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Showing posts from July, 2008

The World's Strongest Penis

My children provide a never ending source of blog fodder. The questions they ask, the stories they tell and the things that they do provide a steady pipeline of material. The hard part is that some of these stories seem to repeat themselves over and over, with just a slight variation on how they are told/come about. This next story comes courtesy of the lad that the good people call "Little Jack." He recently told me that he is the smartest boy in the house. When I asked why he explained that I don't go to school and that I have an "old brain." Anyway, the conversation meandered about and eventually led to our standard question and answer time. The "Q&A" session is something that we do on a regular basis. It gives him a chance to ask me to answer the burning questions on his mind and it provides me with a chance to try and pick his brain about his day. The conversation about The World's Strongest Penis began as a discussion about how to use

One more Reason Not To Take Bus

( CNN) -- As horrified travelers watched, a Greyhound Canada bus passenger repeatedly stabbed and then decapitated a young man who was sitting and sleeping beside him, a witness said Thursday.... ...Caton said the victim was sleeping with his head leaning against the window when the attack happened. Caton said he shouted at the other passengers, many of whom also were sleeping, to leave. "Everybody got off the bus. Me and a trucker that stopped and the Greyhound driver ran up to the door to maybe see if the guy was still alive or we could help or something like that," Caton said. "And when we all got up, we saw that the guy was cutting off the guy's head. ... When he saw us, he came back to the front of the bus, told the driver to shut the door. He pressed the button and the door shut, but it didn't shut in time, and the guy was able to get his knife out and take a swipe at us," Caton said. The world is getting crazier by the day.


Do you ever engage in blogging to avoid work? Do you find yourself racking your brain or scouring the web for that one perfect topic to blog about? Do you find yourself cursing out loud because you discoved that the topic you wish to discuss has already been covered by 6,354 other bloggers, and at least six of them did a better job than you. If you answered yes to these questions you are clearly engaged in blogavoidance, also known as suffering from blogavoiditis. There is no cure, no hope and like this post, no point. But I do have an answer for you. For little to no money down I will serve as a guest blogger for you. I will write a piece that you can place on your little slab of the net. I do not promise or guarantee that it will be educational, informational, witty or interesting, just that you will receive it. Remember that all donations go to rebuilding Jack's Shack and are not tax deductible. They will make you feel, just what it is that you will feel I cannot say. It coul

A Few Places I Want to Visit

Here are a couple of places that I think that I'd like to see: Worlds First Sandcastle Hotel The next place sounds even cooler. "A bar inside the trunk of a Baobab tree has tourists flocking from far and wide just to drink a cold brew in the amazing tavern. It was fashioned inside a massive 72 foot (22 meters) high tree in a garden in Limpopo, South Africa, for thirsty locals. Grown in the grounds of Sunland Farm, the tree trunk is so wide it takes 40 adults with outstretched arms to encircle its 155 foot (48 meters) circumference. The trunk is hollow, but its walls are still up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) thick. The tree has its own cellar, with natural ventilation to keep the beer cold. Carbon-dating has determined the ancient tree to be about 6,000 years old. “This tree is likely to be older than the Giza Pyramids of Egypt.” said Heather van Heerden, owner of Sunland Farm." For more information please use the following link: Worlds Only Bar INSIDE a Tree

Painful News Or News About Pain

Live Science is one of my regular reads. They usually have several articles that I find to be of interest. Here is an excerpt from an article about pain . 3. Migraines and sex go together It may not eliminate the phrase "Not tonight, honey ..." but a 2006 study found that migraine sufferers had levels of sexual desire 20 percent higher than those suffering from tension headaches. The finding suggests sexual desire and migraines might be influenced by the same brain chemical, and getting a better handle on the link could lead to better treatments, at least for the pain portion of the equation. 4. Women feel more pain Any man who has watched a woman having a baby without using drugs would swear that women can tolerate anything. But the truth is, guys, it hurts more than you can imagine. Women have more nerve receptors than men. As an example, women have 34 nerve fibers per square centimeter of facial skin, while men average just 17. And in a 2005 study, women were f

