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Showing posts from January, 2009

Sex & Love- A Father Speaks

Ah the joys of fatherhood are never ending. The inquisitive lad you know as Little Jack has struck again and insisted that I explain love, divorce and girls in general to him. That little rascal reminds me of the Terminator. He is relentless and unstoppable. You can divert his attention but sooner or later he will be back. We have been over this ground on a number of occasions. Here is an incomplete list of posts that help to provide some background: Not Quite a Recap- Let's Talk about Body Parts Dear Tooth Fairy She Broke My Penis For A Good Time Call... A Life Without Regrets Mr Nobody Made Me Do it Proud and Humbled By the Four-Year-Old Things My Four-Year-Old Has Done A Six Year Old Wonders Where Babies Come From Profanity- The Children Learn New Words Part Deux Sex & Children Great Moments In Parenting- Parts of our Body That Grow Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part II And that is the short and incomplete list. It really

Octuplets- Something is Wrong Here

Don't have time for a long analysis so this will be a hit and run type post. The story about the woman who gave birth to Octuplets troubles me . The mother already had six children and now has more than doubled her brood. The LA Times reports following. "And look what happened. Octuplets. Dear God," Angela Suleman said four days after her 33-year-old daughter became the second person in the U.S. ever to give birth to eight babies at once. Suleman stressed that her daughter "is not evil, but she is obsessed with children. She loves children, she is very good with children, but obviously she overdid herself."Angela Suleman said all the children are from the same sperm donor, but she did not identify him. Her daughter is divorced, but Suleman said the ex-husband was not the father." My first question is what sort of income does this woman have. As a father I know first hand just how much money is required to try and support a family. Providing for 14 is goin

My Best Writing

If you asked me to describe my blogging style I might say that it is fast and furious. I have a tendency to blog in waves. There have been days in which I have put up somewhere between eight and ten posts. We're talking about original content and not the cut and paste work that some people thrive off of. And if I am doing it write then the quality of the posts matches the quantity. I don't want to be like the rockstar who puts out a new album with fourteen tracks, only three of which are worth listening to. That is not to say that I don't miss the mark, because I do. There are posts that should be shredded and burned. I have spent some time trying to identify what characteristics my best posts have. Simple truth, identify what elements you need to be successful and then try to replicate that over and over again. I have come to believe that some of my best writing comes during moments when I am upset. It bothers me to say that being really sad is a great tool for putting

My Blogging Style- Personal Versus Professional

In the previous post I constructed a relatively dry post about what it takes to produce a professional blog. This post is going to be far more enjoyable for me because I am going to spend a little time talking about how I write for this blog. I began my interaction with the online world in my early twenties. Chat rooms on AOL and Compuserve were sort of the training grounds in which I began to learn what lay in cyberspace. I graduated from those into debating and discussing politics and life on some message boards. For a while CNN was one of my regular haunts. Those message boards taught me a lot about many things. It exposed me to some of the finer experiences online and it educated me about how nasty things could get when people weren't looking you in the eye. I also learned that the moderators of the boards had tremendous influence on the discussion. To a certain extent you could blame some very negative experiences with one mod as being the reason I started blogging. I am s

How to Write a Professional Blog

During the past few weeks I have been employed as a consultant for some companies that are interested in using the blogosphere to engage in a deeper and more serious dialogue with both existing and prospective customers. It is an interesting change of pace for me to sit down and take a more professional look at blogging than I do in my role as a private blogger. As a professional blogger I have very different concerns than as a private blogger. In a professional capacity I look at every aspect of the blog with a very critical eye, but I also take care not to overthink it. It is a simple three minute presentation that goes something like this: Start by preparing a business plan for the blog. Identify the purpose of the blog. Determine what sort of content supports that purpose. Find a template that is user friendly. Prepare an editorial calendar. About this time I count to ten and sure enough someone inserts their two cents about how content is king and we haven't even discussed

Battlestar Galactica

I was a bit late getting into the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica but I am quite glad that I have. While the cylons aren't as much fun as those I used to see at Universal Studios it has been a lot of fun. I am not going to spend any time discussing whether the show offers a metaphor for what is happening in the real world. No time talking about whether Cylons are really Soviets and Humans are Americans. In general I stay away from that sort of crap. I watch television shows for one of two purposes. It is either educational or entertaining. It just kills me to spend time talking about what the writers really meant. Sometimes water is just water and a red shirt is just red. Life is far too complicated as it is. Anyhoo, I loved this latest episode. I like seeing the momentum build towards the final few episodes and I still don't buy into who they have set up as the final cylon.

