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Showing posts from January, 2010

Teaching Children To Give Back

My children and I have an ongoing discussion about what our jobs are. I tell them that their job is to to go to spend each day learning as much as they can about everything. My job is to help them figure out what is most important and what isn't. Occasionally we have discussions about the contradictory nature of being told to learn everything while simultaneously being told that not everything is important. I suppose that one could argue that some of this is a bit too sophisticated for them, but that is ok. We aim high so that if we don't hit the mark we still end up ahead of the game. Anyway, this week we got to celebrate Tu B'Shevat , sort of a Jewish arbor day. It is a great teaching holiday because it offers numerous teaching opportunities. It also has a very cool story that is tied into it about a guy called Honi, the circle maker. I know a bunch of stories about him, but there is one in particular that I really like. I found a version of of it online that I'll

A Few Links of Interest

Haveil Havalim, The blog carnival of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere just came out with Haveil Havalim 254: Tu B’Shevat Edition . And there is a nifty review of this blog that you can find at 2010: The Year of The Daddy Blogger . It is time to do more to stop the pirates or we'll keep reading stories like, British hostages: We're being badly treated . Stupid criminals deserve worse than this .

A Restaurant Surprise

This is kind of a cool idea . Cabel Saasser brings word of a mysterious cafe that he recently experienced in Kashiwa in Japan. Located inside the Urban Design Center Kashiwa-no-ha, the Ogori cafe looks innocuous enough, but holds a surprise in store for its patrons. In a nutshell, you get what the person before you ordered, and the next person gets what you ordered. Thus, if you’re in on the game, you can choose to be either a generous benefactor, and treat those that come after you – or try your luck at being cheap. Either way, it’s an interesting experiment that explores surprise, kindness and encourages interactions.

Caught My Eye

Pepper Spray Mistakenly Used On Burning Man Texas Fraternity Brother Branded, Family Furious Over Ritual 6 Epic Infomercial Fails and Bloopers Gates makes $10 billion vaccines pledge Misspelled Tattoos: Permanent And Hilarious (PHOTOS)

The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves Part II

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping I'm empty and aching and I don't know why Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike They've all gone to look for America." America - Simon and Garfunkel A while back I decided that it would be interesting to review some old posts and see if time and experiences had changed my opinion. The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves seems like an appropriate place to begin. It happens to be one of the posts that made me appreciate blogging. Five years later I have witnessed the disintegration and destruction of a bunch of marriages. Friends who appeared to be the ultimate expression of madly in love are no longer. Their relationships crumbled for a variety of reasons. Some have fallen out of love and others have said that they never were. Some say that with age and life experiences they grew apart and realized that they had become different people. The problem wasn't that they had become

Life Changes- What Now?

In the back of my garage there is a section that is devoted to baby gear. There is a diaper genie, a high chair, crib, clothes and assorted toys neatly stacked, wrapped and boxed up. For a moment I stare at them and and wonder if there is reason to keep them any longer. My youngest is midway through kindergarten and there seems to be no compelling reason to believe that babies will be forthcoming. I am torn about this, unsure if I am ready to accept that this part of my life is over. There are a million reasons why it makes sense to not have any more children. Smart, sensible and practical reasons. Yet I find myself feeling a bit sad and unsettled about this. Am I really ready to say that there will be no more? That doesn't mean that I don't love my kids. I do, they are my world. But I always thought that there would be a few more and I find myself asking myself a ton of questions. ++++++++ In May I'll be 41. I am still young and in relatively good shape. I don'

Worth Reading Again

Time to air out the archives again and shine a light on some old posts that are worth reading: Where I Come From The tears that do not fall The Supermarket A Conversation with Someone Dear To Me Why I Blog Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I

I Never Stop Thinking About You

Another insert for Fragments of Fiction "Oh, I know (oh, I know) That the music's fine Like sparkling wine Go and have your fun Laugh and sing But while we're apart Don't give your heart to anyone But don't forget who's taking you home And in whose arms you're gonna be So darlin', save the last dance for me, mmmm" Baby, don't you know I love you so Can't you feel it when we touch I will never, never let you go I love you oh, so much You can dance (you can dance) Go and carry on 'Til the night is gone And it's time to go If he asks if you're all alone Can he take you home you must tell him no 'Cause don't forget who's taking you home And in whose arm's you're gonna be So, darlin', save the last dance for me Save The Last Dance for Me - The Drifters "Just another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody I've got some money cause I just got paid How I wish I had so