The Great Interview Experiment

I decided to participated in the Citizen of The Month interview experiment . I had the privilege of interviewing a new blogger, Marinka from Motherhood in NY . 1) Why did you start blogging and what do you hope to do with it? I started blogging because I realized that I would never have the time, energy and patience to write a book. Oh, and the talent. I don't have specific goals in mind, I'm just enjoying the process right now. 2) What is the most rewarding part of blogging? What is the most disappointing part of blogging. Are there any topics that are off limits? It's rewarding and amazing that anyone actually gives a shit about what I have to say, and when they respond, I do a little dance. A very little dance, because I am incredibly lazy and uncoordinated. The most disappointing part has been that my husband has yet to say, "Hey, why don't you quit your job and devote yourself to blogging full time?" As for off-limits, my husband hates it when I

And Los Angeles Was Not Consumed- The Earthquake

I have been meaning to write a short post about the small earthquake we experienced today. But every time I try it seems that I am interrupted by someone who thinks that it is fun to say "what's shaking." You know, that used to be funny. It used to be kind of cool, in the same way that Mr. Microphone used to be cool . Anyway, if you didn't hear about the quake here is a short report from CNN . Let me share a few highlights from the report that warm the cockles of my heart. (Emphasis in bold is mine) "This is a sample, a small sample," said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology. "This is somewhere between small and moderate." She said there is a 5 percent chance the quake could be a precursor to a larger earthquake . After 24 hours, she said, that chance will drop to 1 percent. Isn't that nifty, to know that this might be a warmup for the big show. Ok, here is some more about the earthquake that might intere

We Still Carry The Pain of Our Past Part II

Following the completion of the last post I had intended to go to sleep, but I had a thought that I had felt like sharing. One of the things that I like about blogging is that to a certain extent it levels the playing field of life. Out here in cyberspace you are not judged upon your looks, who you know, where you went to school or any of the million little things people use to assess and categorize each other. That is not to say that we are freed from being evaluated, not at all. But there is something nice about participating in something in which you know that some of the more superficial things are removed. The blog you are reading might be written by the stud, the loser, the Prom King, the nerd or that quiet neighbor no one knows. Our here in cyberspace you get the chance to interact with everyone. Out here in cyberspace the pain of our past doesn't have to haunt you as it does in the so called real world. No one knows if you stutter or smell. All we know is what we read

We Still Carry The Pain of Our Past

Another day has come and gone. The sun has risen, the sun has set. The end of the second day. As is my custom I went to my second shul and davened on the court of Spaulding, Nike and Reebok. There I bore witness to the pain and shame of the past for myself and for others. If you're new to the blog let me help you catch up. I play pick up basketball three or four days a week. I use that and this blog as my therapy. It is where I blow off steam and try to forget about the challenges of the day. Most of the time I prefer to play three-on-three or four-on-four, but every now and then I'll run a couple of games of full court. Unless you play in the league the teams aren't prepared in advance. We just split 'em up and have at it, well that's the theory. The thing is that no one wants to lose so people try to do what they can to stack the teams. And as you might imagine there are players that people really don't want on their team because they just aren't good e

SezWho- Trying Out a New Service

I decided to test a service called SezWho . Here is a short blurb about them: "SezWho is a universal profile service for the social web that improves community engagement and enables content discovery to be added to blogs, forums, message boards and other social sites. SezWho works with most social media platforms without taking over the content on the site." We'll give it a day or two and see what happens. Feel free to leave your own feedback as to whether you think it is a useful tool or not.

