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 seen the videos for these songs and she says no, but I am not convinced. She tells me that she has heard some of these songs at school or on play dates.

So I sit down and think about it, wonder how I feel. I am not the over protective father and I am not the guy who jumps up and down screaming for everyone to wear a sweater because I am cold. I watch the dark haired beauty sing and dance and I smile.

She is cute, this girl of mine. She likes it when I dance with her, hasn't realized that dad doesn't have rhythm for anything other than slow dancing and two stepping. The girl doesn't understand all of the lyrics- she enjoys the music and the beat. But as I watch her I see a girl who floats between dancing like a six year old and someone who is older.

I wonder if it is just my imagination or is she trying to move her hips a bit. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I am a 41 year old man who has always had a very healthy appreciation for girls and I can't help but think that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

And though it is a double standard I worry more about my daughter than my son. I know how single minded of purpose boys can be and how easy it is to say what someone wants to hear. And then I shake my head and say that she is going to be six in a few weeks, this is ridiculous talk.

She dresses appropriately for her age. She acts like a little girl because she is one. With a sigh and a shrug I decide to take it day by day- not going to freak out about it. If I find out that she is actually watching inappropriate videos than someone will hear from me, but no reason to do that now. She sings God Bless the USA as often as she sings anything else so we'll watch and see what happens.

There is nothing better than being a father, but damn if it is not one concern it is another.

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 own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

I have always appreciated the following line:

"No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature." Ralph Waldo Emerson is responsible for the aforementioned as well as the paragraphs above.

There is much to be said about all of this. Every time I read this I see something new.


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 tired and cranky from a long plane ride. The guy in front of me invaded my space with six hours of horrific gas, it was unpleasant. So when I heard that noise in my home I was disturbed.

With no one else around it was a particularly bad time for an intruder to show up. Inside my mind I heard a little boy ask me to kill bad guys dead. I think that he was about four when my son said that to me- a lifetime ago.

Break into my home and all bets are off. But like I said this time I had no one to worry about other than myself. Alone in the dark I prepared to creep over to the location that the noise was coming from. In a moment I was going to confront someone or something.

I stopped and glanced at the time, 12:35 A.M.- well past the witching hour. Slowly I moved through the house. Armed with a baseball bat a bottle of hairspray I was ready to do battle. In just a moment someone was going to be very sorry that they walked where angels fear to tread.

And then it happened....I stepped on a toy and screamed. Legos are particularly good at finding the soft, tender places in your foot. In seconds I morphed from Ninja dad to "you could be the idiot on hopping around on one foot dad" who was filmed for America's Funniest Home Videos.

In the midst of cursing all that is holy I turned on the lights and discovered that the source of the noise was a child's toy. A E%%#^&%^#&%$# doll whose battery apparently holds enough power to keep the sun burning for a thousand years.

Later I would lie in bed and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Oy, life is just something else.

And now, during the morning hours it is clear that I was exceptionally tired. And so it goes. So I sit here sharing these notes with you. In another moment I will sign off and go throw the laundry in the dryer and take a shower.

Afterwards when I feel a bit more awake I'll tackle the mail. Vacation is over and reality has set in.

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 like that bear I am willing to use claws and teeth. The children of course ignore these things. Fearless little cubs climb into bed and hop on pop. They jump, poke, prod and tickle me.

Progeny does have its privileges or maybe it is natures way of protecting the young, but I am relatively tolerant of these things.

Under normal circumstances I would have injected myself with a dose of high powered caffiene, showered and headed out the door. But today is a travel day so I do things differently. I am not really ready to be awake yet. Even though I didn't change the clocks I did make a few adjustments so I am kind of in this time zone, although I guess that it would be more appropriate to say Mountain or Central. Might not be New York City, but it could be Dallas.

Staring out the window I see deer walking through the trees and squirrels dancing in the leaves. The squirrel reminds me of a few that live in my backyard. My flight isn't for hours, but I am starting to get restless. I can feel the pull of responsibilities of home life calling to me. There is a gate to fix, junk in the garage to be given away and painting to be done. I try to push it out of my mind- no reason to think or worry about that which I cannot deal with now.

