Blog Facts

Periodically I churn out a post with all sorts of data about this place. It is a never ending source of fascination for me, how people find this joint, what they read, where they come from etc. It is also a tool I use when I can't decide what I want to write about.

So join me as we take a few minutes to review this useless but necessary information.

The Most Popular Posts haven't really changed. They still include the usual items such as:

The Duggar Family Revisited
What Are Your Favorite Song Lyrics?
The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants
Too Much Information- The Girl in the Men's Room
Teaching Children To Lose Gracefully
Why The Baal Teshuva World Irritates Me
Cover Songs- Part One
As you can see it is the usual mix of personal and provocative. If it wasn't close to midnight I might engage in some real analysis of it.

Keywords that led you here:

Come back to me June
random thoughts
the heart wants what the heart wants
Kabbalah quotes about besheret
Rules for dating my daughter
meaning of static electricity
what does a fighter pilot do when the need to go the bathroom
how to dispose of clutter
letter for my children
sexualy incompatible marriage
how many fearful thoughts do humans have in a day
how to entertain myself during class
are heroes born or made

Here is a link to a previous post that discussed some of this.

Why Carve Pumpkins?

The story of the Jack o'Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree.

When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down. In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again.

When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the Earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern."
I found the story here, including a recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds.

Another interesting fact to share, "Today, pumpkins mean big business at Halloween: U.S. farmers grow over a billion pounds a year, worth about $106 million."

Things That Frighten Me 2009

Every year I run a post that offers a list of things that frighten me. This list was composed around 2005 or so. As it says below some of these are still relevant and some are from the distant past. I probably should take a hard look and see if it is time to add or delete things.

This a list of things that have frightened me in my life. Some are still relevant and some are not. But I thought that it might be interesting to just throw them all out there to see what they look like during daylight hours. P.S. I have explanations for all of these, but I may not include them on the list. Why? I just don't feel like it. :)
  1. The Dark.
  2. The Amityville Horror scared me.
  3. Oscar the Grouch
  4. Bigfoot- The one from the Bionic Man television Show. He gave Steve Austin plenty of trouble.
  5. The Creature in the Legend of Boggy Creek
  6. A couple of dogs that chased me on my paper route.
  7. The homeless guy from the park.
  8. V.L.- He and I got into a fight in high school. I pretty much kicked his ass up and down the corridor, but I do remember shaking with adrenalin afterwards. For about two weeks I was concerned that I was going to have to face him and his older brother again.
  9. Having my heart broken again.
  10. Breaking someone's heart.
  11. Not being able to provide for my family.
  12. Letting my children down.
  13. Not making it to the bathroom in time.
  14. Finding out that I have a child that I didn't know about.- Ladies this is never a problem for you, but we men wonder about this sometimes.
  15. Being mugged at an ATM- When I was in college a guy was murdered at the ATM I used that day. It was several hours after I had used it, but....
  16. Something happening to my children.
  17. Getting stuck at a job I hate.
  18. Never living out my dreams.
  19. Being paralyzed.
  20. Losing a parent/close friend or family member- Actually I have lost several friends and family members, but it is still a fear.
  21. Being eaten alive or mauled seriously by a hog. (But I won't go down easily, so sirree Bob.)
  22. Losing my perspective on life and why most of these things are nonsense.

Mothers Love Their Mommies Too

It is Friday afternoon and I am staring at a blank screen. I have my iTunes on shuffle now. A New Game is Playing. It is good music for a football game, not so good for the topic. I click the button and up comes Golden Slumbers and The End  by The Beatles.  It is more appropriate.

"And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make."

I just finished speaking with my father about my grandmother and my mother. Grandma is slipping away. Slowly pieces are being taken off of the table and it is becoming more evident that slips of the tongue are not exactly accidental anymore.

My mother is tough as is her mom. But tough doesn't prepare you for watching your parents lose their invulnerability. Strength may help you deal with it, but it doesn't really make it easier to watch them become less than they once were.

Grandma is 95, almost 95.5. Her great grandchildren are rooting for her and grandpa to hit 100. Truth is that her children and grandchildren are too, but we're sadly skeptical about this.

When I think of people who love life I always think of grandma. She has always been among the happiest, most optimistic people I know. Until a few years ago you would have described her as a powerhouse of energy. She exercised every day well into her eighties.

That energy has been the stuff of family legend. It makes me sad to say that to her great grandchildren legend will be all that it is. Unfortunately the last few years have seen various parts of her body lose interest in operating as part of a team.

Macular degeneration robbed stole her ability to see bright colors and sunny days.Now she lives in a world of shadow, but I have never heard her complain about that. A few years ago her heart decided that it would refuse to operate at peak condition and that incredibly energy dissipated.

Her daughters and family did ok with those things. No one was happy about it, but it is life. And since grandma wasn't complaining about it we weren't going to either.

But the memory issues and the demential are a different story.

I watch my mother. I watch her reactions to her mother and I see. Most of the time mom is o.k. She is strong. She handles stress well, but there are moments. Those moments that we all feel, the ones in which it is one thing too many. I see the look on her face and wish that I could do more.

It is not easy. We have all been very lucky. Grandma just wasn't sick, not beyond the normal run of the mill stuff. She was just this powerhouse. This is one experience that I had before my mother. When my father had his heart attack I flew cross country not knowing whether he would still be alive when I landed.

I stood at his bedside when he was on a ventilator and watched the machines help keep him alive. I had to face the immediate questions of mortality right there. And I am so thankful that we rolled a seven.

It is not easy for anyone. But it is harder for a child.

I think that within the last three months there have been some dramatic changes with my grandmother. She never used to be nervous, but now she often is. She talks about dying with great regularity. I think she is preparing herself.

This isn't to say that I or anyone else is giving up. I remember a conversation I had with her cardiologist about her.

My parents were back east visiting my sister. Grandma didn't feel well. She got checked out and was admitted to the hospital. The docs gave me the usual medical speak with a strong emphasis that anything could happen. But the bottom line was that they didn't expect the discussion to still be going five years later.

So here we are now. Grandma surprised them all and may do so again. I wouldn't put it past her.

But on my mother's behalf I'll say that I am praying that the dementia doesn't get any worse. Mom will take whatever comes and she'll never give up on grandma. It just won't happen. But there is only so much that can be done and so I am hopeful that whatever comes is as easy as can be for her.


Download now or listen on posterous
08 A New Game.m4a (4253 KB)

Download now or listen on posterous
1-09 Hero Of The Day.m4a (4445 KB)

Download now or listen on posterous
2-03 Jackson.m4a (5569 KB)

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What Brings You Joy?

It is a simple question that I like to ask every so often. What brings you joy? I look forward to reading your commments.

All of Us 'have' a genius.

World's Largest Pyramid Discovered, Lost Mayan City Of Mirador Guatemala

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My Best Posts Are Often Heartwrenching

Lately I find myself writing posts that are never published. The words make their way from my fingertips to the keyboard and then onto the screen, but no further. They appear as if by magic and disappear in the same fashion. I read them in silence and shake my head in disgust.

They are filled with tired phrases that are awkwardly connected to each other. If they were capable of dancing they'd step on your toes and leave your shins bruised. There is no magic, no spark, no energy and no imagination to them. They are plain. They are dull. They are useless.