Crazy for Star Wars

Earlier this week my son told me that he had decided that he and I are going to have to fight Darth Maul. He outlined a plan of action and gave me a list of duties that I am supposed to fill. It is hard enough to be a father without being told that I have to become a Jedi master. Although I suppose that there are a lot of perks to being a jedi. Come to think of it I can think of a number of situations in which using the Jedi mind trick would be useful. Would have done wonders for me back in college. I could illustrate it more graphically, but that would deprive you of the chance to use your imagination. In the days in which I drove a Camaro it would have been really useful. Just picture the police speaking with me. Officer : Sir I pulled you over because you were speeding. Jack : I was not speeding. Officer : You were not speeding. Jack : I need a police escort. You will arrange to clear traffic in front of me. Officer : I will clear traffic in front of you. Jack : You will arrest

It is The Middle of the Night

It is the middle of the night and I suddenly find myself awake. I fell asleep on the couch and apparently no one managed to cover me with a blanket. Can't say that I totally blame them as the children seem to have run off with all of the spares. Makes me think that just as I have an auto club card I should have a blanket club card that I can call when I am in need. It would be nice to have some sort of service like that. Maybe it would help prevent me from waking up in a foul mood. I am cold, my leg has a cramp and my back hurts from sleeping in some sort of fetal position. What the hell. I spent nine months curled into a ball. Shouldn't there be some sort of rule that says my body should automatically remember those days and consequently I should be exempt from cramps and discomfort. Woke up having had a dream about my best friend, an irritating dream in which I was given some sort of stupid, illogical and unreasonable answer about an argument. Can't say that I quite r

Crappy Service on a Slow News Day

Friends this is the type of story that we have to cover, but we readily admit that it stinks. What should you do when your toilet dies in the line of "doody"? Have a funeral, of course. On Friday at 10 a.m., the Carl's Jr. restaurant in Centerville will have a "moment of silence" for the potty that was destroyed last week when a patron's handgun fell out of the holster and fired as he was hitching up his pants. The bullet shattered the toilet and sent sharp shards into the man's arm. The 26-year-old, who had a concealed-weapons permit, was treated at the scene for minor injuries. But the "john" was destroyed, and the national hamburger chain is feeling the loss. "By all accounts, it was a good toilet; reliable and well liked by customers and crew members alike," wrote Brad Haley, executive vice president of Carl's Jr. marketing, in a tongue-in-cheek note posted on the company's Facebook page. "It seems only fitting to

When Bloggers Meet

I have often mentioned that I didn't spend any time considering whether I was interested in blogging. It was nothing more than an impulse. One day I thought that it might be interesting to try it out and so I did. Had I really spent any time considering it I would have done things differently. I certainly would have come up with a better moniker than Random Thoughts-Do They Have Meaning? Who would have known that so many other people would use such a non-descript title. I really don't like it, but after all this time it is developed a bit of brand equity so I don't know that changing it makes sense. Having jumped into the water without any regard for temperature or depth I didn't have any idea that I would enjoy it as much as I have. I really was surprised by how much I got out of it. I never kept a journal or any sort of diary. This was a new sort of experience for me. As I treaded water and learned how to swim in the blogosphere I experimented with topics to write

Musical Interlude

Good old iTunes provided quite an odd mix of tunes. The Crying Game - Boy George More Than This - Roxy Music Praise You - Fatboy Slim Rain In the Summertime - The Alarm Battle Without Honor or Humanity - Tomoyasu Hotei The Mystic's Dream - Loreena McKennitt Southern Cross -Crosby, Stills & Nash Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw Last of the Mohicans -Soundtrack Imagine - John Lennon