Still, I hear silent whispers inside my head- these are the signs of the end of a vacation. Little symbols that though I may not be home physically the mind is preparing the body. The end of the trip is bittersweet. Overall it has been a very good time and I have some special memories to take home. My new toy, the Flip camera has been a joy and an incredible amount of fun to play with. I have made a bunch of videos and am enjoying it immensely.

It is good for me, this camera. These videos tickle my creativity and I find joy in it.

Joy is something that I discuss with the children. Joy and happiness. We talk about what brings us joy and what makes us happy.These are things that are important and noteworthy. They help us to get through the days be they good or bad.

One last stretch and another sentence to share here. I still am not ready to be awake, but I suppose that a hot shower will help take care of that. Won't be long before the Traveling Jack show boards the plane to head back home and another tour becomes a memory............


Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

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 Posterous blog that requires a fair amount of maintenance and repair.

So the question I am asking myself this fine morning is whether it would be easier to simply start over or if I am going to take time to pick out the duplicate

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

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 wasn't what he really wanted. So I wrapped him up in a giant bear hug and shook him. And though he protested it wasn't with real effort and we both got what we wanted.

The dark haired beauty was a different story. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me down to kiss my cheeks. It was a demand, not a request and one that I gladly acquiesced to. Dark eyes looked into mine, searching for something that she never did verbalize.

And now hours past and hundreds of miles later I sit here at my computer digesting the day and playing back the mental movie of the moments that were. Somewhere in beds far from here they are asleep, these children of mine.

I spoke to them moments after they brushed their teeth and listened to stories about dinner and what they had seen. I promised to see them sooner than they thought, telling them that I would greet them in their dreams. And then, I said goodnight- told them that I loved them and hung up.

Soon I will shut the computer down. I'll turn it off, unplug it and walk upstairs to a bed that is not mine and close my eyes. And just before I fall asleep I will picture the place that I promised to meet my children. Even now I am already beginning to visualize it. So you'll forgive me if I cut this short, I have a date that I can't miss.

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
Clark Kent's Lunchbox: A Dad's Resume As Read By His Son
The Mommy Daddy: They’re Trying To Kill Me
Raleigh Daddy:Smarty pants
NY Dad: Looking good kid…
A Dudes Guide: Traveling Wilbury 
Dad Today: Off we go!
The Dad Pad: Chick-fil-A’s Daddy/Daughter Date night
Techy Dad: Aloha Friday: Obtaining Recipes From Restaurants
Dadvocate:  Dadvocate Podcast Episode 11 – Dad of Divas
The Yet another drop-side crib recall

If you like what you see here then please consider becoming a fan of the blog. Have additional questions/comments? Send me an email at talktojacknow-at-gmail-dot-com.

Prior Editions:

Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience
Festival of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 2
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part III
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 4
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 5
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #6
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #7
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #8
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #9
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #10
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #11
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #12
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #13
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #14
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #15
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #16 Father's Day Edition

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 this afternoon. Stuck between a rock and a hard place I responded to the intentional provocation that was thrust upon me. My response leapfrogged ugly and went straightnow  to nasty. It is not something that I am proud of. And though I had made it eminently clear that if this disagreement ever came about it would flow as it did I am still disappointed.

What have I gained from it? Not much, if anything. If it were a prizefight you would have seen the judges announce my name as the victor by knockout. It wasn't even close and it probably never should have happened.

And now to quote my grandfather (may he rest in peace) I'll play out the hand using the cards I was dealt. Only time will tell if this disagreement was truly worth engaging in or if it was something other than that.

The only upside to it was that it provided a great lesson for my children, especially my son. He didn't see it and knows nothing about it, but it was the source of my thought that sometimes when you win you lose. So I'll keep my fingers crossed that if nothing else he learned something from our conversation.

That wouldn't fix everything, but it would be a bit of a mitigating factor. But for now we shall just wait and see.

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. Other times it is because the kid/parent has reached their breaking point and they are melting down.

I get it. I understand. I have been there. Been at that place where I am so exhausted I feel like I can't deal and the kids get a moment to run wild. I have been there when they have lost it and aren't able to get themselves in check.

So I have some understanding and sympathy for parents. My rule of thumb is if you are trying to help your child you get a break from me. But what I cannot tolerate is when parents don't do anything. I can't stomach the idea of children running a household because mom/dad aren't willing to do the work.

Discipline comes with the job, it is part and parcel. And discipline doesn't have to mean corporal punishment. You don't have to beat a child to help them learn what is wrong/right. Corporal punishment merits its own post- I don't want to get caught up in that now.

Rather let's talk about coping skills for a moment because it is a key element of parenting. If you don't teach your child how to lose you are failing them. If you don't teach your child how to deal with not getting everything they want you are failing them. If you don't teach your child how to deal with hard times you are failing them.

Those are hard lessons that aren't easy for adults. They aren't easy for anyone, but they are critical skills to learn. We can't protect our kids from everything. We won't always be there to save them from "life." So it is up to us to give them the tools to deal with whatever comes along.

Coping skills make for happier children.

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 places. They'll follow the trails and in the silence learn some of what I find so beautiful.

Endless hikes that take us to places where you cannot hear cars, trucks or airplanes provide a setting that my beloved LA cannot match. There are multiple sides and levels to me- there are things that I want them to share with me but I don't know how to do it other than in this manner.

Experience. That is the only thing I can offer that might provide the background and feeling that I want them to have.

In my dreams I often think that the life of a writer, the one that I could live would be like this. Trips to places both near and fat. Moments where we step into a different place, time and way of life. These things call to me. The idea of having a cabin in the woods where I can escape to do nothing but live and write is something that I want.

So as I sit here flinging out these silly musings I remind myself that I tell the children that part of living means trying to find a way to live your dreams and not dream your life. That is advice that I work on trying to follow myself.

I think that I am doing it. It may be slow, but I am finding ways to make it happen. And that progress makes me happy, makes me smile. Impatient though I may be, it is good to know that I can live the way I teach my children to.

It has been fun kids. Enjoy....

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 his ego is far too large to allow for this to continue. If it wasn't would he continue to speak of himself in the third person. I doubt it.

What can I say. I don't like seeing myself on camera anymore. Dad looks like a dad and I don't like it. So the realy question is what am I going to do about it. Will I be content to make fun of myself in a blog post or will I take action.

Well, action is always preferable so inaction so now it is time to prove that words have weight behind them, no pun intended. Time to to buck up and part of that means getting a decent night's sleep. See you in the a.m.

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. My sisters are great hostesses and do a wonderful job of making you feel comfortable and wanted. But still it is not my place and I have to adjust to different ways of doing things. Not always so easy.

While we stroll down memory lane we'll take a look at a 300 mile car trips that took far longer than it should have. We'll talk about being forced to park on the freeway for 1.5 and how crazy it was. Might even talk about the children and their requests to use the facilities.

Under normal circumstances you'd merely exit the freeway and find a convenient restroom. Not so easy when traffic stops, people exist their cars and mill about aimlessly.

And many hours later you too might find yourself typing in a dark hotel room. You might look to your left and see a ten year old boy sleeping diagonally in the bed that you are supposed to share with him. And you might wonder how you are going to possibly sleep with him practicing Krav Maga in  his sleep. Or more importantly wonder how many new aches and pains will materialize after such a night.

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 faith true believers and I'll see you on the other side.

Why oh Why Would Someone Search For This

Mark this down as being among the most disturbing search terms ever to come up on my blog:

the meaning of the cookie monster sexually

If you google that you will find me, second link from the top. Oy, why oh why.

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 he is always pointing his Flip camera at them. The dark haired beauty says that he is crazy- her older brother says that it is not nice to say that dad is nuts, but whispers "you're right."

If someone else had the Flip or some other means of videotaping us they already would have uploaded video footage of the crazy dad dancing to U Can't Touch This with his beeeyootiful daughter. This where a Father's Dream comes into play. Crazy dad imagined that he looked more than a little cool dancing. The dark haired beauty encouraged him to continue his herky-jerky movements- her laughter fueled his fire and he kept going until he was out of breath.

Oy, do you know what an almost six year old with dark eyes can do when she says, "dance again daddy." All I have to say is that I came within moments of going viral on YouTube for all the wrong reasons.

Hmm...I just changed tenses again. Somewhere my English teachers are shaking their heads and wondering why I insist on breaking the rules. All I can say is that I am consistent- broke the rules back then and am still breaking them now.

