Archives for February 2007

Volunteers Needed for JBlogosphere Purim Podcast

Jameel the Waffle King has information on how you can participate in the first annual JBlogosphere Purim Podcast. Don’t be shy. Join in the fun. Click here for details.

Ok, since some of you are lazy I’ll provide them here too:

We’ve set up a number on GCast for people to call into and record onto. You just call, record, and hang up. If you’re in the US: 1-888-65-GCast. Internationally it says +1-305-437-8719. The ten-digit code is C1MAURP1ZZ; The PIN is PURI. Punch those in slowly, it doesn’t register if you do it too fast. You can listen to whatever you record before saving (and you can delete it before submission). Please press 2 to save – thanks!

The unofficial trailer:

A Six Year Old Wonders

Last April my son and I broached the topic of how babies are made. It was an interesting moment. I wasn’t embarrassed or upset by it. Just kind of bemused. I very much enjoy these conversations with him. I find it fascinating to see the wheels in his head turn. I still maintain that he is far smarter than I am. It is only by virtue of life experience that he has not yet surpassed me.

Tonight he brought the topic back up. I am not really sure what prompted the discussion. I just know that he must have spent some time wondering about how everything works. So I gave him the down and dirty explanation. To use a silly analogy I gave him enough information to make a basic watch but not enough to craft a Rolex.

For a very brief time my explanation was sufficient and then the dam broke. A barrage of questions was unleashed upon me:

“Dad, babies don’t really come out of tummies do they.”
“Dad, how big is a vagina? Could I still fit in one?”
“Dad, do mommies ever pee or poop when the baby comes out?”
“Dad, who stuffs the babies inside the vaginas?
“Why don’t they fall out of the vaginas?”
“Can you have a penis and a vagina?”
“Can you give birth with a penis?”
“Where were you when I was born?”

These were relatively easy to deal with. The hard part was the comment he made. On the way home we stopped at a grocery store to get some milk. While we were in the store we passed a woman who was quite well endowed. My son looked pointed at her chest and said “she must have a lot of babies at home.”

It was one of those “dayenu” moments. If he had said this quietly it would have been enough. I won’t bore you with the whole sordid tale. Suffice it to say that the only way he could have been louder would have been to have announced this over the PA system. “Huge boobs on aisle 12!”

To quote Steve Hartman, “We move on.”

Later on in the car we spent more time talking about the baby making process. He wanted a step-by-step guide to intercourse. Do you stand/sit/lie down? Does it tickle? Does it hurt? Do you need to be a father to do it? Do women get pregnant the first time you do it? etc.

I asked him if the reason he wanted to know all about this was so that he could get a girlfriend and then tried not to laugh. He has told me on numerous occasions that he doesn’t like girls, that he won’t ever get married and that he wouldn’t mind if his sister went on more vacations without him.

This led into another discussion about why he has to go to his sister’s dance classes. He thinks that they are boring. I explained to him that when I was a kid I had to go my sister’s dance classes too. My father happened to be standing there during this part of the discussion. He was rather surprised when his grandson berated him.

“Grandpa, you didn’t teach my daddy that dance class is boring.” I stifled a laugh. It was clear that in my son’s mind he saw my father as ultimately being responsible for his having had to go to dance class.

That is about all the energy I have for writing now. It is time for this old man to get some shut eye. See you all in the AM.

Podcasting Post Part II

Hi folks,

I am having a few technical difficulties making this work. I’d like to be able to embed the player within my posts but that doesn’t seem to be working as the player doesn’t render within the posts.

When I put the code in the sidebar it works just fine. The question I am mulling is whether to place it there on a “full time” basis.

I think that I’ll let the idea marinate inside the old noggin for a while and then make a decision about how to proceed.

Jack Tests Out Podcasting

Hi folks. As promised I have decided to try a new podcasting service. You can plan on these being similar to my written posts. The topics will be random and varied. You’ll never know what to expect because I speak off the cuff.

Hopefully I won’t bore you too badly. OTOH if you find my podcasts to be a good sleep aid please let me know and for a small fee I’ll help ensure that you don’t spend the quiet hours counting sheep.

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Defining Apartheid

I have been thinking about the charges that Israel is an apartheid state following the many excellent posts on the topic by Joel Pollak. Joel will soon be participating in a debate on this topic. He also has a great list of 26 thoughts around the apartheid charge – one of the best apartheid posts on the blogosphere.

Apartheid was a legal framework by which whites (a minority) sought to ensure their continued political and economic domination of South Africa. It was based purely on race – South Africans were divided into 2 groups – whites and non-whites (blacks, Indians and colours).

There were two components to Apartheid – grand apartheid with its goal of political separation, and petty apartheid which sought to segregate whites from non whites. Both components were equally important and intertwined for one could not succeed without the other.

Grand apartheid was to be achieved by creating separate political realities for whites and non whites. This was done by revoking the citizenship from non-white South Africans reducing the ‘legal’ population of South Africa so that the whites would be the demographic majority. Homelands called Bantustans were created and these were eventually to become separate independent states. Blacks were to either be physically moved into these homelands, or nationally tied to them (i.e. they would become a citizen of the homeland that they might have never set foot in; and not a citizen of South Africa). Naturally, even blacks that were not yet assigned a Bantustan, were denied suffrage (i.e. they were denied the right to vote).

Legislation was passed to legally separate blacks from whites in all aspects of daily life. The separate public amenities act ruled that blacks and whites would receive separate public services. Blacks and whites were to have separate education, medical care, transport and beaches. The legislation even pervaded to the use of parks – blacks could not sit on the same benches as whites and they could not even use the same water fountains used by whites.

Laws were also passed prohibiting blacks and whites from having sexual relations. This was policed to the extent that a white could be incarcerated for allowing a black of the opposite sex to sit on the front seat in their car.

Apartheid ensured the domination by a white minority over a black majority in every apsect of their daily lives. Blacks could not participate in the political process, they were forced to study in languages selected by the government and their education was geared towards making them useful labourers for their white ‘bosses’.

It is thus easy to see that Israel is not an apartheid state. All citizens of Israel (whether Muslim or Jewish, Arab or European) have equality before the law. There is nothing close to resembling the separate provision of amenities – Muslims and Jews use the same hospitals, Muslims and Jews use the same public transport, Muslims and Jews all vote in Israeli elections, Muslims and Jews can run for election etc etc. Muslims in Israel can choose to study in the language of their preference and Arabic is even one of the national languages of Israel. In apartheid South Africa, although blacks made up over 80% of the population, not a single African language was recognised by the state.

Click here to read the rest of this excellent post.