Plumbing Problems

One of the best parts of the weekend is the opportunity to take care of household chores. There is nothing that I like to do better than to clean up the garage, remove clutter and do the 1,987,862 other things on the list. This weekend I received the gift of a backed up shower/tub. It is one of those things that I get to deal with once or twice a year. Dependent upon which shower backs up I can identify the source of the problem as being either tree roots or an accumulation of hair courtesy of the long haired ladies who reside here. My initial solution to this sort of thing is try and clear the drain myself. I have a snake that I sometimes use or every now and then I may try a chemical solution. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This time around I decided that I wanted to try a different approach. So I went out and purchased a hydraulic drain flusher that is similar to that shown in the picture here . It is a simple concept. Attach it to a water source and use hydrau

Cuil Takes On Google

If you spend any time reading the news you have probably come across Cuil . It is among the many contenders that have been trying to oust Google from their throne as king of search engines. They do have some things going for them that others don't. Let's take a quick look at what the media reports. Here is a blurb from CNN/Money : "SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Anna Patterson's last Internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader Google Inc. bought the technology in 2004 to upgrade its own system. She believes her latest invention is even more valuable - only this time it's not for sale. Patterson instead intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet. The end result is Cuil, pronounced "cool." Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday. Cuil had kept a low profile while Patterson, her husband, Tom

What Makes You Happy

Today was a day filled with a number of highs and lows. It was the day in which we threw a birthday party for my daughter. She was so excited. All morning long she bounced off of the walls asking if it was time for her party. I looked down into a pair of dark piercing eyes and promised that I would let her know when it was time to leave. She put a hand on her hip and admonished me not to be late. "Don't get stuck on the computer, the telephone or doing push ups." (Side note: Her comment shows that I am doing a good job of being dedicated to my exercise program. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.) I promised that I wouldn't and set about to take care of a couple of chores. Soon enough the party girl was in her party dress and we were off. In a short time the guests arrived and four year-olds briefly took over the world. At least some of them did, there were several that never showed. It irked me. I don't care or expect every kid to show up. Do

The Fight To Express Myself- Stories To Tell

Sometimes I feel like communicating my thoughts and feelings is an enormous struggle that is more trouble than it is worth. If you have spent any time reading the blog you know that this isn't a new thing. I like to think of it as being part and parcel of being a tortured artist. However it seems to me that in order to be a tortured artist one must first be an artist. So I suppose that I should try and figure out how to pass myself off as an artist. We'll start with singing in which case torture is probably an appropriate description. If I were to sing you might feel as if you were being tortured. On a serious tack there are a whole host of things that I wish that I could do that I am not real good at now. Singing is one of those things. I'd like to have the kind of voice that enabled me to sing songs that would make your heart feel like it was going to burst from your chest. Better yet give me the voice and make me a piano virtuoso. Give me the skills to play/write song

Using Art To Speak

So I decided to try using Wordle to provide a graphic rundown of some of the posts from this blog. I have done my best to provide links to the stories above the image. It is an experiment of sorts. Let's see how it works out. A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited Continued the   Johnny and June- A Rough Draft   June   Whether The Storm or Weather The Storm   Notes For June- Fragments of Fiction   More about Johnny A Boy Named Mookie The Bearer of Bad Tidings- One Less Set of Footsteps

What Not to Do-Snakebites

Here at The Shack we appreciate stories about all kinds of animals. So when we find interesting news we like to share it. This afternoon we stumbled onto what not to do about snakebites . Here is an excerpt that is worth a look. "After 23 years as an emergency room physician, Dr. Mark Rabold still takes his business seriously but can’t help but wonder in amusement about some of the situations he’s encountered involving rattlesnake bites. One of his favorite stories involves an anesthesiologist who had just recently moved to Montana. The guy ran over a rattler with his dirt bike, but the tire spun up the snake, which hit the biker in the stomach and bit him. Then there’s the one — Rabold’s had so many patients he can’t remember if he treated this guy or just read about it —where a man was struck by a rattlesnake, and the guy’s buddy tried a home remedy to treat the wound. “His buddy got the jumper cables and hooked him up to a giant battery for his semi, then fired up the engin

Haveil Havalim #175 — Through the Eyes of Frume Sarah

Come one, come all to read Haveil Havalim #175 — Through the Eyes of Frume Sarah . If you want a preview just take a look at the Wordle below.