This used to make Jack's mama crazy. She would tell me that once I knew the rules I would be allowed to break them, grammatically that is. She would also ask me not to torment my siblings. And I must confess that I did dream about not doing that, but as the only boy among 16k girls it was too easy and I sometimes succumbed to temptation.

Life outside the big city we live in is different. I am happy that the children are exposed to these things. Some of the differences are exciting. They love watching deer wander through the backyard and think that it is really cool to be able to drive into Manhattan at a moment's notice. The houses and buildings are different and the children they play with talk about California as if it is some exotic place.

But they miss their friends and wish that we could have brought the dog with us. They want to know if one day planes will be fast enough to turn it into a simple commute similar to going from the Valley to the Westside.

That is a Father's dream- to live to see thousands of miles turned into no big deal. I suppose that if I were a billionaire that day would already be here, but I am not and can't say that I will be any time soon. But you never know because a Father dreams. He dreams about who he will be and who his kids will grow up to be.

He dreams about things big and small, far and near. He dreams and he dreams some more. And somewhere in between he tries to live the life that will turn those dreams into something more than just a dream.

Links that Caught My Eye

A sample of some of the stories that caught my eye.

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 land and wander where I will.

That place is a wonderland of experience filled with moments that make my heart soar and my spirit rise. But like all rose gardens it does have the occasional thorn. There are the moments and memories of less pleasant experiences. There are things in there that some would designate of a darker nature. And there was a time when I would have wanted to banish them from my sight and from time. Erased from memory they would never trouble my soul with unrest.

But that would not be fair or real. The mistakes and missteps help to illuminate and illustrate the beauty of those other moments. They call out to me as little beacons of light that help remind me why the truly special moments are more deserving of my attention. They have no more power than I choose to give them.

So they stay in the secret world, memory buoys of what was and a guide towards what I hope will be. Moments to cherish, moments to treasure.

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 compare myself to my parents. They are the best model I have for parenting for that is what I experienced first hand. They fought and struggled for us and I appreciate that. One area that I know is different in a positive sense is access. My kids tend to see me more than I saw my father. He left early in the morning and came home just a few short hours before dinner.

The home office lets me see the kids all the time. I sometimes drive or pick them up from school. I get to attend practices for their sporting events and do things that my dad couldn't do, so I guess it sort of balances out.

Maybe the person who is most upset by a working vacation is me. Maybe I am the one who is a bit frustrated that I have to keep switching hats. Have to think about that one. Either way I am pleased to see how much fun the children are having as that makes me very happy.

Gratitude is something that I need to express more frequently.

Stuff I Wrote Recently

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 and that was just fine. The Dark Haired Beauty made me a beautiful card that I love. That is said with real emotion and gratitude. Not the kind of fake praise you give to a child that creates something ugly and useless. I know that is kind of unfair, but we all get a gift or two from our children that fit into that category. It was made with love, but...

Anyhoo, her big brother was upset because he left my gift at home and didn't think to make a card for me. I wasn't bothered by this. He is having so much fun on this trip that I can't complain and more importantly, I know that he appreciates me and that is enough.

But just in case I didn't he made a point of taking me aside and telling me that he carries me in his heart wherever he goes. And that simple phrase my friends did more for me than I can properly express. Later on he overheard someone telling their father that they were the best ever and told me that they were wrong because he thinks that I am.

It made me smile but it also made me remember a bunch of things. The obvious part is that I remember saying that to my own father, but I also remember the confusion I felt the first time my son said it to me. It is a number of years ago, but I remember wondering how that could be. Why? Because I still thought of my father as the best ever which clearly meant that I couldn't hold the title.

In the end it is not so much about the title but the feeling. If my children believe that I am the best father ever than I suppose that I am doing something right. More importantly is trying to give them that feeling when they get to be a bit older and are more capable of being critical of me.

All told Father's Day 2010 was a mighty fine day. Though I wasn't able to spend it with my father I did speak with him. And as usual it was strange to hear him wish me a happy Father's Day too. One of these days I'll get used to that one. Had smores with the kids, listened to people speak English with funny east coast accents and had a great steak for dinner.

Good times and good memories. These are what we hope to fill our days with.

