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 grandpa used to do it to me too. He threatens to tell grandpa I said that and I encourage him to do so. He looks at me and growls- he knows that it has been decades since my dad could ground me.

We stop wrestling and I ask him if he is hungry. He nods his head and I take him into the kitchen and offer to get him a snack. Along the way I point at the smoke detector and ask him if he remembers what size battery it takes. We end up with some cheese and popcorn and sit at the table. While we eat I listen to him tell me stories about the things that interest him- sometimes I haven't a clue what he is talking about but he loves it so I listen. (Side note: don't think that this hasn't happened to me as I am sure that parents/friends would nod their head in affirmation.)

In between tales of Pokemon, Star Wars and his friends I talk to him about soccer. A new season is about to start and I have some advice. We talk for a moment about goals, objectives and strategy and then I tell him to be more aggressive.

"When you are on defense, go get it! Take that ball away from the other guy!" He looks at me and nods his head. It is not the first time I have said it- but I am a bit shy about it. Shy because I realize that I am asking him to play the game the way that I would and I am not sure that it is fair.

It doesn't matter what sport I play- I am aggressive. I don't know how to play any other way other than as hard as I can. I make up for lack of talent by just going for it at hyper-speed. It is not really fair for me to expect him to play exactly as I do- he isn't me.

He may resemble me in so many ways and have the manners to go along with the looks- but he still isn't me. So I make a promise to myself to try and let him develop his own game. I hope that he will emulate me, but if he doesn't that is ok because my son isn't me.

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. The dark haired beauty is a first grader. She tells me that when she grows up she wants to be a mommy, a teacher and a baby sitter. When I tell her that she has time to be all three she tells me that she can't imagine it- she is growing too quickly and doesn't know who will marry her. I tell her to slow down. Reminds me of You're Gonna Miss This. I am not ready  to say that there aren't going to be anymore babies and maybe there won't be- but she is in such a hurry I wonder what happened to my baby.
  3. Time is moving too fast- not just because my kids are growing so quickly but because I am too. I used to be the kid everywhere I went and now I am not. I am not the oldest, but I am closer to middle age than 30. Much closer to 50 than 25, now how did that happen.
  4. I know more about myself and what I want than I ever have. No substitute for life experience. Every day I try to do things that take me closer to living my dreams. I know too many people who died young and others who are barely hanging on.
  5. There are more lines on my face and less hair on my head than when I first met you- but I still have plans for you. Dream big and take my hand.

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.

  1. 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 tears his friends shed as we buried him, the pain in the eyes of his parents. It was a hollow look that I cannot describe. I remember his brother leading his parents away and promising that I would see that he was buried. Not the funeral home, but me. It was an obligation that I happily took on, but it also felt like a commandment.
  2. Today I remembered the way it felt when I kissed the girl in this story. But I also remembered more. I remembered perfume and the soft touch of others. I closed my eyes and inhaled and I could feel my wife's touch upon my body. I felt her press up against me and sensed her deep love. I felt her naked body upon my own and I remembered much more about her.
  3. Today I remembered the look on my son's face when I introduced him to his little sister. And then I remembered the feelings I had when my parent's introduced me to my baby sisters. I remembered teasing them and being chased. I remembered my father yelling at me to stop tormenting them and then I heard myself chastise my son, my words an echo from 30 years ago into the present.
  4. Today I remembered that I may be 36 but at heart I am still 5. I can still run like the wind. I am still faster than my grandfather's car and my father is still the strongest man in the world.
  5. Today I remembered that last week I died in one of my dreams. I can't remember how, but I know that I did. I was dead and people mourned my loss but I was not forgotten because my life had been meaningful.
  6. Today I remembered that sometimes I hate my writing and that the words are never good enough, never evocative enough, never strong enough and so I decided to write a post about it.
Did I succeed? I don't know. Part 2 is coming up. This time it will be called What I See Five Years Later

Why The Male Brain is Superior

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 he has to." Suddenly sibling rivalry is in full effect and the dark haired beauty is only too happy lecture her brother and I about how I might go to jail.

Great, a simple discussion has spiraled into a silly talk about thievery. How the hell did I end up in this place where the kids are fighting about what happens if I get arrested. In a stern voice I shush them both and ask them if they ever remember a time when they didn't have enough to eat.

They agree that it hasn't happened. It leads to a great teaching moment in which we talk about a bunch of things including the homeless and why they shouldn't be invisible people to us. I have to run off to a business meeting so I hug and kiss the kids goodbye and head out the door.

