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Showing posts from August, 2009

A Recent Conversation With My Supervisor

I suppose that you could say that I have issues with authority. But this felt oh so good: "Commodus : How dare you show your back to me! Slave, you will remove your helmet and tell me your name. Maximus : [ removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus ] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."

Daddy, He Is Beating Up Goofy

( Originally posted here ) Way back in the annals of time, when Jack was a young man, a strapping young man I might add he had an incident at Disneyland. I was all of 20 when that fateful day came. My fraternity had held its formal at the Disneyland hotel. It was a night of many memories, or should I say few memories. Yes, we were drinking. We drank so much the fish fled from our presence for fear that their habitat might be destroyed. It was a bad combination of young, dumb and stupid, not to mention way too much alcohol, but that was Saturday night and this tale is about a single event that took place the next day, Sunday afternoon. We were tooling around Disneyland, frequently hanging our heads because the happiest place on earth is not that much fun when you are hung over. Then it becomes, loud chaotic, and somewhat unpleasant. The boys and I were in Tomorrowland waiting for our dates to exit the bathroom. I don't remember what we were talking about, it could have been

How To Make An Impression

Every now and then people ask for my advice on how to make an impression upon others. Well I am not going to give away all of my secrets because it would be awkward if you all became as cool as me. But I will share one thing that I have found to be very successful, especially in job interviews, a personal theme song or soundtrack. Lately I don't enter a room without this music preceding my entrance. Every now and then I do mix it up. Past choices have included this , this , this and this .

Special Forces- Science Explains Their Reaction To Stress

This is a very interesting article about why some people handle stress better than others do. Dr. Andy Morgan of Yale Medical School conducted research to determine why some people handle stress better than others do. His research took him to Fort Bragg which where the Army's elite Airborne and Special Forces school is located. Let's take a look at an excerpt from the article. "For Morgan, POW school was the perfect place to study who survives the best under acute stress. If you think it's just training and the soldiers know they're not really in serious danger, consider what Morgan discovered. During mock interrogations, the prisoners' heart rates skyrocket to more than 170 beats per minute for more than half an hour, even though they aren't engaging in any physical activity. Meanwhile, their bodies pump more stress hormones than the amounts actually measured in aviators landing on aircraft carriers, troops awaiting ambushes in Vietnam, skydivers taking

If all of life is a lesson

Image via Wikipedia If all of life is a lesson than I wonder just what it is that I am being taught now. Am I being given a tutorial in how to handle adversity and challenge. Is this the lesson in which I learn that it doesn't matter what road we choose to walk upon because they all have their challenges. Is this the moment where a voice reaches down from the heavens and tells me that the grass is always greener and that we all have our challenges. Do I look at this time and shrug my shoulders because, "this too shall pass." Perhaps. Or perhaps not. It reminds me a bit of that joke/story/parable that I have heard so many times: Image via Wikipedia A religious man heard an urgent news report on his radio that a flash flood was within minutes of entering the peaceful valley where he lived. Immediately he went to his knees and prayed for safety. The words were still on his lips when he became aware that water was gushing under his door. He retreated to the second floo

Life Is Overwhelming Me

Yes it is true, even the mighty Jack has moments of doubt and pain in which he feels that life is completely overwhelming. So much is going on that my head is spinning. I suppose that the good news is that this proves that my brain was not replaced my a melon, but is actually still located inside my skull. Hooray for small favors or small wonders, I can't remember which. Ok, Jack, you can't begin a post with that kind of introduction without providing an explanation for what is going on. And you can't really keep speaking about yourself in the third person unless you are Ricky Henderson or riding the subway. So let's take a moment to try and take stock of what is going on and why my head feels like it is going to explode. You could say that some of this is part of the pseudo-mid life crisis I am in the middle of. It is a good place to start. I feel trapped and angry about a number of things and no I am not going to list them all here. Thanks to the lack of complete

