Notes: A Song for June

Notes: A Song for June- Still working on writing the song- Ain't got You- Springsteen comes to mind.

Song must be raw emotion, naked honesty. Pain and beauty. I want it tell a story. I want to read the lyrics and see something that resonates. I'll follow up on this later tonight, at least I hope to.

Are We Poor

If I had a chalkboard inside my house I would have written the following three lines on it:
Are We Poor.
Are We Poor?
Are We Poor!
Then I would have taken the erasers and clapped them together and laughed while the dust went everywhere. It must be close to 25 years or so since the last time I got in trouble for that. But I don't have a chalkboard inside my house and I really didn't want to take the one on my porch inside.

So instead of writing those three lines and speaking with my son about the influence of punctuation on the sentence I launched into a relatively brief discussion about why I don't care what others think and neither should he.

It seems some other child at his camp told him that he thinks that we are poor. Being a man of class and distinction I told him that when he sees this boy tomorrow he should ask him if his father still beats his mother and whether his uncle still buggers the dog.

Take a deep breath, I didn't say any of those things. I thought about it, but not in an angry way. I grew up in a middle class home and have spent my entire life with people who were less fortunate and more affluent than we were. During my professional career I have had my ups and downs, but have had far more ups than downs. Overall I can say that we have been very fortunate.

But the advantage of being 40 is that I have all sorts of life experience to rely upon and he at 8.5 does not. So now opens a new chapter in his life, the awareness that some of his friends have more than we do.

I am pleased to say that this is a recent event. For years now he has been playing with other children whose families are very well off. There have been lots of play dates at homes that are much larger than mine and trips in cars that cost more than both of mine. It didn't faze him, until now.

And I suspect that the reason it has is because the kids are getting a bit more aggressive and a bit nastier about some things.

Anyhoo, when he told me that this other boy said this I told him that he needs to remember three things:

1) His own sense of self esteem and self worth comes from within. It is not based upon how many friends he has or doesn't have.

2) We make decisions about others based upon their actions.

3) Money and possessions do not make people happy. They may help, but the ultimate source comes from within. Not to mention that he needs to get used to being a middle of the pack kind of kid. In this family we are not driven by money.

So I think that he followed what I was saying and that he got it, at least I hope so. In the interim I am going to monitor what happens with him and this other boy. Just another one of those life lessons that we get to experience.

The Wedding and Divorce Entrances

Among the many parodies

JK Unexpected Divorce Hearing Entrance - Watch more Funny Videos

Some Links

Deal reached for custody of Michael Jackson's children- Will these kids ever have anything resembling a normal life.

Movie/record industry rep says that you shouldn't expect to be able to play your media for as long as you own it- Planned obsolescence for your media. This bothers me.

The Book vs. The Kindle: funny videos about the Kindle's user rights shortcomings.- Some things worth thinking about.

2010 Camaro- I miss my '77 Camaro. I loved that car.

Does Hairy Backvertising Go Too Far? Ah, another candidate for the Mangroomer. Don't miss our series of posts about useful products. The most recent one offered information about The Bathroom Revolution as well as links to previous posts.

If I had a Spare BillIon I might Buy This

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A spectacular superyacht has been designed by an internationally renowned urban planning architect in a very unusual shape.

Seventy-six meter long "Oculus," which is designed for 12 guests, looks like a large sea creature, with one end looking uncannily like the jaw and eye socket of a shark or a killer whale.

A second design, the futuristic, 91-meter "Infinitas," is based on the figure-of-eight shape of an infinity loop.

The pair are the brainchild of Kevin Schopfer, a Boston, Massachusetts-based architect who felt the design of luxury yachts should move away from generic boat shapes to something more playful.

The two eye-catching designs, which include inside swimming pools and helipads, are still looking for an owner. With a starting price of $95 million for Oculus and $140 million for Infinitas, they don't come cheap.

Riding The Mommy Blogger Gravy Train

In the early years of my blogging career I had big plans for my corner of cyberspace. I envisioned an empire that would stretch across the world. In my mind's eye I could see it so clearly, I'd live on my own private island and have a staff that would cater to my needs.

As you can see from the video, It wasn't hard to imagine. In no time at all I had launched my blog and begun my conquest of the world. Cue maniacal laughter Muhahahaha

And then I came back to reality. I love to write. It brings me great pleasure to sit here at the keyboard and compose these posts. And so I have spent almost 5.5 years blogging about a wide variety of topics. Over time I have developed a steady following of readers who I am greatly appreciative of, not the least of which is that they read my posts because they enjoy them, not because they might win a contest.

In other words, I didn't jump on the bandwagon to try to ride the Mommy blogger Gravy Train. Yes, I am calling out those Mommy Bloggers who entered the blogosphere because they saw an easy way to stuff their pockets full of cash.

Before we get any deeper let's make it clear that I am not impugning all of the Mommy Bloggers. I intentionally haven't identified bloggers by name because not all of you deserve derision or scorn. Many of you are very fine bloggers whose blogs I enjoy very much.

This is one of those posts that has been percolating through the old melon for quite some time, but I just never got around to it. In part I didn't touch it because I don't usually care whether people make money from their blogs. If you are able to do so, then more power to you.

But the story about the woman who tried to blackmail Crocs into giving her a free pair stuck in my craw so I decided to wade in and add my two cents. A womb and a keyboard do not make you powerful, nor does it give you license to threaten others.

As I sit here I wonder how many people jumped on the bandwagon because they thought that they could take advantage of brands who still haven't figured out how to use the net to effectively market themselves. Brands who have been told that social media is the next great frontier and threatened to be left behind if they do not develop an effective social media plan.

And when it doesn't work out for you, how long will it take for you to jump ship and go running for the next trendy thing to do. Maybe I am being unfair. Maybe I am acting like a stuffy old man, but that is how it comes across.

What do you think?

A Familiar Pain

Sometimes the most painful part of the day is the moment when I first become conscious that I am awake. Lucidity brings the realization that the other side of the bed is empty and the house is silent. The old familiar sounds of the shower running aren't around. I don't hear any activity in the kitchen or any rustling of papers.

No one comes to my side of the bed to kiss my face and tell me that it is time to get up. I don't roll over and find dark eyes staring at me. No arms are wrapped around me. There are no moments of silent spooning where we hold each other and enjoy the bond.

Waking up is hard because in my dreams she is still there and we are still ensconced in our secret world. Now, it is gone and there is an empty hollow feeling.