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
SAHDPDX: A day off with Beautiful and the boys
Always Home and uncool: Happy Father’s Day! You’re Being Replaced By Rosie O’Donnell.
Us and Them: And Then There Was Three
ED@Home Dad: The little things I love about being Elle's Dad.
Almighty Dad:Teaching Integrity: Not as Easy as You Might Think
Dadwagon: More News: Dads Lie 
Daddy Files: Father’s Day: Celebrate the Misery
Dadtoday:Love in a Downpour
Clark Kent's Lunchbox: A Tsunami for Fathers Day
Mocha Dad: 15 Lessons from Fathers
Dad logic: What Dads Want for Father’s Day
Juggling Eric: A Top Ten Moment in Fatherhood
Parenting Where No Room is Safe: Jack Johnson and his way with the ladies
Undad: Hump Day Baby Fix! Cole flashes some Blue Steel
Dad is In The House: How to Clean Your House Fast!
Natural Papa: Wide Variety of Kid’s Fruit Juices and Foods Contain Lead

If you like what you see here then please consider becoming a fan of the blog. Have additional questions/comments? Send me an email at talktojacknow-at-gmail-dot-com.

Prior Editions:

Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience
Festival of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 2
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part III
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 4
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 5
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #6
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #7
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #8
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #9
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #10
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #11
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #12
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #13
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #14
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #15

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 who is inside there. Don't know whether he was in Iraq, Afghanistan or somewhere else. Logic says that Iraq or Afghanistan is the most likely location and he is probably a younger man or woman.

For a moment we stopped and stared. We were part of a group of people who sat there in silence, lost in our own thoughts. A group of strangers convening in an unscheduled exhibition of one of the sadder moments in life.

Somebody's child was in that box. Somebody's son or daughter lay there dead and broken never to walk under the sun again. And I felt so very badly. It really caught me by surprise how strongly it hit me. My son asked me what was going on and I explained to him as best as I could.

I couldn't provide him with specific details because I really didn't know. So I kept it simple and told him that someone lost their life trying to protect us. I suppose that some people might think that to be too trite an explanation or would want to talk about the political message that I sent or didn't send.

But that wasn't appropriate for a young child. He doesn't need to engage in a discussion about whether he/she died in vain or for a good cause. All he needs to know is that someone died and that it is sad. That we don't want to fight in wars, but when we do we fight to win. That what we have isn't free and that he is lucky to be living here.

That he should be grateful for all that he has. That is a lesson that we all can benefit from. So to you the unknown soldier and your family I say thank you and I am sorry.

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 behave and what she expects of me. If she is nervous she expects me to help her. I asked her if there ever was a time in which I did not and she said no. I smiled and told her that this will be no different.

Her older brother has his own list of questions and requests. He is ready for adventure and wants to make sure that I am as well. I promise him that I am and that whatever comes I shall be ready for it. When I explain to him my plan for dealing with wild animals on the plane he laughs and tells me that was ridiculous.

It has been years since he has flown anywhere so he really doesn't understand how silly the idea of a rhino or tiger charging down the aisle is. Simply no room for it. But he did ask me what I'd do if there were bad guys on the plane. I was saddened to hear him say that- I haven't spoken with him about 9/11 or hijackers in general. I don't know if he really knows anything about that and am relatively confident that if he did I would have heard about it.

But I made my usual promise- bad guys are taken out. Since he is a bigger kid he stopped and asked me if I would kill them. My smile faded and I told him that I haven't any tolerance for people threatening my family. He asked me if that meant that I would kill them. Part of me loved that he followed up on his question, he is growing.

I nodded my head and said that I would do what was required to keep them all safe and that if it meant killing someone I would. It wasn't an exaggeration on my part- father's protect their families. But I also said that I would never do it unless there was no other way.

Because he really doesn't care about what I do as long as he and his sister are protected. That is ok with me. He is excited about flying, but a little nervous.

I didn't tell him that as long as I can remember I have looked for spies at the airport. It used to be a big game for me, a way to pass the time. Since 9/11 it is something that I take a little bit more seriously. I check out the other passengers. Periodically I'll look around the plane and see if anything looks hinky to me. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it.

