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Showing posts from October, 2008

My Halloween Costume

Went as the invisible man this year. Wore a suit so you couldn't see the big empty hole in my chest where my heart was cut out. Ok, I am invisible, so it wouldn't matter if I didn't wear the suit because you wouldn't be able to see a thing anyway. Truth is that the effect is much more pronounced this way than if I chose not to wear clothes at all. There is something discombobulating about the hat and clothes seemingly floating by themselves.

Death and Children- Sick Parents and More

Who was it who said that life doesn't come with instructions and that children don't come with a manual. I think that I'd like to kick them in the teeth. I should apologize now for being grumpy. I had planned on writing the story of how I knocked up the Shmata Queen and here I am talking about death and children. It wasn't intended. It wasn't where I had planned to go but sometimes the blog takes you in directions other than your own choosing and this is one of those moments. So take a walk with me if you will and I'll try to paint the picture. Children have big ears. They listen to everything that is going on around them, but it is easy to forget. They may be playing quietly nearby or seem to be just out of earshot, but they are always listening. I learned a long time ago to try to be careful about what sort of discussion I had around them, but sometimes you get so caught up you forget. Or sometimes you think that the discussion will go right over their heads a

Some Halloween Links

It is well after midnight and I should be asleep, but I am not. So here is the opening of the posts about Halloween, or should I say links to posts about it. Halloween 2007 providing links to some of my old posts .

Music Before Bed

Decided that I'd put up a quick post with some of the tunes that I have been listening to this evening. When The Levee Breaks - London Philharmonic When The Levee Breaks - Robert Plant and Allison Krauss All My Love - London Philharmonic Kashmir - London Philharmonic Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven Silly Love Songs - Paul McCartney Halloween

Who Would You Rather Be?

Grandpa Munster Uncle Fester This is a recycled post .

The Joy of Having a Pinched Nerve

There is no better way to brighten up a cloudy day than to be greeted by a pinched nerve. The right side of my neck has just decided to secede from the rest of my body. Combine that with a serious lack of sleep and Jack is going to start roaming the streets muttering: redrum, redrum, redrum.....

Tokyo Shakes and It is Outhouse Central

Maybe I won't go visit Japan. They're telling people to walk around with plastic bags and toilet paper just in case. " In the event of a catastrophic earthquake, Japanese officials say more than 800,000 people would have trouble finding a toilet in Tokyo. As a result, Masaya Takahashi, a cabinet official, tells the Associated Press that the Central Disaster Prevention Council determined that "toilet needs" require more attention from government planners. "He noted that the search for toilets might cause unnecessary panic," the wire service says. "The city has said it plans to make toilets available at schools, convenience stores, gas stations and other public facilities, but the report urged further effort." This is a major public health issue. Reuters says the panel reported that the "biggest problem faced by survivors of the [1995] Kobe earthquake was not food or clothing, but a lack of toilets."

The Electoral College

In less than a week we are going to hold another election for president. If the past serves as any sort of guide there is going to be a big discussion about the significance of the popular vote and The Electoral College. Since some people are unfamiliar with what it is and how it works I thought that it might be useful to provide some information about it. Here is a procedural guide to the Electoral College as provided by The National Archives. "The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The electors are a popularly elected body chosen by the States and the District of Columbia on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (November 4, 2008). The Electoral College consists of 538 electors (one for each of 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators; and 3 for the District of Columbia by virtue of the 23rd Amendment ). Ea

My Life in Five Years- Predicting The Future

I am a bit surprised that I am still awake. I didn't sleep well. A night of restlessness that was punctuated by brief and unfulfilling bouts of sleep. Bouts being the appropriate term as every dream seemed to be about a fight. Unfortunately these weren't prizefights, they were something else. It is no secret that for a while I have been feeling restless and unsettled. There is a lot going on. It is fair to say that I am one of millions of people who are tossing and turning about the challenges we face. FDR said that the only thing we have to fear it fear itself which obviously proves that he never was forced to live in cleveland and that he was never struck by The Shmata Queen's very large and heavy black purse. Not to go off on a tangent, but the old queen carries a purse that would make my grandmother jealous. It is enormous and filled with all sorts of random objects. Ok, I need to recant because something tells me that comparing her to a bag lady is going to place