Inside the car I decide that if I am going to have to fight traffic I might as well make use of my time by trying to come up with other situations besides theft and murder to discuss. I laugh at the absurdity of it- theft and murder, It sounds so harsh, but it is. We have spoken about stealing food to feed a family and why sometimes it is ok to go to war.

I could have gotten into a discussion about whether a just war means that people are killed or murdered, but they are far too young for that and it violates my parenting philosophy. If they want to know what time it is I tell them but I don't include how to build a clock as part of the discussion.  They only need to know as much as they need to know. That will change as they grow older, but that is ok with me.

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's lying.
Oh I, oh I......
Somebody's Crying- Chris Isaak


It is a little past midnight I am wide awake. I am stationed in front of the computer where I share my thoughts, ideas and feelings about life. Simple stories about the things that I see and experience are transcribed here to be forever immortalized in my corner of cyberspace. Memories of the people, places and things that make my up my life are all fair game. All I see and all that I experience is considered and carved into bite size pieces of this and that. Some are fragments of fiction and others are figments of imagination about things that might have been or could be.

My heart is pounding or is it my head, I am not really sure anymore. Maybe because the two have been at war with each other, head and heart, heart and head. Each of them jockeying for position in a vain attempt to gain control of the direction of one man's life. Passion drives me forward, pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to move towards a future that I am unsure of. Uncertainty and opportunity dance around me while I cross a bridge that is burning.I can only go forward for the flames have already consumed the places where my feet once stood. There are no rest stops here, no oasis or refuge to be found. All that you can do is keep moving forward or risk falling into the pit below.

Sometimes I consider the merit of allowing myself to fall. I already dance in the flames perhaps I can also learn how to fly. The problem is that I haven't a parachute so failure will come at a stiff price. The fall won't kill me. I know it won't because death would be too easy and that is not something I am allowed...easy that is. I do things the hard way. Sometimes I do it by choice because I wish to test myself and sometimes by mistake. I tell myself that next time I won't let it happen like this.Next time I will be smarter about it and all I can do is wait to see if I hold fast to my promise.

iTunes is playing I Will Find You by Clannad. It is from Last of the Mohicans.   Someone out there might remember that I made that promise to them and perhaps in time we shall see whether that comes to be.Head and heart wrestle over that one. Later on I will stare in the mirror and mark the new lines in my forehead and the places that hair once covered. The boy has grown into a man, at least physically. A navy blue tank top makes it easy to see that repeated visits to the gym are having the desired effect upon his upper body. This is good, but he is impatient and frustrated.

Impatient because the progress is slower than he would like. Frustrated because that which came easy is now far harder than it used to be. He feels like a contradiction. In many ways he is far more than he was and yet he is diminished and less than he should be. It remains to be be seen if this will remain as the epitaph that will be written or just a comment about a blip in time.

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

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 squid, named after the 18th century German explorer, have been spreading their tentacles to deplete fishing stocks by moving from their traditional tropical hunting grounds off Mexico and laying claim to a vast sweep of the Pacific.

Hunting in 1,000-strong packs the giant squid can out-swim and out-think fish. Scientists believe they coordinate attacks by using pigment cells to communicate.

A single female is believed to be able to lay 30 million eggs, each one capable of becoming a giant killing machine.

Marine biologists wear chain-mail to protect themselves from creatures that can measure 8ft, weigh 100lb and carry an armoury of more than 40,000 fearsome teeth along two “attack” tentacles.

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

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

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 who have an enormous number of followers and it raises a number of questions for me. If the purpose of Twitter is to engage with others the law of diminishing returns has to apply here. The more followers you have the harder it becomes to engage with a large portion of them. I suppose that if you are a business or celebrity you might argue that it provides you with a platform for communicating with customers/fans and that there is value in that.

But I am also left wondering how big an influence you really have on your followers. If you ask them to do something will they really do it. If you have 10,000 followers and less than 2% respond to call to action are you really making a difference. Or are you just adding to the existing noise and confusion.

What do you think?

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

Shofar Callin': The Rosh Hashanah song


Elul is in full effect. Time to start thinking about more serious things.

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 have spent hours reading my work.

Also know that I am very aggressive in protecting my content and if I determine that less honorable actions are taking place I will respond accordingly. These words are a bit like my children and since you have read so much of my content you understand just how seriously I take protecting them.

On a side note I am available for guest posts and free lance writing gigs. If you have any questions please contact me at talktojacknow-at-gmail-dot-com.

