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Showing posts from June, 2010

Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Music and My Children

The video for Grandpa Gaga made me smile . It made me think of my children and their love for music and dancing. Music has always been a huge part of our family's life and something that my children have taken on as well. It is always there in the background, throughout the happy, sad or angry moments it flows throughout the house. If you watch us you will see that even when we are focused on a project it is not unusual to see our lips moving as we silently sing along to the music of the moment. In the good old days before school their exposure to music was limited to whatever mom or dad liked. Though our tastes are fairly diverse you didn't hear Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus playing. There weren't any boy bands or sugar coated pop music. But some of that has changed. My daughter wanders around singing or dancing to Party In The USA and Bad Romance . So now I find myself paying attention to their music and listening to the lyrics. I ask the dark haired beauty if she has s

Top 50 Rabbis- I am Not Included...Again

As is tradition here are links to the Top 50 rabbis from the past few years as well as the present . I suppose that I should mention that I wasn't included because I don't have smicha, although if you asked some of my friends they have said that they expected that I would become one. I even blogged about it . As a bonus for reading here is the video of Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan's response to where she was on Christmas.

Self- Reliance

I have been thinking about this essay again. "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. " "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our


Reality- it is the gift that you are given at the end of a vacation. Ten days on the East Coast have come and gone faster than they should have. New memories have been formed thoughts and ideas for future trips and funny stories are now logged inside the old melon. Reality required me to return earlier than the family. There is work to be done so I flew home alone and walked into an empty house. Devoid of dog and people it it is deathly quiet. Were it not a house I might have said that it was crypt like, but even though the missing members are gone I still hear the echoes of their footsteps. When I arrived late last night I followed my usual custom of patrolling the house. I walked into each room and checked to see that all was in its proper place. Stopped and stared at a few items because I couldn't remember them being there when I left. Heard a strange noise coming from the back of the house and stopped in my tracks. Standing still I strained to identify the sound. I was ti

I Am Not Awake Yet

Time zone changes never affected me much. I always attributed that to having a personality that allows me to adapt and adjust quickly to whatever is going on around me. Today is a little bit different, not really sure why. It is the last day of a two week trip around the East Coast and I am not quite awake yet, though I probably should be. Technically it is almost 11 but my cellphone and laptop disagree with the clocks in the house and maintain that it is not yet 8 A.M. Don't ask me why, but I never changed any of the clocks for this trip. Kind of odd for me as normally that is among the first things that I do, change the clock that is. My normal hours are probably different from most people, or so I assume. I routinely stay up past midnight and then rise again around six or so. I am slow going in the morning so I take my time waking up. It is fair to say that I am not unlike the grouchy bear.  Those that know me understand that caution is needed in the early morning because li

The Posterous Problem

I have a secondary blog that I run on Posterous. I set it up about a year ago as a place that I would use on sort of an experimental basis and have found it to be quite useful. Along the way I decided to import the posts from Random Thoughts to it. I thought that it would be a good way for people who discovered me on Posterous to get a better feel for who I am and that it might also serve as a way to back up the main blog. It would have worked out quite nicely but I didn't know that Posterous didn't have a mechanism in place for discerning which posts had already been imported. The system was designed to work as a primary blog not a secondary. It imports posts beautifully and with great efficiency. So my moment of genius actually created an issue because I have a Posterous blog that has multiple copies of my posts. I did manage to keep the blog up to date but I also created a ton of duplicates. I felt a bit like the Sorcerer's Apprentice. So now I have this beautiful P

Goodnight My Children

Time and circumstances have taken me away from my children. Earlier today I hugged them tight, kissed their heads, whispered a silent blessing and said goodbye. With some effort I turned and walked away, each step taking me closer to a car that will lead to a plane that will take me farther away from them than I am right now. If fortune smiles upon me the time apart will be brief and the moments that lie in between will be quick. I go off to take care of grown up things that they know nothing of and have no part in. That is as it should be. They need to be children for as long as they possibly can because once childhood is gone there is no way to turn back the clock. Innocence is only ours but once and then experience has its way with our eyes and they never see things the same way again. Sometimes that is a good thing. There are moments in which innocence lost is a treasured gained. Today I looked in my son's eyes and I saw a boy who was determined to be tough even though it

Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #17

2010 is the year of the daddy blogger and as such it is time again for the Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience. Here we are in week 17 of our ongoing journey throughout the daddy blogosphere. The Traveling Jack Band has been on the road for well over a week and I have just about lost the remaining vestiges of my mind so I'll apologize now if this reads like a Fodors' Guide Book. DC Urban Dad: 10 random lessons learned from moving Always Home and Uncool: Certifiable Luke, I Am Your Father: The Terrible Myth Pacing The Panic Room: Joyous Steps is What She takes Daddy Yo: Real Talk: Being a Man of Courage SAHDPDX: Can I put my brother in the chipper? Almighty Dad: Housecleaning: Who Rules the Roost? Dadwagon: A Week on the Wagon: Embowelment Edition  Daddy Files: What If?  Real Men Drive Minivans: I’m in love with another woman SAHD in Lansing: It’s game time Rebel Dad: NYT Goes After Pampers on the Dad Thing Mocha Dad: A Modest Proposal Clar

Sometimes When You Win You Lose

The few readers who truly know me understand that while I take certain liberties with my stories there are some things that I don't exaggerate. I don't fear confrontation and rarely back down. In a disagreement I am more than a handful and I prefer not to be involved in stupid disagreements. If arguing with a fool means that you are an idiot than I have earned the title of "stupid idiot" because I have wasted more than a few words and minutes in disagreements with fools. Fortunately age and life experience have helped to educate me so that I find myself in such foolish predicaments far less frequently than ever before. Most of the time I try very hard to avoid engaging in such silly situations. I have nothing to prove and no reason to waste my energy dealing with those people that create disharmony in my life. But sometimes I find myself drawn into it and forced to remind myself that sometimes when you win you still lose. Such was the situation I found myself in

Children Need Coping Skills

A thousand years ago during the days when no one called me dad and I was just your run of the mill single guy I had lots of opinions about children. In particular I had strong feelings about how they should behave in public and thought poorly of parents who couldn't control them. It seemed to me like there were far too many examples of parents who didn't care what their children did. Restaurants, airplanes and movies seemed to be filled with children running wild and parents who were oblivious to the chaos their offspring were creating. I didn't understand why this was so. It wasn't how I was raised and had my siblings or I tried any of that our parents would have stopped it immediately. Now years later I understand that sometimes there are situations that arise in which parents find themselves struggling to keep their children from running amok. Sometimes it is because the child has a behavioral issue that makes it more challenging to be well behaved in public. Oth

The Life of a Writer- Thoughts

Sometimes the only reason to travel is for the gifts that it provides a writer. The opportunity to find yourself lost in a new world filled with mystery and adventure is indescribable, or so it seems to me. Thousands of miles from home I stare out the window and embrace the majesty of the scenery. I love this mountain setting, green trees, hills and a lake. I love walking around a quiet town and discovering little shops and the people that run them. The lake calls to me, begs me to come immerse myself in it. Somewhere there are fish that wish to do battle with me. Outside the sun has begun to warm the earth and my children are exposed to things, people and a place that I know in a different way. They walk and look around and find themselves granted a glimpse of something that their father loves. Too young to appreciate what it means to me now there will come a day when they are old enough to understand that the way to see inside dad's head is to spend some time in these place

The Pain of The Present- Video Doesn't Lie

Video doesn't lie, but I sure wish that it did. Been traveling with one of them handy-dandy Flip video camcorders. Been a recording fiend, taking all sorts of videos of the kids doing this and that. Later I sneak onto to the computer and play with it. Editing clips, adding music and turning the raw footage into something a little bit more exciting. It is something that I enjoy quite a bit, this editing stuff. The videos are just a different medium I use to create. They serve as another tool that I can use to express myself and I love that. But they also lend irrefutable proof that I am not 25 anymore. The man I see on the video looks...old. He looks like one of those fathers I used to say that I'd never become. He is not as smooth and graceful as he appears in my mind. He needs to go on a diet because his health is too important. That is not to say that he is morbidly obese or hideously repulsive. Most people wouldn't say that and he wouldn't care if they did. But

