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Showing posts from June, 2009

The Squeeze is On

Johnny looked out the window and stared aimlessly into space. Blue skies were all that he could see, endless blue skies punctuated by the occasional roof line. He sighed, long and deep and shook his head. Blue skies were supposed to be symbolic of hope and possibility. Blue skies were so often used by writers to help describe the feeling of what could be. But as the ubiquitous "they" said, he wasn't feeling it. No hope, no possibility. Not now, not today, not at this moment. Because at this very moment he felt like an anaconda had wrapped itself around his trunk and was slowly squeezing him to death. He grunted and looked for the head of the snake. If he could wrap his hands around it he would return the favor and teach the reptile that two could play the game. The thought made him laugh. What the hell was he doing thinking about wrestling with a fake snake, but it was classic Johnny. He had a plan for how to deal with it and he knew that he was capable. Didn't ma

It Caused a Fight

Not so long ago I had to referee a fight between the children about the meaning of the word crotch. Or should I say that I explained that both boys and girls have crotches. This led to more questions about anatomy. Ah, the innocence of children and their unflinching ability to share their observations with you, unadulterated and uncensored.

This Sounds Interesting

I have a gift card for Borders that I haven't used yet. I might pick this up. "He was 11 years old , riding in a Cessna in a blizzard through California's San Gabriel Mountains in 1979, on his way to pick up a trophy he won in a skiing competition. "The gray clouds were just pressing against the windows; it didn't even seem like we were moving," he recalls. "Then, there's a limb reaching out of that fog and disappearing. Then another one and another one. "Then realizing we were in the trees." The plane crash that followed killed his father and the pilot and badly wounded his father's girlfriend, who with young Norman was tossed violently onto the top of an 8,600-foot mountain in the freezing, February chill. "I felt three thuds. The third one must have knocked me cold," says Ollestad, now 41. "I remember feeling those thuds in my spine -- a clear memory of that. Then I woke up who knows how long after." The ens

Music For My Morning, Except it is Evening

Seven Spanish Angels - Willie Nelson and Ray Charles Always on My Mind - Willie Nelson You Are Loved 'Live' - Josh Groban Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve Jay-Z versus The Verve "Bittersweet Dirt Off Your Shoulder "- Some of you will love that and others will hate it. Drop It Like It's Hot - Snoop Dogg Kid parked in front of my house played that three times before I had enough. I was tempted to move my stereo and blast him with some of the following: Thunderstruck - AC/DC For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) - AC/DC Panama - Van Halen Bulls On Parade - Rage Against The Machine Phantom of the Opera - Iron Maiden ( Bit different from Andrew Lloyd Webber) You've Got Another Thing Coming- Judas Priest But I didn't do any of those things. And now it is getting really late and I need to start winding down. But before I do here are some more songs from the day. Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers A

He Tried To Forget Her

She was the one who came unsought and unseen into his life and turned it upside down. She was ready but he wasn't and then he was ready and she wasn't. It was an awkward dance of ups and downs and uncertainties. It was a time of change in many things and many places and it was never clear what was really going on. And so they took a step back to look at their lives and to review what it was and what it was not. A seesaw is a great place for a child but not always as much fun for an adult and so it seemed that if they could not be then the best thing to do would be to walk away. To walk away and say that if it was meant to be then somehow it would work out. He said it and he meant it but deep inside it never did take. Though he did his best to try and forget her there were always things to remind him that something was missing from his life. It was a funny sort of realization because something had been missing from his life for a long time and her arrival in it had filled tha

Age Is Just A Number....Right...

