Goodbye 2010

It is almost 2 am and sleep feels a bit like a mythological creature to me. So for a few moments I'll work on this end of the year post. It won't be what I want. It is not going to be eloquent or comprehensive because I just don't have the time to make that happen.

Instead it will be rushed and skewed by the perceptions of late night and a nip of Scotch. So to my dear readers, my friends, lurkers and all others who stumble upon this, I present an incomplete look back at 2010. It was a slower year than many, less than a thousand posts but hopefully the quality improved.


And there you have it, incomplete and not what I want but sometimes it is better to perform than not to. Have a safe and healthy new year and I will see you on the other side. BTW, don't be surprised if this gets edited two or three times.

 

Bruce Wayne: You're vigilantes.
Henri Ducard: No, no, no. A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can be destroyed, or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely.
Bruce Wayne: Which is?
Henri Ducard: A legend, Mr. Wayne.


I Can't Play The Guitar

There is a long list of things that I can't do. I can't play the guitar nor can I sing. I can't play the piano or use a paintbrush to cover a canvas in colors that you can relate to. And apparently I can't reach your heart. Can't get you to take my call or tell me what it is that you really feel.

I see you talking to people. See you interacting with people you say you don't respect. See you act in ways that can only be described as illogical and irrational. It used to make me really angry to see it. I'd wonder when you had taken leave of your senses or if perhaps you had done nothing but lie to me. Sometimes it was hard not to listen the whispers of insecurity and wonder who had taken you from me. It was hard not to wonder if some junky had gotten your attention or if that was just the foolish mumblings of a broken heart.

A thousand years ago you pulled me out of the hole that I had been living in and reminded me what it meant to love and be loved. You reminded me that the life I want to live is filled with hope, fire and passion. And when I climbed out and saw what had become of me I was ashamed of myself. When you looked in my eyes you saw what no one else could see and I remembered who I was and who I could be.

It was hard to be naked in front of you. I am not talking about physical nakedness but emotional. It was hard to let someone see who I really am. It scared me so very much because it felt so right. It frightened me because it felt so natural that I questioned myself.

Gradually I came to realize that it was ok and I grew comfortable with allowing you to wander unaccompanied and unencumbered through the halls of my heart. There was so much joy and love it did nothing but warm my soul. In spite of it all the echoes of the past were still close enough for me to hear their passing. I remembered what had once been and periodically looked backwards, fearing to be caught unaware.

It wasn't a matter of not being strong enough to face my demons. They could set upon me at any time and I would deal with it. I would handle them and whatever else. I wasn't built to be like Baryshnikov, though I might try to. These big hands that you used to stare at can do more than caress. They are capable of pulling things or people apart. The mind that sits behind the brooding eyes is always active, probably far too active for my own good. But it is always working, thinking about things. That intensity never goes away. At best I can turn it off for short times, but only when I am completely relaxed and you are one of the few who have seen that.

You once called me needy and to an extent I suppose that it is true. But when you have walked under blue skies and felt the warmth of the sun upon your back you are going to reticent to give that up. More importantly, you said that I was the love of your life. Who else should I be needy for or with.

Sometimes I feel like a fool. Sometimes I feel like a chump who knew from the start that it would end badly. Sometimes I think that it was better to be hard and to push you away. That is what is so funny about this. Damn, if I don't remember a thousand times when you begged me not to go. Damn if I don't remember telling you to go find your smile and then come find me.

But it didn't work out like that. Didn't because when I gave you my heart I promised to be your hero and swore that I would take the lumps. Swore that I would save you first because you are my air and my heart. Did you see that? Years later how do I refer to you, but in the present. So I ask myself this very simple question.

Does the heart know things that the brain does not? It is always followed by its evil twin who asks if the heart can fool the brain into following the heart. Do I hear and see what I want to see and not what is real. I know which way I fall on that. I know what answer I give. I know what I will do and how I will do it.

There are no guarantees or promises. I find that hard to swallow, so very galling. It chaps my hide in so many ways. But dammit, I cannot be anyone other than who I am. So I continue to dance in the fire. I continue to live inside this burning house. The fire burns so brightly. The flames embrace but do not consume me. Damn you woman, will you not take my hand or must I continue to ache. Will you allow the flames to continue to have their way with me.

What will it take? What must I do to prove myself? If you haven't figured it out you stubborn broad, I don't break easily. When you ripped my heart out I did not die. I may have screamed once or twice. I might have shed a silent tear, but I didn't give up. I mastered the pain and found a way to stand again.

Perhaps I do nothing but play the fool but I do so with purpose. I stand my ground because I remember what was and know that it didn't end because there was nothing left. I will not allow circumstances to be the sole arbiter of what is to be. I hear the echoes of the future and I stand here waiting their arrival. Time will tell whether I stand alone or not.

Remember what we were told. We can heal each other. Take my hand and we'll set the night on fire. Please don't leave me hanging. Long ago you said that it would be tragic for two people not to be together. You were right, but it would be more tragic for two people not to try.

Come dance with me ballerina girl.

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

Building The Blog- What's In A Name Edition

Excuse me while I wax rhapsodic and chase my tail around this cyberspace cage I find myself sitting in. Old Jack wishes to break free of the fetters that currently bind him. The man can't stand being shackled, just can't take being trapped in a cage. He was born free, cue guitar and deeply moving song as he stares soulfully into the distance.

Ok, I can't go that route because the dear Shmata Queen who probably won't read this hates when the womenfolk pretend I am Tom Jones and start throwing cyber panties at me. You hear that, crazy Texan who used to live in cleveland. Yes, I am talking bout you and there is not a damn thing that you can do about it.

Those last two paragraphs my friends are the perfect example of your gracious host using an old trick to stave off Writer's Block.Yes, it is true even I sometimes suffer from that dread disease but when it happens I make a point of distracting myself. More often than not I open my eyes and discover that my muse has returned.

So I am working steadily on building the new blog and have developed a long list of wants, needs and desires. At the top of the list is a question, should the new blog be given a new name? It is a good question because the truth is that Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning is a lousy name.

If you are one of the 17 long time readers you know that I didn't intend to be a blogger. I just threw this place together and started writing on a whim. It wasn't something that I put any thought into. Surely I have enough creativity to come up with something better than Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning.

Ideally the blog name would correspond with a kick ass logo and be integrated into a great design with amazing content. At the moment I'd love to use Grumpy from the seven dwarves, but I have no need to fight with Disney about licensing because I am not going to waste any time trying to license his likeness.

But I have to acknowledge that I have turned the Random Thoughts blog into something. There is brand awareness that has been built around that and good old me, Mr. Jack. It wouldn't be completely ridiculous to keep the name and just move the shop. That kind of thing happens all the time. Businesses grow and they are forced to move to a bigger and or better location.

So dear reader there you have one of the many questions that I ask myself daily. Is it earth shattering, life threatening or anything that will change the world? Probably not. But then again, maybe it is. Maybe this will be like the butterfly effect. Maybe moving this blog to Wordpress will lead to something amazing, incredible and rewarding. And boy doesn't that amazing, incredible and rewarding thing sound good. So good that I would settle for one out of three. But just in case anyone asks I prefer not to settle.

