A Tale of Two Widowers

This is the sort of post that I struggle to write. I struggle because I have a story to tell and I want to convey the message in a particular way but I am not quite sure how to do it. It is a story of life and death, of the power and pain of love.

It is moments like this where I wish that I could write music because such a tale deserves an appropriate soundtrack. A full orchestra that could impart the highs and lows of this story because I am not quite sure that I can do it justice. Since that is just not possible I am going to do my best to fumble my way through this. All I can do try my best to catch the Silver man, so here we go.

Just a few short hours ago I was at a holiday dinner with my family. The table was covered in with a beautiful linen table cloth and adorned with china and silver. Several assortments of flowers were spread out throughout the table. And of course there were lots of guests surrounding the table.

Now I could tell you about the peals of laughter emanating from children like silver bells or I could share the sounds of my grandparents and relatives discussing the election and the rabbi's sermon. It wouldn't be hard because those are probably things that you can relate to.

But then I might miss out on sharing a tale of two widowers. Two men who lost their wives roughly a year ago. Two men who sat at the table and enjoyed the meal, but whose eyes and words revealed the depth of the pain of loss.

It seems unfair that I can't tell you their individual stories because it is. It is unfair because they lost the light in their candle long before they ever expected to see them go dark. It is unfair because it is unfair. Sometimes evil people live much longer lives than good people. It is unfair because life is unfair.

And it bothers me that I have to teach my children that no matter what we do life will never be fair. It bothers me that I have to teach my children about death and that no matter what they or anyone else does, they will experience death. One day the people they love the most will be gone and all they will have left will be memories.

But I'll do my best to teach my children to seek the positive side of all this. If the loss doesn't hurt than there is a problem. I have often thought that to a certain extent you can expect the loss to be as painful as the love was joyful.

I spoke with both of these men at different times this evening and I spoke with both of these men during shiva calls. And part of what struck me is how deeply they loved their wives and how their losses wounded them.

At separate moments they both made a point of telling me to make sure that I truly live my life because the person I love most could unexpectedly be taken from me. It is a theft like no other. I can't say that I truly understand what they are going through, but I can say that I am convinced that the hardest pain to deal with is mental pain.

You can always find a way to get around the physical pain, but mental pain is a harder nut to crack. How do you turn off your memory. How do you forget and would you really want to.

So I find myself lost in thought about the words that they shared with me and how to apply them to my life. I don't want to wake up and say that I failed to live my dreams because I failed to try. It is one thing to have tried and failed and another to have never done so.

I can find a way to live with the failure of having tried and been unsuccessful, but I don't think that I can live with never having tried. Someday is a great way to put off the future, but someday doesn't always come.

And so I find myself pondering the new year with similar thoughts and questions to those I had last year. If I have any sort of resolution it is to make a greater effort to live my dreams and to do the things that I need to do to have a happier and more meaningful life because you really don't know when it might all come crashing down upon you.

Crossposted here.

Bailout Fails- Partisan Politics While Rome is Burning

I think that my head is about to explode. A few minutes of reading about how bad the economy is and how both parties are blaming each other and my head will look it was hit with an axe.

It is absolutely mind boggling to read anything other than we are all working together to fix the economy and to restore confidence. I don't want to hear another ^&Y%&$^&UY$ word from any of the jackasses in office that doesn't address how everyone is working together. Forgive me for being crude, you all need to shut the fuck up and work.

This is not the time to point fingers and engage in the blame game. I don't care who drove the car into the wall or sailed into the iceberg. That moment has come and gone and now we are stuck dealing with the aftermath.

I never considered myself to be a wealthy man, but I always figured that if I could hang on and keep adding a little bit to my portfolio eventually I'd be able to retire. Fortunately I am not interested in trying to do so anytime soon because at the moment my investments are not even worth mentioning.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks skidded Monday afternoon, with the Dow's
nearly 778-point drop being the worst single-day point loss ever, after the House rejected the government's $700 billion bank bailout plan.

Stocks tumbled ahead of the vote and the selling accelerated on fears that Congress would not be able come up with a fix for nearly frozen credit markets. The frozen markets mean banks are hoarding cash, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to get much-needed loans.

According to preliminary tallies, the Dow Jones industrial average (
INDU)
lost 777.68, surpassing the 684.81 loss on Sept. 17, 2001 - the first trading day after the September 11 attacks. However the 7% decline does not rank among the top 10 percentage declines.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index was down 8.7% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) 9.1%.

"The stock market was definitely taken by surprise," said Drew Kanaly, chairman and CEO of Kanaly Trust Company, referring to the House vote. "If you watched the news stream over the weekend, it seemed like it was a done deal. But the money is being held hostage to the political process."


Crossposted here.

Monday's Music

Here is the afternoon selection of songs that I have been listening to.

Baby Now That I Have Found You-Alison Krauss and Union Station
Goodbye To Romance- Ozzy Osbourne
Young Americans-David Bowie
Let's Dance-David Bowie
Do You wanna Hold Me? -Bow Wow Wow
All I Ask Of You - Phantom of The Opera
Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Side note, my friends would come rescue me too and vice versa.)
If I Can Dream -Elvis Presley
In The Ghetto -Elvis Presley
Hey Hey What Can I Do - Led Zeppelin
Going To California - Led Zeppelin
Cry- Faith Hill
Love, Reign O'er Me - The Who
Shir Ahava Pashut - Aya Korem
Hazy Shade of winter- Simon and Garfunkel
Tom's Diner - Suzanne Vega

Crossposted here.

Shana Tova

I'd like to wish you all a Shana Tova. May this be the year that we all wish and desire for.

Crossposted here.

A New Fear of Heights

I am beginning to wonder what the hell happened to the Jack I used to know and love. In the good old days that guy was relatively fearless. I won't be a total revisionist and say that there weren't things that frightened me because there were.

But overall there weren't too many things that I wouldn't do because I was afraid to do them. I spent a lot of time climbing trees, buildings and all sorts of different kinds of objects. Had no problem going up a ladder. Ladders were simple, as long as I felt like they were secure I hadn't any issue making like a monkey.

Within the last ten years or so I noticed that something has changed. Certain things give me a bad case of the heeby-jeebies and I find myself thinking foolish thoughts like, "damn, if I fall from here I might die."

Although to be clear I am more afraid of paralysis than death. The thought of being confined to a wheelchair or bed forever makes my heart race far more than the thought of death. And it is not because I have this rock solid belief in an afterlife. I do believe that there is something more and that upon my death I will discover that, but I am in no rush to find out if I am correct.

There are still far too many things to do, too many worlds that need to be conquered. I want to live for a thousand years so that I can do those things. I don't fear dying for anything other than I am just not ready to consider giving up what I have here.

And I suppose that it is part of what makes me nervous about heights now. While I still consider myself to be mostly invulnerable I have seen far too many die a young death to think that it is impossible for me to be one of them.