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

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. In this post we'll just call them homeless. They are all over the place. Some of them live in the bushes off on the side of the road or under a freeway overpass. Others live in their cars or roam from one cheap motel to another.

The ones that don't have real shelter and spend their days exposed to the weather do the best job of staying invisible. Most of us don't want to look at them. Some times it is because we blame them for their situation. We think that they most of squandered opportunities to earn a living and live in an apartment or house. We think that they drank or smoked their life away and because they can't control themselves they ended up on the street. We might even feel badly about it. We might even want to help but fear to because we don't want to contribute to their habit.

Whatever the reason is it doesn't matter because they are invisible to us. As a father I look at my children and think about their futures. It is horrifying to think that one day my kids could be that man or woman at the side of the road. I would feel like I had failed them.

But I can't worry about that now. It is too far down the road. Now I have to be concerned with teaching them many things, not the least of which is to remember that the invisible people are humans and that we have an obligation to try to help. We have a social responsibility to try to find a way to help those who have fallen down.

I can teach the kids all of the reasons why Judaism obligates us to help. I can cite chapter and verse but that is too easy and too simple. I don't want them to view this under the "G-d wants us to do this" mantle. I don't want that because it is too easy to externalize the reasons why. I want them to internalize it.

I want them to do it because it is the right thing to do. I want them to do it because when we help others we make the world a better place. I want them to do it because of the lessons it teaches and because of the rewards it offers.

I want them to do it because it helps to reinforce the humanity of people. I am not a pacifist. I believe that sometimes force is necessary and that when it is you unleash hell upon those you go to war with. But that doesn't mean that I don't remember that somewhere a mother cries over the bodies of her children.

It is a terrible contradiction but we live in a world full of contradictions. And one of those is that in a country that offers incredible opportunities there are millions of invisible people fighting to be seen. So here is my reminder to myself and whomever else is interested that it is time to help the invisible rejoin the rest of us in the sunlight.

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 mattered because you shattered my expectations on every level. You were like the perfect storm that blew in and surrounded my ship.

For a long while I sailed nestled in your bosom in the eye of the storm, safe from the madness. Though I could sometimes hear the howling of the wind and the roar of the waves I was protected from all of it. I lay there in your embrace and marveled over your imperfect perfection. In my eyes you were simply magnificent.

But in arrogance and stupidity I somehow lost you and was tossed right into the heart of the storm. A storm that I am still sailing through. Every day is a battle to keep the ship from being thrown into the rocks. And there have been more than a few moments in which I wondered why I couldn't just let go.

It seemed so simple. Let go of the wheel and let the sea take me. Let the elements have me and if that meant being dashed against the rocks, well so be it. But that isn't who I am. That is not what I am about. I endure and I sustain. And I suspect that you have always known that about me.

Known that you could throw me in the fire and I would dance in the flames. Known that no matter what challenges were presented I would go after them with a passion. Can't help that. In part it is who I am and in part it is because even now you still inspire me. Even now I want to be your hero. And that drives me to reach down deep and find the places where strength that I didn't know I had exists.

I do it because of who I am and who I hope we can be. Because yes, I see you standing there in the distance. I hear you say goodbye but you don't mean it. I read between the lines and see the truth of your heart and I recognize the S.O.S. it sends to mine.

There is no disguising that. No way to ignore or pretend that it doesn't exist. The connection is too deep and too strong to be broken this way. And really, would you expect me to pretend that it was just a dream. Would you really feel better if I shrugged my shoulders and accepted that all we got was a few minutes in Eden.

This I cannot accept nor can I do. I may be a fool, but whether you know it or not I am your fool. And I will storm the gates time and again. I will fling myself into the breach until I die from exhaustion or am convinced that there truly is no hope.

For I promised you all of this and more. I swore a vow that I cannot ignore and sealed it with a kiss that I cannot forget. So I call on the demons and the devil himself to remove themselves from my path. I give notice to all who would challenge me. At the end of the day I will be the sole being standing on this road.

Call that hyperbole or melodrama if you wish but this is how it shall be. I shall do my penance and serve my time.

Late Night Music Mix

  1. Norwegian Wood- The Beatles
  2. Something- The Beatles
  3. Sound Your Funky Horn-KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND 
  4. (Night Time Is) The Right Time -Ray Charles
  5. In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down) -Ray Charles
  6. Seven Spanish Angels- Willie Nelson and Ray Charles 
  7. If You Could Read My Mind - Johnny Cash
  8. If Today Was Your Last Day- Nickelback
  9. Downtown- Petula Clark
  10. (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. Read and above all else COMMENT! We all know that comments are to bloggers what a keg of Dear Park water is to a desert nomad.