I rather enjoy many of the Bollywood productions. There is something quite enjoyable about watching the song and dance routines. Of course I haven't the foggiest idea what they are saying. One of these days I may create my own subtitles to go along with the videos, but for now... And now we present Another Bollywood dance by Aishwarya Rai from the movie Nimbooda - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam . and The video below is from: Bride and Prejudice - Punjabi Wedding Song

The Heavy Bag Work Out

Spent a while working out on the heavy bag in my garage. Covered in sweat, but feeling very good now. There is nothing like pounding on a bag to help you release your frustrations. It is one of those exercises that will leave you gasping for breath with your muscles aching. Try throwing punches consistently for three minutes straight. It is not easy. I usually go through about a 25-30 minute long workout. One of the key elements, truly among the most critical is the music that accompanies me. Here is a glimpse at some of what I listened to: Wicked Garden - Stone Temple Pilots Cowboy - Kid Rock Chariots of Fire -Vangelis (This always makes me want to run a race in slow motion.) Desert Rose - Sting Baby Please Don't Go (1963) - Big Joe Williams Just Can't Last - Natalie Merchant Keep Hope Alive - The Crystal Method Walk This Way - Aerosmith and Run-DMC Girls, Girls, Girls - Motley Crue Back in Black - AC/DC Ok, off

Goodbye Randy Pausch

CNN shared the sad news that Randy Pausch has died . You may recall that I blogged about him this past April in a post called The Last Lecture- Remarks of a Dying Man . The most important part of that post is the YouTube video of his presenting his Last lecture . It is well worth watching again so I'll repost it at the bottom of this entry. Before I do let me share an excerpt from the CNN obituary. "Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet. In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death. "The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful," Pausch wrote on his Web site. "But rest assured; I'm hardly unique." The book "The Last Lecture," written with Jeffrey Zaslow, leaped to

Thursday Night Roundup

Here is what showed up on the blog today: Using The Blog To Build A Community Uh Oh, This Is Too Much Fun The brain In Love- A Scientific Study “Happy Flu” meme Reasons Why I Am Not a Pulpit Rabbi And here is a link to yesterday's roundup: Roundup of Recent Posts Altogether that should give you a ton of posts to sift through.

Using The Blog To Build A Community

Two events took place this evening that made me spend a few minutes engaged in more serious thought about blogging. The first was a conversation that I had with a friend about why I blog, and what purpose Facebook serves. The second event was Leora's post The Blog Challenge . Upon reading it and the comments more carefully I decided that it was time to consider a few things; 1) What do I consider the most important elements of a blog to be. 2) Does my own blog meet the standards that I look for in other blogs? 3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of my blog? Here is a bare bones list of what I want to see in a blog in order of importance: 1) Compelling content. 2) Community of readers that add to the blog. 3) A design/template that makes it easy to read and to interact. Content is king. I don't care how cool your template is, if you don't have compelling content it won't hold my interest. And while it is always nice to have a ton of comments they can help and hurt

Uh Oh, This Is Too Much Fun

Juggling Frogs is to blame for turning me onto Wordle . I am having way too fun with it. The image below is my blog. Click on the image to make it larger.

The brain In Love- A Scientific Study

Here is a video that I found interesting. Here is the write-up about it: Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love -- and people who had just been dumped.

Reasons Why I Am Not a Pulpit Rabbi

To clarify, I am not a rabbi. Some of my friends call me rabbi and some call me a lot worse. ;) But it is true that at times I have considered becoming one . One doesn't have to have a pulpit to become a rabbi, but that is neither here nor there. I suppose that I should provide some background for what prompted this post. I have many friends/relatives who are rabbis and have watched and or spoken with them about their experiences. Not one of them has ever tried to dissuade me from joining the rabbinate. Come to think of it, they haven't really tried to encourage me to enlist either. Anyway, there are a few primary issues that keep me from seriously considering this as a profession. 1) Politics, or should I say shul politics. I hate playing the game. I don't want to be in a position in which I live in a goldfish bowl and have to worry about what people think. Example #1: Several years ago I went over to a dear friend's house to help build his Sukkah. It is quite p