Although I will say that whenever death comes from me I am going to surprise him. I'll take that S.O.B. and kick him the balls, pull his halo, tie his wings together, steal his scythe or whatever the case may be. Death may get me, but not without my pulling a trick or two first.

I have to say that it is not easy admitting that heights have begun to make me nervous. Matter of fact I am not real keen on admitting that I have any sort of fear. It is far more fun to pretend to be one of the lost boys.

Aging, it is just not what it is cracked up to be.

Crossposted here.

Private School Woes

It is a hair shy of 90 degrees outside, unless you are working inside your garage as I am. In that case you can add another 12 degrees or so. In any case I have chosen to take a short break from decluttering so that I can come and share a thought or two.

Not unlike so many others my children are enrolled in private school. Each year I look at my bank accounts and I wonder how long I can keep this up for. Each year I say that I am going to spend more time exploring options for a less expensive option and each year I somehow manage to keep them in the school.

If it sounds like a bundle of contradictory gobbledy-gook that is because it is. If you ask me to create a list of what I consider to be the most important elements of raising my children it is going to be simple and look something like this:

1) Health
2) Education
3) Love
4) Character

It should be noted that this is intentionally a simple list that could easily be expanded and elaborated upon. But for the purpose of this post it will suffice as currently constructed.

I am a product of public schools. I believe that a public school education is important and that when done right is exceptionally valuable. But the obvious problem for me is that my local public school isn't up to snuff. It just isn't good enough.

And there really aren't a lot of good alternatives. It is not real easy to get your child into anything other than their home school, and even if you can the process is a pain. The private schools require a non-refundable deposit to secure a space. That deposit is required months in advance of when you find out if your child will be admitted to a public school that is not their local school.

In case it is not obvious the reason I titled this private school woes is purely financial in nature. The tuition is a big nut to crack. It is painful and requires making numerous concessions. The fact that education is so important makes it less painful, but it still doesn't serve as a cure all.

Remove that tuition and we have money for many other things that are also important. Remove that tuition and I can probably retire between five and ten years earlier than the current projection of 186 years of age.

So when I listen to our candidates talk about their plans for the future I listen carefully. Not only am I gravely concerned about the economy, healthcare and foreign policy, but I wonder where education fits into the mix. Because I don't hear enough about it.

I don't hear the politicians screaming that our public schools do not have enough resources or do not use their resources well enough to make sure that our kids are the best educated in the world.

I stopped believing that race was a real factor in holding people back a solid 20 years ago. But socioeconomic status, that I believe is a problem. If you are poor you are screwed out of many things. If you are poor you have a harder time getting a good education.

And that education is the tool that you will use to elevate yourself and climb out of the muck.

Better public schools serve the greater good. A better educated populace is good for everyone. Not to mention that if parents like myself weren't forced to spend a significant amount of money on education we could spread some of that dough into other places, helping the economy in the process.

Don't get me wrong, I love the school my children attend. They are receiving an excellent education and I am thrilled. But every now and then I like to dream that there is a chance that I am going to be able to retire when I am still of sound mind and body.

Crossposted here.

Haveil Havalim #184 A Barbarian Roars Again

It is now live. You can check it out here.

Same Blog- New Blogging Platform

It is almost 10:30 Saturday night and I am back at the keyboard sharing thoughts and ideas with all who venture down this dusty side street.

I am perpetually in motion, or should I say that my mind is constantly whirring along. Stick a stethoscope on the side of my melon and you'll hear all sorts of clicks and whistles. It is not because of TMJ or any other sort of physical disorder, it is just how I operate. A million thoughts are always being processed.

On this particular night I am busy exploring/considering moving this blog to a new platform. Since I am not a big fan of change I have decided to set up a blog over there that I will use along with this one. I figured that it would be useful to try things out to see what I think before making the big move. A test drive, if you will.

For now I am going to try and use both platforms to get a sense of whether I like Wordpress more than blogger. I am going to try and do my best to drop new posts into both places, a little redundancy never hurts.

You are all welcome to follow along and provide your own feedback. You can find the new blog over here.

A couple of general housekeeping notes about the new blog.

1) Comments from old posts do not seem to have been imported.
2) Some pictures and videos did not survive the trip either.

At this time I have no plans to try and pick through the blog to fix these sorts of issues. If I stumble onto posts that I think merit that sort of attention I will certainly try to address any sort of problems.

In the meantime I am going to try and enjoy the ride. This should be my biggest problem, if only.

To clarify: I haven't made the decision to abandon this blog. I may continue to use blogger. Stay tuned and I keep you posted.

Goodbye Paul Newman

It seems that Paul Newman has died. He made a number of movies that I enjoyed, but like so many others I liked Cool Hand Luke the best. I have been trying to find some of my favorite clips to share with you.

Thus far I haven't found exactly what I am looking for, but we'll use what we have.

Cool Hand Luke Clip

Here are clips from The Hustler- unfortunately the sound quality is a little rough.

Finally, here is what CNN said:
(CNN) -- Paul Newman, the legendary actor whose steely blue eyes, good-humored charm and advocacy of worthy causes made him one of the most renowned figures in American arts, has died of cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83.

He died Friday, according to spokeswoman Marni Tomljanovic.

Newman attained stardom in the 1950s and never lost the movie-star aura, appearing in such classic films as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Exodus," "The Hustler," "Cool Hand Luke," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Sting" and "The Verdict."

He finally won an Oscar in 1986 -- on his eighth try -- for "The Color of Money," a sequel to "The Hustler." He later received two more Oscar nominations. Among his other awards was the Motion Picture Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Medical Malpractice, The Economy and More

Just a few comments about the economy, news and problems with doctors.

He Should Have Used a Mohel

Talk about a routine circumcision gone bad. This story makes me cross my legs. But I have to ask why the man was put under for the procedure.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Shelby County man and his wife said two doctors amputated the man's penis without his consent, and have filed a lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Philip Seaton, 61, went to have a circumcision last October as part of treatment for a medical condition. Seaton said when he woke up from the procedure, he realized his penis had been amputated.
If you read the full story you'll see that the doctors say that they cound cancer and made an emergency decision to remove his penis. The next line in the article just kills me: "
"The lawsuit states that Patterson received consent to perform a circumcision and only a circumcision, and that Seaton did not consent to his penis being removed." (emphasis mine)
You think. Talk about waking up to a nightmare. I am not saying that to be cute or clever. I have read stories before about medical mishaps and why sometimes the pre-surgery routine includes labeling which body part to remove. But you'd think that in this case they wouln't need to use a Sharpie to let the doc know what to cut and what to save.

Related Story: Man Goes to Court After Butt Stapled Shut

Proof That We Don't Control The Media

My pals at Toner Mishap tipped me off to this tale of the Dreamworks assistant who has never met Rosh Hashanah. If you want you can head over to Defamer and read more there.

Something tells me that Melissa is going to take a little flak for this one.