Emitting a loud groan I roll out of bed. The second most painful part of the day takes place now. When the economy crashed I lost my job. Spent months looking for something, anything, but never did find anything steady. There was the occasional odd job that paid a couple of bucks, but nothing that I could rely upon to pay the bills.

As the savings dwindled and the bills piled upon I became more depressed and more despondent about my plight. It felt like no matter what I tried it was wrong. The harder I pushed the harder life pushed back. There is nothing like getting kicked in the balls unexpectedly, really takes your breath away, but not the way you want.

Good stuff, just great.

If you were here you'd see me shuffling through the house. I wasn't exaggerating about this being the second most painful part of the day. The morning after a fight is always bad. It doesn't matter whether I won or lost. Your body isn't designed to take that sort of beating. Those aches and pains, the bruises and sore muscles are god's way of punishing you for mistreating his property.

At least that is what Jimmy says. Can't say that I really care whether it is true or not. And if it is true then I want to have words with God. I mean really, what the fuck is the deal with throwing your children around, just abandoning like this. So, truth is that I don't believe and it really doesn't matter because fighting pays the bills.

People can talk about how civilized we are. They can spend hours in their comfortable homes and talk wistfully about how barbaric society used to be. I have heard it. I have listened to their rambling diatribes about how bad the Romans used to be, how only animals stage fights etc. I know better.

Because the truth is that there are people paying to see guys like me climb into a ring and go at it. Unfortunately for us we are not fighting at the garden. There aren't trainers and cut men or doctors waiting to help us between rounds.

All we have got is the ring and a bunch of guys who bet on us. I know, some of you think that you know about this. You have seen the movies and you think that there is some sort of syndicate the runs an underground fight ring. In the movies there is always a clear line between the good guy and the villain.

That is not what this is. This is a collection of guys who have slipped between the cracks. Some of us used to carry lunch boxes to work and some of us used to ask our assistants to order a sandwich from our favorite shop. Yep, some of us had expense accounts and lived that fancy sort of life you see or read about.

Now we are just numbers that the government reports as unemployed. There is no brotherhood or camaraderie among us, at least not as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know anything about the other guy beyond whether he can take a punch. All I care about is getting in and getting out.

The crowd likes me because I can take a beating. Every time I get in the ring I pretend that I am part of some medieval battle. I am a knight protecting my castle. That little fiction is what allows me to keep throwing myself into the breach over and over. So far it has worked, but the real question is for how long.

Standing in front of the medicine cabinet I reach inside to grab another handful of Motrin. Bottle says two, but I say six is more like it. Anything less and I won't hardly be able to move. In a little bit the edge will be taken off of the physical pain and all I'll be left with is the familiar pain of her absence.

Tisha B'Av 2009

This is the second consecutive erev Tisha B'Av that has been filled with tumult. Last year had its moments but 2009 is not interested in being outdone by the past so here I sit with spinning head. Fragments of the day are swirling throughout my skull and I find myself torn and frustrated.

I suppose that from an introspective standpoint that this is appropriate for the coming chag. In some respects it leads into a number of posts that I want to write but haven't had to time to hit yet. Sometime soon we'll have to talk about reinventing oneself and much more.

For the moment I'll be vague and say that today was one of those days where you realize that sometimes the mature thing requires you to swallow the bitter medicine. Today is a day where I am forced to swallow my pride and accept blame for things that I didn't do. I hate doing that, not that anyone likes it, but I especially dislike it.

You can call call it a character defect or an attribute, it really doesn't matter. All that matters is that I am going to do the right thing for the situation because it helps the family. One day I need to blog about the conversation I had with my son about these situations. One day I need to share the story about what happens when you are right but you have to say that you are wrong.

So continuing our vague and ambiguous description we'll meander along to the place where I repeat that in the end you have to be able to go to sleep feeling good about yourself. I may not be happy about the events of the day, but I will sleep like a baby because I did the right thing.

This is not the last battle or the final fight, just a prelude to things to come.

Now back to Tisha B'Av. I may blog more later, but for now here is a link to more of my past posts on the day. I wish an easy fast to those who are fasting.

A Song for June Part One

(This is part of the Fragments of Fiction story)

What we have here is a simple story about a boy and a girl who met and fell in love under the most unlikely circumstances. It is a tale that has all of the elements of a Shakespearean play and aspects of a Greek tragedy.

Two people who in the midst of living separate lives stumbled onto each other and discovered that someone out there was able to touch them in a way that no one else had. Two individuals who took an initial leap of faith and jumped into the fire, praying that the love they shared would shield them from the flames.

And for a long time they lived a life of longing and hope for a future that might allow them to be together. After a while they found that life got in the way of their dreams. It wasn't any one thing or another that made the difference, but a collection of events and moments that caused a fissure and moments of doubt and uncertainty.

It is not the first time that this story has been written nor will it be the last. But the thing that distinguishes this boy and this girl is that they were both given extraordinary amounts of will. Separately they each had a strong personality but together they had something unique and they knew it.

The things that they had shared and the experiences they had forged a bond that wasn't going to be severed or broken. It would be tested and at times strained, but never broken. During the hard times it wasn't easy to touch or think about it. During the good times it was painful to be separated and during the hard times, well it was easier not to admit how deeply in love they were.

So they both retreated and did what they could to hide their feelings. It wasn't because they had died or changed but because it was too hard to let the fires burn. But as they say, still waters run deep and they were no different.

If you ask me how I came to be so familiar with this story it is because it is my story, or should I say it is our story. That is how I know. That is why I sit here at the keyboard, struggling to share a story that outsiders cannot possibly understand. I can provide you with glimpses of the secret world, but I can't let you in because you aren't part of it.

And so this how I have come to this place, this moment in time where I share my struggle with you. This where I tell you about how I promised to write a song for June and how hard it has been to do so. It hasn't been hard because of a lack of effort or desire. It hasn't been hard for any reason other than I want her to see what I see.

I want it to show her what she looks like in Johnny's eyes. I want her to see the woman I see, full of grace and class. I want her to see eyes that sparkle and curves that speak of things that make us blush. I want her to see my best friend and companion. I want her to see the honesty and truth of it all.

The beauty and grace of her walk and the love and care that radiates from her. Lips that were made to be kissed and hands that fit perfectly in my own.

You see, I can write all that down and more. I can find ways to share those thoughts and feelings. I can write it down, but I agonize over how to show that she is the song of my soul. I agonize over how to do it in a manner that is not cheesy or disrespectful. I agonize over how to do it in a way that doesn't steal from other artists. I want it to be original.