Most of my time is devoted to reading/writing/sleeping. But I would be lying if I said that the thought never crosses my mind because it does. Fortunately the odds are that I will never come close to seeing anything like that.

The worst that I have seen on a flight are the drunk passengers that become belligerent and even that is really infrequent. Most of the time the biggest issue is having to deal with being cramped and stuck in a small place for an extended period of time.

In a moment I should begin packing. I haven't done more than take my suitcase in from the garage. I know more or less what I plan on taking so it shouldn't take very long- but it is just one of those things that I don't like doing. Packing is something that just irritates me.

Sometimes I want to be a billionaire so that I don't have to pack. I'll have my own jet, flight crew and plenty of jack to spend on whatever I need wherever I go. Although that is kind of wasteful, so it is probably not what I want to do either.

As a compromise I'll worry about that when I become a billionaire. Sadly, this will probably take me more than five years to accomplish. But who knows, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. It could happen sooner.

Ok, got to run now. Be good and I'll try to check back in later.

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 discussed. I don't want them to be embarrassed because some schmuck tells a story about how I was a jerk one time when I was 20, 25 or 50.

And the sad thing is that it might not be something that I did that was wrong. It could be a fragment of a post about politics that their opposition doesn't like. So they'll take words that I wrote decades before the kids were running for an office and try to prove that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I know that this sounds ridiculous. Unless we change the Constitution it is 25 years before my oldest will be eligible to run for office. Why should I worry about something that is so far away especially when we don't know if he'll have any interest in politics.

Well the reason is simple- the system is broken now. We don't plant trees today so that we can harvest the fruit next week. We plant them for those who are coming just as those who came before planted for us. That is why I am looking at this now.

I am looking at the world around me and asking questions about what I can do to make it a better place. I am looking at it and wondering where is the soft spot, where is the low hanging fruit. What can we do to make an immediate impact.

But I have to admit that part of the reason I am doing it is for selfish reasons. I figured that if we can improve the world it makes my life better and there is no reason not to do that. But mostly it is because I love my children and want them to have more than myself.

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 nervous flyer, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The guy has a dysfunctional digestive system that sometimes sends him racing for a restroom. The limited access on a plane always makes him crazy. It is made worse by moments where he is trapped in a middle seat, blocked by a drink cart and or instructed not to get out of his seat.

Since music soothes the savage beast these mixes have proven to be effective tools for meeting the needs of all involved. But they also serve a secondary purpose of helping to cement memories of good times. That is important to all of the members of the tour, but  even more so for the children. They don't realize yet how special these memories will be to them down the line.

As promised here is a snapshot of some of the soundtrack:

You're My Home- Billy Joel 
Tefilat Haderech
Ride Across The River- Dire Straits
Good Vibrations- Beach Boys
Sloop John B- Beach Boys
Our House- Madness
Moonlight Sonata- Beethoven 
Piano Concerto No. 21 - Andante-Mozart

Johnny Cash - Ghost Riders In The Sky

My kids like to listen to this- or should I say they like it when I let them pretend that I am the horse and they are the cowboy.

Posted via web from thejackb's posterous

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 stood outside those pearly gates.
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake.
If they know half the things I've done, they'll never let me in.
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.

And They said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.
You see Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

I like it because it makes sense to me. Because if I was on the other side of those pearly gates I'd find a way to force them open and bring the kids home. Because it is my job and my responsibility to take care of them. Because it is how I was raised and how my father treated us. My sisters and I knew that if anyone tried to harm us our father would be there. Side note, that includes mom, but this focused on fathers.

So sometimes I think about my life and what lessons I want my children to take from it. I think about the things I have done, the friends I have made, the loves I have had and the heartbreak. I think about the victories and the failures and wonder how to distill those experiences into lessons that they can use to make their lives easier.

It changes all the time. As they grow their needs change and their ability to understand some of the more sophisticated situations that they may encounter.

For right now some of these things can be boiled down into broader topics that don't require as many details. I tell them that I want them to live life and suck it dry. Don't be afraid to spread your wings and step out of your comfort zone. Do things that make you stretch yourself in ways that you might not.  Don't be afraid to test yourself.

When they are older I want them to know what it is like to love someone so fiercely that it hurts. I want them to know that indescribable feeling of having someone special that makes you believe that you can be more than you are.