Goodbye Washington Mutual

My grandparents told me many stories about what their lives were like during The Depression and how lucky my siblings and I were not to have to worry about living through such a time. I always enjoyed listening to their stories about their childhood and can remember being really impressed at how they overcame hardship.

Sometimes I wondered what it was like to live like that. It piqued my curiosity, but it would be an exaggeration to say that I really wanted to find out. It is like so many other questions people ask themselves, "what would I do if I witnessed a bank robbery. Would I try and be the hero or would I freeze?"

Most of the time the honest answer is that you do not want to know. On the anniversary of 9-11 a friend looked at me and said that he was confident that we would have fought the hijackers. I think that I would have. If my family was threatened I haven't any doubt that I would hesitate to maim, disable and or kill the person(s) who were doing it. But I never want to find out. I am ok not knowing the answer.

So it was with much anger that I read about Washington Mutual.

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- JPMorgan Chase acquired the banking assets of Washington Mutual late Thursday after the troubled thrift was seized by federal regulators, marking the biggest bank failure in the nation's history and the latest stunning twist in the ongoing credit crisis.

Under the deal, JPMorgan Chase will acquire all the banking operations of WaMu, including $307 billion in assets and $188 billion in deposits.

In exchange, JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) will pay approximately $1.9 billion to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Separately, JPMorgan announced plans to raise $8 billion in additional capital through the sale of stock as part of the deal."

Until this afternoon Wamu was my bank, not to mention that I had their stock in my retirement savings. It wasn't a huge investment, but that is not the point. Part of the reason that I held their shares was that because I believed that it was a safe investment that would help me maintain a diversified portfolio.

Look, I am 39 years-old and have young children, I am not planning on retiring anytime soon. But that doesn't change the fact that I feel like some really stupid people robbed me of my hard earned cash.

As I watch these institutions crumble around me, as I listen to commentators discuss how the government is going to bail us all out, and try to save the country from economic ruin I just shake my head.

I understand risk. By nature I am a gambler. I have always been willing to take risks on various enterprises. Sometimes I roll snake eyes and have to make do, but other times I win. Still, I don't gamble on everything. There are somethings that I am very conservative about. There are areas in which I don't screw around. That is why I didn't pull all my eggs in one basket.

But what ticks me off more than anything else about all of this is knowing how there are executives who failed miserably but are receiving incredibly large sums of money for their failure. There are compensation packages that pay far too much to people who screwed others.

Life isn't fair and it never will be. But that doesn't make it any less bitter to lose the money. It doesn't ease the sting of knowing how all of my hard work was for nothing.

I am bitter and angry. I'll recover. I'll find a way to get back on my feet. I always do. I'll find a way to make it all work because I do. But I won't forget this.

Like I said, I have been curious what life was like during The Depression, but I never wanted to know. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to be living on the street. I am not concerned about being able to feed my children, but it is going to be rough around the Shack for a while.

It is one thing to accept that because I did something. It is one thing to accept because of the choices I made, it is quite another to be forced to because some jackasses couldn't pull their heads out of their collective asses long enough to see that they were driving the bus off the cliff.

Why A Schedule is Important

Not unlike many people I am in search of that fabled state of balance. You know the one that I am talking about, that place where I feel fulfilled in all areas of my life. There have been moments in life in which I feel like I have had it, but they seem to be few and far between.

I have these memories of the lazy days of summer in which my responsibilities included going to the beach, chasing girls and just hanging out with the boys. I was poor, but relatively happy, most of the time. Every now and then I'd find myself wishing that I was out school and making money.

Oh, did I mention that in this fantasy it never occurred to me that I'd spend all day at the office and then come home and tear my hair out trying to figure out how to take care of household chores and errands. At least I don't really remember thinking about it, maybe I did.

What I do know is that when I entered the workforce I began to have fantasies about being independently wealthy so that I could do whatever I wanted. I craved having entire days to myself to do nothing. And that leads to my comment about why a schedule is important.

In the decades since I left school I have upon occasion found myself out of work for periods of time. Initially I was always excited to have the time to myself that I had been thinking. But I quickly learned that having nothing to do everyday was a terrible way to spend time. Boredom and I don't mix well, it is a recipe for trouble.

During my school days you could always find someone to hang out with. We weren't in class all day long and even if we were, it was easy to play hooky. Not true in the working world. You only received so much sick/vacation time so you were careful about how to use it. So in those in between jobs moments I found out that most of the time I was on my own for the day.

It is not a bad thing, but like I said it can get old relatively quickly.

More to the point I found that if I didn't adhere to some sort of schedule I didn't get much done. I couldn't stay up all night and sleep in all day. If I took too long to shower and eat breakfast I'd find that half the day had escaped.

So in the end I learned that for me a schedule is very important. If I don't block off time for specific goals I just don't get them done as quickly as I'd like.

Of course I am not as anal about it as The Shmata Queen. I don't use a planner to map out every minute of the day nor do I take copious amounts of time to develop a list of groceries. My lord, you have never someone take so much pleasure in crossing off items as they are completed.

Hee hee. Excuse me, I need to go and duck and cover before I get smacked in the head.

Search Terms That Led You Here

Every now and then I like to put together a post that shows the keywords that led you here. This time around I am going to include the keywords and what post they led to.

Now that I see some of these old posts I find myself cringing, oy.
Taking stock of life-Taking Stock of Life- A General Accounting
Meaning bras-Bras That Do Tricks
Upset shoppers "happy holidays"-Happy Holidays is An Appropriate Greeting
what does it feel like to die-What Does It Feel Like To Die
men's emotions-Men, Our Emotions and Dating
significance of crotch-"Crotch Durability Problems"
fortune smiles upon me-Fortune Smiles Upon me- Someone Else Wants to Make Me Rich
how to bless telemarketer-More Fun with Telemarketers
things to do in an elevator- Things to Do In An Elevator
if you could read my mind lyrics meaning-A Story Using Song Lyrics Revisited Continued
meaning of penis-She Broke My Penis

Using The Blog to Make Money

My Right Word deserves credit for tipping me off to this report about blogging which says that there are more than a million blog posts a day. Here in the U.S. more than 77 million people a day visit blogs.

"Blogging has certainly “arrived”, said Technorati’s chief executive Richard Jalichandra, via VentureBeat. “Blogs are media. That is the difference now. They are as relevant as the
New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. The blogger with 5,000 readers may be just as credible a source of information for those 5,000 people as anyone else.”

And how many unique readers does it take to make serious money out of a blog? According to Technorati’s report, a blogger can earn around $75,000 a year with a unique audience of 100,000. The mean annual revenue from blogging, however, is somewhat more sobering at just $6,000
which isn’t too bad when annual investment in a blog costs, on average, $1,800."

Obviously most bloggers are not making anywhere close to $75K a year, but the point is that you can and that is part of what interests me. For those of you who are rolling your eyes in disbelief let's talk about advertising for a moment and how you can obtain some of those ad dollars.