So here I sit, staring at June's picture, lost in it all. So many promises, so much potential and so much more.

So here I sit pondering the possibilities. Old Johnny is a dreamer, a man who dreams in bright colors, collages of images parade past my eye. How do I translate what I see from that which flows inside into a chorus of sound.

I am torn between wanting to write a symphony or a simple song to be played with a guitar. Maybe it should be both. What I know for certain is that in a quiet moment I want to sing it softly to her. I think that for now I am going to let it marinate inside my head a bit longer.

But before I go I'll share some of the images in my head, things I see.

Quiet walks through woods during Autumn and summer nights of roller coasters and cotton candy.

Dinner and dancing, long black gowns and tuxedos.

A castle they share and quiet moments at home.

Plane rides to far off places and adventures to be had.

Now comes the hard part of trying to weave this tapestry of sights and sounds into something that can be sung. Or maybe we would be better served to make a movie out it, we shall see.

75 Years of Marriage- A Life Time of Love

My grandparents are celebrating their 75th Wedding anniversary today. In honor of the occasion I sent out a press release. Here is a copy of it, and yes, the names have been changed.

During an age in which almost half of every marriage ends in divorce there are still people who possess the secret to a life time of love.

On July 27th Daniel and Anne Simpson will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary. The Simpsons are childhood sweethearts who met at age 11 and now at 95 years old are celebrating a milestone that few couples are capable of matching.

There is a long list of changes that have taken place during their lifetime. They have lived to see 17 different presidents, witnessed two world wars, multiple regional conflicts, the Great Depression, Watergate, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the collapse of The Ottoman Empire, the Civil Rights movement and much more.

They witnessed the rise of the automobile, space travel and the moon landing, proliferation of personal computers and cell phones.

It really isn’t an exaggeration to say that the world has undergone tremendous change during their lives, but in spite of it all they managed to raise a family.

When asked to explain the secret to their long lasting marriage and enduring love Mr. Simpson responded that it came down to many things, but the most important component was the ability to compromise.

"People say that marriage takes work and it does, but Daniel never made it feel like work. He was always involved in so many things," explained Anne.

Involved is a good way to describe a man who interviewed Al Capone and hid in a closet so that he could meet Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

"When times were hard we helped keep each other going, Anne deserves a lot of credit for helping to give me the strength to keep going when it was rough. But we have far more good memories than bad," said Daniel.

P.S. Since one day my children will read this blog I am trying to organize posts so that they can follow along. Click on the grandparents link and that will take you to many other posts in which I discussed my grandparents. Or you can sift through the following:

The Bearer of Bad Tidings- One Less Set of Footsteps
Pictures, Videos and Memories
My Grandfather Laid Tefillin
The Challenge of Aging
The World's Fastest 95 Year-Old Man
Passing The Baton- Grandma is 94
Not Quite Goodbye- And Some other Thoughts
And Then He Died
I Talk In My Sleep

A Collection of Links

SF Film Festival- There is a difference between searching for hard truths and providing a forum for questionable behavior. To be clear, free speech isn't unlimited and not all ideologies are equivalent. Some systems of belief are morally superior.

The ISS Crosses in front of The Sun- Some pictures help to show how small we are.

Michael Jackson's Doctor- Will anyone be surprised to learn that his death was caused by drugs.

Spell Check helps

That Is a Big Snake

Israeli High Rise Fire Escape System

Strange Method of Fund Raising

I have spent quite a bit of time working with various companies/charities in assisting them with developing effective programming/campaigns that can be used to raise money and awareness. I like doing this and feel good about trying to give back.

But I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that I am also relatively critical of their efforts. I am not a huge fan of telemarketers and think that raising money that way is a bit like slinging mud at the wall to see what sticks.

Still I think that it is superior to those charities that send out solicitation letters with money already enclosed in it.

They often read something like this:

Use this nickel/dime/dollar as part of your next contribution to charity XYZ. Now I don't know about you, but the first thing I do is take that coin and stick it in my pocket. If it is from one of my regular charities they probably will get it back, but if it is not...

I can't help but wonder how much money they spend on enclosing the currency in the envelope. Does anyone actually turn around and give them back their nickel.

If Today Was Your Last Day

I am a sucker for songs like If Today Was Your Last Day.

"My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you'll never live it twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin' stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day"
Bonus Song U2 with Mary Blige singing One.

Jack & The Shmata Queen- The Saga Continues

Approximately 13.5 years ago the Shmata Queen and I were members of a message board. On this particular board there were numerous discussions about politics and history. Well the queen and I were active participants in these discussions and soon found out that we held minority opinions on many of the topics.

Since we are both very shy people we soon found ourselves engaged in semi heated discussions with the denizens of the board. And because it was conducted here in cyberspace some of these discussions were not exceptionally pleasant.

Because I am a gentlemen of the finest order, or something along those lines I used to tell the queen to stand behind me and I'd challenge any and all to engage me in written fisticuffs. Who said that chivalry is dead.

I'd be negligent if I didn't point out that the queen hasn't any problem speaking up for herself and is quite capable of handling these situations. But since I type twice as fast as she does I found myself in the middle of things more frequently. Side note of useless trivia, she speaks twice as fast as I do. Man, that woman can spit the words out.


Many of those who disagreed with us fell into the category of dumb and stupid with a healthy dose of ignorant. Now I know that it is not nice to say that, but really I was surprised at how little they knew of the world around them and of historical events. They must have slept through school or something.

Still, you'd think that they would have been able to compensate by using the research capabilities provided by the net. That was rarely the case. I don't know if they didn't do it because of laziness or ignorance, but it didn't happen much.

Anyway, after a few years of this nonsense a number of them grew irritated and petitioned to have my account suspended. Their petition was granted and I was told that I had to take a time out.

After a short consultation the queen and I decided that it would be fun to create a fake identity for me. So we created a new account for a man named Sweetcheeks. Good old Sweetcheeks, I really liked that guy. Since I have a rather distinct style of writing I had to work hard to make sure that no one caught on.

Sweetcheeks might have described it a bit like this, "Ah like talhking to peoeple becuz you rally lern things that mite halp you."

It was intentionally over the top and ridiculous. But for some reason people took to Sweetcheeks probably because he was so sweet and innocent where I am innocent but not at all sweet. That is part of the job of being a curmudgeon, you give up on sweetness.

