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Showing posts from November, 2010

The Worst First Date...Ever

Ladies, if a man tells you that men never tell tales you need to immediately call him upon the carpet and let him know that you know better. Because the reality is that we do share stories with our friends, colleagues and brothers-in-arms. We exchange tales of bravery and childhood stupidity. We talk about the girls that once were and the girls that are. And sometimes after a few beers the tales turn to those that we might prefer to keep under wraps. I remember one such occasion with a mixture of clarity and confusion. It will be up to you to determine if the haze that lies upon my eyes was placed there by a bottle of single malt or the shifting sands of time. Up to you to decide if I have taken liberties to smooth and polish the tale or tales you might read here. Time is fleeting, madness takes its toll so we must begin..... Ten years ago when I was a younger man, so much younger than today I was a new father who attacked each day with vigor. Carpe Diem was a motto and a mantra.

I Used The Television As a Babysitter

And now Uber-dad, the one and only Jack B. confesses that today he used the television as a babysitter. Ok, it wasn't just the television it included the Wii, an iPod Touch and time on a spare computer playing Webkinz. Today was the kind of Monday that makes you tremble in fear, anger and frustration. It was the sort of day where you knew well in advance that life was about to sucker punch you in ways that you couldn't begin to imagine. And what really added insult to injury was the anticipation that came as part of the package. Being a man who loves imagery I saw myself as a sailor on a trip around the world and not an inexperienced one either. No, I am an old salt who has fought off pirates and sailed through the craziest storms that the seven seas can throw at a man. I have taken on rogue waves and overcome the sweet song of the sirens. I fear no creature, no shark, whale or sea monster. The kraken could rise out of the sea accompanied by Poseidon and I would laugh. Ye

The Lonesome Kicker

via I love this not just because it is funny but because it tells a story. And if there is one thing that I have learned about myself it is that at heart, I am a story teller and a collector of stories. Were it a thousand years ago I might have been some sort of Bard or Minstrel. But it is not and I am not- but who I am today will not be who I am tomorrow. Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

What I Meant To Say

Sometimes the echoes of our past haunt the halls of our present. The simple tasks that I am required to attend to seem to require an extra step and the routine events are not quite routine. A superstitious man would say that strange things are afoot or wonder aloud if the universe was trying to send me a message. But I am not that superstitious man, at least not today. For today I am convinced that whatever happens is nothing more than simple coincidence. There is a logical explanation for all of these things and if not than it is nothing more than simple coincidence. I say these things because that is what I want to believe. I don't want to be asked to try to decipher hidden messages or to engage in deep philosophical thought about the meaning of life. I want it to be handed to me in plain detail with instructions that cannot be misunderstood. There are rules and laws that I wish to follow. Laws of math and science that I can depend upon to be consistent are my friend and my a

Priorities Vs Black Friday

" Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear ." Mark Twain " I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one. " Mark Twain " You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus ." Mark Twain This morning I woke up to a different sort of Black Friday than the one that many others did. For me it was Black Friday because I had stayed up far later than common sense dictated I should even though I had deadlines to hit. Not deadline, but deadlines. I suppose that ultiple projects all coming due at the same time could be seen as poor planning or a quirk of fate. And I suppose that one could argue that it was a lack of discretion that led to my enjoying good Scotch and good company far longer than I should have. But the benefit of experience and awareness is such that I knew that I could find a way to get it all done. Knew that sometimes I work better under pressure. So when I woke up in de

The Year Is Almost Gone

It is another Friday night and I am back at the computer again. Back because I have work to do, stories to write, bills to pay, and a million other things that require my attention. Back because I can't rest or relax. Back because sometimes this is how I relax. I sit down at the keyboard and start typing out my thoughts, feelings and ideas about whatever tickles my fancy. And so I am back here mulling over the end of another week and the realization that 2010 is just about over. It is hard to believe that the year has come and gone with the kind of speed that this one has passed through. If you look back at the beginning of the year you'll see that I shared two thoughts/themes for the year. 2010 was supposed to be the year of Jack and the year of the daddy blogger. I called it the year of Jack in response to 2009. I called it the year of Jack because 2009 was the easily among the worst years of my life. If life mirrored bad sitcoms than 2009 ranks right up there. I turned 4

Is It Blogworthy?