Advertisers are interested in eyeballs. They want to find the most cost effective manner to distribute their message. Blogs can be an excellent venue for doing this. Here is a rough draft of how to do it:


1) Pick a topic and start populating your blog with content related to said topic.
2) Build up a readership. Comments can be used as an effective tool to demonstrate audience interest and awareness.
3) Use tools to develop an audience profile that you can present to prospective advertisers.
4) Sell ads, make money, retire. Don't forget to send old Jack a couple of bucks as a
thank you.
Clearly that is a very rough outline and you can safely assume that it will require hard work to make your blog into a real money maker. But the real point is that it is possible. Not possible in the sense of "it is possible that one day I might take a rocket ship into outer space."

No this is possible in the sense of "if I save money I can take a vacation." Simply put, it can be done. So what are you waiting for.

Man Goes to Court After Butt Stapled Shut

This story is too bizarre to pass up.
"BALTIMORE - A West Virginia man is suing a Frederick County, Md., doctor for allegedly stapling his rectum shut during an operation, preventing the patient from defecating for 17 days,"

For more on the story please click here.

On a side note I cannot help but wonder how long the man waited before going to see his doctor about this. Something about this story stinks. My apologies for providing this sort of crap for you to read.

Why Me? Rosh Hashanah Thoughts

Why Me? Why Me. Why me!

Language is ever so interesting to me. Words can do so much to communicate thoughts and feelings. All it takes is a bit of effort to craft a sentence that let's the reader know what is on your mind. When you phrase it like that it sounds ever so easy.

All...It...Takes...Is...A...Little...Effort.

As if the failure to properly express yourself can be attributed to your not trying hard enough. I try. I try really hard. I won't lie and say that I do every time because I don't. I am lucky in that I can usually get by with less. But that can be attributed to years of practice and some sort of natural ability.

Don't get me wrong, there are many others out there who are much finer writers than myself. I know and accept that. The trick is trying to outwork the others. The rub is knowing that with a little hard work I can improve. The question is merely whether I am willing to put in the extra effort.

All of this is a long winded preface to some thoughts about the coming new year. Before I jump into it I am going to link to some prior posts on or related to the topic. It is a silly trick I use to give myself a moment to consider what I am about to write.
The Impact of My Actions
Unetanah tokef
Yom Kippur- Besheret- Judgment & More
Another Day, Another Funeral- It is Elul
The New Year
Rosh Hashanah Thoughts
Free association posts are among my favorites. Hint for those who do not follow, I am still considering what I want to say. So I'll do what I do best and just dive into this.

This time of year always leaves me unsettled. Life feels like a contradiction. I feel comfortable with myself and completely at a loss. I look in the mirror and ask if I am the person I should be. If I say no I tell myself I am being too hard and if I say yes I ask why I must live in denial.

There is no right answer, I cannot win because I am my own biggest critic. As a compromise I remind myself that I am imperfect and that my father is right, all you can do is your best. Well, I am doing my best, but in some areas it hasn't been good enough.

Some people tell me not to worry, that I am part of a bigger plan, but I have problems with ambiguous remarks like that. They make you feel good because you can sigh and just live because G-d will take care of you. The problem is that I see too many things that make no sense.

Blog friends who have lost children, family friends who have died far too young and my own share of friends who have been taken well before their time.

Don't tell me that G-d has a plan. I can't go to a bereaved parent and tell them that it is going to be ok. When we buried 'D' I shook with anger. In between the time he died and the birth of my children I struggled to accept that there was any sort of higher power.

'D' was amazing. He was someone who lived life with a purpose. He was a scientist who had incredible ideas about how we could change things and improve life for everyone. He was going to make a difference in the world. He would have changed things and now he is dead, ten years in the ground.

What sort of plan takes him away and lets the BTK maniac run around. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. I can accept free will. I can accept a world in which we are granted the opportunity to be good, or evil or anywhere in between.

But a plan, nah, that I cannot do.

I can look in the mirror and yell about all the things that are unfair in life. I can cry because it seems that everyone else seems to get that brass ring. They get to lead the life that I want. I can look at them and say that it is clear that they are so much happier than I am. I can point and say that once again I am stuck on the outside looking in.

Except that when I talk to friends who are leading these amazing lives most tell me that they are not so amazing. There is always something that is serving as the fly in their ointment. So maybe I can be content in knowing that we all have our struggles, or maybe not.

I suppose that part of what I find so unsettling about this time of year is that I can give a long list of people who have died. It is probably no different from any other time of year, but still it affects me.

"On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed,

And on Yom Kippur it is sealed.

How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,

Who shall live and who shall die,

Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not,

Who shall perish by water and who by fire,

Who by sword and who by wild beast,

Who by famine and who by thirst,

Who by earthquake and who by plague,

Who by strangulation and who by stoning,

Who shall have rest and who shall wander,

Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,

Who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented,

Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low,

Who shall become rich and who shall be impoverished.

But repentance, prayer and righteousness avert the severe decree."

In the end I come back to the same place year after year. It doesn't serve any purpose to argue about whether we should be good because G-d tells us too. I still believe that you do not have to have religion to be a moral and ethical person.

I try to live that way because it is the right thing to do, not because I may be rewarded. I try to live that way because life is better when we are nice to each other. It is simplistic and a bit self righteous, but it works for me.

And in the end we all have to figure out how to live in a manner that works for us as individuals and collectively.

A Round Up of Recent Posts

It has been a while since I provided a roundup of recent posts so I have decided to rectify that with this short synopsis. If you haven't been around in a while here is what you have missed.
There is Water in My Ear
Shopping Carts and Fire Trucks
How Many Somedays Do We Get
HH 183- Lost But Found Again
His Ass Burst Right Into Flames
When I Grow Up
Advertising on The Blog
I Talk In My Sleep
And now for your blast from the past:

Suha Arafat Wants To Share Her Wealth With Me
Charlie's Angels- Child of the '70s
On the Outside Looking In

There is Water in My Ear

There is water in my left ear, courtesy of my shower. If you ever wondered if I had anything between my ears this water is proof that I do. It won't come out. I hear it swirling around back and forth.

It is making me crazy, this water in my ear. I tried to expel it by leaning to the left. After five minutes I began to worry that the cramp in my neck would never go away. David Blaine gets paid for performance art, like hanging upside down.

I don't, I just get irritated. Tried shaking my head, but aside from making rattling noises not much happened.

Pinched my nostrils shut and blew. Cleared out the right ear, but the left is still clogged with this infernal liquid. It makes me want to say Y$&***U#$*$%&*$#$. Oops, I just said #^&#&Y#^. Damn, did it again.

Reminds me of Macbeth, "Out damned spot."

Tried jumping up and down, but no luck. Heading out to take care of some business. With any luck this crap will be over soon. Ugh.

Shopping Carts and Fire Trucks

If you will, picture me muttering "Shopping Carts and Fire Trucks" to myself. I am sitting in front of a grand piano with a pad of a paper that is adorned with what looks like song lyrics. I can't help it, "Shopping Carts and Fire Trucks" sounds like it should be part of some cheesy song lyric about childhood.