And I want them to know that if they lose that person the devastation of heartbreak won't be forever, though it may feel otherwise.

I want them to try to find careers that fulfill them and make them happy. I want them to know that it is ok to go through a few things to find that. It is not an excuse not to work hard, but it doesn't mean that they should feel trapped.

When they look back at my life I want them to see someone who made a difference. Not because of ego either. There is a reason that I like Ozymandias but because I believe that it is the right thing to do. I want them to know the joy of having friends you would die for and those who would do the same for you.

And if I were to die tomorrow I'd want them to know that 41 is incredibly young. I have so much to do, so many things that I want to try. Raising them may be my primary thing, but I am still me. And as much joy as I derive from them I still have my personal needs.

I cannot imagine an age where that will not be the case. I am confident that at 120 I will have a plan of action and list of things that I want to accomplish. Hopefully that won't be full of things that I intended to do now. With a little luck and some hard work I'll stick around long enough to find out how it all shakes out.

I want to live long enough to play with my great great grandchildren. Oy, there is so much to be done and not nearly enough time to do it all.

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 fights to find his equilibrium. All he wants is a moment to catch his breath, a chance to regain his balance. The past has found its way into his present and is fighting with his future. Echoes of what once was battle what could be and somewhere in the middle dances what is.

He has fallen down the rabbit hole and there is not a goddamn thing to hold onto. What good is having a grip that would make a gorilla jealous if you haven't anything to hold onto. What value is there in such a thing. It reminds him of a fight he once had many years before.

Two shots to the head had left him reeling. An elbow to the teeth and a kick in the ribs put him on his ass. He remembered the screaming and the cries of pain. He remembered what it felt like to realize that it was him who was making those noises and how hard he had to fight to stand up. How many blows he had to withstand to regain his feet and how good it felt to lash out against them.

The feeling of the flesh on his knuckle tearing as he hit the one in the mouth and the sensation of his teeth clamping down on a shoulder. Pain, fear and anger turning him into an animal who cared only to rend and tear the flesh of those who had tormented him.

And then there was silence. The sudden absence of noise was startling. The music was gone and silence reigned supreme. He opened his eyes slowly, half expecting to see his bedroom. Instead he was greeted by the dark and the proverbial sounds of silence.

Alone and apart he sat there, back against the wall trying to reconstruct how he had gotten to this place. Unsure and afraid he stood up on shaky legs and peered into the dark. The dancers were gone, the music was silent and he had not one clue as to where he was.

He fallen down the rabbit hole and could not say where it would lead or how he would find his way out of there. All he knew was that he really didn't know anything.

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 keep focusing on getting healthy. He and mom were planning on coming home before the baby was going to be born.

It would be at least a week or two before they would find out that he couldn't make it home, that he needed a triple bypass. But that Father's Day I would sit with my grandfather and hear him tell me that he intended to go get his son and bring him home.

I would listen and think about what it meant to be a father, a son and a grandson. I would look at my grandfather, almost 92 and wonder how best to respond. He wasn't in any shape to go cross country to get my father. It would break my heart to see the pain in his eyes and not know how to fix it.

Because I didn't lie to him. Didn't lie and tell him that everything was going to be alright. The first time around I sort of did. Because when I got the call that my father had taken ill and that I needed to get there as soon as possible I wasn't sure what to say.

I moved quickly because the docs weren't sure if he was going to make it. Some of you have read about this more than once, but that is because of the impact it had on me. Sitting on a plane for hours without access to a phone/email is hard. It is probably going to become a thing of the past, but six years ago it was far too real.

Hours of flight passed before we landed and I was able to reach the hospital and confirm that he was still there. I remember sitting on the plane willing him to live. I remember sitting in my seat thinking that I was sending him part of me to protect him. I won't lie and say that I wasn't scared, because I was.

But a few months later when his condition had improved I was ready to tell my grandfather that it had been very close. He had guessed as much, but he never asked. I think that it was easier for us to maintain the fiction. It wasn't like he didn't know, but since he didn't ask I didn't have to say. I had already had the experience of telling him about the death of one son, I really didn't want to have to do it again.