Age is just a number, right. That is what they say. It is all about your state of mind and right now my mind is covering more than a few states. Maybe I should blame it on The London Symphony and their version of The Final Countdown . Yeah, that is the ticket. Think that I'll switch to The Moody Blues Nights in White Satin or Tuesday Afternoon and follow it up with Layla . Not that any of it matters, it is just a way of avoiding the topic of age. Or rather my way of saying that I am still adjusting to turning 40. Yep, it bothers me a bit, not so much the number itself but the guy I see in the mirror. I close my eyes and I picture myself and I see the body that I used to have. It is hard, stomach is cut and the muscles ripple as I move. Bruises, aches and pains are things that happen periodically, but they don't last long enough to be noticeable. Sleep is something that I stumble upon every once in a while, but I don't seem to notice a lack of it. And let's not fo

Decisions...Decisions...Decisions

Come Back - Moshav For the past three days or so I have been meaning to write this post, or at least try to write it. It hasn't happened for a variety of reasons. A little thing called life has prevented me from getting into it. Family and work obligations and chores around the house have all conspired against me and the blog. Responsibilities and major questions have been dogging me, nipping at my heels and forcing me to confront challenges that I had been putting off. I hadn't avoided them because of fear but because the smart way to do things is to see that you have laid the groundwork and prepared for whatever you are taking on. Yet I hate having things hang over me. I feel the weight of these decisions dragging me down. It is like a thousand hands pulling on whatever part of my body they can grab, yanking and tugging on me. So I try to shrug them off. At first it is kind of a gentle shrug, but as I grow more agitated the shrugging grows more forceful. The vein on my fo

Jerusalem Is Calling

There once was a woman in my life who would debate and discuss the biggest and most minute details of my life. And were she in the room with me she would shake her head, wag her finger and then roll her eyes at this description. It wouldn't surprise me if we'd get into a long talk about which one of us is/was crazier and whose philosophy of life makes more sense. But that is what happens when you deal with the short and illogical half of the species, the ones that by virtue of gender are reality challenged. For those keeping score I have taken more than one and less than ten swipes at her, but they are all done with love and a smile on my face. Not to mention an iTunes soundtrack in the background. Anyhoo, the paragraphs above do relate to the post because the theme here is about dreams of the past, dreams of the present and dreams of the future. Dreams of the past refers to lost loves. Not every lost love is about a relationship between a boy and a girl. Some of them tie in

The Problem With Iran

The problem with Iran is not something that can be summed up in a few words. It doesn't fit into an age of sound bites and instant gratification. This is not going to be a heavy analysis that you'd submit for academic acclaim.  No, this is just a little window inside my head where I air out the dust and share a few thoughts with you. I live in Los Angeles. It is a city that has a substantial population of Persian Jews as well as many Iranians who identify as Muslim or members of Bahai . And they have been here for a long time now. I remember the heavy influx of Persian Jews who fled Iran after the fall of the Shah, roughly 30 years ago. My family has had many Persian friends for years and so I have had time to hear many stories about what life in Iran was like and much about what it is like now. Don't misunderstand me, I am not claiming to be an expert, just trying to provide some foundation for my thoughts. For years now I have heard about the influence of the mullahs

Inspired By Michael Jackson

Figured that if I sifted through the archives we'd find a few posts that are due to Michael Jackson's influence: Spontaneous Subway Dancing (A "Thriller" moment) Phillipine Justice (Another "Thriller" moment) Thriller With Legos Michael Jackson : Thriller : Indian Style And as a special bonus those wacky inmates are back:

The Fall

When I arrived at the crossroads I had no idea that I would tumble over the side. The fall sent me careening down the hill with no idea when I would hit bottom. (Fragments of Fiction post- will be added to throughout the day.

The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants

Originally run here Someone once told me that the heart wants what the heart wants. I don’t know if that is a line from a book or a movie, it could be. Then again it might be one of those pithy statements that people come up with. I’d ask the person who told me but I can quite remember who said it. Hell, it might have even been me. The heart wants what the heart wants. You know what that means? It is a statement made by people who can’t explain why they are in love with person xyz. It is what you say when there is no logical explanation for your actions. It is a catchphrase, a tagline, a slogan and a motto. The heart wants what the heart wants. It reminds me of Shakespeare, “Life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Somewhere my high school English teacher Mrs. McDonnell is smiling. Little Jimmy actually remembered a line from Macbeth. See ma’am, I told you that I could hear just as well in sunglasses as without.. The heart wants what the heart