Or if you want to run with an entirely different image you can visualize me in a basement standing in front of four other men. We all have long hair and are wearing t-shirts with the name of heavy-metal bands upon them. Yes, I am trying to convince the lads that "Shopping Carts and Fire Trucks" is the name of our band, the one that is going to make us famous millionaires.

Truth is that when I came up with the title for this post I hadn't had any intention of taking it in either one of those directions. Nope, the real impetus comes from the trip I just made to the grocery store and a basic observation about society.

You don't have to try real hard to find stories about the disintegration of the moral fabric of society. All around us the talking heads are issuing proclamations about bad things are today and how good they used to be.

Well, I am not going to get into a discussion of whether morality is failing, but I will say that courtesy is crumbling and "Shopping Carts and Fire Trucks" are a perfect example of that. Take a walk with me and I'll try to provide you with a clear explanation of what I am talking about.

When I think about my childhood I cannot help but remember how bored I used to get when I was forced to accompany my parents on the weekly errands. There were trips to Sears, Builder's Emporium and the good old grocery store. Since I have always loved food I usually preferred the grocery store to the others. It was the one place that I was always certain of finding something that I wanted my parents to buy.

Each week my siblings and I would wander the aisles and try to pack the cart full of stuff we wanted. In a different post I may have to share a few tales about this with you, but for now let's focus upon what would happen when we checked out of the store.

Mom and dad would pay for our groceries and we'd all fall into line and head back to the old station wagon. My dad and I would load the groceries and then we'd return the cart to the front of the store or at least place it inside one of the shoppping cart stables that are equipped throughout the parking lot.

That wasn't unusual. Almost everyone did it.

But around 20 years or so ago I noticed that began to change. People stopped returning the carts and just left them stranded throughout the parking lot. If you were lucky they tried to keep them from infringing upon the parking spaces, but there wasn't any guarantee of that. And after a while some people just gave up and left the cart wherever they were.

Now it seems unusual to see people return their carts. It is a pet peeve of mine so I try to be certain that I do it every time, but I am ashamed to say that I know that upon occasion I have slacked off.

This is just a complete lack of regard for others. I don't know how else to phrase it. But if that is not enough let's talk about fire trucks.

When we learned how to drive we were all instructed in how to respond to emergency vehicles. When you saw a fire truck/ambulance you pulled over to the side of the road and let them pass. It didn't matter what direction they were heading in, you just pulled over and waited for them to pass.

It is another courtesy that I see people ignoring. I can't count the number of times where I have watched as other drivers just continue driving. Now granted some of them are unaware of the emergency vehicles and they just keep going. If I only saw the occasional vehicle doing this I wouldn't think anything of it, but that is not what I see.

Far too often I see people just continue driving and I can't help but wonder if they haven't any regard for others. Presumably those trucks are racing to help people out who could very well be in a life or death situation. Presumably it could be a situation in which an additional minute could be catastrophic.

If for no other reason I get out of the way of those trucks because I like to think that others would do the same for me. I may not always be the most courteous man or be as good as I should be, but the effort is made.

But society is changing and this is not positive. We spend more time living in our electronic bubbles expecting instant gratification. Want to see more examples of the disintegration of courtesy just watch what happens in places where there are lines, such as the bank.

Far too many people think that they are more important than others...

Ok, enough of this. Mondays are hard enough without bitching all the time. I think that I liked this post better when I was fantasing about writing music or forming a rock band.

How Many Somedays Do We Get

(Playing in the background Moodswings- Chryssie Hynde)

Quite a bit of my childhood was filled with being told by my parents that I would be able to do that someday. I don't have to close my eyes to hear it, all I have to do is think about it.

"Dad, when I am going to be able to drive?"
"Mom, when can I make my own bedtime?"
"Mom, when will I be old enough to eat ice cream for dinner?"

"Someday." Someday was always part of the answer. Sometimes someday was accompanied by more specific directions such as being told that I'd be able to drive at 16. That was followed up by "and someday you'll have your own car."

Nice parenting trick that I use on my own children. Couch specifics alongside a nonspecific answer.

But this post is about more than my childhood. In fact it really is more about the current moment in time and the issues that I am dealing with now. Most are no different than millions of other people. Most of them are nothing more than the normal challenges we all go through with the sole difference being that they are mine.

(Playing in the background Just Another Day- Oingo Boingo)

They are mine. They are mine and that makes all the difference. I can be sympathetic to the problems of others. I can always say that someone's life is harder than mine, but that only works so well. I am not living their life, I am living mine.

And because I am living mine I have to look at what I am doing and figure out if I am pleased with where I am going. I don't come up with posts like Do You Live Your Dreams? for the purpose of generating comments. Sure, I want them, but this is still a blog in which I try to figure out what it all means.

When I was twenty it was easy to look into the future and see a million somedays coming down the pike. Now it is a bit harder. Now I stand this much closer to turning 40 and I find myself struggling with it. Intellectually I see it as just another birthday. The mental image I carry around of myself is that 20 year-old kid. The guy who wore a flat top and had six pack abs.

(Playing in the background Just The Two of Us - Bill Withers)

The truth is that I am probably happier than that guy was, but then again I know so much more now. Now I have seen more than one friend die and watched as a number of my parent's friends have also succumbed to early deaths. Happy talk, I know. But the guy who lives in the Shack has a dark side that hangs out with the happy-go-lucky dude. And somewhere the two turn into what I like to think is a realist with a strong touch of dreamer.

That brings it all back to the initial question of how many somedays do we get and what do we do to maximize those somedays. Not to mention is what do we owe our families in respect to our own happiness.

(Playing in the background Summerwind- Frank Sinatra)

Sinatra is appropriate for this moment, if for no other reason than it makes me feel like there all sorts of possibilities. Maybe that is just because that is what summer is to me, a season of potential. But I digress.

I have been focusing on my dreams because I feel time slipping away. Even though I truly believe that I'll live for another 90 years I still think to myself, what if. What if I don't. What happens if I die tomorrow. What happens if I get hit by a bus, develop a terminal disease or are marooned on a desert island. (Guess who is not going on a three hour cruise.)

And so I find myself wrestling with a number of issues. Here I sit staring at the monitor wondering what to type, how honest to be. In spite of what some people think. I really don't live in denial. I have a very clear idea of who I am. I know my strengths and weaknesses. But even knowing these things it can be hard to read them. Even knowing them, it is not easy to see the shortcomings listed in print.

Who wants to read all that crap about themselves anyway.

Which brings me to the place where I get lost in thought about all this nonsense. Here is what I know and what I am willing to share with you. I have a lot of things to be thankful. My life is pretty damn good, but it is not what I want it to be. There are a few key areas that I need to focus upon, a few key areas that require my personal attention.