The Greatest Blog Post Never Written

This could be the greatest blog post that was never written. It could be magical, amazing and enlightening. This could very well be the one that launches my career as a writer. Well, I should qualify that.I have worked and am working as a writer. This is a different sort of thing that I am referring to. A post that leads to an opportunity to write a book and to become a published author. I keep dreaming about it. I keep writing about it and wondering how to make it into reality. Do I want to write the great American novel and if so, what do I want to write about. I can be funny. I could tell a million stories that you make you laugh. Or I can go a different direction and write about the great love that got away. I can make you remember that man or woman you still carry a torch for. I can tap into those feelings and make you ask yourself the uncomfortable question of, "what if." But then again maybe it is better to write a book under my role as a father. It could be call

Are you There God? It is Me, Jack

Are you there G-d, it is me Jack. You know, that crazy kid who grew up down the street from you. You remember me, when I was five I got chased down the street by the neighbor's dog. The same neighbor who gave me that awful Kool-Aid concoction that made me puke through my nose. Kind of nasty, but when you are five nasty is kind of cool. Gave me some sort of street cred, not that I knew what to do with it.  Or at least I don't really remember knowing much about it. But maybe I did, maybe that five year old boy knew some secrets that he has since forgotten. Ya know G-d, I am not all that different from a lot of people. I like to think that I make an impression upon people, that they remember me. You can call it ego, fear or insecurity, but it is just nice to know. I know, I say that I don't care about any of that. Most of the time I don't, but I have my moments. Is it a contradiction? I suppose, but that is ok. Women change their minds all the time and although I am

Back To The Hospital...Again

  That tweet was only partially tongue-in-cheek.I made it shortly after finding out that my grandmother had been rushed to the hospital. She tripped and fell late Sunday night and her eye was swollen shut. The docs weren't sure exactly what was going on and ran a bunch of tests. My mother called me early Monday morning to fill me in. She told me that the doctors had provided several different options for how to treat grandma. Sometimes conversations about medical issues are simple. You operate because the patient will die if you don't or you don't operate because the risk is too high. You'll forgive me for not providing all of the details here. It is not really important for you to know and unless you are a medical expert the details won't make this any more or less interesting. And now back to our story. Anyhoo, the docs presented my mother with several different options to choose from and reminded her that though they didn't want to pressure her time wa

Quality of Life

Whenever it is that I may die there are certain things that I want to be able to say, need to be able to say. 1) I did my best to help my children gain the skills and character to fulfill their potential and become the people that we all see that they can become. 2) I did my best to live a life that was filled with passion, joy and fulfillment. 3) That I didn't give into fear or convention. That I didn't allow doubt and uncertainty to prevent me from achieving and obtaining those things that I desire on all levels. That includes spiritual, emotional, mental and material. And it is my hope that I am able to do these things while giving more to the world than I take and while causing a minimal amount of damage and destruction. I take seriously the idea of planting seeds so that fruit trees will grow for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. The path is rockier and stormier than I'd like it to be, but I don't know any other way. I can only be who I am. But

Minnie The Moocher Meet My 9 Year Old Son

I am feeling a bit spent and fighting hard to publish a post that doesn't make me grit my teeth in disgust. If you follow me on Twitter you know that I survived 1,276 hour slumber party. A gaggle of nine year-olds roamed the hallowed halls of Casa De Jack and did their best to wreck the place. Ok, that is not fair, they didn't try to wreck anything, well maybe each other. More than once WWF matches broke out in the bedroom. The grandmothers were none too excited about this and tried to break them up. You would think that since they raised boys they would have understood that wrestling is one of the ways that little boys show affection for each other. Since they seemed to have forgotten this I made a point of instructing them that "in my house they must follow my rules." Have to admit that I took great pleasure in telling them this, payback is sweet. I know all about boys, I am one, albeit far bigger than these guys. Anyhoo, I figured that it wouldn't hurt

Just Another Day

"When I'm tired and thinking cold I hide in my music, forget the day And dream of a girl I used to know I closed my eyes and she slipped away She slipped away It's more than a feeling (More than a feeling) When I hear that old song they used to play (More than a feeling) I begin dreaming (More than a feeling) 'Til I see Marianne walk away " More Than a Feeling - Boston "(There's life underground) I feel it all around / I feel it in my bones My life is on the line / When I'm away from home When I step out the door / The jungle is alive I do not trust my ears / I don't believe my eyes I will not fall in love / I cannot risk the bet Cause hearts are fragile toys / so easy to forget " Just Another Day - Oingo Boingo Sometimes I sit down and type these words and am amazed at the simple truths I learn about myself. The words that appear on the screen illuminate and enlighten me. Now I suppose that to some it soun