8. Grab the code below, create a new post on your blog, and enter it so you can share the growing list with all your followers. Then just sit back and let it grow!

Don't forget to share the link to this post. Via Twitter, Email, IM, or carrier pigeon. The more moms and dad we can get to link up, the more we can influence our corner of the web for good, positive, humorous parenting.

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 both the words and the music. Something that would touch you, remind you of what lies beneath the surface.

Dancing in the Fire is an apt description of how I feel. In your absence I go wandering around the places inside my head and my heart seeking the kind of answers that are more than just words and feelings. They must exist, these answers I seek. At least I tell myself that they must because it is inconceivable to me to believe that they cannot.

Fire is a wonderful tool to use for writing as it is both beautiful and dangerous. There is a reason why so many different artists have used it in their songs. it is hard not think of Johnny and June singing about that  Ring of Fire. They say that June wrote the song when she was trying not to fall for Johnny, but sometimes, some things happen. Love isn't always logical or reasonable.

"I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire
The ring of fire"

Really, I have tried to look at it any number of different ways. It is not so different from listening to other artists perform the same song.  The words are the same, the tune is different but that meaning still comes through.

I sit there and remember how one day you were someone who was completely unknown to me, a mystery yet to be discovered. Sometimes I think that it was better than because I didn't know what it mean to burn and to ache. I didn't understand what could happen and or the ramifications of those moments. I didn't know that one day I would find myself Dancing In The Fire. I didn't know that the pain of separation could be so exquisite and so awful.

It was inconceivable because I had never had the experience and so when it was described to me by others I nodded and smiled, tried to pretend that I understood. But I didn't. Didn't know what it meant to be so in love that I would lie down before you, leave my neck bared for rending or for succor.

Now a thousand years later I am a man who understands that he once walked with one who was able to open his eyes to something more. And with that understanding comes the realization that the moment is gone and it is unclear if it can ever be recaptured. So I continue to burn and I continue to ache.

Lost beneath a star filled sky I walk and remember. I embrace the fire and bathe in it. Cloak myself in the pain of loss and its twin the hope of tomorrow. I close my eyes and feel your touch. I close my eyes and hear your voice and I remember.

Remember the promise to build you a castle in which to live out our dreams. Walk through the woods under the moonlit sky Dancing in the Fire remembering things that cannot be described and smile at the role reversal. Remembering how you once were the one who feared that I had left, gone on to places far from here.

Those days that seem so distant and yet so recent when I could quote It Ain't Me Babe and pretend that I really wasn't him.

"Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I'm not the one you want, babe
I'll only let you down
You say you're lookin' for someone
Who'll promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes to you
Someone to close his heart
Someone to die for you and more"

But the truth came out and I had to admit that there was more there. What can I say other than I am  Hard to Handle. I was honest when I said that storms follow my feet, but there is a quiet majesty about lightning. Presence that you can sense, thunder that you can hear. And it all comes from Dancing In The Fire.

And in the end all that can be said is that you are loved. You are loved and appreciated, cherished for who you are not just yesterday but today. Loved because that is just how it is. And maybe one day we'll find that quiet moment again and you'll see that I never stopped Dancing In The Fire.

(rerun because it had to be done)

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 enough to ensure success. You have to do more than just show up. But this isn't limited to sports. It is a life lesson another one of those teaching moments that I seek out.

It is a lesson that I am still working on for myself. During my school days I had a 'B' average but it could have been better. Could have run the table and averaged straight 'A's but I didn't put in the effort. I was always smart enough to get by without much work. With the exception of a few classes I could get it done by just showing up.

That is not good enough for me anymore. Hasn't been for a long time, but I haven't written it down before. The act of writing this down changes things. It makes it more concrete. It is a promise that I make to myself. A pledge whose upholding will only be noticeable to me. If I don't make it happen the only person who will know is me. Being accountable to myself is more important and harder than being accountable to others because when the lights go out at night I am alone with my thoughts.

So I find myself seeking the right and proper way to teach this to my children. Isn't that part of being a parent, teaching our children how not to make the mistakes we have made. The right and proper way of teaching this to my children means finding a way that is tailored to their personalities.