Sounds Of My Youth

( Originally posted here ) Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time dreaming. My thoughts flitter around this and that and here and there. In my mind I visualize myself in various places with various people. Some of it is fantasy and some of is memory. I suppose that you could attribute this to being someone who enjoys creativity and storytelling. The world is a very interesting place. I never run out of things to do, places to go or people to see. In many ways I am a boy in a man's body. I love doing new things but I also like thinking about my past. I have many fine memories and I rather enjoy visiting them from time to time. Certain smells and sounds remind me of the past. Some of them are bittersweet memories of people and places that are no longer part of my life, at least not in the way that they used to be. For example for the first 28 years of my life my maternal grandparents lived in an apartment complex in West Hollywood. I remember the drive from my parent'

A Quick Summary of Recent Posts

If you haven't been around for a while here is some of what you missed: A Father's Responsibility Does Fear Prevent You From Living Your Life Why Some Blogs Fail Revisited Blog Questions We Ask Ourselves Do You Live Your Dreams When Blogging Became A Business Getting Paid To Write- The Blogger's Dream

Send a Blogger To Israel For The JBlogger Conference

The denizens of the Jblogosphere have the chance to send a blogger to Israel. Yes, friends and neighbors you can help one of your fellow bloggers win a free trip to Israel to attend the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention . I am short on time so I am going to quote the Elder here: Nefesh B'Nefesh is asking Jewish/Israeli bloggers to nominate other bloggers to fly to Israel on a NbN flight, with the proviso that they must write about their experience. The catch is that we can only nominate other bloggers and must write a blog post as to why we chose that person. And I am actually going to bend the rules and nominate two people. The first is the inimitable Soccer Dad , my predecessor as the admin of Haveil Havalim. Every so often you will see posts such as The Golden Age Of The JBlogosphere in which silly old timers talk about how much better things were in the past. Soccer Dad is responsible for many of the positive developments of the present. He has been a consist

A Severe Case of Bad Blogging

A reader wrote in and asked me if I ever encounter writer's block or situations in which I am less than satisfied with the quality of my posts. The answer is yes to both questions. It is not at all uncommon for me to stare at the screen and wonder why the words aren't magically filling it. And without a doubt I have published more than one post whose quality was less than stellar. Blogging is no different than anything else in life there are good days and bad days. There is one significant difference between bad days in general and bad days in blogging. A bad day in blogging can not only be memorialized forever it can go viral and be seen by millions of people. A bad day in blogging can hurt you professionally and personally. I suppose that if you are really paranoid I just helped to make your day. In every day life you really have to work hard to do something dumb enough to receive that kind of life long notoriety. For most of us none of these things in real life or in

A Father's Responsibility

Sunday night my father and I had a good old fashioned fight that reminded me of that guy that used to live in their house. He looked a lot like me, but he had more hair and drove a bitchin' Camaro. Five Image via Wikipedia points to anyone who gets the musical reference. Anyhoo, the old man and I screamed at each other for a bit and followed it up by glaring at each other in a way that would have melted steel. I won't bore you with the particulars of the disagreement other than to say that ultimately we were both coming from the same place, a twilight zone I like to call A Father's Responsibility. A Father's Responsibility is a catch all for all of the obligations that we fathers have upon our shoulders and it is a load. Before the mothers erupt in a huff this isn't a competition about who has more work or more responsibility. It is not about who suffers more for the sake of the family. Those types of discussions are bootless, fruitless and useless. I am not th

Been Hanging Out Over...

Been hanging out over here trying to win a few contests and prizes.

Does Fear Prevent You From Living Your Life

The rules of the blog are simple- brutal honesty. This is where I empty out the contents that are rattling around inside my skull and sift through them. This is where I take a hard look at myself and demand that I be honest with myself about all that I think and all that I feel. It is not a joke. It is a serious exercise and at times a very painful one. I make a point of visiting the good and the bad. I know what my flaws are and the ways in which I sometimes hide from them. I am no different from anyone else. There are painful moments and experiences that have shaped and influenced me. The question I ask myself is whether there are lingering effects from those times. What are the things that are preventing me from taking that next step. Am I living the life I want to lead or is fear preventing me from doing what I need to do. I think that I am in a transitional stage which is why I am asking these questions and why this Nickelback song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maINUv2H8A0