Here is some unsolicited advice for any who wish to take it. It is always worth considering whether the post in your head is blogworthy. Take a moment to consider what you are doing and what you hope to accomplish. Spend a minute asking yourself if you could say the same thing in person and you'll likely save yourself some grief. In the early days of my blogging career when I was completely anonymous I had very few rules for what I was willing to post. If I felt like writing about something than I did so. Since I had almost no readers it didn't occur to me that there was any reason to censor myself. And for the most part I really didn't. Over time my feelings on the matter evolved and I found that I was beginning to develop unwritten rules for what I was willing to discuss online and what was left unwritten and unsaid. You can attribute the genesis of this to having people who know me discover this place. It wasn't so much that what I said was so emb

Thankful for My Health

I didn't want to answer the phone and most of the time I wouldn't have. The call came through on the house line and had I responded the way I normally would have it would have gone straight to voicemail. Those who I wish to speak with are given my cellphone- the direct line that I carry upon me most of the time. The other line is still active for emergency purposes. It is proven technology and in the case of an earthquake or some other disaster it is there for us to use. But ten years or so ago when we first got that number it was the primary line so some friends and family still use it. When it rang twenty-five minutes ago I glanced at the Caller ID and noticed that it said Incomplete Data. Usually that would have been enough to ignore but this time I chose to answer it. Chose to answer it because I needed a two minute break from work and because I was curious. I recognized that voice on the other side instantly and wondered why they chose to use the house line. They had

The US Civil War- Old Photos

The US Civil War or The War Between the States is something that has always interested me. For a brief timeline of the war click here . Those of you who are not from the states probably are less familiar with this and how many Civil War buffs are still walking around today. Many of them spend copious amounts of time involving themselves in reenactments of battles and life as it was during that time. Civil War Reenactment HQ offers a collection of information about this including a lists of events , units , and a beginners guide to reenactments. The Civil War Reenactors Homepage has a lot of information as well. But what I really wanted to write about here are those old time photographs that we see from that time period. Photography was much more time consuming and difficult than it is today. "During the Civil War , the process of taking photographs was complex and time-consuming. Two photographers would arrive at a location. One would mix chemicals and pour them

A Midweek Wrapup

Here is what you have missed: Johnny's Thanksgiving Cookie Monster Auditions for Saturday Night Live The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves Is Social Media Making You Anti-Social Monday Morning Music Thanksgiving Week I Hate The Holiday Season Dancing With Reckless Abandon Wii Party Like Bad Bad Leroy Brown And your blast from the past: Inside the Blogger's Studio- A Dream, Er Nightmare You are Not Funny Nor Wise

Johnny's Thanksgiving

There were moments where Johnny thought that one of the great tragedies of his life was his inability to sing or play an instrument. He was a man of passion and intensity who had known tragedy and triumph. He believed wholeheartedly that he had stumbled onto one of the great loves, if not the great love of his life. Fear and uncertainty had taken her from him and that was something that he had been unable to reconcile with himself. For a long while he had foundered between anger and sadness. Most of that was directed inwards, which if you knew him was to be expected because he had no bigger critic than himself. There had been more than one occasion upon which he sat in the dark and stared into the black wondering what if. It was an easy trap for him to fall into albeit a foolish path for him to tread upon. It was easy because hindsight made it clear that there had been a better way to do things. It was easy because looking backwards he could see the path that he should have taken a

The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves

One of the things that I love about blogging is the opportunity it affords to search for answers about the questions that bother me. The web is filled with similar blogs, thousands of souls like mine searching cyberspace a communal quest to find that thing or thing that provides fulfillment. Some are looking for something to fill the empty space in their beds, some in their hearts and others are not quite sure what they are looking for, they just are. I have had my heart broken several times. It was ripped out from behind my ribs and my chest was sown back up, devoid of the thing that made me human, or so I thought. I grew accustomed to being sad, to looking at others with a longing to just be normal again, to wonder how they could laugh and how they could still see a world full of colors. And then one day I woke up and realized that I had lost a companion, a old familiar friend had left me. The pain that I carried with me was gone and I hadn't realized that it ha