I am not going to be a drill sergeant. That doesn't work for any of us. I don't want them to remember me as a tyrant, but I am not their friend either. It is just a question of finding the right balance to push and motivate them to take that extra step that others don't take.

Sometimes success is measured in inches. All you need is one inch more than the next guy and good things will happen for you.

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

An Audio Post After Too Much Coffee

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 and offensive that you cannot continue to read them anymore. I guess that you could see it in similar terms to a breakup or divorce. And so your crush comes to a bittersweet end.

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 that there was something more to this. It was fun to read about our respective signs and exciting to discover that our signs were so very much in synch. It seemed like more than a coincidence to read descriptions like the one below
Taurus and Virgo:

Both earth signs share the ability to communicate and understand one another intuitively. Their conversations get better over time and so does the relationship. They will understand each other’s goals and hopes for the future. There is an unspoken bond here that once established, hardly ever gets broken. They will provide each other with what the other person instinctively needs and desires sexually. You can’t go wrong with this astrological combination, period. A strong attraction and loyalty will keep these two together. Relatives can sometimes be a problem for these two.  Virgos understand that listening to their Taurus can provide them the sort of answers that they cannot figure out on their own. The smart Virgo recognizes that Taurus mate knows how to reach them in ways that no other can. Focus on healing yourselves and each other and you will have a mate for life.
I like reading that one. It reminds me of a girl who would giggle when I would reiterate that she needed to listen to her Taurus because I knew how to solve the problems that she couldn't. That girl loved me so. She called me her dear one and swore that she would never leave my side as I swore I would do the same for her.

It scared me more than I liked to admit, to be so madly in love with another. Scared me to let someone see me devoid of all defenses, naked and bare. But I couldn't help myself. Damn, you were, are so very beautiful. You make me act like an idiot. Just can't help but be the fool for you.

Staring at our astrology again I hear you tell me all the reasons why it can't work, at least not now. I fight, I argue and I debate. I tell you that even the stars are in alignment but it is not enough. You turn around and tell me that our astrology is good, but our circumstances are not. And then you are gone.

My girl isn't my girl anymore, at least not in the manner I want. We're back to walking separate paths but it is different now. When I didn't know that you existed there was no ache or regret. I never wondered or worried about you. I didn't stare off into space and ask what you were doing. Didn't wonder if someone else had caught your eye. I just lived my life.

Lived my life as I try to do now- except now I feel a bit like I got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. I am aware of my nakedness. I miss your being naked with me and I wonder what the future holds. I close my eyes and let my mind wander where it will.

Do I take your words at face value. Do I accept what you are saying. I know you well enough to know that you won't tell me everything. Even if you want, hope or dream of more you won't admit it. You won't tell me so I am forced to figure out based upon a hunch. A combination of going with my gut and asking the Magic 8 Ball leads me to believe that you aren't gone, not yet. You are still there, not willing to tell me to get lost nor to come closer.

In short you have left me in limbo which if you ask me is a particularly feminine trait. You characters like to keep us wondering. I could do that too. I should do that. You'd find it particularly disconcerting if I disappeared. If one day I was there and the next I was gone you would wonder. I think about it. I consider it.

But I stay true to me. You know how I feel and you know that the astrology says you are an idiot for not listening to me. So stubborn girl, it leaves us at an impasse. You won't let me in. You won't admit that you still have feelings or that you want me to come get you. You won't lean on me or let me help you because you know that if you open the door a tiny crack I will kick it down.

So for now I am going to continue doing what I am doing. I am living my life. I am working hard on my stuff, career, workouts etc. And if things work out as I expect we'll find out more specifically what the true circumstances of astrology are and what they are not.

Stay tuned to this bat channel.

Just Another Audio Post

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 to sit down and start composing at the keyboard.

In addition there are two other exercises that you can use to improve your writing. Read, read and read some more. Take the time to read newspapers, books, blogs and magazines. Spend time indulging in some critical thought about how other writers construct their posts/essays/stories.

You can pick up all sorts of useful and interesting tricks.

The next step is to work on expanding your vocabulary. Buy a thesaurus, get a book that focuses on helping to expose you to vocabulary words that you are unfamiliar with. Take time to learn how to use some of those words and start to integrate them into your writing.

Words are powerful. A broad vocabulary serves as an awesome tool that you can always count upon. With a little practice and some effort you can find ways to craft the sort of sentence that paints a picture that the reader can see.