I stop and stare at them and wonder why they are lifeless and limited. I see them and in my unhappiness I subject them to punishment inflicted by a big thumb on a delete button. Click, click, click and goodbye.

My best posts are not always elegant in their struture and execution. They don't always have the sort of eloquence that I would prefer them to have. But they have a certain something, an energy that people can relate to.

My best posts are often heartwrenching. I reach into the Jack files and dig out something painful and use that as inspiration. I take the things that hurt or shamed me and repurpose them. Sometimes I find remnants of the pain and I jump into those flames.

It is a useful tool, a resource that allows me to construct something better than without. It is not alway how I work.There are many posts that come from other places. Many that come from the Happy Jack home, but not always.

I suspect that if you were to record my facial expressions they would sometimes include a bright smile and twinkling eyes. But they most assuredly would sometimes include the opposite as well. Sometimes you'd see a tear roll down a cheek or a very sad look.

My best posts are raw. They are part of what keeps me going. Those posts provide the fuel for my blogging motor. Without them I suspect that I might have already quit.

Some Thoughts About Facebook

40 Is Too Young to Die

I feel a bit like I was punched in the gut. I logged onto Facebook and read about the death of an old friend. He wasn't someone that I was close to, but we grew up together and shared some good times. If you went through some old photo albums you'd find pictures of he and I.

Forty is too young to die. It is an age that we often hear used as a benchmark for getting older, but it is not old. It is not old by a long shot.

So I am sitting here staring at the keyboard, wondering. I don't know all of the details, but it wasn't an auto accident, a plane crash or any sort of thing like that. Those are tragedies but I find them easier to accept. Easier because you can look at them and say that they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Terminal illnesses, sudden heart attacks and the like defy that sort of explanation, at least for me.

I stare at Facebook and see an entry about his untimely death. A bunch of comments from mutual friends of ours and shared memories. High school isn't a recent experience any more. Every day it grows more distant, but it is not so long ago that I can't remember.

His death marks the passing of old friends this year. Both were 40. Both were contemporaries of mine. Both taken far too early.

Sometimes people have tried to explain these losses to me as being part of a grand plan that I can't understand. I hate those explanations. It is completely unsatisfying and useless to me. Don't tell me that G-d's plan is beautiful and that my mortal mind is incapable of understanding it.

What I understand is that there are kids who are orphaned, husbands and wives who are widowed, siblings who are in pain and parents who are struggling to figure out how the natural order of life has gotten so mucked up.

If you ask if I am upset and angry, I will tell you yes. It bothers me for a host of reasons. But it is what it is. If you ask me why I fight to try and live a life in which I do the things that make me happy and fulfill me it is because of moments like this.

It is not eloquent, but shit happens. Whenever it is that I do die I want to feel like I did my best to live the life I want to live. I'll paraphrase my grandfather OBM, when death comes for me I am going to kick him in the balls, poke him  in the eyes and throw his bony ass out the nearest window.

Grab your loved ones my friends and hold them tight 'cuz you just don't know what tomorrow brings.

What Are your Favorite Song Lyrics?

I remember telling she who is the song of my heart about my love affair with music. I remember the hours we spent sharing, exploring and learning about new music with each other. I remember a million hours of music and the unadulterated joy we took in sharing it with each other.

Spend a few minutes sifting through the archives and you will find untold numbers of posts that are tied into music in one way or another.

A while back I asked you to share your favorite lyrics with me. I am here to do it again. What moves you? What makes you laugh or cry. Share it here with us.

Past posts that might be of interest:

Name a Song That Makes You Cry Part One
Name a Song That Makes You Cry Part Two

Battle of the Network Stars - Conrad vs. Kaplan

This is too funny.

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous

Battle of the Network Stars Part 1

My childhood rears its head again.

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous

The Bills Keep On Coming

Sammy O extended his arms over his head and sighed aloud. It was another Monday morning, not even 9 am and he was already counting the minutes until he could leave the office and go somewhere else. It didn't really matter where, just somewhere else that wasn't here.

In a different time he would have left work and gone straight home. In a different time he would have smiled the whole way home, eagerly anticipating the warm greeting that he would receive from his family. The kids would have screamed in delight, "daddy's home" and his wife would have given him that smile that she saved for him alone.

He wouldn't have made it three feet before those giggling kids would be climbing all over him. They would rolled around on the floor in a big heap of laughter. And then he would have threatened to punch them all in the nose. The girls would squeal again with laughter and take off running and he would have chased them, all the while threatening to tickle them until they couldn't take it anymore.

Those were good days. Daddy was a monster, but a monster of the best sort. He was fun. He was loving. He was hopeful and excited about the possibilities.

But that was then and this is now. Now every day was a struggle. The job wasn't bad because it was a grind. It was bad because he didn't earn enough to pay all of his bills, not to mention that his supervisor bore a distinct resemblance in looks and skills to Bozo the Clown.

Good old Bozo, he remembered being a kid and watching the show. It had been fun then. But now it was just a symbol of his frustration and ineptitude. His Bozo liked to tell him how lucky he was to have a job and how many people didn't.

Every day he would go off on a rant about how grateful they should be for what they had. And every day Sammy O secretly rolled his eyes and wondered if there was a way to throw Bozo down the stairs. He didn't really want to hurt him, but he couldn't think of another way to get him to leave for a while. All he wanted were a few days alone, just some peace and quiet. But that wasn't likely to happen.

Bozo was on his third marriage and a dozen different prescriptions for various anxieties and ailments. But the job was his refuge and secret hiding place from the world. The job was his life so the chances of Bozo leaving for any length of time were about as good as the odds of the cleveland Browns winning the Superbowl.

Another big stretch followed the sigh. Sammy looked down at the piles of paper on his desk and stared off into space. They were a mixture of personal and professional matters that had to be dealt with A.S.A.P. The stack included three Post-It Notes from Bozo.

They were supposed to provide instructions for how to handle the projects that Bozo had assigned him. As usual the notes contradicted each other. Sammy O had long since learned not to bother mentioning that to Bozo. All it would do is piss him off and lead to a lecture about reading comprehension.

It made him angry to be subject to the whims of a crazy man. He knew that his tolerance for all things was low. If he earned enough to pay his bills it would be much easier to deal with Bozo and if he had wings he could fly.

Somewhere in the recesses of his mind he could hear a silent chant begin about not giving up, something about finding a way to adapt and overcome it all. He wanted to believe in it. He wanted to believe that there was a way to find daylight and to enjoy the sunshine again, but he didn't know how.

Bozo was right, it was better to work than not. But this wasn't going to get it done. So he sent out applications for other positions. He networked and prayed that somehow, some way something better would come through.

But it didn't.

And the days passed. The pile of bills grew higher and the hole he was in grew deeper. In the interim the Feds bailed out the banks. The same banks that had leveraged themselves into insolvency. The same banks that wouldn't loan him any money for his business or allow him to refinance his home.

Those banks had been bailed out almost immediately. And it had been done using his tax dollars. It was beyond absurd.

And through it all the banks grew strong again while Sammy O grew weaker. In a few months those banks would hand out millions of dollars in bonuses to the same executives whose bad decisions had created the conditions in which they failed.