Is Social Media Making You Anti-Social

Social Media has made it de rigueur to talk to people in ways that once were considered rude or inappropriate. We no longer encourage eye contact because that removes our ability to check our email, tweet, blog or update our Facebook status. It has gotten so bad in my house that I once made my 6.5 year old daughter scream in terror. You see, I walked into her bedroom and told her that if she didn't clean up her room she wasn't going to be able to go on her playdate. It seemed like a rather innocuous request and certainly not one that was going to make her scream. However I had forgotten that she no longer recognizes my face and consequently was frightened because she thought that a strange man had broken into her house. Fortunately I am quick witted so I whipped out my BlackBerry and looked down at my screen. Having become intimately familiar with the top of my head she immediately calmed down and requested that I never scare her like that again. Still I was concerned so

Monday Morning Music Thanksgiving Week

Under Pressure -Queen & David Bowie Sympathy For The Devil -The Rolling Stones The Night Is Still Young - Billy Joel Resistance - Muse I'll Have to Say I Love You In A Song - Jim Croce We Can Work It Out - The Beatles Prodigal Blues - Billy Idol Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan The Fire Inside - Bob Seger Baby, I Love You - Aretha Franklin Do You Wanna Hold Me? -Bow Wow Wow Mud On the Tires -Brad Paisley Telephone Line - ELO

I Hate The Holiday Season

Yes that is right. I hate the holiday season.  I hate being told to be of good cheer. I hate reading about the fake war on Xmas. I hate being assaulted by all of the crass commercialism. I hate being told that we should be nicer now than during the rest of the year. I hate emails that are blindly sent out without regard for whether the message is of interest to all of the recipients. I hate all of the stupid decorations. Gaudy is not cool and I don't care if they are Jewish or Xtian. I dislike them all. I hate fighting crowds at the mall. I hate reading about knuckleheads shooting each other over a video game system. I hate the stupid elves that try and get my children to take a picture on Santa's lap. Don't they know that I wished  Death upon Santa . I hate knowing that my cousin the Grinch rolled over and gave in. I hate most Elmo toys. That little red fiend's voice grates on my nerves. I hate all of these stupid battery operated toys that beep, squawk

Dancing With Reckless Abandon

Two weeks ago the Traveling Jack show left the comfortable confines of the home office in paradise for a quick trip across country. A lovely experience in which your favorite father's plane departed California at 10:30 P.M. and arrived at Dulles at 6:30 A.M. Twelve hours later the crazy man boarded a plane back home. Stuffed full of coffee, a bagel and 17 gallons of Pho he spent the entire plane ride wondering if the crazy clevelander behind him would do him a favor and swallow her tongue. Ok, in the interest of disclosure I don't know where that woman was from nor did I pray for her to swallow her tongue. Rather I silently begged G-d to sew her mouth shut or make her move to a different seat. I blame that upon extreme fatigue and the foul smell of caviar that was emanating from her bag. Who brings caviar on a plane and more importantly, who eats it while sitting in coach. Really. But none of that is important nor tied into the real point of this post. Because what this i

Wii Party Like Bad Bad Leroy Brown

"Well the south side of Chicago Is the baddest part of town And if you go down there you better just beware Of a man named Leroy Brown" Sunday was what you could call a watershed day for the blog. You see for the past 6.5 years of my blogging career I have ignored opportunities to try and court brands. I have ignored the PR pitches that have come through. With the exception of the WebAds banners that have been running here I have done nothing to monetize this place. I write because I love to write. I write because it is a big part of how I vent. I write because words help define Jack. Don't you just love it when people refer to themselves in the third person. Don't ask me to tell you why I didn't push for monetizing this joint sooner. The answer is a simple because I didn't and because I was irritated by the way a lot of other bloggers did it. I looked down my nose at them and sneered because I thought that they were unprofessional and that they chea

Most Popular Posts of The Last 30 Days

The most popular posts from the past 30 days in no particular order: A Decade of Dad   Some Wounds Take Longer To Heal   What Is The Most Challenging Aspect of Blogging?   When Bloggers Bully   Dear June- Winter Comes   The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants   A Father Describes Parenting There Are Places I Remember

Writing To Connect With Others

"she runs from my words and hides from my heart and all the while it weeps endlessly while my soul reaches for hers and wonders why it doesn't answer" Someone asked me why I have devoted so much time to blogging and whether I thought it was worth it. The underlying message was an unspoken accusation that I was wasting my time, using it unwisely. It is not the first time that I have heard such words or felt someone judge me for how I choose to engage with others. It didn't bother me then and it doesn't bother me now. Engagement with others is what makes the blogosphere so very interesting. Interacting with other fathers and hearing their stories about their lives, desires and interests. Walking amongst the mothers and listening to what they say about their lives and their roles is so very interesting to me. We are all parents and people yet our perspectives can be so very different. It doesn't matter whether we are both witnessing the same event at the