Friendship- Fulfillment

If you are one of the 17 long time readers you have seen various posts in which I have mentioned my friend 'D.' This past August marked ten years since his death. I don't think about him everyday anymore, but I haven't forgotten him either. It is not unusual for me to see something that makes me think of him. It is not uncommon for me to sometimes wonder what he would be doing now had he lived. Ten years ago I was married, but hadn't yet become a father. Ten years ago I was on a different career path. Ten years ago I was someone else. That is kind of surreal, but it is true in many ways. So many things have happened to me that my life has been changed. The guy I used to be is how I sometimes think about it. The guy that I was has moved on to different pastures, perhaps they are better, perhaps they are worse. 'D' had a lock on what he wanted to with his life and who he wanted to be. I didn't have that same fix. I had ideas. I had dreams, but there wa

Must Blogging Have a Purpose

About once a week I come across in article that offers stats that are supposed to show that blogging is so common that it is uncommon for people not to have one. My experience doesn't support that premise. I know very few people that have blogs or at least very few that admit to it. As a point of clarification let me say that I am referring to people I knew prior to beginning my blogging career. With the exception of two people on the blogroll I really didn't know anyone who was blogging until after I leapt into the blogosphere. The wild and woolly blogosphere who has finally gained acceptance as a medium that can affect public opinion. One of the great social equalizers. Here in the blogospheres looks and money are far less important than the real world. Here in the blogosphere anyone and everyone can become an internet hero and leverage their blog into fame and fortune. "Fame and fortune, that is why people begin blogging, isn't it, Jack?" Now I am paraphrasi


Lately the keywords have been cracking me up. Here is a snapshot of some of the word(s) that drove people here. Shmata writer's block domestic discipline Yo Silverman marriage counseling time wasters besheret love that lasts forever food waste in America Duggar family what is it like when parent's get sick first kiss emergency divorce music of the night why do middle aged men go through depression actors of the '80s what actor/actress would play you in the movie of your life I miss you johnny left june tears that do not come loveless marriage I hate coupons Alfalfa's butt on fire did mr. rogers know paul newman are heroes born or made ways to entertain yourself in class Crossposted here .

My Neighbor Loves His Motorcycle

A neighbor of mine recently purchased a motorcycle. Each night he serenades us by repeatedly gunning the engine and then riding up and down the street. The first couple of times it wasn't a big deal. From time to time to we all make a bit of noise. We try to be good neighbors, but I am sure that we're guilty of something. Every now and then we have a party or play the stereo with the windows open. But motorcycle boy has pushed past the point at which you can easily ignore inconsiderate actions. Motorcycle boy has zoomed right to the point at which I like to imagine inserting a broomstick into his spokes or alternatively leave a rope tied across the street. Now some of you are wondering why I haven't just complained to motorcycle boy about the noise. I am glad that you asked because here is the rub. I haven't figured out which house motorcycle boy lives in. I think that he lives behind my house. We have good size yard, so that should give you a sense of how loud moto

No, No, No and No!

What the hell is wrong with these men. Every few months I read another story about a fool who has decided that it might be fun to insert himself into some sort of object. Park bench guy was stupid, but the hero from this story is right up there. "CITY OF NEWBURGH — A Newburgh firefighter became an ad hoc surgeon Friday, called upon to use a pneumatic saw to cut a piece of steel pipe off a 73-year-old man's penis. Firefighters were dispatched to the Newburgh campus of St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital shortly after 9 p.m. for a public service call, Assistant Chief Scott Mandoske said. Hospital personnel asked them for tools to cut off a ring. The fire department has a ring cutter used to clip wedding bands from swollen fingers, but firefighters learned that wouldn't be enough. The pipe was an inch long, an inch in diameter and made of quarter-inch-thick steel. Authorities said the pipe was apparently an erotic aid, but did not elaborate. Medical personnel weren't able t