Facebook Follies- Too Many Notifications

It is time for another edition of Facebook Follies, the blog posts that provide you with the key information you need to become a master of Facebook. Ok, that is an exaggeration. Most of these Facebook posts are commentary about it, but some of them do include practical information. Take what you will from them. Anyhoo, let's move on and talk about Facebook Notifications. Many of us have friends who use Facebook extensively throughout the day. They take every quiz that comes along and publish the results filling our news feed with all sorts of useful information about what state they should live in, what kind of fruit/animal/superhero they are and so much more. I don't know about you, but I find it to be a bit tedious, tiresome and obnoxious. To be fair, I have to admit that I use a couple of Facebook apps that send out notifications. However, I try to do a couple of things to mitigate the ensuing the mess. 1) When I remember I turn off the notifications because not everyon

Coming Soon

Hang around a few and you'll see a few new posts. I have a Johnny and June floating inside the old melon, a comment or two about social media and the MSM and a few others.

Michael Jackson

There are a number of reports that Michael Jackson has died. Blogs and Twitter are all buzzing way with news of his death, but I have yet to see report on the MSM confirming that he has died. However, there are many reports of his having suffered a heart attack. This gives me an idea for a blog post that I'll probably write later on. In the interim here are links to some of his old stuff: Thriller Beat It Billie Jean Bad

And Then He Died

Three years ago I stood in the emergency room of the hospital and listened to the doc explain that my grandfather had died. And then I went to the room in which his body lay and say with him. I wrote about that moment in The Bearer of Bad Tidings- One Less Set of Footsteps . Two thoughts come to mind about that post. I can't read it without choking up a little. It is raw and it captured the moment so well that three years later I still feel it. But I was and still am very appreciative of the comments. It was one of those moments where I knew without a doubt that the blogosphere is a real community. It is hard to believe that three years have gone by, especially when I think about all that has happened. Some of the hardest and most challenging moments of my life lie before me and I sorely miss his advice and support. I would have liked to have been able to discuss some of this with him. He would have listened and shared some thoughts. Chances are he would have told me a story or

This Weeks Sign of The Apocalyse

This Weeks Sign of The Apocalyse comes from our friends at Haaretz who report the following: Is Britney Spears set to star in a Holocaust movie? "Is American mega pop star Britney Spears set to return to the big screen, seven years after starring in the box office flop Crossroads? According to reports, Spears has been offered a part in the upcoming Holocaust film The Yellow Star of Sophia and Eton, which integrates time travel, concentration camps and a love story. If she accepts the role, Spears will be taking on the title role of Sophia LaMont, a woman who invents a time machine and succeeds in traveling to the time of the Second World War. According to the script, LaMont ends up at a concentration camp and falls in love with a Jewish prisoner named Eton. However, the budding love story is cut short when both are killed by the Nazis." I can't decide what I like best about this. Britney will be perfect as a genius who invents a time machine that just happens to take

Musical Morning

Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson Homeward Bound - Paul Simon & Willie Nelson Don't Give Up - Willie Nelson & Sinead O'Connor (who thought that you'd see this pairing) Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush Everything I own - Bread (Oh those 70s.) Relay - The Who Love Reign Over Me - The Who " How Soon Is Now?" The Smiths " It's Been A While "-Staind

Living The Bachelor Life

I am man, hear me roar. Watch as I burp and scratch and revert back to my bachelor life. The family is as they say....Gone! Here I sit at the computer, unshaved and unwashed. There are a couple of dishes in the sink and newspapers spread across the table. Last night I stayed up well past the witching hour and thoroughly enjoyed the silence and the solitude of my man cave. I woke up this morning sans alarm, wife and children. In other words I woke up as nature intended. For a moment I wondered if it was all a dream and then I remembered that it wasn't. With a yawn, a stretch and a big smile I rolled out of the bed and strolled through the house. The quiet, oh, the blessed quiet. I paused and looked around and smiled. It won't be long before I miss the chaos and the racket. It won't be long before it is almost too quiet, but for now I am doing my happy dance around this joint. Truth is that it is not particularly messy or cluttered. I don't like that much, but I don&

