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Showing posts from November, 2009

The Morning After

Needless to say that last post was both painful and cathartic. It took a lot out of me, much of it being frustration and anger. That is not to suggest or say that writing removed the elements that are creating issues, it just helped me regain perspective. That is something that I try to pass along to my children, perspective. Perspective is a very useful tool. It helps us place the challenges we face in a context that we can understand and deal with. Imagine jumping into ice cold water. The shock of the cold temperature can leave you breathless and focused solely upon trying to find a way to warm up. But if you can stay calm and take a moment to become acclimated to the new situation things will look different. It is easy to say, but not always easy to do. I struggle with it. It is a constant battle not to just react, but to think and consider carefully what choices to make. Obviously we are talking about the bigger events and occasions here. The question of how to appropriately

It Was Very Good Year- No It Wasn't

I am guilty of blogging while bitter. I am BWB with a dose of angry, cantankerous, curmudgeonly and a dash of STFU. To paraphrase the dark haired beauty 2009 has been a very, very, very, very, very, very troubling year. Back in the early days of this blog I would have laid out all of the reasons why. I wouldn't have thought twice about displaying all the goods, warts and all. Back then when I had complete anonymity it was easy to say whatever, do whatever and go on. But it is different now, life is different. Now, I am beset and besieged on all sides. The castle is under attack and I don't see the white rider on the horizon. There is no calvary coming to the rescue, no hope from the outside. The situation I find myself in is the sort of thing that lends itself to the phrase that heroes are made, not born. The ambiguity is intentional. I use this place as a refuge but some people aren't entitled to seeing all that goes on behind the scenes. Some people don't de

A Different Sort of Children's Book

Originally posted here .

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting & Music

Family went on a little trip so dad is doing some much needed work around the house. Here is a partial list of what I am listening to: Tunnel of Love  -Bruce Springsteen Ain't Got You  --Bruce Springsteen My Love Will Not Let You Down  -Bruce Springsteen Happy  -Bruce Springsteen Rain In the Summertime  - The Alarm Knockin On Heaven's Door  - Bob Dylan Southern Cross  - Crosby, Stills, Nash You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)   - Josh Groban Shooting Star  - Bad Company If I Needed Someone  - The Beatles Baby I Need Your Loving  - The Four Tops Ain't Too Proud to Beg  - The Temptations Crazy Love  - Ray Charles Van Morirson Uptight (Everything's Alright)   - Stevie Wonder Nobody's Fault But Mine  - Led Zeppelin Let Me Go  - Heaven 17 I Want Candy  - Bow Wow Wow June Bug  - The B52s Loaded  - Primal Scream The Voice  - The Moody Blues The Brazilian  - Genesis Someday Never Comes  - Credence Clearwater Revival Gone Away  - The Offspring This is

I Will Never Fall In Love Again

This is part seven of the project I am working on for National Novel Writing Month . Here are the links to the first sections. Who Broke Your Heart- Things You Might Not Know The End of a Marriage A 21st Century Break Up "I Don't Want To Kiss My Husband Ever Again" Once Upon A Time Hanging Out With Hairy I pulled into a parking space, turned off the motor and cursed out loud. The weather outside the car was perfect. Blue skies and just enough heat to make you feel warm were all the reason I needed not to be here. It is a good thing that my skull isn't transparent because if it was my dear friend Harold would be able to see storm clouds heading his way. With any luck he'd be struck by lightning. Ok, that is probably unfair. I was semi responsible for this meeting. The company had a funny policy about paying people only for the work they did and not for work that they might do. I had a long conversation with one of the bookkeepers about that one.

Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

This story is more than a little disturbing . People go hungry while others throw it away. Something needs to be done. U.S. residents are wasting food like never before. While many Americans feast on turkey and all the fixings today, a new study finds food waste per person has shot up 50 percent since 1974. Some 1,400 calories worth of food is discarded per person each day, which adds up to 150 trillion calories a year. The study finds that about 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States is tossed out. Meanwhile, while some have plenty of food to spare, a recent report by the Department of Agriculture finds the number of U.S. homes lacking "food security," meaning their eating habits were disrupted for lack of money, rose from 4.7 million in 2007 to 6.7 million last year. About 1 billion people worldwide don't have enough to eat, according to the World Food Program.