Feeling Sad & Defeated

A new entry for Fragments of Fiction "There is no pain you are receding A distant ship's smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying. When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse Out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look but it was gone I cannot put my finger on it nowThe child is grown, The dream is gone. but I have become comfortably numb." Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd "I can't pay my bills. I can't find a job. I can't support my family, can't even support myself," he said. At least I think that is what he said. Slumped against the wall he stared off into space and began mumbling again. "I feel sad and defeated. Whatever I touch crumbles into dust. Relationships, jobs, friends all they do is go away." It wasn't the first time I had heard him speak this way. He was a man who lived and died every day. His own personal rollercoaster never stopped run

A Good Father

The beauty of attending a reunion like I did is that it forces you to look at your life and think about what it is that you are doing. Because when you run around a room telling people from your past about your present you have your nose pushed right into a pile of life. I spent a chunk of time Saturday night listening to people spin tales about who they are and what they do. I am not trying to say that people were lying or embellishing the truth, but in many cases that is exactly what they did. Some of the people that we thought of as being goofballs or least likely to succeed are incredibly successful now. And some of those we expected to be a huge succeess were not. It is not easy to look some of them in the eye and tell a story about a life that hasn't lived up to what you wanted. It is even harder when you listen to someone shout with such exuberance about how things are better than they ever could have imagined. Now it is no secret that the last four years have been harder

Some Blog Stats to Share

This is post number 6,408. The most popular posts of the last year include but are not limited to: The Duggar Family Revisited What Are Your Favorite Song Lyrics? War in Gaza Update #16 The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants A funny email about anger management Weird Signs No! No! No! Eye Tattoos Are Out Morality Without Religion- A Comment to The Self-Righteous Name a Song That Makes You Cry Haveil Havalim- The Almost Purim Edition I suppose that a two second analysis shows that people enjoy my fiction, humorous tales, some Jewish and political content. Recent keywords that led to the blog include: how to win a woman's heart how to hardboil eggs Duggar family favorite song lyrics what makes a community how to care for sick parents sexual incompatibility in marriage fixing a broken man how do you name your blog My blog is read by people around the world. The countries that send the most visitors include: U.S. U.K. Canada Israel Australia India Phillipines Germany Net

The Private School Dilemma Again

Just downed a big glass of V8 juice and hoped that the surge of so called healthy fluids flowing down my throat would provide enlightenment. Waiting, I am sure that any moment it is going to happen. No really, it is a far cry better than soda and I drink too much of that as it is. Ok , at least five seconds has passed and I don't feel any different. In an age of instant gratification do I really need to wait longer. Ok , I'll give it five minutes. Excuse me while I go hit the john. Still waiting for Nirvana. In the interim I did manage to make that trip to the bathroom. I listened to The Killers play Human and Yo-Yo Ma performed Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major. Unfortunately none of that solved my problem of what to do about the fricking private school dilemma. Every year I agonize over whether to keep my kids in a school that I think is fabulous. I love it, their mother loves it and most importantly they love it. They're thriving there and every year I have watch

Gaza- The Dust is Still Settling

So now the dust is beginning to settle and we can start to assess the results of the war in Gaza. This post offers a collection of perspectives and thoughts about that. The video above was made by the Libi fund which helps support IDF soldiers. From the traditional media we have: NY Times: Obama Sends Special Envoy to Mideast and Europe CNN: Week-old Gaza cease-fire is breached WAPO: Obama Voices Hope for Mideast Peace in Talk With Al-Arabiya TV Fox: The Smuggling Tunnels are Open for Business! AFP: Shalit should not be part of Gaza truce deal: Hamas The Spectator: A British soldier's view of Operation Cast Lead The Spectator: The ugly face of bigoted Britain Financial Times: Saudi warning (is it rude to say Bite Me Limey) The Australian: Israeli troops were told to kill themselves to avoid capture YNET: Carter: Hamas can be trusted YNET: Time to take responsibility JPost: EU official: Hamas responsible for Gaza JPost: Israel hits back at war crimes charges JPost: Caroline Gli