One of my personal goals in every post is to try and build sentences that sing. I want paragraphs that make it impossible for the reader to misunderstand my intent. Part of why I love Springsteen's music is that he writes songs that tell stories. Between the words and the music there is a glowing tapestry that I can't help but see.

One more quick comment before I retire for the evening. While I encourage frequent writing I do not necessarily advocate posting with the same frequency. There is something to be said for culling through your posts and only uploading the really good ones.

Of course I don't follow my own advice, but who does. Night from L.A. See you all in the morning.

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 undergoing a cross between orgasm and seizure. Had he a modicum of courtesy we wouldn't be privy to what should be a private, intimate moment between him and his iPod.

But he doesn't and now you are also engaging in some kind of wild, stretching. This would be ok but you are half standing in front of me and I am being given a view that is unpleasant. I am not here to stare at your ass or to be horrified by the swinging sack.

I want to look away, but it is like a trainwreck and I am locked on like a freaking tractor beam. So I am squeezing my eyes shut and waiting for you to move.

My own movement would be welcomed about now. Really, I should just vacate the area before a flash mob enters for an impromptu Hokey-Pokey. God only knows what could happen if I put my right foot in and shook it all about.

But I just developed the perfect sweat and I am not quite ready to move. In a moment I'll stand up so that I can stretch. The free weights are calling out to me.

In a moment I won't be able to resist their siren song any longer. I just pray that I will be able to find my way their unobstructed by you guys.

So dear towel dude keep pretending you're at the club and bob that head back and forth- you're gonna go far.

And last but not least, I'll miss you most of all air guitar boy. Ozzy is looking for a new Randy Rhodes and you just might be him.

End
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

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 and exposure for this joint.

It was very effective and I was quite pleased with it. However it was a bit cumbersome and required a chunk of time. And as my free time shrank I found myself less enamored with it and decided to give it a rest for a while. For the past couple of weeks I have played around with picking it up again but just haven't found enough free time to make it worthwhile.

All was well until Friday afternoon when I participated in The Daddy Blogger Blog Hop and learned that I could have done it all with far greater ease. Had I stopped to think about it or done some simple research I could have taken advantage of technology and made it far simpler.

I owe this impromtu lesson on not reinventing the wheel to A Dad At The Chalkboard because he is the guy behind the old blog hop. And even though he didn't intend for this to work out this way I will offer my thanks for the idea and for providing more blog fodder.

Because this really is a lesson that I work on with my children and something that I have talked about in professional settings quite a bit. There rarely are times when it is truly important to reinvent the wheel. There is nothing lost in trying to find a way to distinguish yourself. No reason not to try and make your mark, but not at the expense of time and productivity.

If someone knows how to do something better than I do I am always happen to listen. It is one of the advantages of age and life experience. It is fine to have an ego, but I'd rather set mine aside and get the work done faster. In the end it provides me with more time to do the things that I want to do.

And now I'll tie this post up in a neat little package. Remember when I said that I was racing to beat a deadline? I have found that blogging is a very effective tool for combating the occasional mental blockage that occurs when I am working on writing articles/essays/proposals. So the five minutes that I just spent writing this post will probably save me a ton of unnecessary aggravation, or at least I hope so.

Check back in with me later and I'll let you know if my little trick worked. For now I... am ....out...of...here.

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 said it, I meant it and I did it. Ya see, this dear old dad sometimes suffers moments of frustration. I know, it is hard to believe that I, the most patient man in the world could ever be frustrated. Even more difficult to believe that sometimes I get angry either.

But truth is that I do get both frustrated and angry. Now if I lived in Boston, detroit or cleveland I'd take out my anger by starting a riot or setting the river on fire. If I lived in London I'd yell something like, "Manchester United fans are wankers" and hooligans would come pouring out from every pub. But I am a fortunate son and haven't suffered the abuse of those who are forced to live in any of these places.

And more importantly I am the role model for some children. Yep, I know, stop laughing. Not only can my boys swim they know how to hop fences, kick down doors and then some. Don't really know why I added that last part, the idea of having commando sperm is for some reason funny to me. I should add on behalf of my children that each and every one of you were planned.

Ok, kids if that doesn't make you want to wash your eyes out with bleach I am not sure what will. Oy, what have I done. ;)

Anyhoo, this morning I found myself fighting through the throes of a bad mood brought upon me by a bad dream. Couldn't remember what it was that I dreamt about, just that I didn't like it. So I decided that it would be better to blog than to kick a cat or punch a hole in the wall.