Old Sweetcheeks hung around for a long while, but eventually he was found out. This blog started somewhere around that time. As I have written before it began on a bit of whim, but it was also because I was tired of being told what I could write about and how I could respond to those I disagreed with.

Kind of funny to think that had they been more tolerant I might not ever have decided to begin blogging.

Moe Berg Double Life Baseball Player and WWII Spy

Moe Berg Double Life Baseball Player and WWII Spy

Pali MP Dahlan: Arafat Deceived World When Condemning Terror

Pali MP Dahlan: Arafat Deceived World When Condemning Terror

Sunday Songs

SOS- Abba
Dancing Queen- Abba
Get Back - The Beatles
Michelle -The Beatles
You Got To Hide Your Love Away- The Beatles
Norwegian Wood- The Beatles
In The Ghetto- Elvis Presley
Suspicious Minds- Elvis Presley
With or Without You- U2
All I Want Is You- U2
Tom Sawyer - Rush
Closer To The Heart- Rush

Haveil Havalim #227

Haveil Havalim #227 is live.
I HATE seeing parents use a leash on their children. They are not animals.

A Great Cover Letter

Here is another example of an effective cover letter.

Dear Mr. Johnson,

Many years ago in a galaxy far, far away there was simple farmer named Luke. I am not talking about the Luke Duke who drove the General Lee, but the man who blew up the Death Star and defeated the emperor.

Those are pretty big accomplishments for a simple farmer. I can be that guy for you. All you have to do is hire me and I can be your Luke. That is a pretty good deal for you because that would make you Obi Wan-Kenobi. Of course I can't promise you that I'll save you from Darth Vader or anyone going postal in the office.

In fact if someone freaks out I just might hide in a cubicle. But the good news is that I am a pretty good shot with rubber bands and paper clips. So if you keep me supplied I might be able to shoot someone in the eye. So in reality that is of benefit to you.

Let's take a moment to review some of the other reasons why it would be stupid not to hire me.

The class of 1986 voted me Most Likely to Drive an Ice Cream Truck. That is the kind of honor that not everyone receives. It is proof that they believed that I would be great at running my own franchise and that I am conscientious worker. Not everyone can keep the ice cream from melting or do simple math. Give me a $1.50 for a Bomb Pop and I'll give you proper change, unless of course you charge $1.65 in which case I'll ask you for more money.

As a boy scout I always won the campfire contest. That is the one where you are tested to see who can start a fire the fastest. Not every carries a Bic Lighter and some hair spray around, but I do because you never know when you might need a fire.

I am really good at microwaving popcorn. Not everyone knows how to do it, but I do. I won't make the office stink. Unless you take me out for Mexican food or feed me dairy. But heck, lactose intolerance is a certifiable medical condition. And since you are a professional you must know that we all deal with occasional bouts of flatulence. That is why I like to play the radio at my desk, so that no one has to listen to uncomfortable noises.

Unlike other employees I won't lie about why I am missing work. Sometimes I just don't feel like coming in, we all need personal time. I am sure that you agree that this is the sort of honesty your company needs.

Which I suppose is why you really don't need to interview anyone else for the job. Really, you should just call me and tell me when I can come in to sign papers. Probably better to do it sooner so that my medical benefits kick in. That way I can be sure to bring you a real doctor's note when I am out sick.

Do you see how I just proved my honesty again. I won't fake a doctor's note, I'll get you a real one that you can show everyone so that when I am out on disability no one feels badly. Anyway, it sounds like we have worked most of this out. Call me and I'll tell you what bank I use so that we can set up a direct deposit account.

Thank you for being so cool. I look forward to coming in. May the Force be with you.


Jack, the guy who can't wait to be your Luke.

Things That Irritate Me

Apparently I am doing an excellent job of becoming a ripe old bastard, a curmudgeon of the finest order. I know this because of the growing list of things that irritate the hell out of me. You may consider this a work in progress.
  1. I hate The Sound of Music. It grinds on my nerves.
  2. Names that rhyme with Artie. Sorry if that includes you, but you can blame your parents.
  3. People that know that I am Jewish and ask me if I miss Christmas. Never had it, don't need it, want it or miss it. I don't ask them if they miss fasting on Yom Kippur.
  4. Jughandles- The state of New Jersey needs to dedicate some serious time and money on correcting that problem.
  5. The D.H.
  6. Drivers who don't signal before they turn.
  7. Drivers who never turn their turn signals off.
  8. Drivers who force the rest of to listen to their music. I hate that thumping bass, one day I am going to invent a car stereo jammer and that will fix it.
  9. People who flush the toilet/urinal with their feet. Listen jackass, I know that you are concerned about germs, but you're not helping the problem.
  10. Brussel Sprouts- It is a foul vegetable.
  11. Cats- Damn animals are obnoxious. World would be better if they were all throw rugs.
  12. The French tourist who complained that he couldn't understand me. Listen Frenchy, you are in Los Angeles. I am not supposed to be able to speak perfect French. If I come to Paris you can be certain I won't complain that you don't speak English.
  13. The Celtics and The Pistons. (Cavs aren't included because they haven't done anything ever. Sorry Ezzie.)
  14. The Patriots and Boston Fans who think that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever. He is not and it is unlikely that he ever will be.
  15. Bloggers that think that is cool to wRiTe LiKe ThIs.
  16. People who send emails in ALL CAPS. Work with me people, it is 2009. Email is not new anymore.
  17. You can add grown ups who send emails that read something like What R U Doing? Spell it out. It doesn't take any longer and you won't look like a complete idiot.
  18. People who think that the world starts and finishes in Manhattan.
  19. Vista is bad, but so is listening to the cult of Apple Fanatics. WTF do they put in those units to make you act this way. I sometimes wonder if they secretly inject you with heroin or some sort of stupid pill.
  20. People who blame one political party for the ills of the world. That covers both sides. Not interested in listening to how the Democrats/Republicans are why things are bad.
  21. People who try to say that the point is mute. There is no sound involved in this, it is moot dammit.

Sailing in Uncharted Waters

Sometimes I feel a bit like Max from Where The Wild Things Are. If you are a purist you may not be as appreciative of the trailer as I am, but for the purposes of this post it is excellent. It does a good job of helping to graphically illustrate some of my thoughts and feelings.

There is a feeling that sometimes comes upon me. It is a sense of being chased. I can't quite make out who or what it is, but I know that if I turn around and wait for it there is a good chance that it just might be there. I have mixed emotions about it. Sometimes it is a sense of dread and foreboding and I want to take off running.