Roundup of Recent Posts

Here is a collection of some of the recent posts we put up here: Happy Birthday To The Dark Haired Beauty A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited Continued Life Changing Moments A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited Men Who Wear Pink The Cubicle Celebrates 40 Years Angry With G-d Soon to Be Appearing at: First International Jewish Bloggers Conference And your blast from the past: Name a Song That Makes You Cry The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants Who Remembers Richie's Pizza? Why I Quit Blogging

Happy Birthday To The Dark Haired Beauty

The midnight hour approaches and I am wide awake. Today we celebrated the dark haired beauty's fourth birthday. And like so many other parents I can't help but wonder how she got to be this age. Really, it was just yesterday that she was in utero and we were wondering who would come to greet us. At this time four years ago she had been in the world for all of 20 minutes or so. I remember staring at her, counting her fingers and toes, confirming that everything was right with her. One of the first things that I noticed was a ton of dark curly hair on her head. I remember smiling as I realized that if nothing else we shared the same hair color. So here I am four years later, the proud dad of a girl that continuously amazes me. She was born with a mind of her own and has never been shy about showing it. She hasn't any problem telling you what she wants. Last night she told me that she wanted to play with me and I of course said sure. I got to be the baby. She made me lie d

A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited Continued

This is part two of a A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited . If you want to participate let me know and we'll figure out a way to make it happen. Remember, the beauty of cut and paste is that we edit and manipulate this over and over. "I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head They crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home There's a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain An ounce of peace is all I want for you. Will you never call again? And will you never say that you love me just to put it in my face? And will you never try to reach me? It is I that wanted space Hate me today Hate me tomorrow Hate me for all the things I didn't do for you Hate me in ways Yeah ways hard to swallow Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you" Hate Me - Blue October "Well it's been ten years, and a thousand

Life Changing Moments

Yesterday afternoon I was asked how many life changing events I could identify. It sounds like a simple enough idea. Take a little time and write down the moments/events that changed your life. I didn't want to focus on the obvious ones, such as the birth of my children. I am not minimizing them, they are all incredibly important. Rather I am trying to dig deeper and see what I can learn, if anything about myself. It is an exercise that I expect I might try and do a few times so that I can compare my notes and see if my opinion about some things has changed. Before I get started a brief comment. Due to various events I don't feel as safe in posting some things here. It is not because they're illegal or wrong, they're just quite personal. As I have mentioned in the past the loss of anonymity has impeded some of my ability to just share my thoughts here. Anyway, I am going to try and list a few and we'll see how and where it goes. I expect that it will be revised a

A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited

In the early days of my blogging career I had more ideas for posts than time to write them. I probably should have made a point of keeping track of them by compiling a list, but I never really thought that I'd reach a point where I couldn't remember them. Sadly, the great brain has reached a point at which it sometimes resembles a sieve or soft melon and the ideas just seem to leak out of me. Anyhoo, one of my bright ideas was to try and use song lyrics to write a story. You can read more at A Story Using Song Lyrics . I am going to try and pick it up again. I'll probably come and back and edit it a time or two. Here we go: "There are places I'll remember, all my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life I've loved them all." In My Life - The Beatles "When I was seventeen

Men Who Wear Pink

Here is a partial transcript of a recent conversation with the queen. Queen : I saw a man wearing a pink shirt today. Jack : I like Rocky Road ice cream. Queen : I am not a big fan of it. Jack : What have you got against Rocky Road. Queen : I don't have anything against Rocky Road. Jack : That is good, it stains. Queen : I am not talking about ice cream. I said I saw a man wearing a pink shirt today. Jack : You squint an awful lot. Might want to get your eyes checked. Queen : I know what I saw. Jack : You only think you do and you know what happens when you think. I bet that he was wearing a white shirt that had been washed with a red shirt. Queen : I don't understand why men wear pink. I am not a fan. Jack : You're not an air conditioner either. 5-4-3-2... Queen : Why are you counting? Jack : I am waiting for you to catch up. Queen : Catch up with what? Jack : Catch up with your hamburger. What do you think, the stupid joke. Queen : I ignored it. Jack : Ignore