Unless things changed soon those same executives would use Sammy O's hard earned tax dollars to go on five figure vacations while Sammy O and his family went on their own vacation. The difference was in the name. The executives would hit the exotic island of Jamaica while Sammy O and company would visit the mythical land of foreclosure.

It was the thought of the mythical land of foreclosure that made Sammy O not want to go home. He couldn't stand to look around his home and know that soon it would be gone. He couldn't begin to imagine having to tell the children that it wasn't their house any longer.

Their fairy tale was over and the nightmare was beginning, only this time they would be awake for it all.

Another Confession: The Physical

I am writing this post from within the playroom. It doubles as an office. Most of the time it is a great place to work, except when the kids are home. Of course when they are home it is hard to work anywhere. Those little rascals have a way of finding me, no matter what I am doing. Not that I am complaining, it is nice to see their smiling faces.

The playroom serves as good motivation for me. If I find myself down or at all depressed I can change my mood simply by standing up. With one step to the left or right I can virtually guarantee that I will step on a toy. Doesn't matter whether the room has been cleaned or organized, I always manage to find the one toy that didn't make it back to where it belongs.

And as a bonus it always manages to inflict an inordinate amount of pain. Whatever it is, there is a guarantee that it will feel as if someone has taken a vice grip to tender parts of me.

Fun stuff, stepping on a toy. Even better when they break. Not only do I get to enjoy the physical pain, but I get a little mental action too. Woohoo.

I imagine that some of you are wondering if I am ever going to get to the confession. Well, keep your shirt on, I am almost there. The whole point of talking about the kids is to say that I often speak to them about why it is important to take care of themselves and how there is no reason to be afraid of the doctor.

Apparently I don't like to listen to my own advice because I haven't had a physical in 3.5 years. Yes, 3.5 years. It doesn't feel like it is that long and given that I was given a clean bill of health the last time I shouldn't worry.

Last time around the doc looked at me and said that if I dropped a few pounds and kept doing what I was doing it would be unlikely that I'd ever have to see him. Since then I have dropped those few pounds and because I like to be clean I picked them back up again.

For good measure I dropped them again and picked them up a few more times. I am not morbidly obese, not even close. But the rules of the blog dictate honesty and that requires an admission. I don't particularly like the way that I look.

The dude staring back at me looks like a 40 year-old man who has a mortgage and a few kids. Ok, I resemble that remark because it is an accurate description of me. I am all of those things.

But I don't feel like I should be. I am not old. I am barely out of school, really it is not 2009, it is 1999 and I am partying like it. The suits in the closet fit me, you know, the ones that I wore in college. And that tuxedo I bought because I went to all those formals, well it fits me too.

Sigh, I can't pull that off without drugs. None of those things fit me anymore, not the way that they should. Damn ego. Damn that fragile male ego, it irks me.

Just before I turned 40 people started making comments about the need to go see a doc because I am in the heart attack years now and didn't I know that my father had one. True, he did have a major heart attack. Of course he was 62 and never close to being in the kind of shape I am in now. I still have two grandparents, both 95.5 and a third who lived to just short of 92.

I think that the good genes outweigh the bad.

Of course none of that really matters because my not going is idiotic. Yes, I am an idiot. So you ask what am I waiting for. Why haven't I made an appointment yet. Would you believe that I am waiting for my good friend Godot to join me.

As soon as shows up I will be happy to accompany him. We can do this together.

Ok, that is dumb. I don't have an answer. I don't have an excuse other than I just haven't done it.

One more silly confession before I go. Sometimes I think that I am going to die young and other times I am convinced that I am going to outlive everyone. More often than not I expect that I will, outlive everyone that is.

G-d has a sense of humor and he likes to play with me. It would be in line with all of the other stuff to let me hang around long enough to see everyone come and go.

Or maybe not.

I Broke My Nose, maybe

I think that I might have broken my nose last week. Took a look at the symptoms that the good folks at The Mayo Clinic  list on their site and found myself nodding my head to a few of them:
  • Pain or tenderness, especially when touching your nose.
  • Bruising around your nose or eyes.
  • Crooked or misshapen nose
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
Hmmm..., my nose is a bit tender and I have a nice shiner over my left eye. The old shnozz is a bit crooked, but I have broken it more than a couple of times so it hasn't been straight in years, if ever. And let's not forget the breathing thing.

It is a bit off, but I am not sure if it is really any worse than it has been for years. Ask those that have had the pleasure of being around me while I am sleeping and they'll tell you that I snore. Ask my roommate from that famous summer of '85 and he'll you that it was my snoring that led to a major fight.

Every night he'd wake me up and complain that I was snoring. Each time he did it I would apologize, but it wasn't something that I had control over. After several weeks of this I told him that he needed to get some ear plugs. I couldn't help it and as it happened my roommate Chuckles the clown was an exceptionally light sleeper.

He got angry and started screaming at me. I got angry and threw his bed out of the window, the second story window that is. Haven't seen him in years now, rumor has it that he is a writer for some crime show in Hollywood whose name is similar to KFI.

So the truth is that I am not really sure that my breathing is any worse than normal. It could be, but it might not be. It is more than 20 years since I broke it the first time so I can't remember anymore what it was like to breathe with an unbroken nose.

I broke it the first time during a wrestling match with the president of my fraternity. Took an elbow to it, heard the crack and noticed that my mouth and chin had some red substance all over them. So I did what all dumb boys do, I stuffed some kleenex in it and rejoined the battle.

It didn't really hurt all that much. I had so much adrenaline flowing through me that I didn't really notice. A short time later I checked myself out in the bathroom and discovered that it didn't look right anymore. So I took a quick trip to the ER and confirmed that it was indeed broken.

Later decided to get it fixed, had it done and then managed to break it again. Decided that it was pointless to have surgery a second time so I just ignored it. On a side note, the 19 year-old Jack discovered that girls were very sympathetic towards a boy who had broken his nose. Not that I tried to milk that situation at all, I would never do that.

Anyhoo, last Tuesday night I was playing ball with the boys and a youngster came flying through the middle of the lane and smote me upon my nose and eye. I say youngster because he is a few weeks short of turning 19. Talked a lot of trash this boy, called me dad and then he smote me. Don't ask why I am using smote, just feel like it.

Well, you should have seen the look on his face after he hit me. It was an accident, but as I understand it flames were shooting out of my nostrils. He apologized immediately. I was silent. I was pissed with him, but I knew that he didn't mean it and didn't feel like swearing at him. Not to mention that I knew my silence would be more intimidating than anything I could express verbally.

I played for another hour or so and went home. On the drive back I noticed that my nose felt sore, but didn't think much of it. The next day I noticed the shiner and rolled my eyes at the guy staring back at me. WTF happened to Mr. Invulnerable.

I don't get hurt like this. I might get some nicks and scrapes, a bruise even, but this...C'mon, this is the second black eye in the past three months. But because I am a little boy at heart I consoled myself with this thought, "I can still take a shot to the head."

Kind of silly, but it is me. I haven't any intention of getting in a fight or any sort of physical altercation. I don't need the hassle, but if it happened it is good to know that I can still take it. And of course I have to add the caveat that I always intend to do more than give as good as I get.

I am Jack, hear me roar, or is that snore.....

