Archives for December 2009

A Look Back at 2009

Here is my annual round up of the year. Not sure how it will measure up to the 2008 edition aptly titled:Not Quite a Recap- Let’s Talk about Body Parts. But that is part of the joy of blogging, you never really know what can happen. Really, I just sit down and watch my fingers type, they have a mind of their own.

If you are a new reader this will serve as a sort of guide, a Phantom Tollbooth through hell or heaven, all depends if you like what you read. 😉 Please note that this isn’t based upon most popular or most commented on. It is merely a selection of posts that I think provide a little sense of what this place is about. Welcome to the department of redundancy department.

January

A Special Message To Hamas and Co.
True Love Can Last A Lifetime
Why My BlackBerry is In The Refrigerator
Social Media Can Be Too Social
The Slumber Party
Kissing
We Leave The Toilet Seat Up
Instant Messenger
My Parents and My Blog
The Condom
The Private School Dilemma Again
A Good Father
My Best Writing
Sex & Love- A Father Speaks

February

The Next Time I Visit Ikea
Blog Envy, Springsteen; The Superbowl
The Bill Collector
The Road Not Taken
How Much Would it Cost To Build The Death Star
Be a Better Blogger- Write More Frequently
Once Upon a Life
The Male Brain Versus The Female Brain
Songs Sung Badly
Life Is Too Short
Show Me Your Veins
Octuplets- An Abdication of Medical; Parental Responsibility
Valentine’s Day- A Day That Should Live In Infamy
Vocabulary Words #10- Obscure but Interesting
The Butt Doctor
Israel On College Campuses

March

Third Annual Link to Jack Day
Take Your Toilet to Dinner
Dr. Seuss on Uncertain Times and Economic Unrest
Don’t Die Dad
When Parents Die

April

A Telephone Bill Scam- Cramming
How Baseball Players Catch Fly Balls
Rules For Life
Dad, What Is a Gas Chamber?
How To Get More Readers For Your Blog


May 

Baptizing The Bear
Turning 40-The Pressure of Time
Rules For Dating My Daughter
100 Best Movie Lines in 200 Seconds
Facing My Fear

June

What Happens When You Die
Why Some Blogs Fail
Welcome to Tumbleweed Crossing
 
July

Dad Doesn’t Always Have The Answers
Who Broke Your Heart- Things You Might Not Know

The End of a Marriage
You Can’t Bully My Child
75 Years of Marriage
Riding the Mommy Blogger Gravy Train

August

Are We Poor?
Daughters Are Different
Do You Live Your Dreams?
Does Fear Prevent You From Living Your Life?
A Father’s Responsibility
Save The Last Dance For Me- 75 Years of Marriage

September

As The Bodies Fell He Played
Vote for Me For Third Grade Student Council
What Is The Difference Between A Fool & A Dreamer

October

Sometimes Friends Let You Down
The Difference Between Blog Friends and Real Life Friends
My Daughter
The Beginning
My Best Posts
What Brings You Joy?
Johnny Was a Hero

November

Shoes
Failure
Sesame Street & The Origin of Om nom nom nom
A Love Song That Needs To Be Written
The Pressures of Parenthood
I Will Never Fall In Love Again
A Different Sort of Children’s Book

December 

Streets of Philadelphia
The People We Miss
When is it Appropriate to Use Your iPhone
A Father’s Obligation- Mistakes Happen
She Screamed &Screamed
Songs That You Have To Sing Along With
They Call Me Dad
How Do You Become a Father
Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control
140 Characters- Teaching Boys To Be Men
Mistakes & Opportunities
Nine Years Ago I Became A Father

Well, this wasn’t much fun, but sort of a necessary task. I’ll probably come back to this and edit it a time or two. One more year is almost in the books.

Remember, 2010- The Year of Jack. You can bank on it.

Americans Are Terrible At Math

This is more than a little frightening:
According to the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy, U.S. adults are terrible at solving real-world math problems, like calculating tips or comparing prices in grocery stores.  Some dismal results:
*Only 42 percent were able to pick out two items on a menu, add them, and calculate a tip.
*Only 1 in 5 could reliably calculate mortgage interest.
*1 in 5 could not calculate weekly salary when told an hourly pay rate.
*Only 13 percent were deemed “proficient.”  Worse yet, only 1 in 10 women, 1 in 25 Hispanics and 1 in 50 African Americans made the grade.
*Americans are terrified of numbers when it counts most: 20 million Americans pay someone to file their 1040EZ, a one-page tax form with around 10 blanks to fill out.
Also, these numbers show up in U.S. student math scores, which are abysmal:
*The U.S. ranks 25th among 30 industrialized nations in math scores, down near Serbia and Uruguay. U.S. students thought they had the highest grades of any nation in the study, however.
*Half of 17 year olds couldn’t do enough math to work in an auto plant, according to President’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel.
*Study after study shows U.S. achievement falls off the cliff during middle school, when subjects like fractions and percentages are introduced — exactly the skills you need as a consumer or, for that matter, to move on to algebra, calculus and advanced sciences.
But here’s another essential point. How can Johnny learn to add if Johnny’s teachers can’t?
*In 18 U.S. states, not even one elementary math class is required for certification.
*Some teaching colleges allow admittance as long as students have math skills equal to their future students — that is, as long as they could pass a 5th grade math test.
*It’s possible in some states to pass the teacher certification exam (Praxis) without answering a single math question correctly. 
*In Massachusetts, there’s a special program to reacquaint teachers with math. The man who runs the program says half of teachers can’t answer basic questions involving fractions and has concluded that many elementary teachers are “phobic” about math.