I remember staring at my son. This little boy who knew that mommy had a baby in her tummy, but didn't quite understand what that meant for him. This little boy who each day was teaching me what it meant to be a father was so very excited to give me a gift for Father's Day.

He climbed into my lap and hugged me. I stared into his eyes and tried to see what it was that he saw. To him I was superman, capable of anything. All powerful and invincible I would help him build towers and defeat the mysterious enemies who might show up at any time. We were quite the team.

At some point in time I ended up on all fours and he climbed on my back and I found myself fighting back tears. There is a picture of dad and I doing the same thing. But I did what I do, I fought back the tears, stuffed them down and made myself hard. Because I couldn't afford to let go- too many people relied upon me. Too many people expected me to be their rock.

Later on I would speak with someone special about it all. Later on I would share the fear and worry, but that was not the time.

But enough about the past because now we are in the present and heading off to the future. Because this year I am going to miss celebrating in person with dad. This year the family and some of the ten thousand sisters and I will spend Father's Day together.

And the gift that I will be most thankful for is my father. He is a good guy, my dad. I feel like I stepped out from beneath his shadow quite some time ago, but I always feel his presence. We still have our moments where we bang heads on things. I don't think that will ever go away. When I am 130 something and he is well over 150 we'll still have differing ideas on how to do things. He'll still find a reason to glare at me and I'll still ignore it.

But I'll still remember the time when we almost lost him and the gift of being able to keep him around a little bit longer. And I'll remember the day where he told me that he used to worry about me but didn't have the same fear any longer.

And throughout it all I'll try to do my best to be as good a father to my kids as he was to us.

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 around and I know what happens
And I'm too old to pretend
Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh
Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh
Talkin' 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
Was it just a dream
That I dreamed the other night?
I saw you there
Standing right beside me
And we finally had it right
Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh
Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh
Talkin' out love
Mary Oh Mary Oh
No, I don't want nothing in between
Mary Oh Mary
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
Oh Mary you know I'm looking for you
Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh
Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Oh Mary Ohhhh
Oh Mary- Neil Diamond

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," then shop Ray Allen for eight months like he was a used car. Don't tell us our best forward's knee is fine when we see him limping. Don't blame the effort of your players after a loss when you played all 12 of them like they were Little Leaguers, or when you keep playing the one guy who exhibits no effort whatsoever without calling him out once. Don't sign a second center for big bucks, then act surprised when the incumbent center bristles about his playing time. So on and so on. It was an empty season filled with excuses, half-truths and false promises. Just because they won two years ago doesn't mean fans had to blindly condone it.

Or what about this gym dandy one:
"Sheed's Celtics are 25-24 since Christmas. The 2008 world champs killed themselves every night. A depleted 2008-09 Celtics team exhibited remarkable pride and heart. Now they're bored and sluggish? Now they're searching for ways to get fired up? Now they're blowing home games left and right? Now they're on pace to break the unofficial record for "most players-only meetings and clear-the-air dinners" by a contender in one season? A team led by three future Hall of Famers who ALWAYS tried in the past? It doesn't add up.

Sheed may not have infected the Celtics as Character X did, but he did compromise the one thing that made them special: intensity. They care only when it suits them. The seven words that defined Sheed's career. Both the team and Sheed think they have an on/off switch that can be flicked at any time. Not true. They are in denial. "Lost" has the Smoke Monster; the Celtics have the Smoke and Mirrors Monster. And it's the entire team." (emphasis mine)

So you'll understand that I don't give you much credit for losing your way into the play-offs. I don't respect your play because it was half-assed. And it grates on my nerves to see the Lakers give away games that they could have easily won. Lackadaisical play and they are down to a team they could have swept.

I suppose that I'll continue to take some lumps for this one. If the Lakers choke it away I'll be abused. But I am ok with that because what choice do I have. I don't have to like it, but I may have to accept it.

Still, the series isn't over yet and if the boys show just a little bit of fire you will be toast. Enjoy the moment celtic fan because the other thing that I know is that you are old and unless Ainge pulls off a miracle you won't be competitive for a while.

For now we'll keep fighting against your inferior team. Time will tell.

Pallywood Posts

 I think a bunch of the posts about Pallywood that have been written and or linked here have to be updated. Probably a bunch of bad links, k...