Relax cat lovers- I hate cats but I haven't ever kicked one. Nor have I punched or assaulted any cat physically. However I cannot lie- I have yelled at them more than once and offered to provide them with free fare to some island far away from here.

And that my friends is I how I found myself sitting here, sharing these ridiculous words with all of you fine people. Even better the bad mood has lifted and I find myself ready, waiting and able to kick the crap out of this day. Lots to do and I am just the man to do it.

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. I know because I feel it too. I know because I have tried. I have fueled the fire and found every reason why I should push you away and never talk to you again.

I know what it means to feel overwhelmed and how in the quiet of the night you can lie awake frightened and frustrated by it all. I am a fighter. I am used to being cut up, scraped and bruised. Life has laid down its share of licks upon me. I have been pounded and pummeled more times than I can count.

But I give as good as I get if not better. You hit me once and I give you five in response. I tap into that primal rage and I roam the battlefield seeking new enemies to battle. It is not always the smartest or best way to live. But it is what I know and I have developed some skill at it. You don't get to be as old as I am without figuring a few things out. Though I still love to use overwhelming force I have learned that brute strength doesn't always work.

And I know that you are not like this. You are soft and sweet. You are like mother earth, a nurturer of people, souls and spirits. And though you have a will like iron and are as strong as steel you shouldn't have to fight these battles by yourself. You shouldn't have to walk amongst the dead and wounded unescorted.

I keep asking for you to give me your hand again. I have apologized and begged for forgiveness. I have watched you from the distance and done what little I could to protect you. I would be your hero again for now and forever. That connection we share-electricity travels both directions. I feel your thoughts better than you think.

It is frightening to me too. I have stared more than one foe in the face-unblinking and unflinching and not been afraid. Yet you can level me with one look. One glare at and I feel my face turn red with shame. It is uncanny and disconcerting to me.

You know that I would march into the gates of hell for you. So what I am saying is that I don't think you will be able to maintain this anger forever. And yes I know that you will see that as a challenge but that isn't what it is. It is just a simple fact. Your heart looks for its companion and so does mine. They will not permit this separation to continue.

So we can continue to burn, twist and ache or we can be smart and resume our rightful place together. It will happen sooner or later. Please give me your hand. I can't stand the idea of you doing it all on your own without me. Come into my arms and lay your head on my shoulder. Don't speak, just breathe.

Breathe and listen. A second before you would have heard two hearts and now there is only one...

Coming Soon

Coming soon: How To Stay Angry At People You Love So That You Can Keep Them At Arms Length

A Brief Recap

If you missed a day than you probably missed these posts:
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 notice that there are relatively few women and that men are dancing with men. Some of the guys go flying out of there, but not me. I have two gay uncles and for a moment I am entranced by what I see. It is foreign to me, there is never a doubt or concern in my head about my sexuality. I like women. I like everything about them and though I kid around about it being easier to be gay, it is not what I want.

But at this point in my life I already know that one of my uncles is HIV positive. I know that my father's little brother has been given a death sentence and that friends/acquaintances of mine may freak out about this. I am not embarrassed nor ashamed by my uncle but I don't volunteer a thing about him. I don't want to engage in ridiculous discussions about his sexuality. It is a private matter, his business and there is no reason to talk about it.

My uncle lives in San Francisco, not too far away from where I am now. I have been to his place to visit many times. Been up there without my folks or siblings so I have an idea what his life is like. But this feels different to me. This intrigues me because this is closer to the "stereotype" that you hear and read about. So for a moment I stand there and look around.

The men in there look no different than I do. Out on the street no one could tell what our preference was, but here the dancing makes it more obvious. For a moment I stand there and watch. I feel like I am in a movie and the camera is spinning in a big circle.  I scan the room and look for my uncle. I don't really expect to see him there. I can't decide if I am happy, sad, upset or ambivalent about not finding him.

A few minutes later I walk out and rejoin the guys. We are looking for a straight bar. Can't say what sort of comments were being made because I don't remember. Wouldn't surprise me if some were off color. I'd expect that more than a few were made about someone enjoying themselves a little bit too much in that bar.

Can't say that there is a point or moral to this story either. It is really just a moment in time, a memory whose existence was pricked by music. Perhaps the hardest part about this is accepting just how long ago this took place.

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 Guidlines

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. Read and above all else COMMENT! We all know that comments are to bloggers what a keg of Dear Park water is to a desert nomad.

8. Grab the code below, create a new post on your blog, and enter it so you can share the growing list with all your followers. Then just sit back and let it grow!