Not unlike the way you see Max running through the woods, so I can see myself. I can smell the forest and hear the crunch of leaves and twigs beneath my feet. There are moments where I think that if I start running like that I won't ever tire and I won't ever stop. The sun will rise and the sun will set and Jack will still be running. Sunlight, moonlight or twilight- it just won't matter because I'll keep going.

But then again that feeling of dread and uncertainty makes me angry. It frustrates me and for lack of a better description, I find myself preparing for battle. I don't seek out confrontation, nor do I hide from it. And the idea of picking the time and place for battle suits me. That graphic imagination pictures me locating a place to take a stand and then doing all that it takes to hold my position for as long as I can.

It is easy to envision. I can hear the birds chirping and the sounds of animals moving through the woods. Suddenly it is silent and the air becomes still. At that moment I brace myself for the roar of the creatures that will come pouring out from the trees. The sound of birds singing will be replaced with the cacophony of swords crashing into each other and the grunting of those who swing them.

See what it is like to live with a graphic imagination.

And then again I can picture myself sailing through uncharted waters. Some days the sea will be calm and I'll gaze in wonder at a moonlit sky populated by more stars than you imagine. Other times all my skill will be devoted to surviving the raging storm. Waves will come crashing down upon me and it will be all I can do to keep from capsizing or being swept over board.

I suppose that it is fair to say that I do feel a bit like I am sailing through uncharted waters. There are things going on that are unsettling and it is harder to try to maintain balance and perspective. That is not to suggest that the challenges that I face are unique, unusual or particularly different from others.

They are not and I have never tried to paint them as being otherwise. But as I have said many times it is always easier to fix someone another person's problems. Since they belong to me they are my responsibility and consequently a bit trickier.

So here I sit peering through the fog and haze trying to determine what the best path ahead is. Someone told me that we missed our window of opportunity and I have to ask myself is that really true or is there another path that we have missed. It reminds me a bit of chess and Algebra.

Many years ago I used to play chess several times a week with a friend. Oftentimes he would lose because he would forget that not every chess piece was limited to moving front and back, or side to side. Some of them could move diagonally. In essence it meant that you always had to pay attention the full board because if you allowed yourself to ignore a section you could quickly find yourself in trouble.

The relationship to Algebra comes to mind because of an experience I had in high school. I didn't always understand how the teacher taught us to solve certain equations. But I was often able to come up with an alternative that provided the correct answer. That didn't always serve me well because my teacher liked to tell me that there were scenarios in which my solution wouldn't work but that his always would because it was more universal in nature.

I always suspected that he just didn't like my figuring out how to do it without him. I'd ask him but he apparently died at a relatively young age of heart disease.

Anyway, the real point here is this. I don't give up on things easily. I think that there are many different paths that can be taken to meet our objectives and that sometimes it just takes a bit of doing to see how to reach that place. Sometimes you don't recognize the importance of it until your air has been removed and you find yourself choking. I am not choking, but I am gasping a bit.

So now to quote my son all I need to do is figure out a solution and save the day. I kind of like that term, save the day. And given a little bit of time I think that I just might figure out how to make it happen. Life is like that chess board. I don't have to attack everything head on, sometimes coming from an angle is really all it takes.

You Can't Bully My Child Part II

Part one of this post is here.

I became a father sooner than most of the guys in my circle of good friends. As a result I have often found myself being used a resource that the other guys sometimes use for consultation on parenting issues.

Most of the time they are relatively simple questions dealing with issues that we have worked through already. During the course of these conversations I have been asked if I am worried about pedophiles or rapists. I always respond by saying yes, but I am not seriously bothered by it.

It is not that I don't think that it can happen, but that it is not as common as other issues. The bullying is an excellent example of something that happens with more frequency. And it is a great example of the pain/frustration/anguish of parenting because no matter what you do you cannot insulate your child from the world. And the great fear is that somehow your child will be harmed because you failed.

But the reality is that you cannot view life through a black and white prism of success versus failure. There may be times when it is clear that your child was hurt because you failed, but more often than not you are not going to be blame. Things happen that are beyond your control.

Still, this doesn't lessen the pain of watching tears stream down your child's face because they are hurt. So you have to come up with a plan and we did. It is relatively simple and now we will see if it works.

The mothers had a discussion about the situation and it was made clear to the mother of this other boy that there is an issue. She in turn had her son call mine to apologize. During the conversation my son clearly expressed why he was angry and told the other boy that this cannot continue or there will be consequences.

I told my son that if things happen again he is to tell the other boy to stop, twice. If he doesn't listen then I told him he is to defend himself. Furthermore I told him that if he hits him I expect him not to hold back. Hit him hard and then hit him again.

You see, the bullying wasn't limited to words. This other boy smacked my son and pinned him down. So I haven't any problem telling him that it is ok to hit him.

I hope that it doesn't come to that point, but there are lines and limits that you cannot cross. The physical is one of them. We'll see what happens, hopefully this is the end of it.

Still, I am sorry to see one more piece of his innocence taken away from him. Childhood ends far too quickly, no need to rush it.

Morning Links

The Evolution of Blogging
10 Sites for Online Music
Shul What-ifs
Harvard Faces Financial Difficulties

Musical Evening Interlude

La Tortura- Shakira
No Woman, No Cry- Bob Marley
Summertime- Ella Fitzgerald
Running up that Hill- Kate Bush & David Gilmour
Kiss Me- Stephen Tin Tin Duffy (talk about a trip back in time)
Don't Tell Me- Blancmange (high school revisited)
Prodigal Blues- Billy Idol (Some of the lyrics really hit home with me.)
All I want is You- U2
Broken Hearts- Living Colour
Boys of Summer- Don Henley
If you live near water and do not teach your child how to swim you are making a huge mistake.
It borders on child abuse. Too dangerous not to know how.

Keywords- How You Got Here

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the final goodbye blog

You Can't Bully My Child

I tried to sit there impassively so that I could hear the story be told without interruption. I tried to sit there and look supportive so that he would feel comfortable telling the tale, but I am not sure that I succeeded.

Had you seen my face it likely would been contorted in a snarl, my hands pulverizing the rocks contained within them into dust. He struggled to get the words out. He struggled to tell his mother and I that another child had been bullying him. Hot tears of shame rolled down his face and I felt my stomach turn.