Thanksgiving- A Working Holiday

Thanksgiving is a working holiday, but the nature of the work varies from person to person. If you are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner you may be working on preparing the house and the meal. Or you might be one of those people who have to work on Thanksgiving at a job that helps to pay the bills. You might be the chef or hostess at a restaurant. You could be a bus driver, bag boy, cashier or guy behind the counter at 7-11. Many of us enjoy the holiday because it offers a time during which we stop working. It is a vacation from our normal lives. And that is great, as Martha would say it is a good thing. I have several Thanksgiving traditions. One of them is a football game. It is not a game I watch, but one I play in. Every year my fraternity plays on Thanksgiving day. I started playing in 1987 and with the exception of the Thanksgiving I spent in Georgetown in 1990 haven't missed one since. Today I lined up against a boy who told me that he was born the year I graduated from co

Amazon Eve, A Giant Model

I found this story over on The Huffington Post . A model named Amazon Eve recently appeared in the Australian magazine Zoo Weekly. She has a beautiful face and figure, but it's her height that makes her stand out the most. According to Eve's MySpace page, the American model is 6' 8'' and 30 years old.

The Book Meme

Stole this just because... Where do you fall in the list? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. If you want to, tag other book nerds. 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen x 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien x 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X 6 The Bible x 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X Total: 9 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 1/2 X read quite a bit 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (saw the movie) 20 Middl

Thanks for Giving

iTunes just pushed through Captain Jack  and You're My Home  and I find myself thinking about life and the things that are happening to me, around me and the world. Life is moving at lightspeed and at times it feels like I can barely keep up. One of my fraternity brothers recently lost his wife. She was only 40, a mother taken far too early. I lost another friend about six weeks ago and another this past May. Three people who were all my age. Won't claim to have been close or best friends with any of them. But I spent large chunks of time with all of them and more than a a laugh or two. One day they were here and the next they were gone. It is not as unusual as we might hope it to be. Things happen to people. It doesn't matter whether they are good or bad, life happens. It is hard sometimes to reconcile why people like Charles Manson are granted long lives in relatively good health and others have so many challenges to overcome . Out in the dark there are people tha

Scenes From A Car

I am a person who loves to watch people. Yep, that is me, a peoplewatcher. I just find it interesting to sit back and watch what people do. In restaurants I find it especially interesting to watch couples who are clearly on a date and see what happens. Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to create dialogue for them, to offer a running commentary. OTOH, sometimes my creative juices are nonexistent and I can't think of anything funny to say. Another aspect of peoplewatching is the fun that you can have while driving. If you spend enough time on the road you see so many different things. Here is an incomplete list of things that I have seen at one time or another: Woman applying makeup- Always makes me feel good to know that if they rear-end me they will end up with the mascara brush in the eye or pushed so far up their left nostril it is likely to become a permanent fixture. Men Shaving- Actually I once saw a guy using a blade and no shaving cream. Ouch! What are you thinking. T

A Bathroom Ambassador

Alright Charmin, my dysfunctional digestive system and I will give you some free publicity.You offered some decent cash to serve as a bathroom ambassador . I even considered applying, but I am a warm weather guy and the moola wasn't quite enough to gain my interest, came close but.... Today, Charmin, America's favorite toilet paper brand, launches a national job search to find five outgoing and enthusiastic people to work in New York City's Times Square Charmin Restrooms this holiday season for a salary of $10,000 each! The five chosen "Charmin Ambassadors" will interact with hundreds of thousands of restroom guests, while getting paid to revel in their own "love of the loo." This isn't your ordinary 9 AM - 5 PM job, and Charmin only asks that candidates should enjoy going to the bathroom so much - whether it be to catch up on reading or just enjoy some "me time" - they never want to leave. Related posts: How Many Toilets Must A Man Pos

Some Music for the Morning

Been awake far too long. Here are some of the songs that have accompanied me at this lonely keyboard. Uprising - Muse Europa and the Pirate Twins - Thomas Dolby Dear Prudence -Siouxsie & The Banshees I Am The Walrus - The Beatles Helter Skelter - The Beatles Freeze Frame - J. Geils Band Gods Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash Ghost Riders In The Sky - Johnny Cash Handle With Care - Traveling Wilburys She's My Baby - Traveling Wilburys Mr. Tinkertrain - Ozzy Osborne Mama I'm Coming Home - Ozzy Osborne