Join us this Friday and share with the other dads of the web your favorite post from your blog. And of course, enjoy the weekend with your family. Remember that yesterday is just a memory, and tomorrow is but a prayer. We are never guaranteed the time, so don't sit back and stare.

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 conferences I listen and ask questions. The goal is to give them more support wherever they may need it.

And why do I do this? Because they are growing children who need love, affection and guidance. We want them to grow to be menschen, to be productive members of society. And the only way to do that is to teach them.

So I find myself looking for teaching moments. Earlier today I noticed that a doorknob was loose and needed some adjustment so I made a point of asking my son to help me fix it. I could have done it myself. It would have been faster but I would have missed the opportunity to teach him how to do it. I would have missed the opportunity to give him another experience of working with me and the pleasure of learning to work with his hands.

It was a teaching moment.

Earlier this week he complained that some of his friends have decided not to be friends with another boy that he likes very much. I know all of the boys that are involved in this and saw another teaching moment. I explained to my son that the boy he likes so much has trouble listening and is often in trouble. He has had moments in which he bullied other children and has been sent home from school at least once.

My son nodded his head and then I explained that kids like this child are hard to be friends with. They have a knack for getting into trouble and sometimes you get into trouble by association. I told him that some parents may tell their children that they cannot be friends with a boy like that and that if he still bullies other kids he is not going to have any friends.

My son looked at me with tears in his eyes and told me that part of why he was still friends with him was because he thought that he could help him. I told him that loyalty is an admirable trait and that I was proud of him. And then I told him that I am not sure that his boy is worth it. He doesn't reciprocate and his past behavior makes me question whether being friends with him is sort of like asking for trouble.

It was another teaching moment.

Sometimes I have a love/hate relationship with these moments. There have been some very difficult discussions that were heart breaking and others that were simply joyous. But I knew the job was dangerous when I took it so...

It is not always easy being a parent, but there is nothing better.

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

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams"
"Your Wildest Dreams" The Moody Blues

I know why you don't come by very often. I know why you keep your distance and how it helps you fool yourself. You do remember. You haven't forgotten and you won't. But for the moment it is easier for you to maintain this fiction. Easier to pretend that what we had and what we were was fantasy or somehow less than it was.

I know, because sometimes I go there too. Sometimes I pretend that it was nothing but a dream that I once had and that now I am awake. The dream is over, the day has come and so I must move on. But my darling I am not able to maintain that fiction. I can't. I am not built that way. I jump in the fire and I stay until I can't take it any longer and than I stay some more.

You hate reading these words. You hate knowing that I do this and you hate feeling responsible for it. I understand and though you won't accept it, I absolve you of that. I do this freely because this is how I operate. I can only be who I am and this is how I do that.

Part of what I love about you is that incredible strength you have. I am impressed and amazed that you can stay focused and avoid those places where we used to be. But I know that there are days when you can't help it, where you wonder if I have truly walked away. I know this to be true the same way I knew what you were thinking or how I'd pick up the phone and call you just as you were about to dial my number.

"And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time
Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams"

And I know that though you protest you love hearing that I can't forget you. I know that you love knowing that I have never forgotten what your lips felt like, how it felt to hold you or what you smell like. I know that you are relieved that we don't run into each other because you couldn't keep this up if we did.

And yes I know that last line sounds arrogant. It is not. It is confidence and it is true. One kiss and you would melt. One hug and you would remember by whose side you should be standing. I know it and you know it. So the distance and the space work to your advantage, sort of.

Because you can only fool yourself for so long. You can only hide from destiny for a short time and then it comes to find you. Or so I tell myself in the quiet of the night. In the dark places within my heart and the empty spaces in my soul that you used to fill I hear whispers. Whispers that accuse me of being a fool and worse than that. Accusations that sear my insides are there to suggest that maybe this is a fool's errand.

But then I close my eyes and blot out all noise and there in the dark I see you looking back at me. So I pretend that you have been captured and are being held prisoner in some castle. And you know me, I am your hero- my girl will not be help captive any longer than it takes me to tear down the walls. You know that I will lay siege to that castle. I will tear the down walls and destroy any who stand in my way. I will fight and fight and fight until I rescue you.

Sometimes fairy tales come true.

"And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams
In your wildest dreams
In your wildest dreams"

Lightning Is About To Strike

Lightning is about to strike again, not a doubt in my mind that we're going to see it live and experience in 3D. Some lips are bound to ...