Anyhoo, I must get some sleep so that I can prepare my incredible, amazing, rewarding and powerful end of the year review. You know, it is that annual post where I talk about how good/bad the year was and tell you that you should read every post I wrote because they are like my children and I don't play favorites.

And on the off chance that you happen to be a crazy Texan from cleveland- there are things to be said, words to be shared and sooner or later I will pepper your pike.;)

Never Give Up, Never Surrender



"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." Winston Churchill

"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
 George Bernard Shaw

This is the kind of post that I normally would write at night. There is something about the midnight hour that lends itself to quiet introspection, but given the circumstances I am writing it now. Writing it now because I can't keep living on three hours of sleep. Writing it now because for far too long I have been driving myself into the ground. Writing it now because even the mightiest warrior requires rest.

Yes, it is another post where I talk about my unwillingness to give up or give in. There are a host of reasons why I am who I am. Blame it on genetics, socialization and choice. Yes, choice is listed there because much of my life is based upon the choices I have made.

This is a frequent conversation with my children, choice that is. We talk about taking responsibility for our actions and how we have a tremendous amount of influence on our lives. It is something that I fervently believe in. Yet it is also fair to say that I have come to acknowledge that there are many things that are outside of our control. Life happens and all you can do is roll with the punches.

People do not make decision based upon logic or rational thought. They say that they do, but more frequently than not they make their choices arbitrarily. How many times have you glanced at someone and made a decision about who they are based upon their clothes or shape. It is not profound nor insightful to say that we give a break to someone we find attractive versus someone we do not.

In my life I know that I have made choices in that manner. I know that having watched Rocky and similar movies has helped to fuel my never give up, never surrender attitude. If he can find a way to will himself to victory, when then so can I. And I have. On more than one occasion success came because I didn't quit.

And I love the silent, brooding characters too. Casablanca speaks to me. There are so many scenes that stick out, but for the purpose of this post I'll grab quotes and clips for two. When Ilsa and Rick see each other again- that look they exchange speaks volumes. Not to mention the end of the movie, talk about powerful. I can't tell you how many times I have watched that or wondered about this exchange.

Was he truly strong enough to just let her go or was it just him trying to be noble. Did they go on to lead happy and fulfilled lives or in the silence of the night did they pine away for that one special person. So many questions and so few answers.

It ties into the whole never give up, never surrender thing to me. It does so because though I firmly believe in the concept, I don't think that we can use it for every situation. It is important to stand and fight for what you believe in, but you also need to recognize what battles aren't worth fighting.

You can take Groucho's comment and laugh,  "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Or you can view it from a different perspective and ask if the principles you are defending merit such a vigorous fight. The beauty of life is that it is not always a yes or no answer. So many of these things are subjective.

The one thing I am certain of is that you have to be comfortable with your decisions and your choices. When the lights go out at night you have to be able to sleep. If you can't you better hope it is because someone is snoring or a marching band is practicing outside because there is no escape from your self and your conscience.

Wednesday's Cliff Notes

Recent posts for your review. New material coming shortly.

You're Ten Now

And so it begins. The boy is officially ten now. He has entered double digits and I see more glimmers of the teen to come than the toddler, let alone baby he once was. Seventy some pounds of fury he insisted on staying up until midnight so that he could welcome his birthday in proper fashion.

Don't ask me to explain what that means because I am not really sure. What I know for certain is that we have a house full of children and that his intention was to have them all participate in this, thing, he had planned. Fortunately they all fell asleep and I found myself having to hug no one but the birthday boy himself. Not that it was a problem, I am very affectionate with all of my children and he is no exception.

Two minutes before midnight he wandered out from his room with a huge smile across his face. I looked at him, my own broad smile mirroring his and asked him if he felt older. He said "sort of" and I said, "you're ten now." It really wasn't for his benefit but my own. It is not like it was a surprise, I was there in the beginning and was in the room when he was born.

His hands and feet are duplicates of my own. I remember staring at him and promising to be the best father that I could be. There are moments when I find myself frustrated, angry and upset about life and I fear that I am not the father that I could be. I am good, but I could be great.

The reasons why I feel there might be a shortcoming there aren't important. I am very hard on myself and this is just one example. But the real point of this is that I see that he has taken this trait on too. I don't consider it to be one of my finer qualities and it is my wish that he lose this or at least not be as crazy about it as I am. It is a father's desire and birthday wish to give this gift to his son. It will make life easier.

But realistically I find it hard to believe that he won't be as intense as I am. I see it in him. I see the fire burning in his belly and I alternate between smiling and sighing. He is far sweeter than I am and I am grateful for that. Smart and compassionate are good things to be.

He has a very active mind and imagination. If he doesn't know you he is likely to be quiet but don't mistake his silence for not paying attention. He has a keen eye and is well aware of the things that are happening around him. Unless he is playing a video game in which case the world might not exist. Actually this is not limited to video games. He is capable of focusing so intently on his task that he is not easily distracted. It is something that his teachers have often remarked upon.

Well liked, he has many friends and could have more if he so desired. But he prefers to be close with just a few people and that is ok with me.

The past decade has been an amazing ride and I have learned as much or more than he has. I am looking forward to the next ten years. It is surreal to think that in ten years I'll have a 20 year-old son who will likely be my size or bigger.

Time moves so very quickly, I just hope to enjoy as much of it as I can. And now my friends I must grab some shut eye, morning comes quickly and the ten year old will wake up quite early. I suspect that if nothing else that will definitely change in the next decade. We shall see.

Frustrated

Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)- Kris Kristofferson

Back in the days when I was but a wee lad in school I was known for being among the first to finish my exams. It wasn't something that I tried to do nor is it a skill that I have tried to pass along to my children. There are lots of reasons why this is so, but most stem from  just trying to help them avoid making mistakes. All the old saws, "measure twice, cut once" or "haste makes waste" come to mind. But there is a reason why we still hear about them.

And the reason is that they make sense. So you would think that by now I would have taken them to heart and made them a part of me. But I haven't because they don't suit me. I want them to. Really, I'd like them to be more substantive in my life but that is not how I roll. While I can say that I have made my share of mistakes I can also say that I was a good student. I didn't have to try very hard to get good grades. Most things have come relatively easily to me.

That is not to say that I have never had to work because I certainly have. I have put hours into many of the things that I am good at. My skill and expertise isn't derived solely from natural ability. Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I become impatient and the new blog is a perfect example of this. I want it to be done. I want to be an expert who can make it sing, but I am not. I may one day be, but I am not him yet.

So I try to take a deep breath and remember that in time I will get to where I am going. The blog will become what I want it to be. These things will happen because I will work hard, learn what I can and push to make the changes I want. I know these things will happen because I look back upon my life and see the evidence of prior successes in similar endeavors.

Still, I can't help but wish that I could move time at my pace.

Building The Blog- Wordpress Edition

Listen closely and you can hear the silent scream of a man who stands alone and apart. Last night I took the gloves off and stopped pulling my punches. I have had enough of wrestling with technology that fails to recognize me as master. The time for being nice is over and now I will force my adversary to submit. I will make Rome's war against Carthage look like a birthday party...blah, blah, blah.