Getting Paid To Write- The Blogger's Dream

Since I turned 40 I have been in the midst of a pseudo midlife crisis. So I did what most guys do. I bought a new sports car, started dating the 25 year-old triplets from across the street and backpacked around Europe. The new car has been great. There is nothing like cruising Pacific Coast Highway with two hot blondes and a brunette to keep you company. My oh my, Louie Armstrong was right, what a wonderful world. Ok, the only thing that is true among the previous two paragraphs is that I turned 40 and that I am in the midst a pseudo crisis. It is not a full blown midlife, but it has a few elements that would be appropriate, or so I think. What the hell do I know about midlife, my grandparents are 95 and I am only 40. Clearly I am not middle aged. But I did make a decision that I am going to actively work on gaining employment as a writer. I love doing it and I seem to have some talent for it so what the hell. And that my friends takes us to the real point of this post which is tha

Why Some Blogs Fail Revisited

This past week I read a number of posts in which bloggers discussed how long they would continue blogging and so I thought that it made sense to revisit my post about why some blogs fail. I still maintain that one of two key elements must be present for bloggers to make it for the long haul, financial incentives and or personal satisfaction. Most bloggers will not make any significant cash from blogging so the bottom line will come back to whether they enjoy it or not. Why Some Blogs Fail My blogging friend LB and I had a brief discussion on Twitter regarding why some blogs last and others don't. On a side note be sure to read his post on Hummus , see Benji , I am working on that Google page ranking. ;) Anyhoo, he turned me onto this article from the New York Times called: Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest, or When The Thrill of Blogging is Gone . The question/topic of our tweeting was about why this happens and what it takes to survive. Before we get into that let's

Blog Questions We Ask Ourselves

If you are one of the 17 long time readers you know that periodically I recycle old posts and use them again. What you may not know is the methodology that I use in choosing what to run again so here is a brief explanation. Sometimes I'll rerun a post because I happen to think that it is good enough to merit additional exposure and or it ties in nicely with a current topic. At the moment I find myself in the midst of a pseudo crisis so as I work through the various elements that I find troubling it makes sense to revisit some old posts and see how they hold up. I wrote the post below on January 1, 2006. I think that it has held up pretty well, although I should add that I am still asking myself a lot of the same questions. Maybe there are no good answers to them. Blog Questions We Ask Ourselves The title of this post is a bit presumptuous because I am assuming that I am not the only blogger to ask these questions, or maybe I am. 1) If you are an anonymous blogger would the

She Died- Death Notices Via Facebook

I often write about different the world that my children are growing up is from that which I experienced. But I don't often really stop to think about the affect and impact those changes have upon me. Tonight life decided to remind me that I don't live in a vacuum. Tonight's lesson came courtesy of Facebook. A little after 11 PM I signed on and learned that my great aunt had died. I didn't receive the new via a direct message or email. Rather I learned because my cousins had changed their statuses to mention her passing and to honor her. It was a bit surreal and it took a moment to sink in. My aunt was the older sister of my grandmother . She was approximately 18 months or so older, although for the past 25 years or so she tried to insist that she was younger. I can't really say that she was taken too soon because 97 is a nice long life. But I can say that she was a very special lady. This means that my grandmother is the last member of her family, all of her p

America's Best Public Restrooms

Friends it is time again to announce the winners of America's Best Restroom contest . As you know this is one of the yearly features of the blog so I am pleased to present it to you again. Here is a list of the top five which I am sad to say have never received a visit from me, but perhaps one day. 1. The Shoji Tabuchi Theater, Branson, Missouri (Click Here) 2. The Tremont Plaza Hotel, Baltimore, MD (Click Here) 3. Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY (Click Here) 4. Zeffirino Ristorante, Las Vegas, NV (Click Here) 5. The Drake Hotel, Chicago, Illinois (Click Here) Among the remaining finalists, those placing in sixth through tenth place are as follows: Macy’s – Union Square in San Francisco, California; The Tampa Theatre in Tampa, Florida; NOVA 535 in St. Petersburg, Florida; The Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan and Canlis Restaurant in Seattle, Washington. The Shoji Tabuchi Theatre received the coveted “America’s Best Restro

Musical Medley

Some of the songs that I have been listening to: One Day - Matisyahu Hey Jude - The Beatles I am Sorry - John Denver Annie's Song - John Denver Burn - The Cure Who'll Stop the Rain - CCR Have You Ever Seen The Rain - CCR (Can't listen to one without the other.) Take The Long Way Home - Supertramp Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac Rhiannon -Fleetwood Mac Tusk -Fleetwood Mac Turn On Your Lovelight - The Grateful Dead Rocktstar - Nickelback