Home Protection: Who Needs a Gun Anyway

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous

Hanukkah Gone Metal

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous


I try to be the guy I want to be when I am with her,
but it doesn't work.

We ran our course,
sailed the sea and saw the things that we could,

and now two ships sail where one should be

Ice skating bear kills Russian circus hand

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- A bear on ice skates attacked two people during rehearsals at a circus in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, killing one of them, Kyrgyz officials said Friday.
In the incident, which happened Thursday, the 5-year-old animal killed the circus administrator, Dmitry Potapov, and mauled an animal trainer, who was attempting to rescue him.
"The incident occurred during a rehearsal by the Russian state circus company troupe which was performing in Bishkek with the program, Bears on Ice," Ministry of Culture and Information director Kurmangazy Isanayev told reporters.
It is unclear what caused the bear to attack Potapov, 25, nearly severing one of his legs while dragging him across the ice by his neck. Medical personnel were unable to save Potapov, who died at the scene.
The 29-year-old circus trainer Yevgeny Popov, who attempted to rescue Potapov, was also severely injured, according to doctors.
Add this to the list of ways I do not want to die. I really don't want to be killed by an animal, especially a bear on skates. I wonder how close he got to the bear. I can't really see the bear speed skating over to him, checking him into the boards and then taking him out.


Riding The Mommy Blogger Gravy Train Part II

Somewhere around my fifth blogiversary I found myself thinking more seriously about whether it was time to hang up my keyboard. It wasn't as much fun anymore and I felt like my writing reflected that. But since it coincided with my 40th birthday I wondered if outside influences were affecting my feelings so I decided to try and shake things up.

So I set out on a blogging walkabout. At some point I stumbled onto some of the mommy blogs and started flipping around there. I hit a bunch of daddy blogs as well and found it kind of interesting. You know us parents, we love to exchange the war stories.

As I tooled around I noticed that there were a ton of blogs that were holding giveaways and or providing product reviews. I wasn't completely unfamiliar with this, but I hadn't paid any attention to it before. It changed in part because of one blog. I can't remember the name but I was astounded by how bad it was.

It was a combination of video and written posts that were just atrocious. Normally I would have just clicked away but it was clear to me that this blog was being sponsored by a few companies. It peaked my curiosity and I spent time clicking around trying to suss out what was going on.

After years in marketing/advertising I know that brands will follow the eyeballs, but this bothered me. The blog was cluttered with crap. The writing was abysmal and the video wasn't much better. I suppose that you could argue that this made it more authentic, but I didn't like it.

I blogged about it indirectly and wrote a post called Riding the Mommy Blogger Gravy Train. I followed up on that post with When Blogging Became a Business and Getting Paid to Write- The Bloggers Dream.

Since then I have been trying to put my thumb on why I am irritated with people who got into blogging solely for the purpose of trying to garner free trips and gifts from whomever would pay them. Why should I belittle professional shills who will do anything and say anything for a buck.

Is it a case of jealousy? Am I jealous that people saw and opportunity and took advantage of it? No. The answer is that I am not bothered by bloggers who happen to do reviews. I am bothered by shills who happen to blog. That may sound harsh or seem inconsistent, but it works for me.

And in the interest of full disclosure I have reviewed products in the past and will do so again in the future.

Yesterday my pal at Fink or Swim and I spent a few minutes on Twitter tweeting a bit about a related topic. We went back and forth about whether free products and trips provide an undue amount of influence on the reviewer. I have a hard time with it.

If I provide you and your family with a free Playstation are you going to be fair and honest in your review. If your kids are laughing hysterically and your family is having a great time at Disneyland are you going to tell us about the sub par accommodations and how bad the food was.

Are you going to bite the hand that feeds you?

I am torn about this. Fink makes some good points about how all information is filtered and there are always questions about bias. He asked me if I thought that reviewers should pay for the products that they review.

I suppose that one of the reasons I subscribe to Consumer Reports is because it is supposed to be unbiased. They purchase their products and do not accept advertising. In theory the reviewers have no feeling one way or another about a brand.

That doesn't mean that their personal feelings never get involved or that there is never any sort of influence, but it is better.

So what is the bottom line here? Well, I suppose that it is the same as it has always been. Buyer beware. Pay attention and use your own judgement. It is not impossible for someone to give an objective review of a free product/service that they received. But I am still skeptical.

Anyhoo, what do you think?

I Should Be Sleeping But Instead I am Listening To Music

One- U2 With Mary J. Blige
With Or Without You- U2
All I Want is You- U2
City of Blinding Lights- U2
Where The Streets Have No Name- U2
My Love Will Not Let You Down - Bruce Springsteen
Happy - Bruce Springsteen
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
Young Turks - Rod Stewart
Jack & Diane - John Mellencamp
Dreamweaver - Gary Wright
Gotta Be Somebody - Nickelback
Latika's Theme - Slumdog Millionaire
The Man Who Couldn't Cry - Johnny Cash
Can't Get It Out of My Head - ELO
Telephone Line - ELO

The Beginning

I was almost 25 when I left the city of my birth. It was time to go, time to move on and get away. There were new experiences to be had and the pain of what I had once been, what I had once had was too much. Everywhere I looked there were signs of the glory and the fall.

For most of my life I had been a scrapper, never afraid to fight, never willing to give up and not smart enough to get out. It was a self imposed punishment for sins that I had committed but was unwilling to discuss.

It is not much of a description, not very colorful at all. In fact it is rather ordinary, but that is ok, I am ordinary and I prefer it that way. If you stuck me in a crowd full of people you would be hard pressed to pick me out. It was like that in school, never did or said much in class. No need to draw attention to myself I did what I needed to do to get through and nothing more.

And for the longest time that had been enough, an average, nondescript existence. It suited me fine to be a guy who punched a time clock. But sometimes even the average man find himself in a situation that is beyond his control,a time in which he becomes something more than he has been.

But the question is not what he does to elevate himself but how he handles the elevation.

It was Friday night and I had just finished my shift at the plant. There was no rush to get home because there was no one to get home to, no wife, no family, no girlfriend, not even a dog. Just an empty house that was sparsely furnished.

Friday nights were not much different than any other night of the week. I'd go home, pop open a can of beer and stare blankly at the television screen content to let my brain turn to mush.

On this particular night I decided to stop at an ATM. I wanted to order a pizza and I had nothing but the spare change from the last time I had visited the liquor store. It wasn't enough to buy a pack of gum, so I was forced to go to the bank.

There were two people ahead of me in line, a man and a woman and behind me there were a couple of teenage boys.

I didn't see him approach. I didn't notice anything about him including his presence until he was standing in front of us, waving a gun and shouting for our wallets. I have a bad habit of giggling when I am nervous. I don't like being the center of attention and now was certainly a bad time to laugh, but laugh I did.

5'8 or so and about a buck twenty sopping wet with a bad haircut and a Judas Priest shirt, that is all he was, oh and he had a big gun and an even bigger attitude. He grabbed my collar and asked me what was so funny. Before I could answer he had grabbed the woman in front of me.

She cried as he pulled her in front of him and asked me if I thought that this was funny. I choked back a snigger and told him that it wasn't. He told me that if I so much as smiled he would kill her. I wiped the smile off of my face.