Ok, now that I have overdosed on testosterone I can relax...albeit briefly. Unless you were kidnapped by the Dread Pirate Roberts or trapped beneath a heavy rock you know that I am in the process of setting up a new blog. Unlike this one I intend to spend a little time planning for the move.

It makes me laugh a little bit at how seriously I am taking this. Part of me says to just relax because it is just a blog. While that is true, I have decided that I want to pursue writing as more than a part time hobby. Writing is something that is easy and natural for me. There are a million tales to be told and stories waiting to be shared. The new site is going to help make my writing into something more than it is.

So the plan is to take the new joint and make it into a force to be reckoned with. It is time to push hard and secure eyeballs. Yes, I want to build an army of readers, minions who will go forth and spread the word. The goal is take the existing community here and take it with me. You who are reading these words are part of the vanguard, the early adopters who can say that you knew me when.

I can't promise any fame or fortune for you. There are no tangible benefits to being a part of the club. You can't gain access to private clubs by saying that you know me. The paparazzi won't follow you nor will restaurants provide you with free meals. I can't promise 8x10 glossies, autographs or even free t-shirts. In fact you'll probably have to pay for all of these things, but that is ok.

If all goes well then I'll become exceptionally successful, so much so that I'll probably become quite dreadful in person. At least for a while, because a soon to be middle aged man has to enjoy his blog groupies. He has to get caught up in the craziness for a while and push the limits. Eventually I'll stop because that one person, the only one who can still get through to me will say that I have become unbearable, insufferable and intolerable.

Sadly, I'll nod my head in agreement. That will be followed by a tearful appearance on a few talk shows and a staged, it-looks-sincere apology. All timed to happen just prior to the release of my new book and movie. And if it all goes according to plan/schedule I will have take a small blog and turned it into an empire.

Or maybe not. Maybe all the new place will be is somewhere a little bit brighter and sunnier than here. A simple spot where I will continue to tell my tales and share my thoughts to the few people who can relate. And you know what, that is ok with me too.

So bear with me for a bit longer. I am still working out the details. I have to decide what theme/template to use and whether I need a new name for it. If you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions leave them in the contents or email them to me.

Got to run deal with my contractor- we're a running a bit behind schedule and I want to know why.

Screw The Midwest

It is too bad that Audioblogger is gone because I lost some great audio posts, this one in particular was a lot of fun.



Anyhoo, stay tuned to this bat channel because there is a lot of activity going on and some really good things coming. I am mulling over whether to give the new joint a different name or continue the Random Thoughts brand, because it is ever so powerful. In fact I attribute that power to the incredibly creative name.

I am also trying to decide what to do with Fragments of Fiction. There is a series feature on WP that I have been using to tie them all in together, but it is assigning numbers to the post. That would be fine but they  are out of order. So part of my task is to tie them together and then reorder them. As if I didn't have enough work already.

Another thing that has come to my attention are the vast number of broken links. There are stories that I linked to from way back when that no longer go anywhere because the sites are gone or the links have been changed. Not to mention YouTube videos that no longer work because they account is gone or the content pulled down. It is a bit irritating, but such is life.

For A Good Time Call

I have quickly learned that having children who can read presents all sorts of new challenges. My son reads everything and anything he sees. I love it. I love watching the excitement in his eyes as he sounds out new words. I love it when he asks me to what words mean and how to use them. But sometimes it does present challenges.

During a recent trip to the mall we had to make a stop at one one of the bathrooms. The interior of the stall was decorated in the latest graffiti. This was one of those unforeseen challenges that parenting seems to be chock full of.

Son: Who is Julie?
Dad: Julie who?

Son: I don't know her last name.
Dad: Why not?

Son: It didn't say.
Dad: What didn't say?

Son: It just said her first name.
Dad: What did.

Son: The writing in the bathroom.
Dad: It did?

Son: Yes. It said "For a good time call Julie."
Dad: Oh.

Son: Is she fun to play with?
Dad: I don't know.

Son: Does she have a lot of good toys?
Dad: I don't know.

Son: Why did it say to call her? Does she like playing with boys?
Dad: I don't know. Maybe someone is playing a trick on her.

Son: Would you like playing with Julie?
Dad: I don't know her.

Son: It says that you'd have fun. Maybe you should call her. You've been grumpy lately.
Dad: I don't think Julie wants to hear from me.

Son: She might. You could teach her things. She might like to learn some tricks from you.
Dad: That's ok. She probably has better things to do.

Son: But why is her name there?
Dad: Someone is playing a trick on her.

Son: I don't really like playing with girls.
Dad: I know. One day that might change.

Son: No way!
Dad: I wouldn't worry about it.

Son: I am not. I run too fast, besides I know what to do.
Dad: Oh? What do you too.

Son: Sammy and David's mommy have babies in their tummies.
Dad: That is called being pregnant.

Son: Right, their pregnant. They always say that they're tired.
Dad: Pregnant women get tired pretty easily.

Son: We should get all the girls pregnant.
Dad: What? Why would you say that?

Son: Because if we get them all pregnant they'll be too tired to bother us.
Dad: There are probably better ways than that.

Son: Sammy's dad told him that getting his mommy pregnant was really fun.
Dad: Why did he tell him that?

Son: Sammy said that he heard having babies was hard and he didn't want his daddy to get hurt.
Dad: He did?

Son: Yes, he said that he told his daddy he didn't want him to yell like that pregnant lady on television.
Dad: So what Sammy's dad say?

Son: He said that getting mommies pregnant is something that boys like to do, but I don't think I want to.
Dad: You probably should wait until you're married.

Son: But girls bother us. If we get them pregnant they'll be too tired to chase us.
Dad: Believe me, that won't stop them. Anyway, I don't want you and your friends running around talking about getting girls pregnant. That is for grownups who love each other.

Son: Jonah's mom and dad must really love each other. They have a lot of kids.
Dad: $*%*(**U*$
Ok, that last line was totally fabricated, but it fits in with the theme of the post. I tuned out graffiti so long ago that it didn't occur to me that it would lead to such a wacky discussion. Actually, I can't really say that it was a wacky discussion either. In it is own crazy way it made sense.

More than anything else it really reminds me that I have to be extra careful and alert about what kind of reading material is around my kids at all time. Just when you think that you have this parenting thing down something new comes along. Life does have its moments.

Edward G. Robinson In a Different Role

Some Stuff To Read

Packing

In the midst of the chaos that surrounds me I am working on setting up a new blog. Yes, ladies and gentlemen after a thousands years my little shack in cyberspace is getting ready to move on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky.

It is with a bit of excitement and some trepidation that I prepare myself to make this move. Not unlike college I am doing most of the heavy lifting on my own. That is not to say that I don't have friends helping out because several of them have been very gracious with their time. But unlike college I can't bribe them with beer and pizza so I find myself burning the midnight oil once again.

Hmm...it is long past midnight so perhaps I need to adjust my claim and say that I am working quietly in the darkness. A puppy sleeps at my feet, making me wonder if he isn't smarter than I am. There is no deadline for this, at least none other than that which exists in my own mind. To paraphrase Rocky Horror, time is fleeting and madness is taking control.