Repairing a Broken Heart- The Modern Man

If you haven't noticed or I haven't told you I like music to accompany my writing. Sometimes it helps to set and maintain the tone of whatever it is I am working on. Sometimes the music is supposed to help you, the reader better understand and sometimes it doesn't mean a freaking thing. As a point of interest, whenever I link to a song on YouTube, unless otherwise noted the music is the most important piece. Love Reign O'er Me - The Who Somewhere Down The Road - Barry Manilow Sweet Home Alabama - Lenigrad Cowboys & Russian Red Army Choir In an earlier post I mentioned that I have several friends who are in the process of splitting up with their spouses. They are not the first friends of mine to get divorced, but they are the first to do so at this time of life. For those who care, here is the distinction between the two. There were a few who got married in their early twenties and by the time they had hit their mid to late twenties their marriages were over. No

Woman admits making up McCain sticker attack,

There is enough chaos and confusion without people doing foolish things like this . And then to see comments from supporters of both sides claim that this is all a campaign trick is enough to give me a headache. No matter who wins we are going to hear accusations about a stolen election. (CNN) -- A Republican campaign worker who told police she was assaulted by a man angered by a John McCain sticker on her car admitted she made up the report, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, assistant police chief said Friday. Ashley Todd, 20, of College Station, Texas, has been charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor, and may face more charges, said Pittsburgh police pokeswoman Diane Richard at a news conference. Todd is incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail but had not been arraigned Friday night.Todd was a volunteer for a John McCain phone bank in Pittsburgh, the campaign said. "This has wasted so much time. ... It's just a lot of wasted man hours," Assistant Police

Dating An Older Woman- Perspective Changes

A recent conversation at the lunch table made me stop and think about how things can affect your perspective. I was sitting near a group of single people who were busy talking about dating and how they thought that once you passed 35 it must be really tough. Point of interest, the people talking are all between 23 and 26 years of age. I snorted and rolled my eyes and received a couple of comments that essentially said that my age and marital status made it difficult if not impossible for me to understand. So I said to those young whippersnappers that they had no clue about dating or what it means to be old. And received more snarky comments in response. For the moment I'll let you guess what they were. But the conversation stuck with me and I spent a few minutes thinking about it on the drive home. When I was in my early twenties I dated a woman who had just turned 40. At the time we began dating I didn't know how old she was. I knew that she was older, but not by how much.

Shirley Bassey Blowout- James Bond

Watched a couple of clips from Goldfinger and decided that I felt like listening to Shirley Bassey. So here for your pleasure are some tunes by the lady and a few others that I felt like throwing in. GET THE PARTY STARTED - Shirley Bassey (Not her best, but...) History Repeating - Propellerheads & Shirley Bassey Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey Diamonds Are Forever - Shirley Bassey Intermission- Casino Royale Chase scene I hear this and I go looking for my tux and my gun. You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra For Your Eyes Only - Sheena Easton ( I really disliked this song, among the worst to grace the Bond films. Nobody Does It Better -Carly Simon (One of my favorite Bond songs.) Crossposted here .

Shmata Queen, Oh Shmata Queen Wherefore Art Thou

That wacky woman known as the Shmata Queen complained to me that she doesn't have enough time in the day to get everything done. Now I am sorely tempted to provide you with a list of the stuff the crazy chick is determined to do because you would have a greater appreciation for this post. It could be fun to poke about and mention that you have never seen someone take such care to make lists of tasks to do, or should I say that you have never seen someone smile so big for crossing off items on her list. I suppose that now is as good a time as any to say that any time I get a hold of her calendar I make a point of playing with it. Little subtle things, like tearing out random days or weeks. I can't decide if it is more fun removing pages than manipulating appointments. Nothing like creating more tasks. Sorry, I have a very juvenile sense of humor. I even pull on her pigtails. During a recent conversation the old broad (she is not real fond of that term, but I use it endearing

Playing With My Template

It has been a long time since I made any major changes to the template so I figured it was time to make a few changes to the joint. I am not sure if I really like this new look, but I learned a long time ago that sometimes it helps to give change a time to sink in. Of course I am famous for hating change so maybe there is nothing unusual about this. Not that it really matters, this blog is something that I do for the hell of it. So there is really no reason to get too serious. Who knows, I may still decide to shut the shack down and move permanently into fancier digs . It is definitely under consideration, but it is relatively low on the priority list. Not to mention that this place has been indexed so many times by the search engines that I don't have to try as hard to generate traffic. Not that I write solely for the chance to engage with an audience. More on this later.

She Told Me That She is "In Hell"

The dark haired beauty is just a bit past four years-old but sometimes the words, expressions, gestures she uses make me wonder if she is really just a short teenager. Earlier this week I asked her what she thought of school and was quite surprised by her answer. She looked up at me, dark curls cascading down her face and said "I don't like it." I asked her to tell me what she doesn't like and in response received a deep sigh and a look that made it clear that dad doesn't get it. So I looked at her and said that I can't help her unless she tells me what is really happening. I need specifics. "Abba, I am in hell." I paused and did a bit of a double take. Did this little girl really just say she is in hell. Did my daughter really just say that. "What do you mean you're in hell?" She gave me another one of those looks and responded. "Abba, you know what that means. Don't tease me." I shook my head and said that I wasn

I Am A Lonely Man

Outside the sky is blue and covered in flecks of white dots that double as clouds. Cumulus nimbus is what my junior high school teacher called them, at least I think that is what he said. Can't say that I remember all that well, or maybe the problem is that I remember far too well. I remember the days when I fit in and felt like a part of society. I know, it sounds screwy. If you know me you'd never have a clue that I am a lonely man. You wouldn't guess that my days feel like they have no meaning at all. I am a good actor. That smile I paste across my face and the silly banter are all part of my disguise. A shield that I use to keep people from seeing that the man is nothing more than shell of a person. I know, you're thinking that it sounds tired, a cliche and somewhat pathetic to say these things. It is hard for me to write them and even harder for me to accept that the boy who showed so much promise grew into the man who has yet to fulfill one of his dreams. Not on

The Saddest Love- Pablo Neruda

Tonight I stumbled onto a poem by Pablo Neruda that caught my attention. It tells a story that is filled with rich imagery and emotion "I can write the saddest poem of all tonight. Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance." The night wind whirls in the sky and sings. I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. On nights like this, I held her in my arms.I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her. How could I not have loved her large, still eyes? I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her. To hear the immense night, more immense without her.And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass. What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.The night is full of stars and she is not with me. That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.My soul is lost withou

Somewhere Down The Road

Someone who was reading Fragments of Fiction suggested that this song be included as part of the soundtrack. Unfortunately I accidentally deleted the email. So I figured that I'd include it on the blog and offer my apologies for the lack of credit. Crossposted here .

Only In Israel

Where else but the Holy Land can you go to spa to have a snake massage. "The treatment consists of six non-venomous snakes massaging the client's aching muscles and joints. Ada Barak's snake spa, in Talmei Elazar, northern Israel, uses California and Florida king snakes, corn snakes and milk snakes for the massages, which cost £40 ($70). Miss Barak believes that physical contact with the reptiles can be a relaxing experience. She says that she was inspired by her belief that once people get over any initial misgivings, they find physical contact with the snakes to be stress relieving. "Some people said that holding the snakes made them feel better, relaxed," she said "One old lady said it was soothing, like a cold compress." For the rest of the story please click here .