What I Dream About

My mother tells me that my preschool teachers used to tell her that they were certain that I would grow up to be a writer. They said that I had a very active imagination. They were right, I did and still do have a very active imagination. I dream in bright colors and crystal clear images. I see movies play in my mind and wonder why I can't turn them into reality. I am not Walter Mitty , although I suppose that we share some traits. I am a dreamer but I am not someone who intentionally misleads other into believing that I am someone other than who I am. I dream about writing books and becoming a published author. I dream about becoming a columnist and writing screenplays. I dream about becoming a doctor, a scientist and a teacher. I dream about playing left field for the Dodgers and power forward for the Lakers. I dream about building a castle and manning the walls. I dream about traveling around the world and quiet moments at home. I dream about places and things that make me

What Do Fathers Dream About

The dark haired beauty looks up at me, a mass of long dark curls cascading down the side of her head and orders me to pick her up. "Abba, I am 5.5 now and I want a phone and pierced ears." As she says this she hugs me, caresses my face and kisses my cheek. This girl of mine has been studying me for her entire life. She thinks that she has me wrapped around her finger. A hug, kiss and a coy look are all tools that she uses to try and disarm me. This little girl has discovered that feminine wiles can be used to try and get her way. I squeeze her back, kiss her forehead and ask her if she wants to know a secret. She smiles and leans in so that I can whisper in her ear. "I love you! And that is why you aren't getting a phone." She snaps her head back and gives me a quizzical look. I laugh and remind her that I grew up with 1,298,098 sisters. I know all of the tricks and none of them work on me. And then I explain to her that because I love her I set boundaries

Stories of Love and Relationships

Boy does that title sound hokey. Anyhoo, I noticed that my flock seems to be wandering so I decided to shepherd them back into the corral, or at least try to. One of these days I really have to sit down and work on these and see about stringing them together into something more coherent. Here are the pieces that I wrote for NaNoWriMo: 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 Will Never Fall In Love Again A Love Song That Needs To Be Written A Love Song That Needs To Be Written Continued Here are some others that I wrote afterwards: Lightning Strikes Twice More than Heaven Will Allow These Pictures of You I Don't Love My Husband Anymore Some Background The Almost Warrior All I Want Is You It Burns You Won't Take My Call And here is a link to a ton of other fiction I have written: Pieces of M

Some Notes About Fragments of Fiction

More than a few of you have left comments or sent emails asking for me to provide more details about a series of posts that I call Fragments of Fiction. These posts are exactly what they seem, fragments of fiction intermixed with fragments of truth. I write about experiences, places and people. I weave stories out of these moments in time and do my best to create something that you, the reader can relate to. I suppose that it is fair to say that I have a few themes that I fall back upon more frequently than others. The story lines always involve some sort of relationship, but the story of that relationship is not always black and white. On their most basic level there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Part of the joy of writing these stories is that there are so many different things that can happen. Life is nothing but interesting. Someone once asked me why these stories always seem to be sad. I suppose that is one way of looking at them. Certainly my mood affects my writing,

A Musical Interlude

Working like a mad man on several projects and am taking a short break. Here is what has been playing on my iPod. Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen The River - Bruce Springsteen Jackson - Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash City of Blinding Lights -U2 I Melt - Rascal Flatts S.O.S. -Abba We've Got Tonight - Bob Seger The Fire Inside - Bob Seger Prodigal Blues -Billy Idol I am The Walrus - The Beatles Insanity - Oingo Boingo Uprising - Muse Bhangra Fever -MiDIval PunditZ

Lightning Strikes Twice

One more for Fragments of Fiction: "No more talk of darkness Forget these wide eyed fears I'm here, nothing can harm you My words will warm and calm you Let me be your freedom Let daylight dry your tears I'm here, with you, beside you To guard you and to guide you" All I Ask of You- Phantom of the Opera "You sheltered me from harm, kept me warm, kept me warm You gave my life to me, set me free, set me free The finest years I ever knew, were all the years I had with you Chorus: I would give anything I own, give up my life, my heart, my home I would give everything I own, just to have you back again You taught me how to laugh, what it solved, what it solved You never said too much, but still you showed the way And I knew from watching you Nobody else could ever know, the part of me that can't let go" Everything I Own- Bread The stormy weather matches my mood. It fluctuates between pensive and irritated. Flashes of light streak acro