After all this time on Blogger I have grown relatively proficient at making it do what I want it to. There is a certain comfort level that comes from time spent here. This cyber home has borne witness to some of my great triumphs, a few tragedies and the rebirth of my soul. I look around and see fields in which I have planted seeds. Jack's personal vineyard is covered in grapevines that I have sometimes wandered through. And yes, I suspect that there might even be a burning river running through it all too.

I wander through here trying to determine what to take with me and what to leave behind. There is room for everything to come with me. The new place is bigger but that is not reason to take it all.

It is fun, working on the new place. Each day I make a point of visiting it so that I can work on preparing it for the day in which I make the big move. I am good with my hands and can do many things but not unlike the real world I sometimes find myself considering the merits of hiring a handyman. Not because I am quitting, but because my time is valuable.

And sometimes it makes sense to give the work to someone who can do it faster than I can with a greater degree of skill. There is no shame in that. Still, I sit here late at night watching tutorials and learning. I want to know how to do these things. I want to understand how to put the pieces together. I want to know how to make it work.

These posts are being copied here so that I can bring them over to the new place. I like the idea of chronicling my thoughts here. Even if it is of no interest to anyone else it is to me. That is part of what I like about the blog. It is a snapshot in time. Click on a post from years before and for a moment I am transported back. My children are babies, my grandparents are still alive and I am a different man.

There is more to say but much work to do so for now we shall end this here.

Idea #265 for Wooing a Woman

This is idea #265 for wooing a woman and like all ideas here personally tested and proven to be effective.

Unfortunately this edition of wooing a woman does not come with video, but perhaps one day it will. Here is the concept:

You head down to the office of your lucky lady and serenade her with Kenny Rogers songs, while dressed like Kenny Rogers. If you really want to have fun grab some of the guys from this site and use them as your backup singers.

Moving

Every day I am one step closer to a new beginning and to making changes that will have a significant impact upon my world. I choose to look upon this as an opportunity and not punishment for failure. This blog often serves as a reminder that some of my questions haven't really left me and others have been answered. Some of the evidence that supports this lies in posts like A Look Back To Help Look Forward and Silence- It can be electric.

A cursory glance at these brings back memories of time and place. I see opportunities that were staring at me that should never have been passed up and shake my head. Yet, I also see how the decision not to move on some of them have led to better opportunities. It would be wrong of me to say that none of my choices have hurt me because there have been mistakes.

But as I tell my children we do our best to make choices based upon the information that we have at that time. It is hard to look back and say that you would do things differently. Not because of ego or arrogance but because many of our most difficult decisions are not black and white. They are not either/or propositions that provide the luxury of knowing that one is better than the other.

And that is part of why I am going to be making changes. That is why I the countdown has begun. I feel like the captain of a ship that is sailing through a foggy sea. The water is a bit choppy and there is a chill in my bones that I can't quite identify. I don't know if my mind is playing tricks upon me but it feels like I am sailing close to the edge of a large storm. I look overboard and I see dark shapes swimming beneath the surface. Can't say whether it is a school of dolphins or if I am about to be attacked by the Kraken.

Maybe I have read too many books and watched too many movies but I have these images in my head. I sense some sort of ambush lying just ahead of me and I am tense. In the movies this is the time where the hero talks about why his party cannot allow the other side to dictate the terms of engagement. They may have a larger army but if we work hard we can turn the ambush upside down. We can take control of the situation and maybe, just maybe if we are lucky win against all odds.

My situation isn't quite so dire that I can say that my life is on the line, at least not my health. But the changes looming ahead of me are big and that is why I feel so unsettled. so I am working to take control of what I can. Working to set the terms as best as I can.

That is part of why I am here to tell you that among the many changes in my life will be one that impacts this joint. I have a new home that I am preparing to move into. It feels a little strange to type that but it is true. Details on this are forthcoming.

Some Old Posts

Jammed for time on various projects. Feel free to read the posts below or take a look at some of the old stuff I came across today. I expect that some of these will be updated or incorporated into new posts in the not so different future.

Blogging With Reckless Abandon
Bad Blogging- Also Known As This Stuff Sucks
Quotes That I enjoy
The Right Thing to Say

A Child's Belief in Magic

The darkness embraces me like an old friend. There is a certain familiarity between us that only comes from years of living together. Once upon a time I was a boy named Jack who both feared and loved the dark. The fertile imagination that inhabits my mind was only too eager to fill the blackness with dreadful monsters and amazing adventures.

More than a few nights I lay in bed wondering if tonight would be the moment in which the creatures that lurked outside my door would come for me. I would alternate between fear and the bravery that only children have. If you are a parent you are likely intimately familiar with this bravery. Your sons and daughters haven't been educated through life experience to not believe in magic. Wizards, witches, unicorns and ogres aren't relegated to stories- they are real. Jedi knights roam the galaxy using the Force for good and the Lady of the Lake is just waiting to tell you where to find Excalibur.

That imagination and belief in the impossible is part of what I find most endearing about my children. I love listening to their stories about what they want to do and what they think they can do. My son tells me that he is pretty sure that The Force isn't real. He finds it hard to believe, but thinks that maybe, just maybe we haven't figured out how to harness that energy. He says that maybe adults are too busy working to notice what lies just beneath our fingertips.

It is not a ridiculous idea or anything that I can deem to be far fetched. Because life is magical and the beauty is often missed because we are too busy racing from school to soccer fields. When you aren't responsible for making lunches and or transporting little people from here to there it is easy to notice little things. You stare at bugs and wonder why they look like they do and if they like the food they eat.

You stare at cars and wonder why people are mean to each other. You ask why grown ups don't know how to be nice or to wait in line. The rainbows you see after rainfall are not just pretty but the starting place for a treasure hunt.

There is magic and adventure everywhere. Endless opportunities and you feel like you have oodles of time to explore them. It makes it far easier to sleep deeply and without a care. And since I once again find myself at the computer typing in the dark of night I can say that this is a skill my children can teach me. Once I knew how to do it, but now I am not so sure.

In a few moments I will walk silently to my bedroom and climb into bed. I'll close my eyes and think about that little boy Jack. There in the dark I'll do what I can to tap into that magical world I once was connected to and maybe I'll dream about slaying the dragon again.

I Loved Her Once

I loved her once. She was tall, with dark hair and dark eyes that sparkled. Her smile lit up her face and her laughter was infectious. But I didn't love her because of physical gifts or actions. She was smart and ever so quick. One of the few who got me, who understood me on a different level and in a different place than the others. But I didn't love her because of that either.

Nor did I love her because she was the one who I trusted completely and felt safe with. Didn't love her because of soft kisses and sweet whispers.

I loved her for all of these things and more. It was complete and consuming this love. Didn't matter that she wasn't as logical, rational or together as she claimed. Nor did I care that sometimes she would flip out and go off about crazy stuff. Damn woman found her way inside my head and heart so I took the good and the bad. We called it a mature love, deeper and more powerful than any we had ever experienced before.

But the gods laugh at those who aspire to climb the heights that we found ourselves upon. Icarus flew too high and his wings were shorn off causing him to fall into the the abyss. When his wife died Mighty Orpheus marched straight into the underworld and negotiated a deal with Hades to secure her return to life. Just moments away from their goal he failed in his resolve and lost her again to the underworld.

So if you ask me if I refer to us as a Greek tragedy than I say yes, I do. I do because you cannot share the things that we did, say what we said or feel such things and then fail to find a way to be together. I say it is a tragedy because to view it in other terms either diminishes it or calls into question the integrity of another. And so I have found myself alone and apart, dancing in the fire for untold ages.

I loved her once. She, who I speak of was the dearest part of my heart and the essence of my soul. I stare into the blackness in silence and replay that which once was. I think of Elizabeth Browning and Bertrand Russell. I see math, science and poetry. I hear the music and the whispers. There are moments where I feel her still, sense her close by, can smell and taste her.

But she is never there and now in my darkest hours I witness the entrance of anger. I acknowledge doubt and wonder if I am a sucker who misunderstood it all. Wonder if I saw only what I wanted to see. But I take a deep breath and recognize that the anger masks the hurt. The anger is a mask that I wear because it allows me to say that I loved her once when the truth is that I love her still.

And in the silence of the night lost in the shadows are the things that tell me that I wasn't a sucker or a fool. The evidence isn't based upon formulas or science. You cannot build your castles upon the foundation that we built, at least not those made of brick and stone. But you can find something more durable and lasting. The love that built what once was is more powerful than one can measure or imagine. And if you open your heart to it you will find that the person you never knew you needed hasn't disappeared or gone away.

And in the silence of the night you might find your fingers interlocked with theirs and your breathing in rhythm as the heart you share still beats for both of you.

Life Altering Changes

It is almost 1:30 a.m. and I have failed to adhere to a promise I made to myself to go to bed closer to midnight or earlier. For months I have sworn a blood oath to myself, hollered, begged, badgered and practically buggered all in the hope that I would do the right thing and go to bed at a normal time.

Yes, I just wrote buggered about myself in my own blog. Give me a break, it is well past the witching hour and I am too freaking tired to care. Ok, I care enough to write about it but so what. The rules of the blog are simple, be real, be honest and be authentic.

So in the interest of authenticity I am on the verge of making major changes in my life. A different man who looked an awful lot like me but had a little bit more hair would have been a bit nervous about these. He would have been more cautious and concerned about these things. He would have plotted out a course that provided more opportunities because he didn't want to paint himself into a corner.

Well in the parlance of my youth we took that motherfucker out back and gave him an attitude adjustment. We threw his lazy ass against the wall, screamed in his face and said get your shit together or get out. More on this in a moment.

Leaves were falling, just like embers,
In colors red and gold, they set us on fire
Burning just like moonbeams in our eyes.

[Chorus:]
Somebody said they saw me, swinging the world by the tail
Bouncing over a white cloud, killing the blues.

Now I'm guilty of something...
I hope you never do
Because there is nothing
Sadder than losing yourself in love.

[Chorus]

Now you've ask me... just to leave you
To go out on my own
And get what I need to.
You want me to find what I've already had.

[Chorus 2x]
Killing The Blues- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
That is one of my favorite songs. I have been listening to the album quite a bit thinking about "swinging the world by the tail. You know, I have been thinking a lot about The Dark Knight. It is a movie that I really like for a host of reasons, one of which is Michael Caine. He does a very fine job of playing Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred.

He tells this great story that I'll quote here:

Alfred Pennyworth: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?
Alfred Pennyworth: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

I like this story because it is a reminder that even though we try to apply logic, reason and rational thought to the world it doesn't always work. It is a reminder that no matter how strong we are our ability to influence the world that we live in is limited because there are things that we cannot control.

It is a discussion that I have had more than once with the children. A discussion in which we talk about strength and how that doesn't have to refer to physical strength. For those who know me well it sometimes sounds kind of silly, because I am like a little boy when it comes to physical strength. I am always curious how much I can lift. I love watching The World's Strongest Man contests. They are kind of silly, but fun.

But physical strength can only take you so far. It is cerebral strength that is most important. It is emotional strength that you need. Those last two plus the former are how it should be. Anyway, I have made some significant changes in several areas, one of which is blogging. I expect to show you the blogging stuff in the not so distant future.

I need to take care of a few things, but I expect to let you know pretty soon. In the interim keep checking in here and I'll keep you posted as things develop. Time for bed for this old man, see you later.

The Hell With The Christmas Spirit

Every year I blog about why I hate hearing about the Christmas spirit. Inevitably these posts generate a variety of emails from my readers ranging from those that politely try to explain why I am wrong to those that suggest I might engage in some sort of anatomically impossible act or better yet...die.

Well my friends I suppose that were I flexible enough I might consider the middle option. It would save a lot of time and money. Just think I wouldn't have to engage in small talk, cuddle or try to silently sneak away. The third option isn't quite as interesting to me as I have quite a few things to do and death is really far down the list. However, I would like to address the man who says that I am going to burn in hell because I don't share his beliefs. Yes, I am sure about my own beliefs and I don't need to promote them by engaging in religious terror, but thanks for playing.

The real point of this nonsense is to remind everyone that hunger, hopelessness and hurt do not magically disappear after the holiday season. I simply hate the idea of focusing our attention on giving because of the time of year. I have heard all of the arguments about why it makes sense to make the appeal now and I just don't buy it.

But this year I want to point the spotlight at a different group as well. Let's not focus the beam on those who are living on the streets or who are "traditionally" poor. Let's talk about our friends and family who are struggling in silence. They are college educated, hard working members of society who have fallen upon hard times.

They are men and women who have always been productive members of society, but for one reason or another they are struggling now. They live among you. You know them. You see them on a regular basis but you probably don't hear their stories. They are sad, heartbroken and uninterested in pity. They don't want to be lectured about what they could or should have done. They don't want to be judged for for their situations.

All they want is an opportunity to take care of their families. They don't want hand outs, but a hand up and their numbers are growing. Each day they are beating their heads against stone, fighting for each inch and wondering what they must have done wrong. It may sound like hyperbole or some sort of sad story that you would see on Lifetime, but it is not.

It is life and it is killing people. Their spirits are being broken and their faith is being crushed. The hardest part for many is the feeling that they are dying a slow death. It is like fighting a giant anaconda that slowly squeezes you to death.

And that my friends is my very happy message of cheer and good will towards men.

Tuesday Morning Tune Up

Here is a quick rundown of recent posts:

Why Mothers Are Overrated

It is long past time to write about why mothers are overrated. The post where we point out that you are all crazy women who send your children to school with mismatched clothes, hair that hasn't been brushed, runny noses and lunches that aren't the epitome of health.

Yep, ladies I have your number. You who scream at your children to move because you are going to be late to school, who swore that you would never turn into your mother but are now her clone, I see you. I see your minivans come flying down the street and remember the girl who wouldn't leave her house without looking just so.

You swore that you would be different and that you wouldn't be that mom. You vowed to be better because you would plan better, care more and be smarter about it all. I am sure that you didn't mean to be smug about it because you are caring women.