The Condom

Another Sunday night and I find myself hitting the blog hard and fast because sometimes I just have to sit down and write about the things that bounce around the old melon. This is going to be one of those posts in which I tell a story but intersperse it with bits and pieces of other things. You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - The Offspring It is 1983 or '84 and I am about 14 years old. I am standing in the parking lot of my junior high school staring at a bus. I am part of the school newspaper and we are about to embark on a trip up to Fresno. We're going up to participate in a writing contest and to participate in some workshops. I am excited. I know, if you are familiar with Fresno that is hard to envision. But remember we're a bunch of kids on hormonal overdrive heading off to stay in a hotel. There are a few teachers along for the ride, chaperones to keep an eye on us. But we know that we outnumber them and that there is no possible way that they can monitor us the entir

Fraternity Life Revisited

Last night I engaged took part in a scientific experiment and was trasnported back in time. When I left my house it was 2009 but when I arrived at my destination it was sometime in the mid-eighties. Yep, I went to a reunion of the Greek system from my university. Initially I hadn't intended to go. I am in touch with most people that I want to be friends with and while there are those I miss, my time is limited. So I figured that if I have trouble finding time to see the really close friends why make myself crazy with adding old/new ones. But a couple of friends kept hocking me to at least make an appearance and one of them pointed out that it might even lead to business opportunities so I said what the hell and tooled on off to a bar that once was a hang out. And I have to say that for the most part I am glad that I did. There must have been fifty or sixty guys from my house and for that alone it would have been worth it. It was fun catching up with the guys and hearing about wh

Saudi Arabian Hypocrisy

So that wacky prince thinks that he can lecture President Obama about the peace process. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN -- Relations between Arab nations and the United States hinge on American leaders living up to their rhetoric about commitment to lasting peace in the Mideast, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal told CNN Saturday."President Obama, in his statement yesterday, said that he's genuinely making the effort to accomplish a peaceful resolution," al-Faisal, who served as Saudi ambassador to the United States from 2005 to 2007, told CNN's Nic Robertson in an interview Friday. "We've heard this before," al-Faisal said. "We need to see implementation. We need to see facts on the ground change. We need to see rhetoric change. We need to see presence on the ground." He said he was encouraged by Obama's appointment of George Mitchell as Mideast envoy, saying, "Mitchell comes with a track record of success." But he suggested Mitchell s

Texting Is Killing My Grammar

The audio above is about a new pet peeve of mine, the negative influence of texting upon my writing. I am going to come back later and expand the written portion of this post. For now I'll leave this up and open to your comments and thoughts. I take this seriously. Repeated actions become habit and I don't want to fall into a place in which I let the abbreviations spill over into my normal writing. I have enough to worry about without being concerned about the degradation of grammar and an ability to communicate in a professional manner. C U LTR.

A Memory Shared

I can't remember the last time I listened to that song. For a brief while in college it was sort of a personal anthem. I just never got tired of it and I loved the sense of rebellion it provided me with. There is a whole story tied into that but I haven't decided yet if I am going to share it here. Anyway, I'll share one other comment about it as it relates to my current life. This is the sort of tune that I like working out to on my heavy bag. It is light, it is catchy and it has a beat that makes it easy to exercise too. I can dance around the bag, jab, jab, jab and then start throwing combinations. There is something sweet about the smack of the glove on the bag. With the right music and a little effort you can get that this greath rhythm going. But there is something to be said for playing some heavier music to just pound the bag to. There is something cathartic in just unloading on it. Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam- keep going until you haven't anything left and y

Thursday Night's Music Madness

I Have Got You Under My Skin - Frank Sinatra You'll Never Walk Alone - Frank Sinatra Stolen Car - Beth Orton The Voice- Celtic Woman One World - Celtic Woman Danny Boy -Michael Londra Ain't That a Kick In the Head - Dean Martin Lodi - Creedence Clearwater Revival Walk Like a Man - Four Seasons I'm free - Soup Dragons