A Visit To The Dentist

In a couple of hours I am going to subject myself to the tender ministrations of my dentist. You see I have a cavity that needs to be filled and I am most unhappy about it. I hate having my mouth numbed. I find it to be quite uncomfortable. Even though it is preferable to being drilled upon without any sort of anesthesia, it bothers me. It bothers me because for the duration of that numb feeling I have this feeling that I am drooling so I am forever wiping my mouth. It bothers me because as soon I go numb I find that I am really thirsty and hungry. And you know that the dentist always recommends that you not eat until the feeling in your mouth returns, you wouldn't want to accidentally consumer portions of your tongue. Which reminds me, as a kid I used to love to have a tongue sandwich. Of course no one told me where it came from, but I digress. Drinking is supposed to be safe, but I still find that to be problematic. Actually that is the one time that I find that I have any iss

What Are You Willing to Do

And now for writing whatever the heck comes to mind, a little free association. Within the last few weeks a number of my friends have begun the process of ending their marriages. Makes me think of Love Reign O'er Me, Whiskey Lullaby and much as I hate to admit it, Weekend in New England. Fact is over the past five years or so I have found myself listening to Barry and Neil Diamond...occasionally. The boys who are splitting from their girls are long overdue. I didn't and won't tell them that, but from where I sit it was apparent a long time ago. Of course it is always easy to fix your neighbor/friend/brother/sister's problem. Being a step removed gives you perspective that they may not have. I do not believe in staying married solely for the children, nor do I believe that you should just walk out either. It is a bit like being trapped inside a thorn bush. You don't really want to move because there is no way to get out without scraping yourself up, but then agai

Tuesday Night Tunes

Went to shul tonight to celebrate Simchat Torah and had one hell of a time. It was a lot of fun. Came home and did a bit of work. Here is what has been playing in the background. P.S. The music is what is important. I like to the videos only for the purpose of being able to share the song. Hero of The Day - Metallica No Leaf Clover - Metallica (Love the symphony in the background) King Without a Crown - Matisyahu The Ecstasy of Gold -Ennio Morricone (includes a clip from one of my favorite movies. Would - Alice in Chains Plowed - Sponge Ball And Chain -Social Distortion The Adventure - Angels & Airwaves Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol Yonatan Shapira - Aya Korem Shir Ahava Pashut - Aya Korem Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley Feel Like Making Love - Bad Company BOLERO-RAVEL The Planets Op.32 Mars, the Bringer of War - Holst Crossposted here .

After The Election

It won't be long now. Just a few short weeks and we will find out who our new president is going to be. The endless ads on television and radio shows will simply vanish into thin air. Newspaper and magazine ads will be nothing more than simple fish wrap and the signs that sit on lawns will be souvenirs of the campaigns that once were. It won't be long before we are given the opportunity to try and determine whether campaign promises are fulfilled or if they were just words that were designed to grab our attention and earn our votes. It won't be long before we see whether we remain a house divided or if we can get beyond the partisan bickering and fingerpointing. Will we witness four years of parties praising their politician of choice and slamming the opposition or will we see a change. A change in which we stop the fingerpointing, the carping and the griping about how bad things are because of the democrats/republicans. A change where we we resume working together to im

How To Protect Yourself from Zombies

The lad asked me if I could tell him the best way to protect himself from being attacked/eaten by zombies. I told him that there was a simple foolproof method, dancing. He told me that I couldn't possibly be serious. So I brought out the big guns and showed him proof . I suppose that it is my fault that he wants me to show him the complete choreography for the routine. This could be interesting. Crossposted Here.

Politics and Polite Conversation

Many times I have heard people talk about what they consider polite conversation should be, or should I say they have opined about what you shouldn't discuss. Typically those dangerous topics are politics, religion and money. I suppose that I should admit that from time to time I have been accused of being someone who likes to stir the pot, a rabble rouser and trouble maker. I'd say maverick but Palin the tool has tried to obfuscate the real meaning of that word and I may be forced to choose a new term. Oops, didn't mean to call her a tool, stupid, ignorant, redneck, vindictive, dangerous or anything else that isn't completely laudatory of her tremendous abilities. On a serious note there is some truth to the claim that I stir things up. It is fair to say that this has happened from time to time. But it is also fair to say that I am interested in hearing opposing perspectives. I don't subscribe to a school of thought that says that I can only read or listen to th