The Family Vacation- Losing My Mind

Let's pretend that it is not quite the witching hour but that it is quickly approaching. We'll ignore that after a week on the east coast I haven't adjusted to the time zone. It is not because I can't or as if I am suffering from jet lag because I am not. Can't really say why I haven't just, that I am operating in a different place that lies somewhere in the twilight zone. We'll spend a moment talking about the week that was and how cool it was to see my nieces and nephews. We'll talk about how Uncle Jack was in rare form and why my sisters loved/hated having me live with them. We'll tell stories about endless hours at the lake and at the pool. Share memories of making s'mores, Rocky Mountain Toast and stories I told about when we were little boys and girls. And I'll share my frustration of having very little privacy and how I am far less tolerant of some things than I used to be. It is not so easy living in a house that is not your own.

Fercockteh Commenting System

I finally gave up on DISQUS. They have a commenting system that I thought was really going to supercharge things here but they never managed to get it together. More than five years of Blogger comments lie trapped in limbo. They promised to help rescue them but never managed to get it done. In the interim I gained new comments on DISQUS and comments from readers that they couldn't make the damn system work. So because I am a glutton for punishment I installed Intense Debate. It appears to be superior to Blogger's native commenting system so I am giving it a run. Unfortunately due to time constraints I wasn't able to do the normal testing and QA that I like to run so for the next day or so there may be a few glitches. My apologies. With a little luck we'll get that all squared away sooner than later or maybe not. One of these day I really will move this all to my own domain on a Wordpress blog, but we haven't quite hit that point yet. In the interim keep the

Traveling Music

Here is a snippet of what the Traveling Jack Band has been listening to: How Do You Like Me Now - Toby Keith How Do You Like Me Now - The Heavy You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This - Toby Keith Uprising - Muse Into The Mystic - Van Morrison Save The Last Dance - Michael Buble The Hustle - Van Mcoy He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies Mothers of The Disappeared - U2 The Song is Over - The Who Bad Company - Bad Company A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash

A Father's Dream

A Father's Dream is a contradiction. It is a non-descript, descriptor that both attracts and repels readers. It is three simple words that can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Three words that can lead the reader down the primrose path into a tangled tale of personal dreams or general ambition. So my friends it is your choice to make, do you continue to read to see where the madman shall take you or do you point and click your way into some other thicket of thoughts. Even as we speak the hamsters are working feverishly inside my melon, running hard so that they can feed the machine so that I might produce another 600 words for your review. Traveling Jack and his band of merry men have been on the road for more than a weekend and less than a fortnight. It has been enough time for he and his children to engage in discussions both serious and silly. They ask him why he is armed with enough electronic gear to open a small store. More importantly they wish to know why

Links that Caught My Eye

A sample of some of the stories that caught my eye. Harry Potter's Wizarding World conjures up crowds   Swiss Firm Says Its Fabric Can Clean Up Oil Spill   7 Classic Disney Movies Based On R-Rated Stories   Gut bacteria in Japanese people borrowed sushi-digesting genes from ocean bacteria   Putting a Private Detective in Your Laptop   Q.&A.: Updating a Digital Camera’s Software   Coffee's Mysterious Benefits Mount

Moments To Cherish, Moments To Treasure

Some times people look at me and wonder where it is that I am. That is, they see my body occupying a space but they recognize that my mind is elsewhere. It has been this way for as long as I can remember and I suspect it always will be. Endless hours are spent in the present living out the days and enjoying the fruits of my labor and effort. Countless minutes spent in the here and now because that is how life is meant to be lived and I would not want to live in a world where it was otherwise. Still, there are those moments that you will find me elsewhere. Those times where you see me and know that my mind is elsewhere. During those you will find me walking in the gardens of memory engaged in reflection of moments to cherish and moments to treasure. Some of those moments are things that I have seen or done with my children and others are of a different nature. Time spent in a secret world in a place that only one other has seen. Occasionally I will open the gates and enter the lan