The Professional Blogger

Some of you may remember that once upon a time the mythical creature I call The Shmata Queen was a blogger. No, really, she was. She had a blog that she used to share stories about her life and thoughts about things that took place within it. Now it is no secret that occasionally I'd borrow the keys and take the blog out for a spin around the block. As you can very well imagine she wasn't always pleased with the improvements that I made upon her posts. Occasionally she was more than a little irritated, irate might be a good description. If you'd like you can blame it all upon my puckish nature. Had we gone to elementary school together I probably would have pulled her pigtails, assuming that I had deigned to speak with her. But what you might not know is that I also wrote a number of serious posts on her blog and passed them off as having been written by her. Some of them received more comments than I ever got on my blog. It made me a bit crazy when that happened, but I

Do You Know What Makes You Happy?

You should have seen the first draft of this post. It was pathetic. A collection of pithy phrases and gibberish that I am embarrassed to say came from my hands. Ok, it came from the melon on top of my shoulders. Anyway, I decided to try again. Within the last ten years or so of my life I have been a part of or witness to some events that have made me focus on trying to identify the things and people in life that are most important to me. Some of them have been obvious and some have been less so. I suppose that you can attribute some of this to painful mistakes that have made me take a hard look at myself. One of my great challenges is that I am very hard on myself. Sometimes I look at choices I have made and I just want to kick myself for picking the wrong door. Friends of mine have told me that as one door closes another one opens but I always have trouble accepting that. It is a feel good statement that doesn't always make me feel good. So I have chosen to take a slightly diff

Controversy Surrounds "The Hokey Pokey"

Now here is a story that you might find to be surprising. Who knew. "It's a musical staple of nursery schools and seniors' fitness classes throughout the English-speaking world. But The Hokey Pokey - the right-hand-in, right-hand-out ditty that sparked a 1950s dance craze - has become the focus of a bizarre controversy in Britain that has drawn in politicians, the Catholic Church in Scotland and soccer fans accused of exploiting the song's alleged anti-Catholic roots to taunt opposing teams. Now, the son of the famed Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy - the man credited with penning the lyrics to one of the world's most familiar melodies - has weighed in to the furor by revealing what he calls the true inspiration for his father's hit: a traditional Canadian folk tune sung by miners in the early 20th century as a drug anthem celebrating the therapeutic powers of cocaine.The song is known in Britain as The Hokey Cokey, and was originally published by Kennedy during

That Part Of My Life is Over

Well it seems that I am not the only one who sometimes finds Facebook to be a bit disconcerting as I have had more than one friend tell me that the "worlds colliding" bit is hard. A few of you have deleted your Facebook accounts because of this. And the truth is that there have been moments where I have considered it too. I suppose that it is only fair to say that there have been moments where I have considered closing up shop here as well, but that is a bit different. So let's focus on Facebook for a few moments and I'll try to shed some light on it. When I evaluate my short life I can say that overall it has been quite good. There has been more good than bad, more happiness than sad. But there are moments in time that I don't want to revisit. Some of them are tied into the sad memories and some of them are tied into the happier moments. The main thing is that they are done. There are people and places who may have been important but they are a milestone that

The Hotel Offers a Sleep Guarantee

Any place that offers a sleep menu catches my eye. Check out this selection: The Benjamin has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that their guests receive a perfect night's sleep. At the center of the program is the Sleep Concierge whose job is to help guests with every request for a restful and peaceful night's sleep. From selecting the perfect pillow to arranging a relaxing massage at the hotel's Wellness Spa, the Sleep Concierge provides assistance and advice for guests as well as fulfills requests from the hotel's Sleep Menu, such as a bedtime comfort snack of milk and warm cookies or delivery of a white noise machine. In fact, The Benjamin is so confident each guest will sleep well it has instituted a "Sleep Guarantee" of a free nights stay if a guest does not sleep as well or better than at home. Sleep Amentities The Benjamin offers a full range of 12 different types of pillows from which to choose: down, upper body, buckwheat, satin, hypo-aller