It Is Not Really A New Discovery

Thanks to the amazing power of Facebook I just came into contact with another friend from my past and I can't say that I am entirely thrilled about it. Sometimes we inadvertently lose contact with people and sometimes it is intentional. I can tell you unequivocally that this was an intentional thing on my part. You see Marty (not his real name) was one of those people who had to one up you at everything. No one ever got a better deal on a car, knew of a better restaurant or had better ideas for a good time. Marty was a maven at anything and everything. What he wasn't good at was knowing when to shut his mouth or give other people credit. His superstar personality and supersized ego did an excellent job of burning through friendships like there was no tomorrow. We got to be friendly shortly after one of his relationships flamed out. Initially I blamed the break up for his behavior. I figured that he was heart broken and this was how he was compensating, but that turned out no

The Bob Woodruff Foundation

Periodically I like to share worthwhile causes with you. The Bob Woodruff Foundation is one of them. It is a good way to support our troops. The mission of the Bob Woodruff Foundation is to provide resources and support to injured service members, veterans and their families -- building a movement to empower communities nationwide to take action to successfully reintegrate our nation’s injured heroes—especially those who have sustained the Hidden Injuries of War —back into their communities so they may thrive physically, psychologically, socially and economically. BWF is a national nonprofit that helps ensure our nation’s service members return to a homefront ready to support them.

When Blogging Became A Business

Sometimes I think about writing a parody of You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore . It would be about blogging and how it evolved from something that we did for fun into a business that we hoped would make us rich. Of course when I do write it I am going to have to send an email to the guy who said You Just Aren't that Funny . I kind of wonder what happened to him. For a while he was one of the resident trolls who used to haunt this place. Those few of you who know me in real life know that I feed off of that sort of nonsense. Tell me I am not funny and I'll find a way to make you split a gut laughing. I can't help it, I am that talented. It is a burden, but I have broad shoulders and can carry load. Back in those days only a few bloggers were able to generate enough traffic to pull in real advertising dollars and sponsorships were just a figment of imagination. Back then we didn't have discussions about ridiculous badges that proclaimed our innocence and trustworth

Anonymous Blogging- Pulling Back The Curtain

This post initially began with a smartass remark about blogging being covered as a social disorder in the upcoming edition of the DSM IV. I opted to dispose of that because this is a semi-serious post and it deserves a better joke than something as weak as that. Anonymous blogging is an issue that generates strong feelings on both sides and one that is beginning to be discussed with increasing frequency. The primary complaint is that anonymity provides an abdication of personal accountability for what is written. It is a reasonable concern. I have stumbled upon more than a few blogs that served as vehicles to attack the character of a person(s) and or businesses. If you have been on the receiving end of some these hatchet jobs you might have found yourself frustrated with an inability to confront the writer or writers of the posts in question. I know of several cases which led to the use of the legal system to attempt to gain the true name of the blogger. More than one post has been

Save The Last Dance For Me- 75 Years of Marriage

Not so long ago I explained my belief in astrology. It is very simple. If I like my horoscope than I believe wholeheartedly in it and if I don't I write it off as being nothing more than superstitious bunk. I do the same thing for most of the new agey stuff. Don't tell me that if I ask the universe to give me a gift it will come true. Because if that was true than back in high school good old Ann Stacey would have been really attentive to my needs. But I digress. This afternoon I saw something that might have made me question my beliefs a bit. This afternoon I watched two 95 year-olds dance themselves back in time. And then I saw them kiss in a way that made me remember that Sarah was older than my grandmother when she gave birth to Isaac. Great googly moogly, grandma and grandpa kissed each other like they really meant it. If nothing else they managed to make my son ask why grown ups like to kiss so much. I told him not to worry about it and to watch them dance because he
Just watched my 95 year-old grandparent's dance at the celebration for their 75th wedding anniversary. Their great grand children loved it and so did I.