A Working Vacation

This trip is what you would call a working vacation. My time is divided among family and work responsibilities. In that respect it is nothing like the family trips that I remember from my youth and for that I am sorry. My children are forced to share me during a time where I should be focused on them. My siblings and I never faced any of these things on our vacations. Mom and dad were always there. There weren't any waves or gestures for silence while dad finished talking to a client. But then again there weren't laptops, cellphones or any of the other electronic leashes technology has afflicted us with. That is sort of a negative perspective so let me provide the positive spin on it too. The electronic leashes as I have named them also provide freedom to get away from a desk and go elsewhere. Some of the projects that I am working on require attention that I couldn't otherwise give and so I am grateful for this flexibility. But it is sometimes hard for me not to comp

Stuff I Wrote Recently

The Father's Day That Was Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #16 Father'... All Gave Some, Some Gave All New Posts Coming Soon I Should Be Packing Hump Day Is Over Wrap Up I Don't Want My Children To Be President Late Afternoon Music Melange Traveling Music Johnny Cash - Ghost Riders In The Sky When I Die- Father's Day Continued I Fell Down The Rabbit Hole Father's Day or Fathers' Day Though The Looking Glass Dear Celtic Fan

The Father's Day That Was

The clock on my computer says that it is a quarter after 8 but the clock in the kitchen says 11:15. So I close my eyes and ask my body for the answer and receive a strongly worded WTF in response. The engine room can't figure out why the captain would ask such a stupid question. Been back east for a short while now but I never bothered to change the time on the 'puter, phone or watch. Scratch that, I don't wear a watch anymore. Anyhoo, I am stuck in some surreal timezone that I created for myself-do I care? No, not really. During the last 41 years or so I think that I have missed spending Father's Day with my dad just a couple of times so it is very noticeable to me when he is not around. Kind of funny really, neither one of us put much stock in these types of holidays, though if we were in the same city we would have gotten together. But since the Traveling Jack show is on the road that wasn't possible this year. Instead we spent it with other family members

Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #16 Father's Day Edition

2010 is the year of the daddy blogger and as such it is time again for the Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience. Here we are in week 16 of our ongoing journey throughout the daddy blogosphere. Did I mention that I watched the Lakers destroy their hated enemy- the evil celtics? No, well let me say it again Boston is done...finished...on the verge of fading into obscurity again. Anyhoo, it is time to celebrate the good work of the men again so take a moment to get your favorite drink and dig into some bloggy goodness provided by the testosterone chugging males of the blogosphere. Happy Father's Day Guys. And Triplets Make Six: Radio Silence Sex and The Single Dad: Blogger Stalking Jack: All Gave Some, Some Gave All Daddy Yo: "Real Talk" - Guest post from Chris Goforth Real Men Drive Minivans: My 15 minutes of fame have been extended SAHD in Lansing: Fatherhood Friday: Tribute to the dads Seraphic Secret: A Good Life Raleigh Daddy: Touchscreen kids

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Mansions of The Lord - West Point Glee Club "To fallen soldiers let us sing where no rockets fly nor bullets wing Our broken brothers let us bring to the mansions of the Lord No more bleeding no more fight No prayers pleading through the night just divine embrace, eternal light in the mansions of the Lord Where no mothers cry and no children weep We will stand and guard tho the angels sleep All through the ages safely keep the mansions of the Lord" As we walked through the airport I noticed a crowd standing by the window. Some 20-25 people were staring out the window at a plane and some police cars, at least, that is what I thought it was. But then I took a harder look and got a bit choked up. If you look at the right side of the picture you will see a group of men and an open cargo door. The men are a mix of police and marines in dress uniform. And just peeking out of the open cargo door is a casket draped in a flag. I can't tell you a thing about