Anger, revulsion and sadness coursed threw me. My son, my son. Another one of life's lessons taught before I would have chosen for him. I would have preferred that he remain innocent for a bit longer. Let him be naive for just a while longer. He is young, at 8.5 he doesn't need to know that humans can be so cruel to each other.

But we don't get to make those decisions. Life moves, things happen, and changes take place and you are forced to respond. And so we listened to him describe what had happened to him and my heart sunk.

As I listened I remembered being that boy. I remembered the anger and the shame of it. I remember not wanting to tell my parents and thinking that they couldn't help me. Eventually the kid who was bullying me pushed me too far and I exploded.

Thirty years or so ago it was a different world in some ways. I used my fists and learned that they could be very influential. That ended the bullying. It didn't solve all of my problems, but it helped fix a big one.

But it is not about me. It is not thirty years ago. Fighting is seen differently now. There is far less tolerance of it and it brings different issues. But that is not where I want this to go, not really.

More importantly, this situation is different because the bully is a friend. Another boy who my son once considered to be his best friend has been taking advantage of my son's good nature and I am sad. I am sad because I feared that this day would come

I am sad because it just makes the situation worse. It doesn't matter to me that the boy who did this comes from a good family or that his parents will be horrified by this. He robbed my child of a certain amount of innocence. The thief has stolen something that can never be returned.

For years I have listened to stories about him. For years I have listened to mothers and fathers tell stories about this boy was mean to other kids. I have warned my son about him, told him to be cautious. I always wondered when he would turn upon him.

But we are loyal to a fault. And my son was not just a friend, but a good friend. He tried to help this boy be better. He tried to show him how to be a better listener and student. We tried to explain to him that you can only be responsible for yourself and that you can't change people.

And then tonight I listened as he talked about his friend and how sometimes he'll hit him or hold him down. I listened as he told the story in between tears about how he didn't want to tell on his friend and my broken heart was torn open again.

Even now he tries to protect his friend. Even now he tries to shelter him. Even now as his body shakes because he is crying so hard. Even now he fights for his friend and in return this boy is almost assuredly asleep.

And when he tells me that it has only been going on a short while I cringe because I know my son and I can tell it has been longer. It is only now that it has reached the point that he can no longer take it.

As I console and reassure him I cannot help but think that I want to grab this boy and show him what it means to be terrorized. Let him cry for help as I drag him by his collar. Let him cry as I use my strength to force him to dance for me.

But that won't happen. I am 40 and he is eight. In my anger I might appreciate the idea, it would never happen. I would feel guilty immediately. It would be as wrong as his behavior. But what can and will happen is that I will impress upon his parents the urgency of the situation.

They will understand that this is unacceptable. They will see that his behavior changes immediately. They will see that he apologizes. And then they will see that their son has destroyed a friendship, likely beyond repair.

I can't say for certain that the friendship is completely done. My son will have to make that decision, but it has been damaged to the point that it is not what it was.

In truth I am ok with that. I am still sad and angry about it all. I am disappointed that he had to learn such a hard lesson, but this is what it is. Life is filled with these moments. And as much as I want to protect and shelter him I won't coddle him to the point that he cannot cope.

In the end we cannot always be there. Our job is to love, teach and support him so that he can be a good person who can easily navigate through the challenges that life presents. And we'll keep doing that.

Before I go I'll share just another thought or two. My son has been taking Krav Maga for a number of years now. Tonight as he lay in bed we talked for a few more moments about it all. In a soft voice I told him that we had a plan. I told him that we were going to speak to the parents of this other boy and that it would be taken care of.

And then I told him that sometimes need to have a back up plan. I told him that if this behavior didn't change he needed to tell his friend to stop. And then I told him that if it didn't, that he is entitled to defend himself. I could feel him looking me in the dark. He said, "but he is my friend" and waited for my response.

I told him that friends don't treat their friends like this. I told him that people in general should never treat others like this. And then I told him again that if he did as I said I wouldn't be angry. "If you have to hit him, hit him hard."

He fell asleep a moment later.I leaned over and kissed his forehead and walked out of his room. Hours have passed since I had that conversation, but it has stayed with me. Some life lessons are harder than others. Sometimes the pain is...considerable.


Certain days stick out because memorable events took place upon them. On July 21, 2004 my father underwent a triple bypass. On July 23, 2004 the dark haired beauty was borne.

Five years later. Wow.

More to come on this later.
Working on more Johnny and June for Fragments of Fiction. Something about June calling Johnny because she just couldn't stand not talking to him.

Some Old Posts Revisited

Took these out of the grab bag and decided to air them out. I haven't read them in a while, so I think that later today I'll take a look and see if they still hold up.

I hope that they are not too embarrassing.

When Your World Is Collapsing- A Letter To My Children
Blessing My Children
Teaching Children To Lose Gracefully
Teaching Children Not To Quit
A Secret For My Children

The Bottom Is Approaching Awfully Quick

If you woke up to the sounds of screaming punctuated by smashing noises then you are probably one of my neighbors. That cursing wasn't coming from some rap album but from me. The crashing noise was the sound of an external hard drive and a 27 inch television set flying through a window so that they could prove that gravity was still in effect.

Brief musical interlude:

If You Could Read My Mind- Gordon Lightfoot
It Was a Very Good Year- Frank Sintara (NSFW video- I miss the Sopranos)
Beer- Homer Simpson

Ok, let's be clear about something I didn't throw anything out of the window. For that matter I didn't throw anything, but for a moment or two I sure thought about it.

A while back I hooked up a 500 Gig external hard drive to my computer to serve as a back up for my music, pictures, videos and a few other things. In addition I have a back up for the back up.

But because I have stolen fire from the Gods and am being punished for it, the external hard drive decided to go on strike and the back up for the back up walked off the job as well. So I have spent a not insignificant amount of time negotiating for the return of my files. Negotiations have been long, tedious and not without complications.

Now you may not know this about me, but I don't always color inside the lines. I am known for being unconventional and someone who will use unorthodox methods. Maybe I have watched too many movies, but I found myself in need of additional information and so I sought it out. Unfortunately the guys who had it weren't really interested in divulging it, so I had to get a bit rougher than I wanted.

Even the legendary Chuck Norris couldn't stop me from reaching my destination.

Needless to say all of this fighting was exhausting which I suppose is part of the reason I found myself cursing that bleeding mother...board and all the siblings. Why, oh why must this happen. Ok, I know more or less why it happened, but it is the timing that set me off.