Women who knew that you could do it all because you always had. Certain that you would find a way to lose the baby weight quickly and that you would never lose that spark with your husband. Sure, you knew that there would be some changes and that it might affect you but thanks to your girlfriends and mothers you were one step ahead of the game.

And yet it didn't quite work out that way. Things just didn't fall into place and now the secret is out. You aren't the mother you want to be and everyone knows it. It is obvious. Just look around and you see the other ladies who are better at it.

Their hair is still the same color as it was when they were in college and they can wear whatever clothes they want. Their cars aren't filled with empty food wrappers, toys, sticky spots and all sorts of assorted junk. Face it, this is just more proof.

You don't hear fathers complaining about these things. You don't see us worrying about skinny jeans, lunches or home cooked meals. We don't look at the other dads and complain how unfair it is that they still have a perfect ass or bitch about why they don't deserve whatever it is they have.

I suppose that we could do all those things but that is not our gig, We are men and most of us never notice if we show up wearing the same suit as the other guys.

Ok ladies, I suppose that it is about time to say that I am screwing with you. Moms aren't overrated at all, the fact is that most of the child rearing stuff is handled by you. You still tend to do more cooking than we do too. But the real point isn't to start a discussion about who does more or who is more valuable.

Because our roles are different and they are both valuable. Not to mention that there are growing numbers of stay at home dads too, but that still is a different story.

Nope, the real point here is that I can't go a week without stumbling across 1,298 posts by moms who cry about being inferior or insecure about your mothering skills. I am willing to bet that most of you are better at it than you realize. I don't say that to blow sunshine up your behind or to curry favor either.

It is just an observation that the population isn't shrinking. Every generation worries that it is weaker than the one before. The one thing that fathers seem to be better at is second guessing ourselves. We don't do it with the frequency that moms do or so it seems to me.

But again, that is neither here nor there. There is no single way to parent. No roadmap or guidebook that can be applied across the board. I think that many of us would be much happier if we could let go of some of these insecurities and just accept that.

Rainy Day Music

Music is my companion today. Alone with the dog and the pitter-patter of the rain I have my thoughts and my music:

Into The Ocean- Blue October
Calling You- Blue October
Hate Me- Blue October
You Don't Know Me- Ray Charles
I Can't Stop Loving You- Ray Charles
The Sun is Going to Shine Again- Ray Charles
Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand- Ray Charles
Killing The Blues- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
When The Levee Breaks-Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

The Wisdom of Star Wars On Child Rearing

I think that the screams woke me up. They were loud and full of raw emotion that fluttered between fear, terror and anger. It took a moment for me to realize where I was and what had happened. Blame it upon the joys of being roused from a deep slumber.

Not quite awake I slid out of my bed and stood silently in the dark...listening, but not quite sure for what. I slowly walked out of the bedroom and wandered down the hall to check on the children. My heart was pounding and I could feel the vein on my forehead protruding. Those who know me well can tell you that the appearance of the vein is never good. It is a sign that I am thirsty for blood. My fingers twitch and I continue on my search and destroy mission.

Slowly it dawned upon me that the screams that woke me up came from me. I was screaming. I was scared and the survival mechanism inside me flipped on. Fear paralyzes, but anger energizes.  I took a deep breath and walked into the playroom where I came face to face with Lego Yoda. Yep, the Jedi master himself, or at least the brick version.

It sounds silly, but seeing Yoda relaxed me. I could almost hear him speak, "“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”  Funny to think that I actually learned/gained something from a muppet, but I did.

And thus the idea for a post about the wisdom of Star Wars on parenting or child rearing came into being. I haven't googled it so it may be that someone else has already taken this idea, but don't care because it makes sense. I don't care because I relate to what Yoda said. It reminds me of my grandfather telling a ten year-old boy that if I act out of anger I will get myself into trouble. Reminds me of another conversation years later where he looked at my black eye and asked if it was worth it.

These are lessons that are easily passed along not just because I can share my experiences with my children but because they really do make sense. It doesn't hurt that my son loves Star Wars or that his little sister is so determined to be like him she will follow whatever he does.

My little green friend's admonition towards Luke is something that I speak of/about with the kids. When they get frustrated because something isn't going their way I play a little clip for them.

"Do or do not... there is no try."

It makes so much sense to me. It is a reminder that if you are going to do something there is no reason to go about it in a half-assed manner. It is easy to be lazy. It is easy to just go through the motions and easy isn't always the best path to take.

Which if you know me is kind of funny because I have a habit of picking the road less traveled. I don't always walk upon the path, sometimes I blaze a trail and while it is noble to do so sometimes it is dumb. Part of my job as a father is to help them avoid making the mistakes that I have made. I suppose the good news is that I have a never ending list of examples, but I digress.

Sometimes in the middle of these discussions my son will remind me that the Force isn't real. I guess that he inherited my smartass gene so I shouldn't complain. But the comment is ok because I can still take Yoda's words and make them work for me.

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship."

Those few lines tie into a bunch of cliches. They are a reminder not to judge a book by its cover. They are a reminder not to forget what Mark Twain said, “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.”

FWIW, I should add that virtually every time my son and I have this discussion I find myself thinking of Admiral Ackbar screaming, "It is a trap!" Why? Because the too smart for his own good son tries to spin it into a discussion about why he needs another Lego set. "It is educational dad. I learn how to build things, use my imagination and wisdom" or so he claims.

Now if I could only figure out how to use the Jedi Mind trick more efficiently I might have fewer of these conversations. Hmmm... excuse me while I go ponder upon this.

Inside the Blogger's Studio- A Dream, Er Nightmare

James Lipton and I were seated inside a dark auditorium. It looked no different than any other interview he had conducted, except that it was me on stage with him. I was being interviewed.
Normally I wouldn’t be thrown by such a thing as I am relatively quick on my feet. If you can handle the bad jokes and the non-sequiturs I can usually keep up with anything you throw at me. Or so I have always thought, maybe I was wrong. I did have one reader write me to say that he doesn't think that I am funny.

Then again this particular reader is so anal retentive it would take a team of monkeys to remove the impaction. Ok, not funny, but I am tired and allowed to be less funny, as opposed to just funny. Funny garners a smile, less funny get's a smirk and almost funny receives a courtesy laugh.

Don't worry if you are unable to keep up, Cliff Notes and a complete transcript will be available following the show.

So there I sat, trying to be cool and to not just be funny, or a little funny, I wanted to be "snorting milk-through-the-nose funny" and was not getting it done. The questions were flying at me.



  • What is your favorite word? Monkey
    What is your least favorite word? chunk
    What turns you on? Electricity
  • What turns you off? A lack of electricity
  • What sound do you love? The Ocean
  • What sound do you hate? Vacuum Cleaner
  • What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Professional Athlete
  • What profession would you not like to participate in? Garbage Man

After each question Lipton would sigh and roll his eyes, the audience was restless. I am fairly certain that I could hear someone snoring. I desperately tried to come up with a funny story, or a witty insight, I felt so pedestrian.

Lipton asked me how I felt about Cookie Monster. I must have had a blank stare on my face as he repeated the question, "Did I steal his cookies?" As the shock spread I squirmed in my seat. My discomfort grew as suddenly my son stood before me asking if the accusations were true. "It is not nice to take things without asking he said."