*Teachers seem to be math-averse from the start. College bound seniors headed for elementary education have math SAT scores significantly lower than the national average (483 vs. 515).

End Of The Year Round up

I have a bad habit of starting my end of the year round up really late, like right around the end of the year. Really I should be doing this throughout the year. You know, marking posts as being worthy of inclusion, or at least considered.

Instead I save it for the end and find myself doing it in a less organized and more herky-jerky type fashion. It is a mistake. Of course if I made millions of dollars from doing this I wouldn’t put it off, but since it is a hobby it gets short shrift sometimes.

I am working on the round up now and I am less than pleased with it. It doesn’t feel right, something is off. It might be that I hate half of the posts that I have written. That too is consistent.

Anyway, I will put something together. In the interim if you have any requests or suggestions feel free to include them in the comments.

I Want A Flying Car- Meet George Jetson

Posted via web from thejackb’s posterous

Nine Years Ago I Became A Father

It is not really appropriate for this post, but I keep playing and replaying This Time by John Legend. First time hearing it and I love it. Or maybe it does, let’s see.

He was due some time around the second week of January but he showed up on his schedule. I know, I should be able to tell you what his due date was, but I don’t remember. Ask his mother, I am sure she’ll remember.

I remember other things. I remember her waking me up at 1:30 A.M. to tell me that her water broke. I remember calling the hospital and being told to take a shower and then come in. All sorts of other memories are there too, the drive to the hospital and the waiting.

Moms don’t understand how hard it is for the dads. I know, you’re rolling your eyes because you are doing the actual work, but remember for men it is hard. We are not programmed to stand around and do nothing and yet that is all we can do. We can’t deliver the baby ourselves, at least most of us can’t. Although I had seen enough television to know that I needed a newspaper and boiled water.

************
The boy may have been early, but he took his sweet time in making an appearance. It was 3:30 and change, the afternoon of the 29th when he poked his head out. I know because I was there. I stood next to the doc and watched this bloody mess, and it was both bloody and messy.

I stared at the head trying to decipher the mystery of whether my first born would be male or female. I watched as he made his appearance and noticed the obvious and began thinking about his bris, baseball, Bar Mitzvahs, condoms, girls, college and marriage.

Ok, I can’t say that I remember thinking about each of those things, but I know that I was overwhelmed. Amazed and humbled to think that this tiny creature, a boy, my son was finally here. As the nurse cleaned him up I talked to him, whispered secrets for his ears only. Promised eternal love and devotion, said that I would protect and educate him.

Nine years later the boy who was 7 pounds 16 ounces (the nurse told me that and I repeated it over and over until my father reminded me that he was 8 pounds) and 20 inches is over four feet tall and around 70 pounds. I can’t carry him like a football anymore. I can’t put him over my shoulder and walk with him for hours anymore.

He still can’t beat me in a footrace or out muscle me, but the time is coming. My days as leader of the pack are limited in some ways and I am ok with it, most of the time.

The big guy has an insatiable curiosity about the world around him. He loves to read and play with Legos. He does Sudoku puzzles and plays soccer. In between it all he comes to me and asks me to play with him. I try to give him the time he wants and feel guilty when I can’t.

We talk about everything. There are a million conversations that I don’t list here. We know each other well enough that we can communicate by grunts and whistles, a look or a nod. He tells me that when I am angry I have a scary face. I laugh and tell him that he is talking about grandpa. He laughs and says that grandpa never gets angry.

He is nine. The baby is history and the toddler a memory. He is not quite a little boy anymore but still not a preteen. I see so much potential in him. I do what all parents do. I try to help him avoid making the stupid mistakes I made, steer him towards the smarter choice.

We talk about making smart decisions a lot. I tell him that I will always be there for him. I promise to be his rock and then I tell him that my job is to help him acquire the tools to be a mensch, his job is to use them.

And it works because I believe it and so does he. We understand our agreement. It works.

I often wonder what kind of person he is going to grow up to be. Will he be kind? Will he be wise? Will he be the clever man or something else.

Happy Birthday Little Jack, your old man (he loves to say that now) loves you.