It is not like I don't have 1,276,987 things going on already. Not to mention that of those on the list at least 2,876 are urgent. But this is what it is and how it is. That last line my friends comes from an old teacher of mine.

It is one of those lines that he would offer as words of wisdom but I always thought of it as being the sort of throwaway that belongs in a fortune cookie. Anyhoo, I think that after much aggravation I have gotten a handle on the crash, at least I hope so. I better go check.

But before I do I'll leave you with some more music:

Mud on The Tires
- Brad Paisley
I'm Gonna Miss her- Brad Paisley
Dear Friends-

Leaving sarcastic comments or snarky remarks is a good way to get the kind of attention you don't want.

This isn't cleveland.

Forty Years Ago Man Reached The Moon

Forty years ago man reached the moon. My parents propped me up in front of the television so that I could watch this historical event with them. I can't say that I remember that day, but space has always fascinated me.

I have spent more than a few hours learning about what exists outside of the earth and countless hours staring out into the night sky. Some times it has been through a telescope and sometimes via the naked eye. I have vivid memories of watching Halley's Comet and the Northern Lights, but the moon has always held a special place for me.

Some of that intrigue and mystique comes from learning about the space program and stories I have heard. Some of that comes from the awe I feel looking at stars, but it also comes from other things as well.

I have been fortunate enough to travel across the US and to various countries around the world. Every time I go I make a point of looking up at the moon. It is a celestial landmark that I know can be seen from home and by the people I love and care about. No matter where we are or whether we are in contact or not I know that it is something we can share.

Anyway, I found links about this that I thought were interesting so I wanted to pass them along to you.

To The Moon...- Toner Mishap
How Did Moon Travel Change Astronauts?- ABC News
Google flies you to the moon- CNET

Harry Potter & Haveil Havalim #226

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'

Hello and welcome to Haveil Havalim #226, the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince edition. This is a different sort of edition for me. I hadn't intended on doing it, but a change came up at the last minute and I found myself standing in the on deck circle.

I had several ideas for what I wanted to do with it, but it just didn't work out that way. So my apologies because this isn't up to my normal standards. Anyway, if I can find time I'll update this a few times and try to give it a little more spit and polish.

And in response to some reader emails here are some links to some of the music that I listened to while constructing this. Please be advised that some of these videos are adult in nature. I didn't have time to go searching for clean versions, so do what you will with it.

Mansions of the Lord
It Was a Very Good Year- Frank Sinatra
I Gotta Feeling- Black Eyed Peas
King Without a Crown- Matisyahu
You're Gonna Miss This- Trace Adkins
Come Back- Moshav

If this is your first time here, welcome. You'll find almost seven thousand posts about life, parenting, politics, Judaism and more. Links to some of my favorite posts can be found on the right hand side of the page.

And now on to our carnival:


Many people are questioning some of President Obama's policies. You can read about some of that at The case against Obama.

Seraphic Secret reminisces about a man from his youth who would scream about and the end of the world and those who do it now in Apocalypse Now and Then.

The Muqata reports about Washington and Israeli Ambassador in Michael Oren hold his ground.

Avi Green presents DC becomes Dhimmi Comics posted at The Four Color Media Monitor.

At the Rubin Reports take a look at A brief guide to the differences between Palestinian Authority, Syrian, and Iranian Strategies toward the West.

While you are there you might be interested in reading The Obama Ideology and World Affairs Part I, II andIII.

Yaacov Lozowick has a must read piece entitled Complicated Afghanistan and Just War. Daled Amos shared Israeli Settlements: Olmert vs. Obama.

Yourish covered Obama ups the ante on “settlements”


I really enjoyed reading Nostalgia Sunday – Asimonim, maybe because I still carry one on my keychain.

Israelity also sent in the descriptive post, Tel Aviv’s Sh*t Mountain Gets A Green Light for Environmental Remediation.

And in technology news you can read Just another ghost in the Wall, a new Internet startup, launched last night by an Israeli entrepreneur and Palestinian software developers.

Batya said I Could Never Understand The Mentality.

Cosmic X relates a number of news stories in his post Truth Sprouts From the Land!

The Occidental Israeli discusses the Haredim and says thatTerrorism Pays. Agree or disagree? Go read it and let him know. Ask Lady Light about Civil Strife in Jerusalem: Protesting a Parking Lot.

Child Ish thinks much of it has to do with boredom.

Tel Chai Nation blogged about the impact of the Gaza war with British Antisemitism in Britain stops arms exports to Israel. Yourish covered it also in The U.K. Israeli arms embargo: Hypocrisy defined.

And let's not forget the marriage proposal that Meryl included in Thursday Snark News.

Jewschool covered Gaza Soldier Testimonials.

Soccerdad sent over a link I had missed Breaking the Silence: More Rumor & Hearsay. Daled Amos shared Again, The Media Jumps On Questionable Report Of Israeli War Crimes (Updated)

Dave shared A Video Postcard from Hell: The Gaza War Up Close and Personal

Over at My Right Word I had to read about the Erotics of the Occupation twice because I just couldn't believe it.

Our friend and long time blogger the Elder has The transcript of the "plot to assassinate Arafat" and the story about Hamas belief that they will acquire a WMD within 20 years. Now what nation of non Arabs who are descendants of Cyrus might say that.

Back at My Right Word there are beautiful pictures of the Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue in Jerusalem and don't forget to read Tourism in Tuscany, Sorry, Make That Binyamin.

My friend Snoopy and co-blogger writes about the mishegahs surrounding road signs in Minister Yisrael Katz, road signs and Zionism. Eric wrote about it as well in Battle of the Signs in Israeli Cities.

In between rooting for the Bruins Ben Yehudah keeps a fine blog in which he writes about many things. One of his recent topics covered the protests, go read The Other Story: Israeli Leftist Rags And Feminazis.

At The Muqata you should read Israel's High Court Targets Widow and Orphans of Fallen IDF War Hero.

Here is An interesting perspective on why the Palestinians keep saying no to peace deals. And then again there are posts that illuminate A senseless and irresponsible provocation.

Don't forget to read Religion and State in Israel - July 13, 2009 (Sections 1 and 2) Ben Yehudah discusses an ad right here.

From Solomonia What Olmert Offered Abbas.


I am not sure if there are topics that are more important than protecting children. Chabad offers Responding to Child Predators in the Jewish Community.

A good philosophical discussion can be found in the questions of Isn't it Enough to Just Believe? - What Does Judaism Think?