I sputtered out a lame response, "Cookie has no regard for other people's property. He is the last person to accuse anyone. And besides he is fat!"

"It is not nice to call people names, daddy." As I hung my head my son began to cry. I had hurt his feelings over a stupid puppet.
I could feel the sweat dripping down my back , the lights of the auditorium stage radiating heat. I was in hell, a very strange and bizarre hell that only grew more strange.

There was a loud noise and I looked up to see that I was standing in a ring. I was involved in my own private kumite against a group of characters from children's television.

I didn't have long to consider my options as I was immediately assaulted by Barney. I took the purple dinosaur and punched him the snout. As he held his wounded nose I worked on his body. With a mighty blow I laid him out on the mat. He was immediately replaced by Dora the Explorer and Boots, her pet monkey.

It didn't take a but a minute for me to give them the same treatment that Barney received.

The Wiggles entered the ring. I punched Murray in the mouth and took his guitar, which I then smashed over the heads of Anthony and Greg. Jeff took off running and the ring was empty.

They were followed by all of the Teletubbies. It only took a moment for me to snatch Tinky-Winky's purse from him and the use it to knock out him and the others. I chuckled as they were replaced by more characters, all of them would fall, I could not be defeated and then reality hit me in the mouth.

I was incredibly fatigued and there was an endless line of fighters waiting for me. I needed a plan, a way to escape, the only question was how. Before I could come up with the an answer a new challenger strode into the ring.

A furry red devil named Elmo. We circled each other like gladiators searching for a weakness we could exploit. The little monster was clever, a cagey veteran of many wars. I knew that this would be hard. Sweat poured down my forehead and into my eyes, blurring my vision.

With blinding speed he took advantage of this and began pounding my head, working my kidneys. I was losing to a muppet, I couldn't go down this way. With a roar I grabbed him and began to rain blows down upon him, over and over I struck him and then I realized that he was laughing at me.

That was when I realized that he was trying to use the
Rope-a-dope against me. It all became clear to me. I knew that my strength would eventually fail me and that without a new plan I would fall, a victim of muppetry.

With an effort I managed to scoop him up. I held him by the throat at arms length. I threatened to send him to live with Mr. Hooper, unless I was given a guarantee of safe passage to the Island of Sodor and transportation on Thomas The Tank Engine.

My demands were met by laughter and from the middle of the crowd a voice called out to me, it was the Kingpin, Grover. Grover the cute loveable blue muppet with the gay tendencies began to lecture me on my lack of leverage. He explained in detail what would happen if I didn't give up.

The situation was dire. I knew that he spoke the truth, but still I searched for a way out. Suddenly there was a roar, the ground shook and a blinding light pierced the previously darkened auditorium.

A voice cried out to me, "Jack, we are here." As my vision returned I looked up to see that Max and the Wild Things were next to me. I was rescued.

Strong arms lifted me up and I was carried out a thousand questions came to mind. Where was James Lipton, when would the show air, could I get a copy, was this all on television, would I be invited back and then nothing. I was asleep, exhausted from the battles of the day.

I don't remember anything else from the dream, but when I woke up I did notice something. Lying next to me was my son's stuffed animal, Cookie Monster. He looked at me with a big goofy smile and googly eye, mocking me as if he knew a secret that no one else did.

Children and Blogging

Ten years ago I stood in the on-deck circle and waited for my turn at bat to come. The baby was due in January but I knew that there was a possibility that he or she might decide to come earlier. Sometimes I would put my hand on wife's belly and geek out with Vulcan Mind Meld in which I would ask them not to decide to be born while I was stuck on the 405.

That little person inside proved to be related to me by completely ignoring my request and showing up unscheduled in the middle of the night. In the decade that has passed I have often told him that love has saved his life on more than one occasion. He laughs at that, this boy who has hands and feet that are identical to my own. In so many ways he is like me but also very much his own person.

Last night as he drifted off to sleep he asked me when I was going to let him read my blog. It caught me off guard and I used my Jedi Mind Trick abilities. "I am sorry, your father has left the room." Apparently all this time playing with Star Wars Lego sets has given him his own Jedi training and he was able to shrug it off.

"Dad, you are right there." I smiled and told him that he is way too smart. Even though it was dark I could see him smile and was more than a little pleased when he repeated the question with the caveat to not try to change the subject. I laughed again and told him that I had a different question for him to answer first.

"If we were Star Wars characters who would we be?" It is a funny sort of thing to think about because though we share a love of Star Wars there is a distinct difference in our experiences. That difference is the source of the PSA that teaches dads how to talk to their children about Star Wars. I grew up in a world in which Darth Vader was evil incarnate. That scene in Empire in which he tells Luke that he is his father is epic. Unfortunately the changes that have been made have stolen some of the thunder and power from it.

I mention this because I half anticipated him telling me that I am Anakin and that he is Obi-Wan. I haven't really thought about what character I wanted to be since I saw Star Wars in the drive-in. Yes kiddies, I saw it in 1977 at a drive-in in Chatsworth- I am old. ;)

Anyway, the question was never answered because in the silence of his bedroom that little boy of mine slipped into a very deep slumber. It is a beautiful thing watching your children sleep. They are little bundles of potential who don't worry about serious stuff. When they sleep you see innocence illustrated and wonder what you can do to regain such peaceful slumber for yourself.

Having been saved by the proverbial bell I was granted some time to consider whether I'll let him read this blog. My intention has always been to give this over to my children, but not for many years to come. The plan was to let them read it as grown ups and that is probably what I'll stick with.

They really don't need to be exposed to some of this material for quite some time to come. But his question is a good reminder that we are reaching a point in time where I am going to have to be more cautious in what I share as these stories are not solely my own.

She Broke My Penis

I am jammed for time this morning but wanted to run something lighter than the last post. This post still makes me laugh.


"Dad, She Broke My Penis," said the boy. Now there is a line that most men never want to hear. It evokes all sorts of painful and uncomfortable imagery, not to mention that this joint will show up in all sorts of weird Google searches now.

"Dad, She Broke My Penis." Don't ask me why I had to repeat that line. It is sort of like an accident on the freeway. You don't really want to look at it, but as you cruise on by you find yourself rubber necking the bloody mess.

Lines like that one are part of the joy of being a parent. Besides, as the parent equipped with the same anatomy the responsibility of dealing with this fell into my lap. That is ok, I don't really mind. Mom gets to deal with bodily fluids of all types, especially those labeled projectile.

It was early evening when the big boy told me about his newest injury. There was a tug on the arm and then the earnest expression that accompanied with the tale of how this incident took place.

For a moment I was tempted to go  Joe Friday on him and conduct a thorough investigation. If only he would have asked me while I was working on the computer. I could have easily played the theme to Dragnet.

Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Jimmy: Officer, I'd like to report a broken penis.
Timmy: A broken penis?

Jimmy: Yes, a broken penis.
Timmy: Tell me when was the penis broken?

Jimmy: It was broken during Pokemon.
Timmy: Pokemon? Did you encourage someone to assault said penis.?