Change is Coming

Three weeks into the new year and I can tell you that I am still grumpy from the old one. Still have too many bills to pay and too few options. Tired of listening to people say that Bush is responsible for all of our problems. Tired of listening to people say that Obama is going to fix all of them. Tired of listening to Sarah Palin whine about whatever it is she is whining about. I am ready to turn on the television, open a newspaper and or surf the net without seeing her name. Talked to the boys and confirmed that I am not the only curmudgeon feeling this way. But even if I were, I wouldn't care. It is how I feel. Spent more than a few hours talking about such things over the weekend. A few of us got together and held a state of the union and discovered a few things. We're all ready to give up on women. every last one of us. The wives have gone out of their way to drive us to drink. There is a reason why clumps of hair keep falling out and we have knots in our necks. But I s

President Obama's Inauguration

This is what I would call sort of live blogging the event. I have been torn about whether I felt like being on the computer today. Check that, I have to be on the computer for work purposes, the question has been whether I was going to blog about anything. I am not as caught up in the events of the day as a lot of people are. That is not to say that I am not excited about it, I am. But I am feeling a bit worn out. I am tired of reading about all of the challenges we face. I am tired of reading about banks and other industries being given billions of dollars to be bailed out. Lots of people are in financial trouble. Lots of people are fighting to stay afloat and it kind of irks me to see these institutions get more cash, especially since I know that I will end up paying for it. So I am ready to let the man begin working. As I said in an earlier post I don't expect that he or any other person can turn everything around over night. It is going to take time to make things happen an

Gaza Continued

There is so much that could and should be said about the situation in Gaza and the hypocrisy exhibited by so many. We could go round and round in circles about the nonsense. We could ask why those who protest the war are not protesting the brutal treament of Palestinians by Palestinians, but what fun would that be. Instead we'll share a collection of links that you might find to be of interest: CNN: Palestinians: 1,300 killed, 22,000 buildings destroyed in Gaza (What this story doesn't say is how many of those who were killed were terrorists and how many buildings housed weapons or were used as launching pads. It also doesn't talk about how Egypt turned a blind eye while allowing tons of weapons to be smuggled into Gaza. WSJ: Israel Scored a Tactical Victory Telegraph: Analysis: Hamas did not win conflict but did Israel? (Good questions here. It remains to be seen.) JPost: 'Hamas torturing Fatah members in Gaza' (You just had your ass kicked up and down the s

Recent Posts

My Parents and My Blog We Leave The Toilet Seat Up In the Works Nigerian Scam Artist War- What is it Good For Instant Messenger When Harry Met Sally- New Years Sunday Songfest

My Parents and My Blog

This past weekend my father was admitted to the hospital again. He has a couple of health issues that are creating some other issues. The docs decided that the most effective way of treating these would be to run a battery of diagnostic tests upon him so that they could determine what the appropriate next steps would be. While hanging out around the big guy's bed we engaged in a bit of small talk about this and that when all of a sudden my mother asks me why she can't read my blog. I looked at her and said that there was no reason why she can't read it other than the fact that I am anonymous. She smiled and asked me how her almost forty year-old son could have so many secrets. I told her that it was as a result of my joint CIA and Mossad training and that my handlers would never allow me to reveal my secrets. Thus, it was for my own safety that I was preventing her from reading my words. She frowned and told me that it was clear that I still have a very active imaginatio

We Leave The Toilet Seat Up

Before we begin the exciting topic of what position to leave the toilet seat in let me share some of what I have been listening to this evening. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys My World Is Empty Without You - The Supremes ( I prefer the original- no time to search) Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major - Bach (Played by Yo Yo Ma) Gimme Three Steps - Lynrd Skynrd No Leaf Clover - Metallica Ok, let's move on to the incredibly interesting topic of what position to leave the toilet seat in, up or down. I have to give credit for the topic to the illustrious Therapydoc . If you tool on over there you can see that she and I engaged in a bit of back and forth about whether the toilet seat should be left up or down. Having grown up with more sisters than you can shake a stick at ( I tried that once. Bad idea, my father had none of it and, well let's say that I only did it once .) I learned that women have this funny idea that the toilet seat must always be left down so that if they decide to