Who Invented Balloons

Here at The Shack we are constantly in search of useful information and answers to the questions you wish that you could ask. If we do our job properly you'll dominate Trivial Pursuit and be a force to reckon with on Jeopardy. Can't promise that you'll be able to use this information to be Macgyver or Roy Hinckley , but who knows. Today we decided to spend some time talking about balloons. No, not the hot air kind, but party balloons. So we searched high and low on the web and discovered that a number of sources say that Michael Faraday is responsible for the invention of the balloon. Yes, the same Faraday who discovered electromagnetic induction is the man to thank. ( Editor's Note : If you are doing a school report double check this information, the Shack isn't really designed to be in your bibliography .) However, there are other sources that say that there are challengers to Faraday. If you head over to Beermasters you'll see that the Aztecs made good

What Are You Doing In There

The dark haired beauty looks up at me through a mass of dark curls and giggles. She is up to something, I know it and she knows that I know it. The key question is what has she done and why are her eyes sparkling. I won't have to wait long for the answer. In a matter of moments she'll be unable to contain herself and she'll confess. I already know from experience it is unlikely to be serious because when she thinks she is in trouble she remains silent. Of course her older brother is usually happy to try and tip me off, getting the little sister in trouble remains one of the joys of being an older sibling. Of course it goes both directions as she is more than happy to try and tweak his nose. They are typical siblings and exhibit the standard behavior of love/hate for each other. Most of the time they get along beautifully, but they have their moments. Ah, the joy of children. ********************* Sometimes when those moments come I find myself asking questions that many

DNA Testing Reveals Our True Relatives

This story about personal DNA testing is quite interesting. I know a few people who are doing this. Take a look at this excerpt: "Take Cezary Fudali , a 41-year-old business and securities lawyer living in Ottawa, Ontario. He has always been drawn to books about Israel and Middle Eastern architecture. But it wasn’t until he turned to his own family history that he began to see a connection between his intellectual curiosity and his own life. Through an Internet ancestry site, he met a cousin from New Jersey who asked him if he knew his mother was adopted. Fudali was shocked. She told him that in the summer of 1943, during World War II, his maternal grandparents passed through a train station in Rozwadow, Poland, where they met a poor woman who begged them to take her child. Miraculously, his grandparents took the baby home and raised her as their own. His mother, who still lives in Poland, never knew she was adopted until her son heard this story, and his great aunt confirmed it.

A Father's Day Post

Confession time. I have listened to Josh Groban sing You Are Loved about eight times in a row. There is something about it that grabs my attention. I haven't watched more than thirty seconds of the video. Canto Della Terra with Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman does it too and so does Springsteen singing Tunnel of Love . Don't know exactly what it is, but they touch me. I listen to those songs and others and find myself wishing that I could sing. Second confession. If I could sing, I mean if I could really sing I'd want to be able to do a couple of things. First, I'd want to have the sort of voice that made you stop in your tracks. Second, I'd want to have the sort of presence that made you feel like that when I was singing it was for you only. Third confession. I do sing and have sung for you before. You might not remember, or perhaps you do, that day so long ago on Hampshire Road or was it somewhere else, in a secret garden all of our own. The world that n

My Cover Letter

(This is a copy of the cover letter I send out when I am looking for work) Dear Hiring Manager, If you are need in of adding to the mediocrity of your department and want someone who can fill a cubicle than I might be the right person for the job. Most days I’ll come in somewhere close to our agreed upon starting time. I’ll slowly make my way to my desk and then collapse in my seat where I’ll spend precious moments building a paper clip necklace or staring aimlessly at the calendar. While I wait for my computer to boot up I’ll head over to the kitchen because you can’t really expect me to start working without a cup of coffee. With any luck Jim or Sue will have had the good sense to bring in some donuts because a day at the office without a donut just isn’t the same. Eventually I’ll make my way back to my desk to begin my day. But before I get started I’ll have to check my Facebook account and see if any of my friends have put up any funny jokes that I can steal and claim for my