Jimmy: No, I was playing Pokemon and my sister kicked me in the penis.
Timmy: She kicked you in the penis? Was it dead on or a glancing blow.

Jimmy: She didn't look at it, She kicked it.
Timmy: Can you describe the girl that kicked it?

Jimmy: She has the same last name as us and she tried to bite me too.
Timmy: Poor Me Too. However did he escape.

Jimmy: No one is named Me Too.
Timmy: I should hope not. That would be a terrible thing for parents to do.

Jimmy: Can you help me fix my penis?
Timmy: What exactly is wrong with it?

Ok, none of that Dragnet bit took place, but if it had I am pretty sure that it would have been close to what I wrote. Anyway, the information is pretty close to that which was exchanged between the lad and I.

I of course began a thorough investigation as to the genesis of this incident. The last thing I need is a "broken penis epidemic," although it would make good blog fodder.

Since I grew up with more sisters than you shake a stick at I was well familiar with the attempt by the boy to garner more sympathy and in turn cause more trouble for his sister. I have to admit that I thought that I had filled my parent's ears with every line one could come up with, but accusations of "breaking a penis" never crossed my lips.

The boy has a certain style and imagination. I like that. But I am the father and I can't have disorder in the ranks so I never let on that I appreciated his attempt. I did make a point to confirm that there are several ways to prove that your penis works just fine. Needless to say that this made for great conversation and should have been videotaped for posterity. You just know that one day his wife and kids would want to see this momentous occasion memorialized.

But because I love him dearly I would never tape such a conversation. Although I must admit that there was an inkling to do so because you never know when a teenage boy might need extra incentive to behave.

So how was your Saturday?

The Death of a Blogger

This is the last post you will ever read here. I have said all that I can say, written all that I can write and the time has come to walk away. It is not something that I do impulsively or easily. I have poured my heart and soul into this place and I am empty. Drained of all energy and devoid of emotion it makes no sense for me to continue writing.
I wrote those words and meant them. I typed them into this post and tried to decide if it really was time to hang it all up. There are a plethora of reasons why I prepared to send this ship sailing off into the darkness. Some of them are technical in nature. I am not happy with the design. It doesn't feel quite right to me and I think that it is not serving me as I wish that it would.

The community that once lived here doesn't come around in the same way as they used to. Comments are a commodity in blogging and this joint doesn't receive that many. I watched as newer bloggers marched in and received more acclaim and were asked to work as columnists/staff writers at other publications and wondered why they got it and I didn't.

And then I looked in the mirror and accepted that the problem was that my nose was bent out of shape unnecessarily. There are things going on in my life that are taxing my patience and making a tolerant man into a very intolerant man. There are also some amazing changes taking place. Countless hours of work and effort are beginning to pay off and that is exceptionally rewarding.

So what I have described in the paragraph above is nothing more than life. It took more words than I care to use and is not as eloquent as I would like it to be, but it is what it is.
"I am a fighter. I am a warrior who hates to be chained, a dreamer who despises authority and a father who understands that sometimes we must all bend the knee." (Excerpt from A Question of Faith.)
When I was considering whether to make the move onto something new I looked back at old posts and came across the one above. I stared at that quote and thought back upon 16,000 discussions with the Shmata Queen about faith. Ruminated and reminisced about them and others. Considered and contemplated whether I have grown as a person and a writer and decided that I have.

This blog has been part of a rebirth for me. I have rediscovered things about myself and learned about what it is that I want in life and what it is that I need. It has been the source of much happiness and a place in which I have shared/experienced significant pain. I am not who I was when I began writing it and that is ok with me.

Too much has happened and I have come too far to say otherwise. It is not necessarily a bad thing. I have been doing this for the better part of a decade now. When I started I had but one child who was still in diapers. That clearly isn't the case anymore and that is cool too.

More changes are coming. Some of them are somewhat frightening because of their nature. They aren't things that you can really plan for, no matter how you try. It is a little bit like trying to control the sea. You can build a ship and sail upon it or grab a surfboard and attempt to ride the swells but you aren't ever in complete control. You just do your best not to crash, sink or drown.

And the truth is that though I am a bit nervous I am  also excited. Change presents opportunity and that should always be welcomed with open arms.

 "You see things and say 'why?' But I dream things that never were and I say 'why not?" — George Bernard Shaw

P.S. To be clear, I am not quitting and I am sorry if I gave that impression. I will continue to write because I still have a lot to say. And as I have said many times, I blog first for me and then for you. Anyway, I'll share more in a upcoming post. Again, my apologies for any confusion.

A Collection of Recent Posts And Then Some: December

And your blast from the past:

Men Who Wear Pink
Decisions and Dilemmas

Parents Aren't Supposed To Be Sick

It is early evening Tuesday night and the house is empty. With the exception of myself and the dog this place is devoid of the clickety-clack clang, clang, clang clang went the trolley chaos of children. But it won't be like this for long so I am trying to take advantage of the silence to write down my thoughts.

The theme to The Magnificent Seven is playing in the background and I suppose that it is appropriate in a way. Early tomorrow morning my mother is going to visit the hospital so that they can take care of an unusual issue. There, eema, I was intentionally vague so that no one knows what is happening. Ok, only somewhat vague because whomever reads this will know that you and some doctor(s) are going to spend time together.

None of the grandchildren know about this, not because it is such a big deal because we don't really know if it is, but still they don't know because they don't need to know. I kind of like saying need to know because it allows me to say that only people who need to know can know about this and they don't need to know.

I am not really nervous about this because as of right now there isn't a reason to be. But I am aware that things can change and though I am confident that they will not, well....Let's just say that I started this blog because when dad had his illness and almost died this place helped to keep me sane.

Life feels very different now. You don't really want to hear this, but I took a picture of you guys on the sidelines last weekend and you looked older. It was a bit surreal because I know precisely how old you both are, but until I saw that picture I didn't think that you actually look like you could be senior citizens. In the grand scheme of things you really aren't that old and you are both younger than the parents of most of my friends.

So as I sit here listening to the Magnificent Seven I can't help but remember being quite little and telling you that I wanted to be a cowboy. For that matter I remember playing a lot of games with you when I was little. Not sure if I had thought about it recently but it occurs to me that I remember quite a bit from when I was roughly kindergarten age. I remember you taking care of me when I was sick and the lunches you used to make.

I remember so many things and I realize that in these memories you are younger than am now. That seems kind of strange, because I am at least ten years older now than you were in these memories of mine.

On a side note, have I ever told you that my children think it is strange to hear me call you anything other than grandma. They once said something to me about it and I said that in spite of appearances, I was not born via immaculate conception. Nor can I say that you or dad ever treated me as if I was godlike, although there is still time to rectify that. I know, I know it is not going to happen but if I didn't ask I wouldn't be me.

Don't blame me when I tell my sisters that you did indeed do this, they won't believe it but a brother's job is to keep his sisters in line and I dare not falter from my god given duty.

Anyway, unless things change I intend to see you when you come home from the hospital. If for some reason this turns into something other than an in and out procedure I will certainly come visit.

All that being said, I remain your little boy who is no longer so little. When did you get to be so short. ;) Love you lots, Me.

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...