It was the wrong thing to do, but I didn't know it. The jackass cuffed me in the side of the head and laughed. It infuriated me, brought back memories of years of being teased and tortured by my someone who had been like an older brother to me. So I just reacted. I kicked him in the balls and smacked him in the head.

In the movies the gun falls and the hero (there has to be a hero) grabs it. Not here, not in my world. In my world when I slap him there is a flash of light and a loud noise. I am splashed with something, but it feels like hours before I realize that he just shot the woman, and that he did it involuntarily. The wetness I feel on my face is her blood.

I stand there in shock, numb and not really aware anymore of what is happening. The guy she had been with is beating the crap out of the jackass, the Judas Priest shirt is stained now, but it is with his blood.

There is a cop speaking to me, but I don't answer. The real hero is lying, telling the officer that I saved everyone's life, that if I hadn't hit him the guy would have killed us all.

I didn't hit him, I hit Georgie. It was Georgie I saw in front of me. It was Georgie taunting me, I just snapped and reacted. But I guess that somewhere inside I began to hear and to believe that I had been the hero, that when the bell rang I had come out swinging.

And that was really the beginning of the end.

Private School Blues & What is a High IQ Worth Anyway

A dear friend and I had a long discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of private school. The premise of this discussion was whether private schools offer a real and significant advantage over public schools.

It is a timely question. Both of us have children attending private schools. Both of us are public school graduates. Both of us have done ok for ourselves professionally. We may not be wildly successful and or bathed in wealth, but we are ok.

As responsible parents we are interested in doing everything that we can to help our children. Education is of paramount importance to us. We want our kids to have the best that they can possibly get. Material things can be taken from you, but a good education stays with you forever.

There is no disagreement between us about this. The real question that we struggle with is the financial aspect of paying for school. It is a significant sum and one that you cannot ignore, at least we can't. So we sit there and ask ourselves how to truly evaluate our investment in the kids' education.

Private school tuition requires making sacrifices. In concept I haven't any issue with doing so to help my children.Why would I. In reality though it has been a rough road at times and a weight upon my shoulders. It means that I have to put off retiring for a while.

It is kind of funny. At 25 I put money into my 401k without really thinking about. I did it because I knew that it was smart, but retirement was so far off I couldn't picture. At 40 I think about it differently. I am much more conscious of the passage of time.

Don't get me wrong I don't mind making sacrifices for the children, provided that they make sense. Private school doesn't just impact my retirement. I can't take the family on some of the vacations we would like to go on. I have a more modest home than I would otherwise own.

At the moment I am comfortable with my decision because the local public school is absolutely abysmal and moving hasn't been a viable option. But this is a marathon. The dark haired beauty is in kindergarten. Her brother is in third grade.

It won't be that long before it will be time to worry about a Bar Mitzvah, let alone the Bat Mitzvah that will follow.

Circling back a moment I look at private school and I ask myself what is necessary to help my children be successful in life. On a side note it is probably worth taking time to establish what the definition of success is. I posit that this is subjective and that there isn't necessarily going to be a uniform agreement about that.

For the purpose of this post I'll say that success is doing something that you find to be fulfilling.Ideally that thing is something that pays the bills. If you love your work life is much easier, but that is a different topic.

I am reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The book delves into success and why some people attain it and others do not. It is an interesting book and one that I am enjoying. He spends time discussing how it is that certain people become superstars in their field and why others do not.

Thus far three things have really caught my attention:

1) Natural ability isn't enough. Sometimes you just have to be good enough.
2) Luck and opportunity have a real impact.
3) It takes about ten thousand hours to become an expert in a particular field/task.

Got to get back to work. More on this later.

Maybe I Should Go Back To Sleep

I threatened my microwave oven this morning. Yes, that is correct, I threatened an appliance. I told an inanimate object that if it didn't stop beeping at me I was going to tear it out of the fucking wall and throw it through the window.

Not very grown up of me, was it. But the family had long since headed out the door on their way to school so I didn't have to worry about being a role model. And yes I was well aware and still am that this inanimate object was simply doing what it was programmed to do.

I had a bad dream.

I don't remember what it was or why it upset me, just that it did. And unlike my kids I can't go running to mommy and daddy to ask for a hug so that I feel better. Well, I could. I could call them and tell them that I am upset. They'd listen to me.

It doesn't take any effort to visualize it. My abba would take the phone and tell me to stop screwing around. Those bright blue eyes of his would give off one of those piercing glares that used to stop me in my tracks. Unless I gave him a good reason beyond I had a bad dream he'd be irked and I'd understand why.

No reason for me to call early in the morning, not for this. What am I going to tell him that a monster tried to eat me, that a bad guy tried to get me. I don't even know if that is what I dreamt about. In fact, just the thought that I would call my parents about this makes me want to go back to bed for the sole purpose of having that dream again.

Because if I had that dream again I'd kill the monster and beat that bad guy within an inch of his life. And then for good measure I'd use my superpowers to fly off to some island where I would be greeted as the savior and treated accordingly. Hey, it is a dream, I can do anything I want.

So back in the real world I ambled over to the microwave to get the cup of coffee that I left in there. It is left over from last night. Had a meeting before the basketball game and decided that I needed a big cup of Joe. Didn't finish said cup and took it home with me.

As I have been typing it has worked its magic upon me and I am starting to feel like a sub human again. It is good. I am no longer grunting and pointing. Although I will say that looking in the mirror I look like a caveman. The beard grows at a ridiculous pace so yesterdays meeting with the razor looks like it never took place.

A torn t-shirt and torn shorts make me look like a regular Beau Brummel. Not to mention a partial black eye.  If I didn't have a conference call scheduled a short time from now I might head over to a favorite diner, Nats, if you care to know and order something greasy for breakfast. It is just that kind of day.

On the other hand the lack of grease is good. Three days of basketball and attention to my diet has yielded some distinct benefits.

My body is sore today, but in a good way. And thanks to my magic liquid I am almost awake and starting to feel like I am ready to attack the day.


Behind Blue Eyes

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it's like
To be hated
To be faded
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
 Behind Blue Eyes - The Who

How To Build More Traffic to Your Blog

Reprinted from here.
  1. Run around cyberspace and insult everyone you come in contact with on their blogs.
  2. Come back to your blog and insult them some more in the hope that they will come and visit.
  3. Post banner ads promoting your site as a resource for free sex, viagra and penis enlargement.
  4. Hire an African Elephant to march through Manhattan with a sign promoting your blog.
  5. Tell people that if they sign a petition on your Blog Obama will be recalled.
  6. Tell people that if they sign a petition on your Blog gay marriage will be abolished.
  7. Send press releases to major media groups announcing your new reality TV show about a person and their blog.
  8. Create a virus that forces computers to make your blog their homepage. Not legal, but it could be very effective.
  9. Hire DovBear to create a P.R. campaign for your blog.
  10. Ignore dumb and idiotic lists like this one.

My Daughter

I caught my daughter dancing to Wind It Up. It was a little bit different from watching her dance to She is a Butterfly. She was shaking her little hips at me and laughing. I gather that she found the expression on my face funny. That little girl loves to stir it up with me. I suppose that it is just more proof that she is my girl.