From Chabad we have Lightning Doesn't Strike the Same Place Twice
Divine Providence Does!

Mother in Israel has practical tips you can use to keep your food warm and your house cool on Shabbos.

Questions, questions, questions, Is the Ran an apikores, by his own definition?
Don't forget to read part two.

Lion of Zion brings up the question of Calling a Sinner for an Aliyah.

From the Real Shaliach we have Say it ain't so!

Ever wonder about how Jews said Kiddush during prohibition? You might enjoy reading this next piece called Booze and Jews: Some fun American-Jewish history ephemera .

One day Donald Trump may be at a bris for his grandson, maybe. Read more at Mazel tov to the newest Jew - Ivanka Trump.

At Schvach you can read Eishes Chayil, that discusses Jewish Women. Child Ish thinks that many Orthodox Jews haven't spent time thinking about why they believe what they believe. For more on this read Kiruv: Answering the hard questions.

From the Velveteen Rabbi This week's Torah poem looks at the slaughter of the Midianites through the lens of the newly-released Breaking the Silence report about IDF behavior in Gaza.

The Rebbetzin's Husband provides valuable information with How to attract people to your shul. Over at Ilana Davita there is a very interesting guest post by Shimshonit about her Judaism. Go read it.

Schvach's post The Conflicting Demands of Life is definitely worth a read.

In The Pink has what I consider to be a ridiculous invention, a Tefillin sweater. Twenty seven years of laying Tefillin and I have never had a problem rolling up the sleeve. In fact if you buy one I want to speak with you about loaning me $50.

Prof K's post gives food for thought. Go read The Things That Bring Us Happiness...Not

Use this link to Tweet your prayers at The Kotel. Or you can go here and ask someone to daven for you at the Kotel for 40 days.

I am a bit of a rabble rouser. Correction, I am big rabble rouser. I am often the fly in your ointment, the guy who will press your buttons. So why am I sharing this, well because I almost didn't include a few posts from Frum Satire.

Let me be clear, I think that Hesh is a good guy and well meaning. But he intentionally writes posts that stir up a hornet's nest. I know this because I have commented there and been assaulted by a number of the other commenters.

I mention this because I think that some of his commenters are troglodytes that wear Borsalinos and think that halacha says that you can beat a woman for not sitting in the back of the bus.

Anyway, I do not include Hesh as part of that crowd. And now that he has received a ton of press I am not going to include separate posts. You have the link to his blog. Go spend some time reading there. Not every post is controversial.


All the really cool blogs started roughly five years ago, just ask Jewlicious.

A Simple Jew is another one of the old time bloggers. He is among the first bloggers that I read and interacted with. Go take a look at "You Seem To Have Removed Yourself From Your Blog."

What happens when you are almost 30
and you have a list of things to do.

The Real Shaliach has Some important questions. Will someone please ask Mottel to move. I have been blogging here for more than five years now. ;)

The Rebbetzin's Husband reflects upon the impact of being a parent in Changed by a decade of Parenting.

Take a look at some nice photos at I really should get a tripod.

This is the sort of problem I miss having. Go read A hard day [camp] night and Israeli teenagers - 1; Anglo parents - 0.

Apparently there is a new King of All Media. When you are through with that you can read On Tops and Tales because it is all about the people.

There is something very nice about passing on traditions. Home shuling blogged about bedtime issues.

When I read the next title I instantly thought about my post A Bad Case of Stupid Seems To Be Going Around to be clear there is no similarity other than title, which is why you should read We're Not Immune to Stupid Just Because We're Jewish

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.

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The End of a Marriage

This is a continuation of this post.

I'll say this much for divorce, it makes for great blog fodder. There is something wrong about that, isn't there. Shouldn't there be some rule that says that being this connected is wrong. Isn't there some rule or law of silence about this. I am not really supposed to be able to communicate such intimate thoughts.

The pain of a broken heart isn't really something that you should be privy too, or maybe you should be. Maybe that is the point of all this. I act as the exhibitionist and you act as the voyeur. I pull aside the shades so that you can look inside the window and see just what is that I am doing.

And that is how you get the great image of "6'2 of stupid that is shtupping my wife, sleeping in my bed and enjoying the house that was the fruits of my labor."

Really, I should be more grown up about this than I am. I should be happy that he has taken the burden off of my hands, but that is not totally true either. The end of the relationship is a mixture of relief and sadness. It is a mixture of success and failure.

I try not to tell the girl friends about this feeling because every time I do they interpret it as a sign that I need a new woman. They read the last column and told me that they thought that it was brilliant and that I was dead on about how awful breaking up by email is. Apparently this sort of thing is far more prevalent than I realized.

Just my luck really. I was trying to portray myself as being bitter, cold and unfeeling and they took it as being sensitive. Or maybe they didn't. Maybe this is all part of the stupid plan that they and the daughter are trying to put into place. You know, the whole lost love deal.

Earlier this week the girl friends slipped it into conversation, how some people never forget walking down Coventry or chasing each other through grapevines. The whole gist of it was their female version of some romantic tale in which I contact that great lost love of mine and we suddenly find our way back to each other.

I must admit that I find a certain attraction to it. I have wondered what she is up to and where she is at. From time to time I have remembered things and wondered if she has too. But that could easily be me. After all I am the one who is in this position. I am sure that she is happy with her life. I am just a good memory relegated to the unimportant and irrelevant pile.

At least that is what I suspect, but I admit that part of me wonders if that is true. I also admit to relearning the finer points of being heartbroken. I hadn't ever planned on becoming reacquainted with it. I rather imagine that it is similar to a prisoner revisiting his cell.

You know all the corners intimately, but you never really want to step back inside, even if the door is open. Except in my case the door swung shut behind me.

The good news is that all of the crap that I left here is still here. Same books and toys on the shelves just waiting to be played with again. The bad news is that all of the crap that I left here the last time is still here. The questions and hard feelings and the sense of loneliness. The empty ache is back, an old friend that I didn't want to see again.

But the good news is that I know from experience that this isn't a life sentence. I'll bust out of this joint like I did the last time. Only this time around things will be different.

Of course I said that same thing last time, but this time it is true. This time it is going to be different because this time a million people will read about this in my column. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but we'll find out.

Stay tuned to this bat channel and assuming that the paper doesn't fire me or go under from a lack of advertising dollars and you'll find out what happens, or not.

Not Quite Abandoned

I didn't think it had been as many months away from here as it has clearly been. I was certain I had updated this place in December and ...