Midweek Monstrosity- Recent Posts

A quick round up of recent posts: Adventures in Driving- Children's Edition More than Heaven Will Allow These Pictures of You The Northridge Earthquake- I forgot Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic? Happy Birthday Dr. King- Stuff I think About...Sometimes Haveil Havalim-The Year of Jack Edition

Adventures in Driving- Children's Edition

A thousand years ago when I was but a wee lad my father told me that he wouldn't let me play high school football because I was young, dumb and stupid. Although I used all of the prodigious debating skills a 15 year old could muster, I was unable to change his mind. Furious with his heavy-handed manner I took my bike out and rode like a mad man around the neighborhood and through the city. More than one driver honked at me and received a sharply worded reply that consisted of four letter words and a gesture. It was the beginning of my adventures in driving. Now I could recite many tales of valor and bravery that I earned while driving as well as a few that should be classified as utter stupidity. Such are the stories of the men that survive the young and dumb years when we curse and scream at others. It is one of the blessings the dear lord grants us- extra testosterone with a heaping dose of bravado. But this is not the time nor place to regale you with such stories. I'd

More than Heaven Will Allow

"It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough Man meets woman and they fall in love But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love." Tunnel of Love- Bruce Springsteen "Time in New England Took me away To long rocky beaches --and you, by the bay We started a story Whose end must now wait And, tell me When will our eyes meet When can I touch you When will this strong yearning end And when will I hold you again?" Weekend in New England- Barry Manilow "I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion - I have shudder'd at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyr'd for my religion Love is my religion And I could die for that. I could die for you." ~ by John Keats ~ The problem with opening that box of memories is that once I do I am compelled to relive it. I stand on the

These Pictures of You

"There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more Than to feel you deep in my heart There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more Than to never feel the breaking apart My pictures of you" Pictures of You- The Cure "I just called to say I want you to come back home I just called to say, I love you come back home" Picture- Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow "With the calm of the mountains, I will love you with insanity and balance, I will love you with the fury of my years the way you taught me to be with a powerful raw scream, I will love you In secrecy and in silence, I will love you risking (bordering) in what's forbidden, I will love you in what's false and in what's true with my heart wide open because you're something that's not perfect, I will love you I will love you, I will love you in a way that's not allowed I will love you, I will love you in a way that's never been known of Because that's wha

The Northridge Earthquake- I forgot

It is hard to believe but I completely forgot about the anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake. I wrote about my experience with it here and here . It is the first year that I didn't spend part of the day thinking about it. First time that I didn't spend a moment before drifting off to sleep remembering. We were lucky. Very few lives were lost, but I knew more than a few people who lost their homes. I knew more than a few who had to start over. When I look at the pictures of destruction in Haiti it brings a lot of memories back. I am grateful for all that I have, thankful that I didn't lose more. Those poor people in Haiti deserve better. What happens when more time passes and the spotlight goes elsewhere. What happens then. How many will die because people forget and there is no one there to push for change. I wonder.

Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?

Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic? A thermodynamics professor wrote a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: "Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof." Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following: "First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for souls entering hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project

Happy Birthday Dr. King-

2006 Martin Luther King and My Son 2007 Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jammed on time again. The top three links are old posts about MLK day. Wonder what it is about this day that always seems to be so busy for me. Need to write a post later about discussions with the kids about why people hate others.

Stuff I think About...Sometimes

A few odds and ends before I shut down for the night. Sometimes I think that I was born 20 years too late and 20 years too early. Yes, that is a contradiction, but I am consistent in my contradictions. Money doesn't make you happier, but it does a damn fine job of helping you discover the things that do. I am not materialistic, at least I don't really think so. But I admit that I have a list of things that I want that require more than just a couple of bucks. Here is an incomplete list of those things: I'd like to have a house that includes a library. I want built in shelves and a media center inside it with big overstuffed chairs and a fireplace. I want to travel more often than I have been as of late. I'd like to visit every continent at least once. I'd like to have enough cash to go back to school just for the heck of it. It might be nice to get a degree that is useless for no other reason than for fun. Back to travel, it would be cool to have enough cas

Haveil Havalim-The Year of Jack Edition

Welcome to Haveil Havalim -The Year of Jack Edition. Also known as the Best of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere.  As always remember to keep checking in because this will be updated throughout the day. Also, please help promote the carnival by telling your friends, relatives, neighbors and readers. Easy ways of notifying them include links, billboards, smoke signals, telegraph, telephone and Ouija Boards. Founded by  Soccer Dad , Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by  Jack . The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothin