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Showing posts from August, 2010

My Son Is Not Me

Sometimes I have to remind myself that my son is not me. He has my hands and my feet- but his face, skin and hair color are his mothers. His temperament is a mix of the two of us- but he already has a ton of my habits and mannerisms. It is not surprising- what other man is he going to look to first. Sometimes I look at him and ask him if he is sure that I am his dad. He laughs and holds up his hand. A million years ago I showed him the special lines in his hand that prove that he is mine. He laughs again and tells me that he knows all of my tricks and then he grows silent. He knows me well and understands that he can't say that he knows all of my tricks without expecting something to happen. Sometimes I come up with something new and sometimes I just wrestle with him. Boys are like bear cubs, got to wrassle with them pups a bit. I rub my face against his and he yells at me that it is rough. I laugh and he says it is not fair. I tell him that life isn't fair and that grand

What I See Five Years Later

Here is what I know: everything and nothing. Something about this and a little about that. What I know is that I am not the man I was when I first wrote this . But that is ok, as much as I don't like change sometimes it is a good thing. Here is a sample of the things I have thought about today. It is not nearly as explicit or as descriptive as it could be, but it is accurate. My oldest is a fourth grader now. The big guy is going to be ten years old soon and the little boy is disappearing faster than I can keep up. Every day he amazes me with a comment or insight about something that I don't expect him to know about. And in those moments I see flashes of the future. It makes me smile, but sometimes I can't help but miss the little guy. That little man who would lay his head upon my shoulder and softly snore into my ear. That little man is gone, all growed up.  The dark haired beauty is a first grader. She tells me that when she grows up she wants to be a mommy, a t

What I See Part I

What I See- Part One I wish that I had the ability to show people what I see. I don't mean to be poetic or dramatic. I am serious. I wish that you could see inside my head and view my dreams and my experiences. I don't expect you to feel or think the same way as I do, but so often the words are just not enough. Maybe I am lying to you and myself. Maybe I really want you to see so that you can understand, so that you can share in my joy and my pain. But is that fair or realistic to ask of you. Is it reasonable to try and influence you, to try and make you view the world as I do. Then again, why wouldn't it be ok and is it any different than what I do right now. Here is a sample of the things I have thought about today. It is not nearly as explicit or as descriptive as it could be, but it is accurate. Today I remembered the final two weeks of a friend's life. I thought about his final moments and I remembered carrying his casket. I remembered the

Shades of Gray

Sometimes the hardest part of being a father is dealing with the Shades of Gray. These are the questions that they pepper me with about topics that cannot be answered in black and white terms. They ask why it is wrong to kill people and ok to support some wars. They want to know why it is ok for dad to scream "fuck" when he bangs his head on a cabinet but it is not ok to say at other times. They hear a story about a homeless man who stole food and ask if I would steal food for them. I tell them that we don't have to worry about it but they push for answers. I know that they won't rest so I answer them. I tell them that if there are no alternatives I will do what I have to do to make sure that they eat. A little finger is waved in front of my nose as a six-year-old lectures me that I am only allowed to take enough to feed the family. Her older brother isn't willing to let her take the lead so he offers instruction of his own- "dad won't steal more than

Somebody's Crying

   Download now or listen on posterous 02 Somebody's Crying.m4a (5832 KB) I know somebody and they cry for you. They lie awake at night and dream of you. I bet you never even know they do, but somebody's crying. I know somebody and they called your name. A million times and still you never came. They go on loving you just the same, I know that somebody's trying. So please, return the love you took from me. Or please, let me know if it can't be me, I know when, Somebody's lying, I know when somebody's lying. ( Guitar Solo ) I know that somebody's lieing, I know that somebody's lying. Give me a sign and let me know we're through. If you don't love me like I love you. But if you cry at night the way I do I'll know that somebody's lying. So please, return the love you took from me. Or please, let me know if it can't be me. I know when somebody's lying, I know when somebody'

Man Eating Squid- Paging Jules Verne

You can list giant man eating squid alongside the rest of the maneaters as one more creature that I will take on in single combat. There is one caveat, they can fight me on land or meet me in cleveland. I'll take them on in water in the land of the burning river. DEADLY sea monsters have woken from the deep to cause carnage among some of the world’s richest fishing grounds. Millions of killer giant squid are not only devouring vast amounts of fish they have even started attacking humans. Two Mexican fishermen were recently dragged from their boats and chewed so badly that their bodies could not be identified even by their own families. No wonder the giant squid are called “diablos rojos” – red devils. Monster squid are the stuff of legend. But for fishermen and marine biologists along 10,000 miles of coast from Chile to Alaska, the myth has become reality. And their story is told this week in a Channel Five documentary. Since 2002, Humboldt giant squ

Bialy's Bagels Does not Deliver- What You Missed

So it turns out that Bialy's Bagels do not deliver nor do they ship their supposedly tastes like heaven carbohydrate bombs. Rather disappointing if you ask me, but maybe they are afraid to find out that they aren't all they're supposed to be. Who knows. Anyhoo, here is a quick list of recent posts that have graced the pages of this fine blog. Twitter and Time Shofar Callin': The Rosh Hashanah song Is It Plagiarism or Love Invisible People I Once Had a Girl Late Night Music Mix The Daddy Blogger Blog Hop Dancing In The Fire Talent Is Not Enough Useful Blogging Tips An Audio Post After Too Much Coffee When your Favorite Blog Suddenly Goes Bad The Circumstances of Astrology Just Another Audio Post Be a Better Blogger- Write More Frequently Sauna Etiquette The Gmail Second Thought Feature

Twitter and Time

   Download now or listen on posterous 4617ca8c215bf48eeb7c8c30294e2c07fc7d3887.mp3 (340 KB) Here are the Cliff Notes for the audio post here. I am taking a hard look at the number of "social media" platforms that I am using. They include a Twitter account, several blogs and Facebook. So the question that I ask myself is whether these things are adding value to my life or serving a role as a "time suck." The short and unofficial answer to that question is that the main blog is something that I truly love. Writing is a passion and I can't imagine life without it. Twitter doesn't take up much time so I think that for now I will continue using it. Facebook is a mixed bag for me. I have found a number of professional uses for it and been relatively pleased with how it has enabled me to reconnect with some old friends. More on this later. Let's focus on Twitter again. I have noticed that there are quite a few people

Is It Plagiarism or Love

Someone has been digging/crawling through my archives for several weeks. When I look at my stats I routinely see something similar to the clip in this picture. Based upon some past experiences this sort of behavior sets of a red flag in my mind as my work has been plagiarized more than once. On two separate occasions I have "found" the blogs where my content has been 'repurposed' and had them shut down. Now it is entirely possible that there is nothing to be concerned about and I am seeing nothing but the trail of a "fan." I sometimes stumble across blogs that I love and spend time going through the archives. Sometimes I do it because I find the content transfixes me and sometimes I do it because as a writer I appreciate the work of other writers. But I just have this nagging feeling about this one, something feels off to me. So dear reader if you are a real fan then please accept my thanks and know that I am appreciative of your time because you clearly ha

Invisible People

Friday morning, sunshine fills my room- got a cup of coffee in one hand and my hat is cocked across my head at a jaunty angle. Stevie Wonder's I Was Made To Love Her is on iTunes and I am wide awake. Here in my home office I am about to tell you a tale of wonder and magic called Invisible People. Invisibility is something that a lot of people dream about. On a list of prospective superpowers it is probably just a few notches below the ability to fly or super strength. It would be cool to be invisible or so a lot of people think. It certainly catches my eye, I could do a lot with it. But the funny thing about invisibility is that it already exists or should I say that there are lots of people who have mastered invisibility. You probably have passed a bunch and not even realized it. The thing is that you probably don't recognize them as being invisible in the superpower sense because they aren't. We have lots of different names for them some nice and some not so nice. I

I Once Had a Girl

"I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me." Norwegian Wood- The Beatles Though I know better I can no longer remember a time when you weren't a part of me. Those days are gone forever. Now I know what it is like to have been loved by an angel and to have loved her in return. I know what it means to love someone with a depth and fierceness to it that exceeds description and defies expectations. You weren't the first woman that I had loved. There were others. I had drunk from that particular cup and swallowed deeply from the draughts I was given. And I knew what heartbreak was. I knew what it meant to have loved and lost. So I thought that I was protected by life experience. I thought if I ever lost you that my knowledge and experience would be enough to get me through. And then I learned that I really knew nothing about any of it. I learned that though I had been in love it had never been so pure, so raw and so honest. I learned that nothing I knew mat

Late Night Music Mix

Norwegian Wood - The Beatles Something - The Beatles Sound Your Funky Horn -KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND  (Night Time Is) The Right Time -Ray Charles In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down) -Ray Charles Seven Spanish Angels - Willie Nelson and Ray Charles  If You Could Read My Mind - Johnny Cash If Today Was Your Last Day - Nickelback Downtown - Petula Clark (Honor) - The Pacific

The Daddy Blogger Blog Hop

So...the rules...   1. You need to be a father. New father, old father, soon to be father, want some day to be a father, father...doesn't matter. You just need to be a dad. (Or a really awesome mom!) 2. You must own and maintain your own blog. 3. If you meet the requirements for rules one and two, look back over your posts from the past week, from Friday to Friday. Re-read them all. 4. Choose the post you feel was your particular BEST for the week. It can be funny, helpful, sad, dramatic, deep, light...whatever. Pick the post that most reflects you and what your awesome blog has to offer. 5. Follow the host. That's me. It's quick and painless and I always follow back. (This part is optional, but oh so appreciated!) 6. Put your blog address and a short description of the post in the Linky link located below. Be short but concise. (You know...like twitter!) 7. After you are on the list, surf the posts of the other dads and follow as many as you can.

Dancing In The Fire

"Well, I know it's kind of late I hope I didn't wake you But what I got to say can't wait I know you'd understand 'Cause every time I tried to tell you The words just came out wrong So I'll have to say I love you in a song"   I'll Have To Say I Love You In  a Song - Jim Croce "Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields. And we will sit upon rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals. And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant poises, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;" The Passionate Shepherd To His Love- Christopher Marlowe Dancing in The Fire seemed to be an appropriate title for that song I said I wanted to write . The idea was to set a tone and then paint a scene. I want to tell a story with

Talent Is Not Enough

I am in a foul mood and it is not the free throw shooting kind. If I wanted to I could provide a list of five reasons why I am still in the mood to defenestrate those who irritate me but I don't feel much like ranting. Part of it is because I am fighting to maintain a good attitude and part is because there are no words to properly express this. Besides, I'd rather discuss why talent isn't enough and why I teach my children that effort is required for whatever endeavor they are participating in. The classic example of talent not being enough is something that I relate to professional sports. Pick a league, NBA, NFL or MLB and you will find examples of players who have exceptional talent in their field. You will also find a list of "has-beens" and "never was" who had as much or talent as everyone else but never managed to put it together. Unfulfilled potential. All that ability and they couldn't make it work. They prove that talent isn't eno

Useful Blogging Tips

Here is an incomplete list of thoughts about blogging: Blogging Tools How to Write a Professional Blog Does Your Blog Need A Mission Statement? Blog Cliques/Blog Communities My Blog Posts Need A Soundtrack- Thoughts on Writing Permalinks and Your Blog Blogging Etiquette How To Deal With Writer’s Block Why Some Blogs Fail How Many Blogs Do you Read? Would You Prefer More Readers or More Comments? Bloggers Are Arrogant- The Genesis of a Blog If I Started Blogging Today How To Get More Readers For Your Blog Defining a Successful Blog: What is More Important- Traffic or Comments? Be a Better Blogger- Write More Frequently My Best Writing My Blogging Style- Personal Versus Professional

When your Favorite Blog Suddenly Goes Bad

If you blog for any length of time you witness the rise and fall of many blogs. Some of them are good, some are fair, some are horrible and some are just amazing. Many bloggers have written about blog crushes. They have spent time elucidating and illustrating what it is that makes them smile. They may have even gone into intricate detail about the blogs they love, it is part of a blog crush. Sometimes you cannot put your finger on why you enjoy it, you just know that you do. Here is what you don't see much of, the discussion of what happens when your blog crush fades into the twilight. There are a number of reasons why this could happen. Sometimes it is just because they stop blogging. It doesn't matter why they stopped, the writing just ends and there you go. Sometimes your blog crush fades because you come to grow tired of the gimmick and or style of their writing. But in my book the saddest end of the blog crush is when they write something that is so shocking

The Circumstances of Astrology

‎" And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. " Kahlil Gibran Depth speaks to me.It calls out to me, caresses my faith like the flames in that fire I speak of so frequently. We talk about destiny and we talk about fate. Through the years we stake out positions and then shift them ever so slightly this direction and that. In the early moments we revel in our relationship and agree that there is something more to it all because neither one of us can conceive of there not being some sort of something pushing us together. Unexpected, and unsought for we found each other. We were both naturally skeptical about it all. For a while we laughed at the idea that maybe there really was a soul mate for us. It was something that we wanted to believe in but math and science didn't provide the sort of support that we wanted. Logic, critical reasoning and rational thought were what we relied upon. But over time we began to accept th

Be a Better Blogger- Write More Frequently

(thought that this was worth another run .) A client asked me to give him a two minute walkthrough on how to become a better blogger. The answer is to service your readers by providing them with incredible content that they cannot find anywhere else and to do it in a user friendly manner. That is the sort of non-specific answer that sounds good but really doesn't tell you anything. Some people might say that I made a career of filling bluebooks with that kind of nonsense, but that is a story that I'll save for a different day. What I want to focus upon is the more specific answer that I gave my client to chew upon. I told him that he needs to write more frequently. Writing is a discipline and like any other it can be improved upon by engaging in regular practice. I encourage people to write at least five days a week. It doesn't necessarily have to be on any particular topic, it just needs to be consistent. The more often you write the easier it becomes

Sauna Etiquette

Consider this an open letter to anyone who uses a public sauna. Specifically it is directed to the half naked man on my right. Dear naked dude: I appreciate your need to stretch inside the sauna, one doesn't want to be injured during exercise. After all if the point is to exercise your way to better health the last thing you want to do is injure yourself. So I have no issue with your stretching. In fact that six pack I am forced to see has created a sense of longing for the one that I used to have. Maybe today I'll start a diet, but that's not the point of this post. Rather I want to point out that I am not interested in watching you jam out on your air guitar. Not only do you look ridiculous you have begun to infringe upon my personal space as well as the towel dude that is also sharing this space. As for you towel dude, well I have a few words. I understand that you're concerned with the actions of our wannabe guitar hero. The air guitar boy looks like he is under

The Gmail Second Thought Feature

CNN has a nice write-up on what to do when you send an ill-advised email via Gmail. It is not a perfect solution, but... The ability to "undo" an e-mail has been a little known feature of Google's e-mail service since last year. But in the past few days, it appears to have been improved Google Operating System , an unofficial blog that shares Google news and tips, noted this weekend that a user now has up to 30 seconds to take back an unfortunate message. In reality, the feature doesn't actually pull back an e-mail that's already gone, it simply holds your message for 30 seconds before sending it out -- just in case you change your mind.

What You Have Missed

It is time again to play air out the archives so that those of you who are late to the party can catch up to the rest of us. Here are a bunch of really cool posts that you simply must read: Sir, I Need A Condom Remote Controls Liveblogging Dinner With The Shmata Queen Part II The Condom My Best Writing I Yelled At G-d What Benefits Do You Receive From Being President The Science of Lines The Worst Album Covers- Ethel Merman Disco Mix

A Guide To Smarter Living Or He Did it Better

Sunday afternoon and all I can see outside my window are endless blue skies and endless promises of adventures to be had. Instead I am stuck at my laptop racing to beat a few deadlines. So you might say to yourself, "Jack, stop writing these incredibly entertaining posts and get back to work." To which I'd say, go mother someone else. I don't wear a sweater because you are cold or jump off of a bridge because all the other lemmings did so. Don't know about you but I take a particular pleasure in being a cranky curmudgeon. But more importantly this post is related to my work and I will even explain how by way of a story. Earlier this year I started a series of posts that covered dad bloggers, also known as the Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #18 . It was a collection of posts written by dad bloggers that I featured here every Sunday. I did it because I wanted to help create a community among my fellow fathers and because I wanted to generate more traffic

The Write Mood

More than twenty years ago I sat on a bench at a camp in Canada listening to Randy Newman singing I Love L.A . It is kind of a goofy song but I can't help but love it. "Hate New York City It's cold and it's damp And all the people dressed like monkeys Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos That town's a little bit too rugged For you and me you bad girl" As a certified professional troublemaker these lyrics speak to me, especially when you are educating a group of Detroit Piston fans on why the Lakers are so dominant. It is probably worth noting that talking about sports is an exceptionally good way to make people lose their minds. Don't know what it is or why- but sports can make ordinary people act extraordinarily dumb. Just ask the fans of the Browns and they'll tell you I am right. Anyway, one of the ten thousand reasons why I love this silly medium we call blogging is that I can write my moods away. Yes, I just wrote write my moods away.

I Drove All Night

Woman, you can call me a dreamer but I am not the only one. You can call me a million different things some good and some bad and I'll nod my head and say that you are right. You can find a million different reasons to try and stay angry with me and I'll nod my head and smile because I expect that from you. I know you. I know your head. I know your heart and I know your soul. And I know that you were hurt and frustrated. I know that sometimes you can't see a way out of the forest. I know that sometimes you feel overwhelmed and it is all you can to keep things going. And I know that this is part of why you continue to try and shut me out. I know that sometimes when you feel your resolve crumbling you go down your list of reasons why it can't work. It is easier to say goodbye when you are angry but it is not a long term solution. It is a bandage that will slow the bleeding down but it won't prevent it. That connection, that feeling you have isn't going anyway.

A Brief Recap

If you missed a day than you probably missed these posts: Surprise The Daddy Blogger Blog Hop Teaching Moments Once Upon A Time How to Be A Successful Blogger Can a Father Follow His Heart A Letter To A Girl Who Was and just for kicks, here are a few links to some past posts that are worth a read: Timing Words on a Page The Daddy Blogger Community

Surprise

If you ask me what my favorite part of blogging is I might answer that it is represented by this video. You see when I sat down to start writing I had no intention, thought or idea that I would include this song as part of it. But I will and I am because it fits. In that different life I talk about, the one that existed when I was your average college student I was a member of a fraternity. Part of the mighty Zeta Beta Tau- a proud ZBT who has ten thousand stories surrounding this time of my life. This song reminds me of one. I was about twenty and in San Francisco with the house. We went up for a convention, must have been hundreds of brothers from various chapters around the state. It is Saturday night and we are out on the town bar hopping, looking for girls and just living it up. A group of us wander into a bar but no one bothers to look around at the patrons. We're so busy talking and drinking that we don't notice that it is a gay bar. It doesn't take long to n

The Daddy Blogger Blog Hop

So while the Festival of Fathers is on semi-hiatus I thought that I'd try and support another dad blogger in his effort to help promote the dad blogosphere. So I grabbed the comment and code- take a look: Friday is a great time in the online dadosphere. Lots of great posts about dadhood going up in honor of Fatherhood Friday. But what about those of us, like me, who find themselves in the midst of a brain fart on Friday? The answer is simple! IT'S A BLOG HOP!!! Brian ( @SpinyNorman ) to the rescue with his 2nd Fatherhood Friday blog hop over at Dad at the Chalkboard . The dads have been talking, they have been writing, but most important, they have been sharing. Here is your chance to share with the rest of the dadosphere and keep the community growing and supported. The online community of dads is an amazing group, and is always ready to welcome anything another day may have to share. Here is the 411 on how to get hopping!!!! (via Dad at the Chalkboard) The Guidl

Teaching Moments

Many years ago I listened to my rabbi talk about Gilligan's Island and how it could be viewed as a tragedy. It wasn't tragic because they kept screwing up their attempts to get off of the island. It was tragic because none of the castaways grew. There was no personal growth,each and every one of them exited the island the same person that they were before. I don't think that I appreciated or understood what he was saying. In part it was because I took great pride in saying that I was constant and consistent. The Jack you knew then would be the Jack that you would know later. All around me I would hear people talking about how much they were growing and I would roll my eyes. It seemed trendy to declare that you were an unfinished piece of art and some new age professor would teach you how to complete yourself. After a decade of playing dad I see things very differently. I watch my children carefully and take note of their strengths and weaknesses. During parent/teacher c

Once Upon A Time

The next insert for Fragments of Fiction You know what I like about this video is the unbridled joy I see in it. That guy Matt can't dance but he doesn't give a damn and he just lets loose and that catches my eye. It catches my eye because it reminds me of how I felt with you- I just didn't gave a damn. I know, that is sort of my M.O. in life but it was different with you. It was different for a thousand different reasons that I can't explain to anyone. A thousand sparkles shining in your eyes and that special smile that you reserved for me. Special isn't the right word. It is not descriptive or powerful enough to accurately portray what I want it to. Truth is that if you have never experienced this sort of love you won't have a clue as to what I am talking about. "Once upon a time Once when you were mine I remember skies Reflected in your eyes I wonder where you are I wonder if you Think about me Once upon a time In your wildest dreams Onc