I have to admit that for a moment I was transfixed by it all. Sat there trying to figure out where she learned how to move like that. The little stinker told me about her boyfriend and waited for my reaction. I remained silent and she tried to up the ante by telling me that he knows Karate.

It was foreshadowing of a time to come. Some day in the future, some time many years from now there will be a boy who isn't just a friend. Some day this boy is going to have ideas about my daughter. I am not going to fool myself and pretend he won't. I was that boy and in some ways still am. G-d willing I won't be like the father in this video.

Don't ask my why I am even thinking about things that are so far off. It is just part of who I am. There is an intensity that comes part and parcel with me.

I see it in my kids. In truth it is easier to understand in my son. I understand that thought process. Men and boys make sense. You folks on the other side, not so much.

Anyway, since she was sick for most of last week I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her. It was just the two of us during the day. When she wasn't sleeping I did my best to balance working with taking care of her. It was a challenge. I couldn't seem to find the right balance. When I was working I felt guilty and when I wasn't I felt guilty.

She has this Dora tent that she likes to play inside. So we set it up so that it was right behind me. Gave her some books, crayons and paper and we both started to work. I don't think that more than ten minutes had passed when I started to hear her snore. So I got up out of my chair and poked my head in.

Sure enough she was lying on the floor fast asleep. I debated moving her, but she was lying on a blanket so I figured that it wouldn't hurt her. Besides she was sick and needed the extra rest. About an hour or so later I poked my head back in to see how she was doing. I could tell she was on the verge of waking up so I lay there with my head propped up on my hands and watched her.

It took all of two minutes for her eyes to open. When she spotted me she gave me a huge smile that just melted me. It reminded me of when she was a baby. Sometimes I'd go stand next to her crib and just watch her sleep. It was the same smile that she gave me then.

Except now she is a big girl. Five years old with black hair. It is long and filled with curls. She gets complimented on it quite a bit. I always tell her that she should thank me because her hair is the same color as mine. Of course if I let it grow it would become your standard Jewfro or turn into dreadlocks. At least that is what would have happened a few years back. Damn thing doesn't grow like it used to.

Although even if it did I'd still wear a flat top. It was so very easy to take care of, loved it.

Anyway, that dark haired beauty insisted that I stop what I was doing to read a story with her. After that smile I couldn't resist. So I sat down and the couch and waited for her to pick a book. Moments later she climbed onto my lap and fell back asleep seconds after that.

I sat there with her soft snores and told her to never forget how much daddy loves her and that I'd always protect her. It is part of a little game she and I play. Can't tell you how long we sat like that because at some point I fell asleep too. But I can say that she woke me up my kissing my cheek and telling me she was hungry.

Not really sure where I am going with this. It is hard to write when you keep getting interrupted so I'll just end it with this. I am in so much trouble when she gets a little older. Oy.

Jack Responds to Feedback

Are Bloggers Cliquey

I am Jack. I am 40. I am a father. I am a friend. I am a husband. I am a writer. I am who I am and that is all that I am, thank you Popeye. Some people will look at that first line and analyze the order in which I listed things. Don't bother. It was random.

Periodically I break out of the Jblogosphere and go wandering. It is kind of nice to get out into the general blogosphere and smell the fresh air. True, the deli sucks and they don't know how to bake a good challah, but there are some good things out there.

I drop in on other blogs and look around. I check them out and leave comments. I try to make them relevant to the discussion. My job isn't to be a spammer. I don't always stick around to see if they get a response, but sometimes I do. Sometimes I find the topic to be really interesting and I am generally interested in the discussion.

Many times my comment is ignored. I don't take it personally. They don't know who I am, haven't a clue as to what I do or what I like. They are busy. I am busy. We are all busy. There isn't always time to respond to to check out new blogs.

Although my policy is to try and visit anyone who visits me, provided that I know that they have been here. But it doesn't always work out.

A while ago I decided that I was going to pick out a bunch of new blogs and start commenting on them and see what happened. A few of them responded and decided to check this place out. Sometimes they comment and sometimes they don't. That is ok, I see them in the stats and appreciate their time.

My purpose in blogging has never been to be the boy with the most toys. It would be great to make enough money by blogging to support a family. It is just not happening and I haven't spent much time trying to find sponsors who would let me do it.

It would be great to get a lot of comments on every post. Somewhere in the archives I referred to commentless posts as orphans. There are a lot of orphans here. That is not a horrible thing. Again, I like comments, but I don't blog for them. Sometimes I engage in specific actions to bring them, but it is not my central focus.

Established blogs often have established comment sections. The same old crowd shows up all the time. They hang out together like cliques we used to see in school. Sometimes I wonder if they stare at my comment and wonder who the new guy is. Am I being checked out.

Maybe I am just being ignored. Who knows. I don't care all that much. Enough to post this, but then again there is another reason why I write this. Bloggers love to read posts about blogging. They love to comment on posts about blogging.

It doesn't always translate or work out that way. I won't be surprised if this receives a dozen or zero comments. But I will be shocked if it doesn't pull in a bunch of traffic.

Bloggers are like Sneetches, just ask Dr. Seuss. Got to run stare at the meteors now. Lailah tov from cyberspace.

He Put The Gun In His Mouth

Just a quick blast for Fragments of Fiction

He lay slumped on the floor nursing a bottle of Jack Daniels and a nasty cut over his eye, not to mention an assortment of bruises and one hell of a knot on the side of his head.  They said that with age came maturity and wisdom, but they forgot that sometimes anger trumps wisdom.

It had been a long time coming, this slide into oblivion. Oblivion was as good a description for his destination as anything else. It was easier to think of oblivion than to admit that he was engaged in a deliberate path of self destructive acts. How else do you describe picking a fight with three guys in a bar for no reason other than you hate yourself.

They had been sitting at a table talking amongst themselves. He might not have had any issue with them other than they made eye contact. The guy had given him the stinkeye. Wasn't that how they referred to it on that television show. Between the pounding headache and the fifth of bourbon he had finished before starting on the Jack Daniels it was hard to remember details.

Not that it mattered. He remembered enough. Stinkeye glared and he told him to go fuck himself. It had the desired effect. Stinkeye stood up and issued his own stream of expletives. He probably didn't expect to get hit in the head with the beer bottle. He certainly take it as well as they do in the movies.

You know, those breakaway bottles they always use in the Westerns. They just shatter on impact. This one didn't. Who knew that a bottle of Bud could be so unfriendly.Stinkeye had crumbled to the floor. There hadn't been time to gloat about it as Stinkeyes boys were out of their chairs swinging wildly.

They all went crashing to the floor where they did what they could to try and inflict bodily harm upon each other. But what they didn't know was that he had already given up hope. He didn't care how hard they hit. In fact part of him welcomed each blow because pain made him feel something and part of him liked that.

It wasn't clear how long they rolled around the floor. Eventually the two started to get the best of him. In a different time he would have been scared about really getting hurt but not anymore. The only reason that he was upset was that their resistance made it harder to unleash his rage and pain.

One of them learned the hard way that a headlock was a mistake. They let their hand stray towards his mouth and he bit down hard. That was when someone else hit him in the head with something hard. Might have been a broom or a bat. Seconds later it was followed by pepper spray and the ignominous end to the fight in which he was bodily thrown out the door.

That was the one thing that was truly like the movies. While he clawed at his eyes and tried to see someone, or some people picked him up and threw him out the door and into the street. He landed on his side. For a while he just lay there bleeding.

After he saw the third or fourth set of legs pass him he realized that his suspicion of no one caring whether he lived or died was true. It made not one whit a difference that a man lay there bleeding in the street. As far as he could tell not one of them even looked at him, they just kept on walking.

So he picked himself up and staggered home. It took a few minutes to see the lock through blurry eyes and a few minutes longer to make the key work, but he managed to get in and stagger to the shower. He lay on the floor and let the water flush his eyes. He might have passed out as well, but he really wasn't sure.

After a while he got out, dried off and half fell, half walked into the closet. That was when he noticed the gun. Nothing special, a little snubnosed .38 that he had for years. He grabbed it, a pair of 501s and a shirt. Sticking the gun in his waistband he wandered over to the kitchen and grabbed the bourbon and Jack Daniels and collapsed to the floor.

And now here we are, just a short time later. One empty bottle of bourbon, one loaded .38 and a bottle of Jack Daniels. It was clear to him that this was going to be it. He was going to finish the bottle and then enjoy the pleasures afforded by eating lead.

He wasn't afraid to die. Hadn't any concerns about whether suicide would piss off a non existent god. And if it did who cared anyway. Hell on earth or living in hell elsewhere was the same thing. On the other hand if there really was nothing after life it would be a nice change.

A moment of clarity punctured his drunken reverie and he reminded himself to be careful to properly position the gun so that he didn't end up some crippled vegetable. He didn't stop to write a note explaining his actions nor did he wonder how long it would be before they found his body.

It was immaterial. The people who cared were long gone and even if they still did he was useless to them. Just another casualty of a bad economy. One more man who was unemployed and had no prospects. One more big gulp and the Jack Daniels would be gone. And then so would he.

He'd place the gun in his mouth and pull the trigger. It was a happy thought and it made him smile. The absurdity of it all made him laugh. In a different time he would have stopped to think about it, but not today. He had an appointment to keep and he intended to do it.

Yep, I have Horns

I like that line.I think it can be classified as Original Jack, but I am not positive. Could be that I heard it somewhere and it just stuck with me. Wouldn't be the first time something like that happened. Weird stuff happens to me, like the knife breaking into two pieces.

It wasn't thrown on the floor, it was dropped from about three feet or so. It is around 14 years old. My inner geek loved the line about having to find Elrond. A good Elvish smith could fix that thing in a jiffy. I'd use it to protect the ring bearer and end up with my own kingdom. Not too shabby.

Although the way things are going right now it could be a bit more challenging.I did look in the mirror and I noticed that there are indeed horns growing from my noggin. So maybe I am a goat. But I don't intend on being one for long. Matter of fact I am a Taurus so perhaps it would be fitting to have a set of horns on my head. Horns could be useful.

Just think about navigating through crowds at places like Costco. A set of horns would go a long towards encouraging people to get out of my way, especially by the free food samples. That is one of those things that I don't understand, the obsession with getting a free sample. I am sure that some of the people in there are truly hungry and perhaps some really aren't getting enough to eat.

But c'mon, why do I always see some guy wearing cleveland gear trying to stuff his face full of 1/8th of a frozen burrito. Nice way to represent fella.

I can't get Maxwell's Silver Hammer out of my head or maybe it is just my desire to borrow the hammer and smack a few people with it. Come to think of it I'd rather borrow the Frantics bit and give people a Boot To The Head.

Yes a Boot to The Head for some might be nice. I'd include the Gosselins, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and everyone at Air America. Musn't forget Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Al Gore. Add Shepherd Smith and Keith Olbermann to the list.  Then we can include JF the guy who asked my girlfriend to sleep with him, Joey the kid from my kindergarten class that rolled the tire on top of me, Dan Quayle, Ken Starr and Michael Dukakis.

In addition I'll add Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal for making such bad movies and myself for watching them. Can't forget Joe Morgan, Jack Clark and Tom Niedenfuer either. And for good measure we'll add all of Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Hank Williams Jr. and that guy from the Birmingham High School class of '88 whose cheek was decorated with my knuckle.

Ah memories, so glad to see that I don't hold a grudge or bother with crap from the past.

Life really is absurd and more than a little silly


Just a few words I threw together for Fragments of Fiction. Needs some work.
At the moment I feel like I like my life alone and apart,
I know what it was like to live in sunshine and all I do is wander through darkness
no moon,
no stars,
just black
and I stub my toes on things I can't see
and branches scratch my face
and I trip and stumble
I can't go back
all I can do is keep walking until I hit daylight.

Ways To Woo Women #287

Fellas, I am here to help you in your efforts to woo the women. When you go a courting you want to bear a few things in mind, women love to dance and they love men who can sing and dance. You can use the men from the videos below as role models.

You can thank me later.


"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
-Edgar Allan Poe

"If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it."

Douglas Adams

Time Management

The dark haired beauty is sitting in a tent, er excuse me, in her secret hideaway that no one knows about. It is the same secret hideaway that is located five feet behind my chair. Tomorrow she'll go back to school or I'll lose my mind.

Don't get me wrong, I love that little girl like nobodys business. She means more to me than words can express, I even share my Beef Jerky with her and if that is not love, I don't know what is.  Last week she was truly sick.

She had a fever that kept coming and going and a double ear infection. Here at the home office she was frequently parked next to me, but spent large chunks of that time sleeping. Two trips to the docs to confirm that she didn't have H1N1 and a bit of worry ate up large amounts of time.

A low grade fever yesterday and some caution kept her home today. The just in case theory played a role in all of this. You know, we'll keep her home just in case there is something still wrong. Not to mention that last week 47% of her class was out sick.

Well I am pleased to say that she is feeling well. She is singing songs and reading books to me. She is brushing my hair and making me beautiful. I keep trying to tell her that you can't make me beautiful and that I don't mind having this ugly mug. It has character.

But you can't argue with her. You may recall that I have some simple rules for Dating my Daughter. I am beginning to think that she doesn't need my help and that any boy that chooses to take her out will soon learn to their chagrin that they are no longer in control of their own life. Heck this little powerhouse of energy might take over the world in her sleep.

She is so stubborn and determined I may send her to Iran. After ten minutes that meshugehneh Ahmedinajad will be in tears. Of course I will have to go with her because after the past few years he deserves to feel my size 12 boot in his ass.

But I digress. You see this post is about time management. In simple terms that is me crying for help, wondering if she'll watch a movie or sleep so that I can get a little work done. I thought that she was occupied with her doll and tried making a telephone call to a client.

Midway through she wandered over and tried to get my attention. I smiled at her and gave the one minute sign. She disappeared for a moment and then came back. This time she started tapping my leg.I smiled and gave her the sign again. Walked into the room and turned on Spongebob for her.

Boy, I felt like superdad. Got the client eating out of my hand and my girl taken care of, life is good. A few moments later I learned not to be cocky. She came and found me. I could see by the look on her face she wasn't going to last much longer, so I gave her the one minute sign and smiled again.

As I turned to walk away she reached out and grabbed me. Now I can assure you that what she grabbed was not was she was reaching for. But it doesn't matter. Thanks to that moment I can tell you a few things. Those spam emails that offer pills that help you grow are not needed anymore. Thanks to that moment horses would be jealous of me.