Facing Our Fears

Teach your children   - Crosby Stills Nash Maybe I am getting older. I used to be able to go full bore for months at a time and never notice. I had a metabolism that destroyed million calorie meals. The body was rock solid and I was relatively fearless. Relative meaning that there were two or three things that scared me, but they were limited to the highly unlikely like being eaten alive by some creature. Today I am nursing a cup of coffee and a body that has more than a couple of aches and pains. The hardest part of the day is this nagging voice in the back of my head. A little whisper of doubt that asks me why I don't just give in and let myself fall into the abyss that waits below. Ego and stupidity provide enough strength to stave off the doubt. For a while longer I'll ignore the whispers and somehow stay afloat long enough to see daylight. ************* It has been busy. Life has been exceptionally busy and I have found myself doing the fire dance more than I mig

Recent Posts

Since the Traveling Jack show is going on the road I decided to leave you with a collection of posts to read. Here are some recent ones with a couple old ones thrown in for good measure. A Love Song That Needs To Be Written Continued A Holiday Gift Guide- Some Unusual Gifts The Pressures of Parenthood Mumbai- One Year Later Music of the Day Healthcare, Funerals, Costco,Coke and Libel Why Do You Blog?        A Little Digestive Distress- Chicken Vindaloo Not Quite a Recap- Let's Talk about Body Parts

A Love Song That Needs To Be Written Continued

This is part two of this post . The pain of your absence is significant. The emptiness and the ache are more prevalent than not and sorrow has become a trusted companion. I live alone and apart. Bright blue skies surround me and the warmth of the sun embraces me but at times all I can feel is a bitter cold that shoots right through me. Sometimes tears come to my eyes, unbidden and unwelcome I fight them and force them back from whence they came. My eyes are closed and I let my mind wander. I look for signs of your wrongdoing and seek evidence of misdeeds. I use these as kindle for a fire that I build inside. Angry flames build and for a moment I am granted sanctuary from the stark landscape that I otherwise inhabit. The fire never lasts nor burns as brightly as its companion. The raging inferno that symbolizes the love I feel for you. It is a bonfire that consumes the anger and confuses me. I who never had trouble staying angry with others cannot seem to do so with you. Som

A Holiday Gift Guide- Some Unusual Gifts

Here at The Shack we are well aware that Chanukah is less than a month away and as a result we have done absolutely no shopping for those eight crazy nights. After all, what fun would it be to do all of our shopping in advance. It would remove the sheer joy of fighting crowds for parking and being assaulted mentally, emotionally and verbally during those fabulous trips through the mall. Besides we like sharing this experience with our Gentile friends who have to help out that joyful fat man with his adventures in chimney cleaning and present deliveries. So we are pleased to present to you the first post on potential gifts for the holidays with a post about unusual yet useful gifts for the holidays. Today's featured gift idea is one that I mused about inventing on Twitter. I thought that it was a great idea. So did @ JessicaGottlieb and @ AintYoMamasBlog .  In fact following the Tweets we exchanged I contemplated trying to find a way to invent this product. But as it turns

The Pressures of Parenthood

 Something is off and I can't quite figure out what it is. Must be my Mojo. That crazy broad the Shmata Queen must have run off with it or hidden it. I hate when that happens. Fortunately I have a spare. Actually I have more than a few that I keep secured in a secret vault that she doesn't have access to. I don't mind mentioning this because she is on a secret mission and is not currently reading this. And even if she comes back early from her hiatus it won't matter because by that point I'll have reacquired my mojo. That mojo thing is important. It is part of what keeps me going. It is part of how I deal with the pressures of parenthood. It helps keep me balanced. When my oldest was born I kept looking for the manual that comes with babies. It is not like I was going to read it. I am a man. We don't ask for directions, we just find our way. I suppose that there might be a nugget or two of useful information in that manual. Maybe there is a section that

Mumbai- One Year Later

It is a year since the terrorist attack in Mumbai . Some questions  have been answered and others remain. Are the police better equipped than they were. Have they learned anything. Something tells me that the terrorists are still training. They are not stupid. They look at the tools they used in the past and implement them again where needed. I worry that nothing has changed. Time has passed and people have forgotten. Lost memories are dangerous.

