just hadn't ever occurred to her that one day she'd find herself in this particular situation. Decisive and goal oriented she had relied upon her old standard, research, research, research, make a list and then execute the plan. This time she found that she couldn't rely upon her old standbys. Relationships don't always lend themselves to a plan and emotions make it hard to make decisions. Sh

Does America Waste Food

The N.Y. Times reports: As it turns out, Americans waste an astounding amount of food — an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption, according to a government study — and it happens at the supermarket, in restaurants and cafeterias and in your very own kitchen. It works out to about a pound of food every day for every American. Grocery stores discard products because of spoilage or minor cosmetic blemishes. Restaurants throw away what they don’t use. And consumers toss out everything from bananas that have turned brown to last week’s Chinese leftovers. In 1997, in one of the few studies of food waste, the Department of Agriculture estimated that two years before, 96.4 billion pounds of the 356 billion pounds of edible food in the United States was never eaten. Fresh produce, milk, grain products and sweeteners made up two-thirds of the waste. An update is under way. The study didn’t account for the explosion of ready-to-eat foods now available at supermarkets, from

A Relationship Challenged

This is part of the Johnny and June Fragment I have been working on. If you want to read what has come before try: More about Johnny June Johnny and June- A Rough Draft Johnny considered his options, it was late and he was tired, much too tired to make serious decisions. Part of the joy of maturing had taught him that making hard decisions when angry or over tired was a mistake. It was like playing with fire and he didn't like getting burned. Sweat pored down across the brow and he grimaced as it dripped into his eyes. It was fitting how the sweat blurred his vision. He couldn't see clearly and he wasn't sure if he was thinking clearly. And the matter at hand wasn't something that he could just laugh off, though he wished it were otherwise. The funny thing about relationships is that sometimes the most passionate love affair could be so complex. There are layers upon layers to be considered. When you are dealing with the person you love most in the world you ca

Cleaning The Garage

Sunday Night Play list- Here is an incomplete list of what is playing on my iTunes: If You Could Read My Mind -Gordon Lightfoot Shaking the Tree - Peter Gabriel All I Want Is You - U2 With Or Without You - U2 Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac When We Dance - Sting Crazy Train(Live) with Randy Rhoads - Ozzie Osbourne Diamonds on the Soles - Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo Don't Stop Believin' -Journey What a freaky, deaky day. I am not all that sure how to describe it so I'll just ramble on through it. If you live in L.A. you know that right now we are in the midst of a heatwave. It is after 10 and it has to be more than 80 outside. When I wrote about being 25 I thought of a similar time to this one, weather wise. Back then the A/C in my apartment barely worked so I spent more than a couple of nights sleeping outdoors on a raft in our pool. There was something very peaceful about sleeping on the water. Every now and then I think about those days and wonder

Cool Food Sculptures

Click here for the full set at Gawker.

How Do Fighter Pilots Go To The Bathroom

Here at the Shack we are proud purveyors of news about all sorts of things, including bodily functions. We have a certain appreciation for the call of nature and have wondered about how pilots take care of this. There is something somewhat comical about the image of the tough fighter pilot waltzing off his plane with a big stain in their flight suit. Anyway, CNN has the details about a potential solution to this problem. Is it just me or does the Advanced Mission Extender Device sound like a sex toy. "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Where do fighter pilots traveling faster than the speed of sound go when they really need to "go"? Until recently, the answer has been: into a bag. But it's not a great solution. "Piddle packs" -- heavy-duty bags containing absorbent sponges -- have been blamed for at least two crashes over the years, and they're not always tidy. A few years ago, after enduring years of complaints from pilots, the Air Force let it be known that it

It Is Going To Hurt When I Hit Bottom

The four year blogiversary is fast approaching. In a short time I am going to sit down and try and write a post that is appropriate for that day. I'll try to be eloquent and insightful. I'll do my best to be profound and to demonstrate that I have learned something. Can't say if I'll succeed. Can't say if it will accomplish what I want or hope it will. We'll see. Had a long talk with my dad today, kind of a state of the union for me. He sat and listened and gave me the same advice I have heard all of my entire life. "You can't do anything other than try your best and sometimes that won't be enough." I hate to fall. I hate to fail. Took some risks and it looks like they may not materialize. Can't say for certain if they're going to fail, but it doesn't really look like they are going to succeed either. It feels a bit like standing on a bed of nails. I can feel the sharp edge poking against my feet. It doesn't hurt, but it is

The Story of Two Souls (Replayed)

I wrote this post quite some time ago. It must have been picked up by someone because all of a sudden the traffic has spiked around it. Anyway, since it seems to be so popular I thought that I'd run it again. This story has a beginning and a middle but there is yet to be an ending to it and in some ways that is most fitting because it is a story of love and not just any kind of love but one that is all consuming. The love we speak of is the kind in which you are addicted to the other person, they are your air and your blood. They share your heart and own a piece of your soul. It is the best kind of love and the rarest to find outside of the love of a parent for their child. Daniel and I had been friends for quite a few years when he first mentioned Anne to me. They were both married to other people and happily so, but somehow they had met online through a bulletin board they both posted upon. At first it hadn't been anything more than a minor flirtation that slowly matur