Ok, I am exaggerating a bit. But trust me when I say that I am not exaggerating about the squeak that issued from my throat when this took place. If you have listened to any of my audio posts you know that my voice is relatively deep, at least it was. All I know is that for a moment I sounded like Mike Tyson.

So here I am a little while later. The voice is back to normal and I obviously back at the computer. She is occupied for the moment, but I think that today is going to be tough. She has bounced back from her illness and for that I am grateful. But after having been sidelined for a while what she really wants to do is run around.

In fact you can see little electrical charges shooting from her. Her batteries are completely recharged and she is ready to run. I am just praying that I can use the secret hideaway to keep her busy until the Calvary can come charging in. I can almost hear the bugle signaling charge. I just hope that they are better than the boys at F-Troop.

Col. Richard Kemp on the U.N. Goldstone Report

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous

The Best of Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere #239

The 239th edition of Haveil Havalim is live.

The Bedroom I Grew Up In

It is Sunday night. The Dodgers are getting pounded by the Phillies and I am watching it all from the flat screen inside the bedroom I grew up in.

My children want to know why grandma and grandpa let me have a television in my room and I won't do it for them. I laugh and tell them that when I was their age we didn't have a color TV. It was a small 19" black and white unit that came with those rabbit ears we used for antennae. Not to mention no remote, DVR or DVD player.

Haven't lived here in decades. Feels strange to say that, but it is true. The room that I grew up is no more. The furniture, posters, books and trophies that helped make this room mine are long gone. It has been painted and there is a new wood floor.

All that remains are the memories of what once happened inside this place. A thousand memories of my childhood are wrapped up inside. Enough things happened inside here that even though it serves as my mother's office I haven't any trouble picturing what used to be.

My bed was positioned against almost every wall except the one that I am facing now. It has a desk against it, with the television just above it. It is too small for a bed, but the desk works just fine, in fact this is where mine once was.

I turn to the right and I see a big window. The blinds are drawn upon it but I know exactly what is outside. I don't have to open it to see the neighbors den or to remember how at night I would watch television with them.

During the winter when the windows were closed I couldn't hear a thing, all I could do was guess at what was being said. But not during summer. Summer nights they'd open the window and I'd open mine. If I closed the bedroom door no one would know what I was doing or more importantly what I was seeing.

The neighbors had daughters who were about seven and ten years older than I am. I remember one night when I was around ten or so being given a show by the oldest and the guy who eventually married her. Since the lights were out in my room they had no idea that I was in there. And I suppose since that room didn't face the street it didn't occur to them that pulling the blinds would be wise.

I saw a number of things that night that alternately interested and horrified me. I couldn't understand why she moaned and wondered if she was being hurt. I remember considering getting out of bed to ask my parents if we should call the police to help her.

I decided against it because she didn't yell for help. To ten year-old Jack that was important, not crying for help meant that she was ok. Besides I had a million sisters and knew that girls were weird so why ruin the show. This was the only time that I had ever seen this, most of the time it was television with her parents. There was no doubt in my mind if I told my parents that would kill future opportunities to watch late night television.

Later on as a teenager the memories made me more cautious about my own interaction with girls. I always made sure to draw the blinds or find some privacy somewhere.

Hard to believe that some of these memories are more than 30 years old and yet it is easy. The echoes of the past almost make it feel like the present yet at the same time it is clear that those days are gone. Watching the Dodgers get routed makes me miss those days.  I remember the championships from '77 and '78 when we beat the Phillies to win the pennant..

Davey Lopes is here, but he is coaching for the enemy now. Mike Schmidt isn't anchoring third for the Phils and Ron Cey isn't representing the boys in blue. Dusty Baker isn't roaming the outfield with Reggie Smith and I am not begging to stay up late on a school night.

Not much more time to reminisce. I am here because I have to pick the folks up from the airport. They're enjoying retired life and traveling to points unknown with some regularity. They live closer to the airport than I do so I figured that I'd swing by, use their treadmill, shower and then head out to pick them up.

Oh, did I mention that I am going to pick them up using dad's car. It makes me laugh.  A big chunk of years ago it would have bothered me to admit that I am going to be driving daddy's car, but I could care less now.

Besides I need to make a stop at Home Depot and his car is bigger than mine.  See you all later.

When I'm Hungry Nothing Stands in My Way

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous

The Difference Between Blog Friends and Real Life Friends

Sometimes friends of mine who are unfamiliar with blogging ask me questions about who reads my blog and why. They want to know what I write about, how I come up with ideas and if I get nervous about getting into trouble somehow.

The story never changes. I tell them about how I started this blog on a whim, just an impulse and how it changed my life. That last bit sometimes brings about an eye roll or two, but that's ok with me. If I wasn't intimately familiar with it all I would probably do the same.

I explain to them that blogging provides one of the best outlets I have ever found for expressing myself. I talk about how it allows me to learn more about myself and about others. I talk about how it is has helped me through some dark times and very tough moments. It has been a great tool for chronicling my life and the family. The place where I rediscovered my love for writing/

And of course it is a place where I have made some good friends. It is an interesting thing, the friendships developed through blogging. Somewhere in the archives Psychotoddler referred to it as targeted socializing and it is true. Reach out and click someone and you can learn a million things about who they are in a much faster way than you might in person.

The readers here have learned things about me that I never share in person. There have been some exceptionally raw and intimate moments that they have been exposed to that most of my "real life" friends don't know about.

It is not that I can't tell them these things either, because I can. I have some exceptional friends, people who mean the world to me. Friends who make a difference, people who I would take the bullet for.

Some of them have been through some experiences that are beyond description. Together we really have laughed and cried. We have been through the entire life cycle together. We have witnessed weddings, births and divorce. You guys don't need me to tell you how horrific it was to lose 'D,' how incomprehensible it was for him to die at such a young age. You knew him, you loved him and together we all miss him.

But in the real world we don't always delve into the weighty topics that come up here. Like I said, it is not that we couldn't and sometimes we do. But here in cyberspace it lends itself well to the deeper discussion. In the silence of the night there is a certain safety in speaking.

Not to mention that anonymity lends a certain security as well. Harry Potter's Invisibility cloak could do no better.

It is funny to think of the times that I have met other bloggers. I really have met very few, but thanks to our time reading each other's blogs we have felt a bit closer. At least that is how it seemed to me. There were discussions about topics that you wouldn't normally broach with someone you had just me. But we hadn't really just met each other.

All that time spent reading had prepared us for something more than just superficial talk. That is not to say that every blogger/reader will be a close and personal friend. That certainly wouldn't happen any more than it would in real life.

But blogging has given me a lot. The exposure and introduction to people and places has been exceptional and for that I am very grateful.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I often talk to people about the power of the blogosphere and why it matters. Some of you have tried to tease me about sounding too 'Star Warsish" but the reality is that blogging offers access to millions of people. Bloggers are influential. If we were not, the FTC wouldn't bother with us.

In the end I will always be drawn to blogging because of the writing and the outlet, but it would be wrong not to say that you don't play a role here as well, because you do.

Almost 20 years

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of this spot. Hard to believe, not many have kept going since then. I have barely kept up...