New Posts Coming Soon

I Should Be Packing

Ten minutes ago there were 600 words sitting in this box. Six hundred words that I decided were not worthy of publishing. They didn't merit exposure to the the light of day so with a simple point-and-click I eliminated them, disposed of them and started over. They displeased me these words. They were awkward and disjointed, ugly and unforgiving. There is a time and place for such things. Sometimes I like to use such constructs because they help to illustrate a picture and moment. They tell tales such things but some tales deserve better than and thus you find yourself traveling down a different path than you would have. And in the not so different future Traveling Jack and his band will do the same. We'll hit the road and head out for parts known and unknown. Soon we will be stuck among the masses and listening to the captain speak about cruising altitudes, flight instructions and other such things. The dark haired beauty has already given me instructions for how I am to

Hump Day Is Over Wrap Up

I Don't Want My Children To Be President Late Afternoon Music Melange Traveling Music Johnny Cash - Ghost Riders In The Sky When I Die- Father's Day Continued I Fell Down The Rabbit Hole Father's Day or Fathers' Day

I Don't Want My Children To Be President

That has to be one of the saddest things that I have ever written, but it is true. I don't want my children to be President of the United States of America, or like cool kids say...POTUS. That should be blasphemy. We should live in a country in which a father wants his children to be president, not because of the power/fame it provides but because of what that power provides. The opportunity to give back and to make the world a better place than it was when they entered office. I think of this as being common sense. Altruism is something I want from government officials. I don't want empty campaign slogans that talk about change or fighting for us- but I don't see that. And what I do see makes me sad, angry and worried. I don't want my children to be president because I don't want them to be subjected to the unrealistic expectations that we shower upon our candidates. I don't want their lives dissected so that the most ridiculous minutiae is unveiled and

Late Afternoon Music Melange

Night Time Is The Right Time - Ray Charles I'll Have To Say I Love You In  a Song - Jim Croce Helter Skelter - The Beatles Don't Give Up - Willie Nelson & Sinead O'Connor  Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel This Time - John Legend The Rising - Bruce Springsteen   Going To California -Led Zeppelin When The Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin   Boee -Idan Raichel The Hustle - Van McCoy  Annie's Song - John Denver

Traveling Music

Many of you have asked for us to provide you with a "how we make the magic happen" tour of the Traveling Jack show. And by gum we aim to please so here is a sneak peek at some of the  back stage activities and events that are tied into the tour. A special soundtrack is prepared for every tour. Typically it is a multiple CD pack of music that is designed to serve a number of functions. There are "educational" songs that are included for the children. Educational doesn't necessarily mean stuff that they would get in school, rather it is exposure to music that they might not be familiar with. There is driving music that is included for those portions of the trip that involve heavy driving time. Sometimes the driving music is fast and upbeat and others it is soft and relaxed- something that will help the small passengers sleep. One of the most important CDs is the airplane mix. This is specially made for Traveling Jack himself. The old man is a bit of a nervou

When I Die- Father's Day Continued

Some people think that I am morbid or that I have some sort of fascination with death. I would say that they are incorrect about that. What I do have is a list of people that I knew that died early. Some died from illness, some by accident and a couple were murdered. They weren't all close friends or people that I knew well. The depth of our relationships varied from person to person. But I learned a lot of lessons about life and myself from them. I learned that sometimes when we think that we have life by the balls it is really a tenuous grip that doesn't always hold as firm as we might like. As a parent I think about the welfare of my children on a regular basis. That means that I have to think about what happens if I die unexpectedly. They are still so little, so very young and I have to figure out what I can do protect and care from them. I suppose that is part of why I like George Strait's song Love Without End, Amen . "Last night I dreamed I died and stoo