Idea #237 for Wooing a Woman

This is part of an ongoing series in which I train men how to woo women. For the prior installment please click here . Women love men who can dance and sing. When you find a woman that you wish to woo it is always good to gather some friends and dress up as The Village People . I have had great success dressing up in leather and singing Macho Man to the women of my world. You ought to try it too.

The Ultimate Birthday Party Revisited

If you asked me to describe the birthday party I wouldn't hesitate to say that it felt a bit like these two videos by the Red Russian Army Choir & Leningrad Cowboys . Stop wiping your eyes, you read it correctly the first time. Simple tunes that were turned into major productions that magically retained their simplicity. Don't ask me what that means, I am tired. I just finished cleaning up mystery items that were left as gifts by the hordes of children and assorted guests. For those of you who weren't fortunate enough to witness the dark haired beauty in all her glory let's undergo a short recap. As previously stated this venture into the dark side took place here on the Ponderosa minus Hoss and Little Joe, although I am pretty sure that Rooster Cogburn made a guest appearance. There was a Hello Kitty theme to this party. This made the dark haired beauty's eldest aunt quite happy as she had a thing for the ferocious feline too. It included basic entertainme
Live Blogging The Party- Pizza, snow cones and pinata are complete. Clean up has begun- Doing our best to hold the line, but the hordes keep coming.
The Calm Before The Storm Defcon 1 Almost finished with last minute details for party. You know, the few things you can't do until just before it starts.

The Ultimate Birthday Party

Tomorrow we are throwing a birthday party for the dark haired beauty. That five year-old is going to get a chance to have an old time birthday party. Yes ladies and gents, our house is going to be over run with children. Ten thousand screaming tykes are busy dreaming now of the many different ways that they are going to terrorize us. By this time tomorrow my home will look like it was hit by a class 5 tornado and I'll feel like I have gone 237 rounds with the best MMA fighters around. Great googly moogly, what have we done. In days of yore these parties were regularly held at a home. That changed at some point in time, not sure exactly when, but it did. Someone figured out that it wasn't always cheaper to hold these affairs at home and then marketed the idea to parents. It does hold a certain allure, holding a shindig elsewhere. Someone else has to do the cleaning before and after. But this year we decided against it. No Chuck E. Cheese or Under The Sea or any of the million

My Childhood Home

I was tempted to begin this post with the usual crack about not being able to go back home again but it just doesn't feel right. You see, I am home. This post is being composed from the same bedroom in my parent's house that I grew up in. Right here, in this very room I planned and plotted a million different schemes. Here in this bedroom I lay in the dark and dreamed dreams about the life I thought I was going to live. This is where I was when I decided that I wanted to live in Israel. This is where I was when I realized that I was in love with my high school sweetheart. She of course had figured that out long before and was unhappy because I refused to say those three words. This is the same room in which I retreated after I had my heart broken. This is the same room that I lived and died many different lives in. Except it is not really that room any longer. I haven't lived here in decades and it shows. There is not one single piece of furniture left from my time, certa

The Shmata Queen & I Meet

For years now people have begged the Shmata Queen and I to share a picture from our first meeting. Ask and you shall receive. Behold Jack and the Shmata Queen.

Idea #265 for Wooing a Woman

This is idea #265 for wooing a woman and like all ideas here personally tested and proven to be effective. Unfortunately this edition of wooing a woman does not come with video, but perhaps one day it will. Here is the concept: You head down to the office of your lucky lady and serenade her with Kenny Rogers songs, while dressed like Kenny Rogers. If you really want to have fun grab some of the guys from this site and use them as your backup singers.

I Can't Wait To Be A Grown Up

He said it with all of the earnestness and honesty an 8.5 year-old can muster, "I can't wait until I am a grown up." I smiled and said that he really could and reminded him that he needed to get his shoes on now. He looked up at me and told me that he was moving as fast as he could. I smiled again and said that I knew, now get them on. It is the typical banter between the two of us. The two of us were in the living room of his friend's home, the end of a play date. Just off to the side of us his friend's mother was in the middle of negotiating a truce between two of her children and trying to keep the baby from tearing off her diaper. It was clearly time to go, but the joy of being 8.5 is that those other things aren't important. In between fighting with his little brother the friend was trying to negotiate terms for my son to stay longer. I was pleased to see that they had so much fun and had I the ability, I would have let him stay longer. But their famil