I have written in the past about the things that I fear and I have decided that I have a few things to add. For now I'll keep the specifics to myself, but Bobbo, I will say this much. I have a serious fear of finding myself looking back on my life with regrets. Not ordinary regret, but that caused by being stationary.

When the time comes I want to say that I did my best to make the most out of my somedays. I want to say that I may not have always succeeded, but I tried. Damn it, if I can't say that I tried well then I really did fail.

So until I am granted the ability to know how many somedays we get I suppose I'll have to keep trying to make the most out of each one.

HH 183- Lost But Found Again

Welcome to Haveil Havalim #183, the best of the Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere. This is a weekly blog carnival in which we cover a variety of topics including but not limited to Personal, Political (Domestic and World), Judaism and much more.

This edition is called Lost But Found Again because of technical difficulties that occurred during production. I won't bore you with details, other than to say that music helped relax me so that I could reconstruct my work.

For those who are interested here is a short snapshot of what I listened to:
Mansions of The Lord
Crying- Roy Orbison
I Drove All Night- Roy Orbison
The Thrill is Gone- B.B. King
While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The Beatles
5th Symphony-Shostakovich
Adagio for Strings, op.11- Samuel Barber (This is the 9-11 tribute, very powerful.)
Ten Years Kashmir II-Corner Stone Cues
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack Part 8- Howard Shore
And now on to the carnival. If you have any questions please feel free to place them in the comments of email talk-to-jacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net.

Politics

Seraphic Secret covered The Hacking of Sarah Palin. Israpundit says Mess with Sarah at your peril.

From Daled Amos: Sarah Palin Disinvited From Rally--And The Games Politicians Play.

Jill at Writes Like She Talks blogged RJC’s “message test” on Jews heavily debated by Dems, GOP.

The Hashmonean shared Poll This: Obama behind negative Jewish polling?

Dry Bones offered Conventional Thinking. Meryl says that Democrats threaten to kneecap Jewish nonprofits.

There is plenty more on the Dems. WestBankMama thinks that More “Recovering Democrats” Surface and Bookworm is among those Questioning whether Hillary will be the October surprise.

Lenny Ben David shared Things you never knew about LBJ.

Bernie covered Mayors in Underwear and Muslim Culture.

Joshuapundit is ready to say Bye Bye,Britain. Tel Chai Nation told us that UK's youngest terrorist to date jailed.

Michael Totten covered Al Qaeda's Defeat in Iraq. Daniel Pipes discussed whether a Counterinsurgency war can be won.

Over at LGF you can read Iraqis Want to Prosecute Politician Who Went to Israel.

The Elder can tell you why Disney might feel a bit nervous, Saudi cleric: Mickey Mouse must die!

Mere Rhetoric says US Public Diplomacy - Winning Arab Hearts And Minds By Promising To Sell Out Israel

The Blog just might be full of crap, but it is worth reading Without a prayer.

The Fiery Spirited Zionist blogged about Yale Radicals and Elisson issued his own command, TAKE YOUR MEDICINE.

EOW discussed This Islamic obsession with goodwill to all mankind

Anecdotes: Just what are they teaching at The War College.

Balabusta in Blue Jeans has words for Dennis Prager in The Doctrine According to Bush.

Israel

The Blogosphere had plenty to say about Lauren Booth's visit to Gaza. Check out the following:

Aussie Dave thinks that Lauren Booth has been well fed. Pajamas Media presents Tony Blair’s Sister-in-Law’s Gaza Media Circus.

MyRightWord has some advice for Lauren Booth about using cell phones and is upset at blog censorship at the Jerusalem Post.

Judeopundit shared IRNA today: "Zionists are infidel" and more!

Rafi knows that it is all a matter of perspective. Joe Settler says it was A Healthy Reaction, but he is not talking about Jameel's waffles.

Mom in Israel wrote about her daughter's High School In Israel.

Smooth Stone shared The Myth of al-Aqsa: The Holiness of Jerusalem to Islam Has Always Been Politically Motivated.

Yoni The Blogger says that we should Be Afraid.

According to Soccer Dad Jealous arabs make the best peace partners. Speaking of peace Seraphic Secret shared Peace Now Activist No Longer.

Shira is Of two minds on the two-state solution. R.R. is looking for A new era?

It would be a bit hokey to link to All You Need is Love before these next few posts. Instead I'll give you Band on The Run as the lead in to the Rabbi Yonah's Will McCartney risk his life to play in Tel Aviv?

SuperRaizy was prepared with Don't Threaten My Beatle!

Chayyei Sarah wants you to Meet Liz.

Our next blogger shares a name with my favorite beagle, Snoopy shared Israel: too many prophets and no king and Caroline, Tzipi, Bibi, frustration...

Esser Agaroth blogged Jerusalem Demonstration In Support Of Ami Meshulam and his family.

Over at Jerusalemite you can enjoy a conversation with Laizy Shapira, Srugim director. Dan at Tzipiyah is watching Srugim and says No is also an answer.

Toby found a sign.

I know more than one person who thinks that you have to be crazy to live in Israel. I don't know if I agree with that, but to be a fan of some teams requires an affinity for pain. There is a reason why the Cubbies are the way they are. But what do I know.

Go read life in israel ... as a cubs fan.

Benji is always in search of some excitement. Go read What Hurricane Zone???: When Boarding the House Goes Awry and I'm Alive...and Maybe I'm Becoming Israeli.

LOZ has the story of the 19th Child Born to Tzefat Mother. Bar Kochba presents Addicted to Victimhood.

This video has generated more than a little bit of controversy.

Rahel shared a tale about citizen activism and the Raggedys say that they run into Israelis all over the world.

Judaism

In New York there is a thing going on with the Hotties and Hasids. At Emes Ve-Emunah there is a question Should Orthodoxy Promote Social Justice?

Jewish Atheist discussed The Necessity of Sheltering Orthodox Children.

The Rebbetzin's Husband has thoughts about The Agunah Crisis and “End of Life” issues and Rabbinic Insecurity.

MyRightWord manages to see the Jewish element in a visit Madonna made to a Church in Rome and Esser Agaroth shared Islam is Not Immune.

At Beyond BT they are Taking the Next Step in Teshuva while Orthonomics shared Love, Marriage, and Money.

From a Simple Jew Question & Answer With Moshe David Tokayer - Sfas Emes & Rebbe Nachman.

At the Augean Stables we learn that the Parisian Police Say that Attacks Are Not Antisemitic and Daled Amos wonders Why Are There Muslim Calls to Kill Jews on the USC Server.

Esser Agaroth presents The "Rebbe."

Cosmic X has Elul Thoughts #7: The Secret of Happiness and Elul Thoughts #4.

They have a response to Questions About Aviner.

I always enjoy learning things at Balashon. Today you can read about dod. Arejewtino conducted a social experiment.

You might want to check out The Jewish Internet Defense Force: Problematic YouTube Channels and Videos.

Schvach asks, Do You Really Think So? LOZ shared Throwing $ at the Shidduch "Crisis": An Explanation.

Live Immune presents Kabbalistic Speech & New Year and Avi blogged about How To Work On Your Character Traits.

A Hasid and a Heretic shared Im nin'alu -. Shira has words For those who think female leaders are immodest.

Rickismom presents The Torn/Missing “Dots” Communication Sheet. SuperRaizy wrote In Response.

Mottel presents A Walk in Old Montreal and Go Back to the Garden you were Picked From.
Gil typically doesn't send readers over to H.H, but maybe that is why he has his own roundup of reading.

Miscellaneous

The beauty of Haveil Havalim lies in the wealth of information and posts that are offered. On my own blog I shared When I Grow Up and I Talk In My Sleep.

The Ima shares Why Spin Instructors are Like Rabbis and LOZ shared A Perfect Husband/Father and Dealing With Sexual Predators.

Here in HP offers some helpful instruction with Images Inside Links.

Who knew that Jacob is really a dog.

Mochassid has the right idea about Quiet Time. Ask Shifra has had quiet time too, but for another reason.

Frume Sarah is playing The Game of Life. Ricki's Mom discussed The Reading Machine.

Gail is a proud mother. In the Pink offered Dear Lord.

Shira said the Bloggers' picnic turned into YCT mini-convention. Cosmic X is going Yellow.

Batya went to another blogging conference. She also shared how you can never plan for some things.

Ahuvah went to Tachlis2.0 as well.

New York's Funniest Rabbi presents I Miss Quigley while QuietusLeo presents "Lasts".

It is worth seeing Ilana Davita to take a look at Favorite Posts - Part I. Don't forget to talk to Batya about the next edition of J-Pix.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags: , .

Blogger Issues

There is nothing that makes me happier than watching all of my hard work disappear because Blogger is having issues. Every now and then I wonder if there isn't some sort of Blogger Gremlin whose sole pupose is to wreak havoc.

Methinks it is time to go make him walk the plank.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

I be lazy this year. This be a retread. Arghh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahoy there matey! It is Talk Like a Pirate Day ARGHHHHHHHH! I dost have a pirate name. Call me Captain Jack- One-eared Dog the Damned. Grab some grog and check out the many posts about pirates that have graced the Shack.
Haveil Havalim- The Once & Future Edition- Contains a Pirate Post.
Do You Have An Accent

Pirate Attacks Down Sharply

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day

The Jewish Pirates of The Caribbean
P.S. If you dost be a slacker you can use the English-to-Pirate translator or face the pointy end of my cutlass.

Vote Here

It is time for Some Campaigning.

His Ass Burst Right Into Flames

My buddy Attila is responsible for this post as he found the story of the incinerating toilet. Now before we get too far up the creak without our paddle let me say that the title of the post is intentionally inflammatory.

But I just can't help myself. In fact if I didn't engage in the occasional attempt at scatalogical humor I'd have to raise a bit of a stink. Anyhoo, let's take a closer look.
"ECOJOHN™ Sr is a waterless self-contained toilet that incinerates the waste into a sterile ash that needs to be emptied only a few times per year. Installing the Sr is also very easy. Simply connect the chimney system (than comes with the purchase), hook up the Propane and power connection, and the toilet is ready to use."
I am still laughing. It reminds me of a small variation on the old exploding cigar trick.I'll let you use your imagination as to what that picture might look like. ;)

Sorry, I am sure that the product works exceptionally well, but I am a bit paranoid about a toilet that uses propane. The term flagrante delicto comes to mind, although it is probably not exactly the one I am looking for.

There is just something about getting caught with my pants down around my ankles while astride a potty that might pop. Talk about a need for no smoking in the bathroom. Oy!

When I Grow Up

(Playing in the background Child of The Moon- The Rolling Stones)

My son once asked me how long it took me to decide what I wanted to be when I grow up. I smiled and told him that I'd give him an answer once I grew up. The expression on his face made it clear that I had provided him with the wrong answer.

That little guy hitched up his pants and wagged a finger in my face. "Dad, I am serious." I smiled and told him that I was serious too. In some ways I feel very much like a big kid, except that I can't quite squeeze into Toughskins anymore.

Do they still make Toughskins. Does anyone else remember them. They were jeans that we'd buy at Sears. They were tough, but not quite durable enough to prevent me from tearing holes in the knees. Eventually mom would have to sew a patch or two on them. I never cared all that much. As long as I could run and play I was happy.

(Playing in the background Molossus- Batman Begins)

Some of my friends were lucky enough to grow up and know exactly what they wanted to be. Their dream was to be a surgeon, an astronaut, a reporter etc. So from the time we were little they worked hard to develop a plan that would enable them to do whatever it is they wanted to be.

As for me, well I have a lot of dreams. There are a lot of things that I'd like to do. Some of them are moving from the realm of possibility into impossibility.

(Playing in the background How Bad Do You Want It- Tim McGraw)

I was a decent baseball player. Good fielder. Had a strong arm, back in the day I threw out a couple of guys at the plate...all the way from left field. And I could hit. Lord, I could whack that ball. But things happened and I ended up not playing high school ball. Instead of roaming the outfield I found myself spending my days in the water.

You wouldn't call me Michael Phelps, but that is only because my name is Jack. ;)

But seriously, the thing is that for years I could take solace in knowing that I was still young enough to play ball. Maybe I wasn't good enough, or maybe I was. In some respects it didn't matter because I was still young enough to get out there and play pro ball.

(Playing in the background Sloop John B- The Beach Boys)

Now I find that fiction to be a bit harder to maintain. I am getting to be a bit long in the tooth to be a pro athlete. So maybe I'll have to accept that this is one of those dreams that may not materialize into reality.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not something that I am going to celebrate either. I suppose that it brings about a question of what other dreams I had and whether I have tried to follow them.

(Playing in the background Nobody's Fault But Mine- Led Zeppelin)

It is fair to say that I have had many dreams and that I have followed some of them to their logical conclusion and others, well I haven't managed to make them happen. There are a number of reasons why but I am not going to spend time discussing those here.  Not to mention that it is still clearly possible to fulfill some of them.

BTW, the background music reflects what has been playing on the good old iTunes shuffle. It should also explain why some of these songs may seem out of place. 

(Playing in the background What is Love- Haddaway)

I wouldn't call this song a favorite, but I like it because it reminds me of some good times from college. It is one of those goofy club type tunes that we'd play at parties at the fraternity house.  Those parties were a hell of a lot of fun. At best I am a fair dancer. Slow dancing, two stepping, these are things that I am quite capable of.

But once the "dance" music hits I'd rather be standing on the side. I always feel self conscious and like I am a bit off the beat. The nice thing about the fraternity was that the dance floor was always packed so tightly that you couldn't really do much more than sort of sway back and forth. It was perfect camoflauge for a guy like me. 

I am tempted to share more. I have this great story about this special woman I met. Black hair, dark eyes and a body that...Well, if I am ever going to convince Gil that he needs to particpate in Haveil Havalim I'll have to change my tack.

Back to the part of living my dreams, or should I say trying to live my dreams.

(Playing in the background I am, I Said- Neil Diamond)

There was a long time where I thought that I'd find my future life living in Israel. Sometimes I wake up and wonder how I am still living here in L.A. Don't get me wrong, I love L.A. It will always be home, but there is a part of me that wonders. There is a piece of me that never left Jerusalem.

I sometimes suspect that the emptiness I sometimes feel is tied directly into a couple of areas, one of which is the love I feel for the land and the unresolved feelings. I may still move there one day, but I won't have the life that I thought I might.

And there is nothing to say that it is not ok. I might come up with another compromise. I might own a home there and here. I might continue to straddle both places, who knows.

(Playing in the background Chariots of Fire- Vangelis)

This is getting rather long so I suppose that I should begin to wrap it up. As I spoke to my son about what I wanted to be when I grow up I tried to make it clear that some dreams are dreams, but some can be reality.

Call it what you want, but I like to think that I am on the verge of hitting my stride. I like to think that I am just now reaching a point where I can really attain those things. I have some very real dreams.  If I close my eyes I can see them in all their glorious detail. I see the potential. I see the risk and I see the reward.

For now I'll keep these dreams for myself to enjoy and to worry about. For now, me and old Bobbo will be the keeper of the secret. But one day in the not so distant future...

Signs That Your Relationship is Doomed

One of my great pleasures in life is providing people with tips and useful information that they can use to improve their lives. Our current topic is how to recognize signs that your relationship with your significant other is doomed.

If you have a disagreement about dirty dishes and engage in any of the following activities you might consider looking for a new place to live.
  1. Biting
  2. Smashing picture frames across your partner's face.
  3. Attack them with a sword.
Any one of these actions is probably a good indication that things are not good, but if you hit the magic trifecta of all three you can pretty much kiss him/her goodbye.

Inspiration for this post comes from the good people at MSNBC.

Advertising on The Blog

A couple quick thoughts about advertising and my blog. I intend to follow up on this with a more detailed post.

I Talk In My Sleep

A bit after midnight I heard noises coming from my son's room and wandered over to check things out. The door was closed, but I could hear him speaking. For a moment I stood still and listened.

Two thoughts were going through my mind:

1) What the hell is he doing up. He'll never be able to wake up for school.
2) If I find a stranger in there I am going to gouge his eyes and dislocate both of his shoulders.

And now a comment about comments that I will probably receive about this. Yes, I know that the gun is the great equalizer, but I also know that shooting someone is not going to be as satisfying as inflicting debilitating pain upon them with my hands. And believe me, if someone breaks into my home I am going to send them out of here in a wheelbarrow.

Raise your hand if you think that I am overprotective. Ok, put your hands down, you look really silly holding your hand up in the air. Besides I can't see you.

All I can tell you is that watching or reading the news late at night is not conducive to dreaming about pink bunnies and rainbows.

As I stood outside the big boy's door I broke into a huge smile. He was calling out for his friends and laughing. He talks in his sleep. That is ok, I do it too. If you ask my parents they'll tell you that I have for as long as they can remember.

To the best of my knowledge it is not something that happens every night. Some nights I entertain everyone with my impression of a chain saw. Most of the time I am told that I speak in fragments that do not necessarily make sense.

I have a very graphic imagination. Usually when I remember a dream the fragment that sticks with me is quite vivid. Sometimes I'll have the occasional nightmare and scream or yell in my sleep.

I understand that last night I punched the pillow and spent a solid two minutes swearing. I can't say that I remember exactly what it was about, but I suspect that I was trapped in cleveland.

My paternal grandfather had his own sleep peculiarities, but the one that sticks out is that sometimes he would fall asleep with his eyes open. As a child it used to crack me up. For a long time I used to wonder if he was trying to play a trick upon me. I used to wave my hands at him or grab various objects and swing them in his direction.

If he didn't respond I knew that he was ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, especially if he was snoring. That was a really big clue.

But as he got older I have to admit that it began to make me worry a bit that he had died and wasn't really asleep. So I'd creep up to his chair and listen to his breathing and watch his chest rise.

I remember one time he called out to me and asked me to step in front of him so he could see me. As I stepped in front of the chair he gave me a quick wack in the side with his cane and said "I am not dead, stop bothering me."

And then with a soft giggle he went to sleep.

Tuesday Afternoon Tunes

CANTO DELLA TERRA - Andrea Bocelli Duet with Sarah Brightman
Join Together- The Who
The End- The Doors
Here comes the sun-The Beatles
Cry Little Sister (Theme From The Lost Boys) - Gerard McMann
Extreme Ways- Moby
Fire on Babylon- Sinead O'Connor
Mustang Sally -Wilson Pickett
Hold On, I'm Coming- Sam and Dave
History Repeating-Propellerheads
Feel Like Makin Love- Bad Company

The Right Stuff- Astronaut's Challenge

How much would it take to convince you to spend three months lying in bed. Three months in which the overwhelming majority of your day would be spent lying down. Eating, drinking, sleeping etc.

CNN has the story about one man who did so in the name of science.

"We know that bone loss in space is an extremely significant problem. Astronauts lose about 10 times more bone every month than a postmenopausal woman on Earth loses," says Dr. Peter Cavanagh, former director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Space Medicine. Bone loss occurs presumably because astronauts don't get enough load-bearing exercise in zero gravity. Cavanagh says that their findings may later contribute to new treatments for the millions of Americans
who suffer from
osteoporosis.

Roderick Jones is doing his part to help further the field of skeletal health by staying in bed -- for 84 days straight.

The 40-year-old chemist was in between jobs when he saw a curious ad on the Internet. He recalls reading, "Do you have projects you'd like to complete. Would you like a small vacation while you're actually helping the NASA space program?" Rod had always been a science fiction fanatic. A chemist by trade, he was in between jobs and trying to save for a family move from Ohio to Georgia. After several interviews, physiological and psychological tests, it was determined that Rod had the right stuff.

For three months straight, Rod lay not only in a horizontal position, but with his body tilted 6 degrees towards his head. Most of his days were filled with watching television, surfing the Web and writing in a log he called the, "Bedpan Chronicles" named for what he deemed to be one of the toughest parts of the assignment. He ate, slept, read, typed, talked on the phone, and drank -- all
while lying down.His compensation for being bed bound for 12 weeks? $12,000 for the entire
project. Rod is the twelfth study subject, and NASA is halfway through the project. Cavanagh points out how difficult enrollment has been, "So far, for every 300 applicants, only one person has the right stuff."

Researchers claim that lying at a 6-degree angle is the best way to simulate zero gravity, here, on Earth. This simulation doesn't come cheap. NASA estimates that placing one subject in bed for a period of three months or so costs about a quarter of a million dollars."

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...