I Fell Down The Rabbit Hole

The scene is simple in concept. Warehouse setting, could be a rave or some other underground party. The hero is wandering through- lost in the crowd and somewhat disoriented. A mass of wriggling bodies continue to dance and twist to the techno beat of the music. It is not relaxing, nor is it invigorating. It is loud. It is chaotic and it is crazed. The cacophony of  the music is troublesome and irritating. Everywhere he turns there are people but no friendly faces to be found. There is no shelter or port to be found. It may not be the perfect storm of thunder and lightning, but a storm it is. He feels like he is not quite awake but not quite asleep either. Wandering through that place between dreams and reality he strains to remember what it was he once saw and who it was he saw there. The music grows louder, the crescendo coming down with incredible force against his head. He staggers into a wall and collapses upon the ground. Slumped over he places his head in his hands and fig

Father's Day or Fathers' Day

Been thinking about Father's Day or Fathers' Day (more on this later) as I sometimes like to think of it. Grand old Jack, all 41 of 41 going on 25 is going to be out of town for Father's Day. In 41 years I have missed celebrating Father's Day with my dad just once. It was six years ago- the year that he had his heart attack, triple bypass and all sorts of other fun in a New Jersey hospital. Six years ago I celebrated the day with my immediate family, some of my sisters and three grandparents. I remember looking around the room. The dark haired beauty wouldn't decide to announce her presence to the world for six more weeks, Little Jack really was little and my grandfathers were asking for more details about my dad's condition. If you asked me if I spoke with my father that day I would say that I did, but I couldn't tell you what we spoke of or about. Can't say whether I said "I love you dad" or something similar. No doubt I told him to kee

Though The Looking Glass

1... 2... 3... Oh Mary Can you hear my song? Does it make a mournful sound? I sang it once when first I saw you And I sing it to you now. Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Talking bout love Mary Oh Mary Oh No, I don't want nothing in between Mary Oh Mary Oh Don't tie me to words that you don't mean Mary Oh Mary Oh I'm lookin' for something I never knew Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary You know I'm lookin' for you Oh Mary You can doubt the world, But don't ever doubt in me I sang it once that I'd never leave you And that's how it's gonna be Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Talkin' bout love Mary Oh Mary Oh No I don't want nothin' in between Mary Oh Mary Oh Don't tie me to words that you don't mean Mary Oh Mary Oh I'm looking for something I never knew Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary You know I'm lookin' for you Oh Mary Let the chance go by It may never come again I've been a

Dear Celtic Fan

Dear celtic fan, Some of you have been trying to give me a little heat because I refuse to say that you have the better team. Get used to it, I am not going to change my tune. Yes, you are up 3-2. You have won one more game than we have. But that doesn't make you the better team. You are still the underdog here. Still the team that has made fewer mistakes and that translates into victory. The NBA has what, 30 teams that are in the league. Virtually all of them make the playoffs. In fact, if your team didn't make the playoffs it is probably because they died in a plane crash or are lying comatose somewhere. Not nice, but true. Everyone makes the playoffs. Your homer Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy had all sorts of things to say about you. I thought the Celtics played their fans this season. Don't rope us in with "ubuntu" for two years then turn your back on it like it was a kabbalah fad or something. Don't tell us to embrace "The New Big Three,&quo

Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #15

2010 is the year of the daddy blogger and as such it is time again for the Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience. Here we are in week 15 of our ongoing journey throughout the daddy blogosphere. Just finished watching the Lakers lose to the hated celtics. And I admit that it grates upon my nerves to watch an inferior team beat the boys. Doc Rivers talks about how they had to lose their way into the playoffs and then hope for the best. My kids think that it is unfair, but as I tell them life isn't always fair. Sometimes the bad guys win. But the series isn't done yet. Sex and The Single Dad: The German Chick Daddy Files: Catholic Church: Gay Parents No Good  Random Thoughts: Exchanging Pleasantries Almighty Dad: Abby Sunderland’s Parents: Irresponsible or Enlightened? Bruce Sallan: Just A Guy Who Likes Separate Vacations! Dad Today: She was AMAZING! SAHD in Lansing : Dad Blog Review: Almighty Dad KneeDeep In Kids: Stroller Hooks FTW  Outnumbered : The Father