The Wiggles Don't Play Here Anymore

The end of the school year has finally arrived and as promised my children were given instructions to go through their toys and figure out what they want to hold on to and what they can give away. The dark haired beauty put her hands on her hips and and glared at me for having the temerity to ask her to help cut down on clutter. All it took was one a glare and a step towards her room to spur her into action. She understands that though I may be thoroughly in love with her I am in complete control of my actions. Manipulation only takes place when the old man is willing to allow it. And as Father's Day is around the corner it is nice to know that my glare is continuing to improve. Perhaps I'll try it on my old man and see if it works. It will be a battle of two jedi masters. Ok, who am I kidding, those icy blues of his are more effective than mine, or maybe it is that whole kabed et evecha thing. Who knows. Anyhoo, as the kids went through their stuff they brought it over and
Scenes from a mall Two guys arguing about Kobe and LeBron. I look at them and ask if they know the real difference between them. "Four championships"

Murder- He Said That He Is Going To Kill Me

This is not something that I have made up . I just received the following threatening email from someone called Mustafa Babar. Good to know that I am being targeted by a man named after an elephant who is the beloved protagonist of children's books. ATTN. LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY ,THIS IS THE ONLY WAY I CAN CONTACT YOU, my TEAM HAS BEEN PAID TO ASSASINATE YOU, I HAVE EVERY REASON TO CARRY OUT THE CONTRACT,BUT I DECIDED TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE AND SAVE YOUR FAMILY THIS PAIN,THIS YOUR ALTERNATIVE,I WISH TO HELP YOU UNLESS YOU DONT WANT TO HELP YOUR SELF,I WILL SEND YOU ENOUGH EVIDENCE YOU NEED ON A VIDEO TAPE RECORD TO NAIL MY EMPLOYER DOWN WITH THE LAW. BEFORE THAT YOUR REQUIRED TO MAKE AVAILABLE THE SUM OF $70,000. USD, AFTER WHICH I WILL DIRECT YOU ON WHAT TO DO NEXT TO SAVE YOUR SELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM THIS PAIN THAT WOULD HAVE BEFALLED YOU FROM MY EMPLOYER,THE MONEY WILL BE USED TO SETTLE THE TEAM MEN INVOLVED TO GO BACK TO THERE DESTINATIONS AND YOU BETTER KEEP THIS I

Blog Cliques/Blog Communities

Someone asked me if there is such a thing as a blog clique or blog community. I smiled, said yes and then told them that they aren't part of mine. And then I stuck my tongue out at her, pulled her hair and kicked her in the shins. For some reason at 40 that doesn't receive the same response as it did when I was six. Back then they told my parents that I was an awful, terrible child who would never have any friends. Now it warranted a visit from men with silver bracelets and dark suits. Not to mention some guy named Mike who showed up with a Louisville Slugger and promises of using my head for batting practice. I guess that Mike hasn't watched as many action movies as I had or he would have known that as he swung the bat I would grab it and stop it in mid flight. Then while he stared blankly I'd take it from him and pop him in the mouth. Moments later I'd be surrounded by his three dopey friends. They'd circle around me and I'd glare at them, all the whil

Who Is Mir Hossein Mousavi?

CBS News offers the following information about Mousavi. (CBS) His supporters may have taken to the streets - even died for his cause. But Mir Hossein Mousavi is neither a champion of democracy as we know it, nor an advocate of great change within Iran's Mullah-dominated government. "He's not a secular intellectual in the molds of Western intellectuals," said Baqer Moin, an Iranian commentator. "No, he's coming from within the revolution." In fact he was part of the revolution, a supporter of the Ayatollah Khomeini when he came to power in 1979 - a government minister during the Revolution's turbulent early years. "Then he became prime minister and was prime minister for nearly eight years," Moin said. "Very much an establishment figure," asked CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips . "Absolutely," Moin said. Even if Mousavi came to power, the change he represents is more of tone than policy. He may not deny the

Recent Posts

Some recent posts: I Love LA Dinner For Two Music to Play At My Funeral Welcome to Tumbleweed Crossing Why Be Jewish Lost Among The Rest June's Music List You Don't Really Know Me Iraq & Afghanistan
I just realized I haven't had a physical in 3.5 years. If I suddenly disappear see Soccer Dad about H.H. Damn, time moves far too quickly.