The People We Miss

I often complain about the holiday season. I wished death upon the Easter Bunny and Santa . Some of that is serious and some of that is nonsense. This morning as I bounced around the blogosphere I stumbled onto a bunch of posts in which people reflected on life and some of the loved ones that they miss. It really made me think about some things that are going on now and the people that I care about because there are a few whose absence I really notice. ****************************** Some people play too big a role in our lives for us not to miss them.  They come into our lives and they change things, or maybe things change. I am not alway quite sure how that works. I am not talking about the obvious ones. This isn't about parents or siblings. It is understood that they play a huge role. Rather I am thinking about the unexpected impact that others can have upon you. I am thinking about the people who enter your life and whose presence fills up empty places that

A Decade of Dad

Bathed in sunlight streaming in from the window behind him he smiled, shook his head and wondered like all parents do where the time has gone. It has been about a decade since we pulled the goalie and released the hounds he said in that not so clever way of his. They are silly, trite and overused euphemisms that the boys throw out when we talk about trying to get our significant others pregnant. It is a curious thing this memory, wrapped up in a combination of reverence and irreverence. I sit here with a partial smile gracing my lips and images of  Gene Wilder screaming " Give My Creation Life! " I can't speak for other men, I just know that there was something amazing about it. It was awesome, frightening and natural. I always wanted to be a father. There was never a doubt that I would do it but for so many years the objective had been to avoid doing that very thing. Be safe and be smart. Now ten years later I sit here surrounded by pictures of my children, not child

Words Left Unspoken

"she runs from my words and hides from my heart and all the while it weeps endlessly while my soul reaches for hers and wonders why it doesn't answer"

Late Night Music

Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot Without You Here - Goo Goo Dolls Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers The Wings - Brokeback Mountain Canto Della Terra -Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman All I Ask Of You - Phantom of The Opera How Do You Like Me Now - The Heavy Just Another Day - Oingo Boingo Jack and Diane - John Mellencamp

More Than Just Words

I dusted off the shelves and looked inside my head. I stared in the mirror of my mind's eye and played the films of the great loves of my life. I watched as I laughed and cried. I stared intently at the boy whose heart was filled until it would burst and a part of me wept as I watched that same heart tear itself apart. It made me sad to see a part of him die and to remember that empty feeling, that hole that felt like it would never heal. And then I watched in amazement as he found his way through the desert and rebuilt what was broken. Even though I knew the story I couldn't help but smile as I watched him rediscover what it meant to not just love, but be in love. I rejoiced with him as he remembered just how love could be the finest addiction around and that he knew that it didn't have to die. There are some loves that surpass time and can survive death. It sounds hokey, it sounds like a cliche, but I know it to be true. There are people who are so ver

Some Wounds Take Longer To Heal

It is the early 80s and an olive skinned boy with hazel eyes and curly black hair is wandering through the halls of his school. A few moments ago he made a quick stop at his locker to pick up his math book and is now fighting time. If he doesn't hurry up he is going to be tardy. He is a good student and most subjects are easy for him but math isn't one of them. It could be one of his favorites. It could be something that tickles and stimulates his mind but it is not. Some of that can be attributed to bad math teachers and the bad attitude he has developed towards it. He is 14 years-old and has already decided that he knows as much math as he is going to need. But there is a bigger problem than his bad attitude and bad teachers. Her name is Denise and she teases him constantly. From the moment he walks into class until the bell rings she will be the epitome of the mean girl. For 50 minutes she will pick apart his clothes, the way he looks, how he walks and anything else that

Dear June- Winter Comes

A new insert for Fragments of Fiction : Dear June, Do you remember that note that I sent you where I told you that when you are thinking about me I am thinking about you? Do you remember my telling you that I would see you on the other side? Well, I have been thinking about it lately and I think that it was foreshadowing the future. I know, it sounds kind of screwy but it makes sense to me and not just because I want it to. I stumbled across this Jane Austen quote that thought was interesting: " It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others. " I don't know which story it comes from but I really should find out. It made a lot of sense to me as it describes us. Was there ever a time where we didn't feel comfortable with each other. Was there ever a time where we didn't just get each other