Music of the Day

I am working on a number of posts, but before they go up I figure that I'll share some of the music of the day with you. While My Guitar Gently Weeps - George Harrison I Am the Walrus - The Beatles  The End - The Beatles Longer - Dan Fogelberg Same Old Lange Syne - Dan Fogelberg Leader Of The Pack - Shangri- Las Lola - The Kinks Destroyer - The Kinks Come Dancing - The Kinks Our House - Madness Suite Judy Blue Eyes 1974- Crosby Stills Nash Helplessly Hopin' -Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Our House - Crosby Stills Nash & Young (The Kids Aren't Alright) - The Offspring You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - The Offspring Gone Away - The Offspring

Healthcare, Funerals, Costco,Coke and Libel

Nothing like more sturm und drang   in my life to make things interesting. I asked people to answer why they blog and received some interesting answers. Not unlike many of you I am here because it provides both an outlet and a chronicle of my life. Posts like this one will be something that my children and grandchildren can read so that they understand that my life is like theirs. It is filled with moments of routine punctuated with bouts of craziness. That goes well with the wacky man they call dad now and may call grandpa in the future. Don't call me grandpa today because I am not old and I will kick your ass, male, female, feline or otherwise. I received a letter today informing me that my healthcare costs are going to more than double in 2010. Since I am independently wealthy and without a care in the world I wasn't fazed at all by this.In fact I felt so bad about not being able to empathize with people I tasered my own scrotum. There, that should make for the kind o

Why Do You Blog?

Last Saturday night I stood outside in the cool Virginia air and engaged in a brief discussion about blogging. The people I spoke with said that they had friends who blogged but it was not something that they engaged in themselves. They were very curious about why I blog and whether I get anything out of it. Later on I'll share more of that conversation. But for now, I am curious to hear what you have to say. Why do you blog?

Slapped In The Face By Reality

One whirlwind weekend trip has come and gone and I feel like I have been slapped in the face by reality. I am exhausted, mentally and emotionally spent in ways that I never would have guessed. It required far more to get myself ready to go on the trip than it should have, but sometimes that is how it goes. And then once I was out the door it was a series of events that at times were uplifting as well as moments that were shocking. I'd like to say that the entire trip was just one big high but the rules of the blog dictate complete honesty and well... Well..., there were some moments that surprised me. There were moments that left me feeling a bit like I had been punched in the gut and wondering WTF just happened. At one point Saturday night I am confident that I must have looked like I had seen a ghost. For lack of a better description I had a pseudo-revelation that was completely unexpected and am still trying to digest it all. The funny thing about this revelation is that

The Hypocrisy of Charitable Giving During the Holiday Season

I have never understood why some people push the idea that one time of year is better than another for donating time or money to a particular cause. It seems to me that if the cause merits your support than it shouldn't matter whether it is April, May or December. If they do good work and they help people than you should support them year round. Now maybe you can't donate your money or time year round, but that is not really the point. It is all about giving back when you can and not limiting it solely to a season. It is part of why I dislike the holiday season. It feels a bit like they are trying to cover up the crass commercialization with a two dollar donation to the United Way. Just doesn't feel right to me. I talk to my kids about giving back. It is good to remind them that they lead a very nice life. They don't really understand just how privileged they are. They don't know what it means to go hungry or to not have a home. I am very grateful that they do

You Should Have Been Here

One more post before boarding. This is for Fragments of Fiction, just another story I have created. It was much harder than I had anticipated it to be. The trip that is. I spent the whole time there as an outsider looking in. Can't say that I really mind being the outsider. Been doing it all my life, feels natural. Most of the time it is a comfortable fit, but not this time. Tight patent leather wing tips clicked and clacked across the dance floor, but none were mine. They stayed on the side and watched the world around them. This should have been the time to walk in with you on my arm. The perfect time to glare at the men trying to check you out, while secretly smiling. The chance to step out from the worlds we live in and enjoy something special and different. But you weren't there and I was alone. Who knew that your absence would be so palpable. Who knew that it would feel so shocking, like jumping into icy water. Except that stinging sensation didn't co

A Captive Audience

It is a quarter to five here on the East Coast. I have 45 minute to kill before we begin boarding the plane so I thought that I'd try to be productive. Today I was reminded twice of what it means to be a captive audience. I recently attended an event where one of the other attendees "regaled" us with tales of her children and grandchildren. Endless stories about how smart and how cute they are were heaped one upon the other with little regard for those of us who were forced to listen. I like kids. I write about my own all the time. But the distinction between what happened today and the blog is that you have a choice. You can read, skim and or skip these tales without concern. No one will be hurt. It won't look like you are lacking social graces. It is possible that I was the only one who was irritated by these tales today. It is possible that everyone else enjoyed the 362 stories we heard. I can only speak for myself and say that it got old. Not to mentio