I Love LA

Hate New York City It's cold and it's damp And all the people dressed like monkeys Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos That town's a little bit too rugged For you and me you bad girl Rollin' down the Imperial Highway With a big nasty redhead at my side Santa Ana winds blowin' hot from the north And we as born to ride Roll down the window put down the top Crank up the Beach Boys baby Don't let the music stop We're gonna ride it till we just can't ride it no more >From the South Bay to the Valley >From the West Side to the East Side Everybody's very happy 'Cause the sun is shining all the time Looks like another perfect day I love L.A. (We love it) I love L.A. (We love it) Look at that mountain Look at those trees Look at that bum over there, man He's down on his knees Look at these women There ain't nothin' like 'em nowhere Century Boulevard (We love it) Victory Boulevard (We love it) Santa Monica Boulevard (We love

Dinner For Two

Dinner For Two is the title of a new blog I plan to start. I have many different ideas for it. Sometimes I picture it as being an upscale restaurant where couples go on a date. This restaurant is a bit different because while we watch the date we also get to listen to them talk to us about what is really going on inside their heads. Or maybe it will be something entirely different. Maybe it will be the setting for three scenes. Maybe it will serve as the intro, middle and end of their relationship. You know, the place where they go for their first date, anniversary date and then the place where they eventually break up. I have other ideas for what it could be. Other thoughts on how to turn this plain canvas into something other than what it is. And perhaps I will share those thoughts with you. Maybe I'll give you a glimpse inside that world and let you tell me what you think of it. We shall have to see. For now I'll let it ride for a bit. Sometimes it is good to let the t

Music to Play At My Funeral

Had a discussion earlier this week with what sort of music to play at a funeral. Ok, this isn't really so much for a funeral, but any sort of memorial service. Truth is that when I am dead, I am dead, so anything can happen. I don't want a lot of tears and fuss. When the day comes and I take that final breath I want people to smile when they think of me. And to be clear, I haven't any intention of dying any time soon. I have plans to fulfill. Got to walk down that Hampshire road through the burning river and decorate a few places. Got a little covent tree that I am going to take care of. But I'll cover all that in a separate post. For now this is the beginning of music for my funeral or memorial service. Call it whatever you want, I won't be in attendance in the corporeal sense. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Soundtrack- Haven't found the entire soundtrack in a clip that plays straight through so here are a few different links. Good Music. 1 2 3 4 Theme

Welcome to Tumbleweed Crossing

In a relatively short period of time the dark haired beauty will graduate from pre-school and one more chapter of my life will come to a close. After her there are no more children in the pre-school or waiting to enter. She is the last and in a few hours that will be it. Just a few more hours and that girl will be a kindergartener waiting to run on the big yard and do everything that her older brother does. Truth is that she has spent all of her almost five years on this earth trying to be just like him. She has no bigger hero than him. ******************** As I sit here typing a thousand thoughts are going through my mind. I am listening to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone. It is fantastic, one my favorite albums. This music is the inspiration for the title of this post, Welcome to Tumbleweed Crossing. Although in my mind it could also be used as the name of a school, not that it matters. It is a strange feeling this one that

Why Be Jewish

Some posts write themselves. I pick the topic and the words flow straight from the keyboard onto the cyber canvas you read them upon. Sometimes it is much more challenging. Sometime it feels like a war in which I engage in multiple battles to produce a post that is worth publishing. This particular post has been part of the latter. I have tried to write it many times but have consistently been disappointed in it and consequently deleted and started over. But I decided that perhaps I was over thinking it and so I sat down and banged out the copy that you are reading now. Religion is a funny thing. Some people cite it as the source of all that is good in their lives and others blame it for every possible ill. I have had more discussions than I can count about Israel with people who blame the conflict upon religious/ideological warfare. So it got me thinking about a number of things such as why do people believe in whatever faith they believe in. Adult converts are easy. At some point