Voting Rights- Should American Jews Be Given a Vote

(This post originally appeared on The Muqata . I had intended to post it here as well.) Last week during a slow moment in shul a few of us began a discussion about voting rights for American Expats and whether American Jews should be allowed to vote in Israeli elections. It was a very heated discussion and not just because of the fast. Here is a short synopsis of what went on. Some people felt that if expats became citizens of other countries they simply should not be allowed to vote. Others took a more nuanced approach and said that if an expat became a citizen of another country, was not paying taxes and lived more than 3/4s of the year outside of the U.S. then they should give up their right to vote. Still another group maintained that unless you give up your American citizenship you should always retain all rights granted therein. It is an interesting discussion to me for a variety of reasons. I am Pro-Israel and will always be concerned about Israel's welfare, but at the

Music and Fragments of Fiction

This post is really designed to help me get organized again with Fragments of Fiction. I have been working on a bunch of different things to help integrate the pieces. I hope to have those up relatively soon. I must admit that I was surprised to see just how many entries I have. There is a lot of work to be done here, to tie it all together in a neat little package. I apologize if this is out of order. I expect that within the next couple of weeks or so I'll find time to put it in some kind of order. Johnny Speaks To June Whether The Storm or Weather The Storm Notes For June- Fragments of Fiction More about Johnny June Johnny and June- A Rough Draft Some Notes for Fragments of Fiction May 2008 Welcome To The Insomniac's Theater- Trying To Connect The Dots Rediscovering What Was Lost- Two Kinds of Pain Revisited How I Deal With Pain The Movies It Made Me Spit Blood The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants Welcome To The Insomniac's Theater Letting Love Go Th

The Scarecrow

You're Too Old For Long Hair

Last week I sat down and listened to a group of women engage in a serious discussion of how old you can be before you have to cut your hair. Before we go any further let me set the scene. It was after the fast had ended and I had secured a quiet spot in which to try and eat. What I didn't count on was that so many other people had the same idea as me. Sometimes it is better not to be a trendsetter. Anyway I was happily ensconced in a overstuffed chair with a cup of coffee and some great food so I had no intention or desire of moving any time soon. As I was enjoying my meal the others quietly moved into place and began their discussion. Initially it was about politics but the discussion got heated and they decided to switch topics to grandchildren. That led to the comment by one of the women, "my daughter keeps complaining that the baby grabs her hair. I told her that it is time for her to cut it and get something more appropriate for her age." If I am not mistaken the

Tuesday Night Tunes

Rapture - Blondie SECRET WORLD - Peter Gabriel Come Talk to me - Peter Gabriel Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkel Crying Time - Ray Charles Baby Please Don't Go - Ray Charles I Can Love You Like That -John Michael Montgomery Waitin' On A Woman - Brad Paisley COULD IT BE MAGIC -Barry Manilow You've Made Me So Very Happy - Lou Rawls Welcome To The BoomTown - David & David I Still Believe (Lost Boys) - Tim Capello Can't Find My Way Home - Blind Faith Hold On Loosely - .38 Special Crossposted here .

How Stupid Is Sarah Palin

This post has next to nothing to do with Sarah Palin although I can guarantee that it is going to drive a ton of traffic here. Years ago I put up a post in which I mentioned naked pictures of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Not a week goes by in which visitors arrive having searched for those very things. I do need to mention that I think that it is a mistake to try and disqualify Palin based upon her intelligence. I certainly question how much she has, but that is not the way to discredit her for office. The best and smartest method is to point out what her shortcomings are on substantive issues such as her inexperience in key areas like foreign policy and economics. Calling her stupid doesn't address the core reasons why she shouldn't be a part of the ticket and makes it far too easy for people to dismiss your argument. Speaking of keywords let's take a look at what terms have driven people here: Duggar Family feel like a fool being in love baal teshuva what does drowni