Travel day

(This is another post generated through Posterous. Hopefully the formatting isn't an issue.) It is a travel day. I am sitting inside my hotel room drinking a cup of mint tea and trying to relax. There are a million projects waiting for me back home and I am antsy. Most of the time it wouldn't bother me. I would shrug my shoulders and relax because I can't do anything about them from here. But today is different. I am feeling anxious, restless and generally unsettled. I expect that knowing I am going to be stuck in the old flying tin can has a part in this too. Writing often helps me to relax so I figured I might as well give it a shot. Maybe it will help take the edge off. Last night I went to the wedding of a very dear friend. Been hanging out with the old man for more than 35 years now. Thirty-five years. It feels a bit strange to write that. We can't really be that old. It is not our entire lives, but it is most. His wife is wonderful and I am thrilled for hi

Haveil Havalim #243

I am trying to blog from a BlackBerry. Please forgive me for formatting issues that may occur. Haveil Havalim, the Best of The Jewish/Israeli blogosphere is now live. You can find it at the following address: Go read it with your morning coffee. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

Gone Fishin'

The Traveling Jack Show is underway. Not sure if I'll have time to update this any time before the end of the weekend, could be Monday. If you need things to read feel free to sift throught the archives. Don't forget to check out the drop down menus on the far right. There are links to all sorts of good stuff there.

Thursday Morning Music

You Won't See Me  - The Beatles If I Needed Someone  - The Beatles We Can Work It Out  - The Beatles You Got to Hide Your Love Away  -The Beatles Prodigal Blues  - Billy Idol Have you ever seen the rain?   - Creedence Clearwater Revival Southern Cross- Crosby  - Stills and Nash Heroes - David Bowie

I don't Like Flying Anymore

Flying reminds me a bit of hanging out with an old girlfriend. There are moments where I stare at you and wonder why we ever broke up. You're beautiful. You're sexy and you're a lot of fun. We start to talk and the conversation just flows. For a while I start to wonder why we broke up. Maybe it wasn't you, maybe it was me. But gradually I find evidence of the things that I didn't like and the shine starts to fade a bit. When you laugh you snort. When we were going out I thought that it was cute, but at the end it made me crazy. I notice a few other details that irritate me and slowly I remember why it is that we don't see each other anymore. That sort of describes my feelings about flying. There was a time when I loved it. It used to be special and exciting. It was an experience that I look forward to, but not anymore. Now it is a task. And so it begins with a search for a ride to the airport. More often than not the trips are midweek so the family isn&#

A Love Song That Needs To Be Written

Sometimes I sit here and stare at your picture. I look into your eyes and I tell you the things that I won't share with another. I pour out my heart and wait for the response that never comes. I write stupid poems and love notes that I never send. Alone in the dark I caress your face and remember. I fell into that proverbial fire, or maybe it is more honest to say that I jumped in. I saw you standing there and couldn't stand to be so far away. Now you are gone and I ache. I ache and I burn. That fire eats away at me. Time passes and the hole in my heart remains. I remember the promises we made to each other.I remember the good times and the bad. But mostly I remember the good. Sometimes in the dead of night I walk outside and stare at the moon. I wander alone and wonder if you can feel my silent call. Moments in time. That is what we had, moments in time. But when we had them time stood still. Moments that changed everything so that we can no longer remember the l

Math Proves Women Are Trouble

( originally posted here )

We Aren't That Family

Mom called me a few hours ago to relay some news, my uncle died. I asked when and she told me that it happened last Thursday. Being my normal prickly self I asked if the family had used the pony express or pigeons to notify us. After all, he had moved back to Chicago, so maybe, just maybe that would explain the delay in hearing about his passing. No, he died here in Los Angeles about eight miles from my house. He died at the same hospital as his older brother did, my grandfather. He was 90 and he had leukemia, but I am not sure what the cause of his death was. I don't know a lot of details. The lack of details here are the kind of thing that drives the Shmata Queen crazy. But I have a good reason. Midway through the call Mom's cell phone cut out. Gone, goodbye, straight to voicemail. The last thing I heard was my nephew yelling for Grandma to say hi. A nephew that my uncle didn't know. He didn't know because he was estranged from the family. It feels a bit weird t