Archives for June 2010

Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Music and My Children

The video for Grandpa Gaga made me smile. It made me think of my children and their love for music and dancing. Music has always been a huge part of our family’s life and something that my children have taken on as well.

It is always there in the background, throughout the happy, sad or angry moments it flows throughout the house. If you watch us you will see that even when we are focused on a project it is not unusual to see our lips moving as we silently sing along to the music of the moment.

In the good old days before school their exposure to music was limited to whatever mom or dad liked. Though our tastes are fairly diverse you didn’t hear Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus playing. There weren’t any boy bands or sugar coated pop music.

But some of that has changed. My daughter wanders around singing or dancing to Party In The USA and Bad Romance. So now I find myself paying attention to their music and listening to the lyrics. I ask the dark haired beauty if she has seen the videos for these songs and she says no, but I am not convinced. She tells me that she has heard some of these songs at school or on play dates.

So I sit down and think about it, wonder how I feel. I am not the over protective father and I am not the guy who jumps up and down screaming for everyone to wear a sweater because I am cold. I watch the dark haired beauty sing and dance and I smile.

She is cute, this girl of mine. She likes it when I dance with her, hasn’t realized that dad doesn’t have rhythm for anything other than slow dancing and two stepping. The girl doesn’t understand all of the lyrics- she enjoys the music and the beat. But as I watch her I see a girl who floats between dancing like a six year old and someone who is older.

I wonder if it is just my imagination or is she trying to move her hips a bit. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I am a 41 year old man who has always had a very healthy appreciation for girls and I can’t help but think that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

And though it is a double standard I worry more about my daughter than my son. I know how single minded of purpose boys can be and how easy it is to say what someone wants to hear. And then I shake my head and say that she is going to be six in a few weeks, this is ridiculous talk.

She dresses appropriately for her age. She acts like a little girl because she is one. With a sigh and a shrug I decide to take it day by day- not going to freak out about it. If I find out that she is actually watching inappropriate videos than someone will hear from me, but no reason to do that now. She sings God Bless the USA as often as she sings anything else so we’ll watch and see what happens.

There is nothing better than being a father, but damn if it is not one concern it is another.

Top 50 Rabbis- I am Not Included…Again

As is tradition here are links to the Top 50 rabbis from the past few years as well as the present. I suppose that I should mention that I wasn’t included because I don’t have smicha, although if you asked some of my friends they have said that they expected that I would become one. I even blogged about it.

As a bonus for reading here is the video of Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan’s response to where she was on Christmas.

Self- Reliance

I have been thinking about this essay again.

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. ”

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
I have always appreciated the following line:
No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.” Ralph Waldo Emerson is responsible for the aforementioned as well as the paragraphs above.
There is much to be said about all of this. Every time I read this I see something new.


Reality- it is the gift that you are given at the end of a vacation. Ten days on the East Coast have come and gone faster than they should have. New memories have been formed thoughts and ideas for future trips and funny stories are now logged inside the old melon.

Reality required me to return earlier than the family. There is work to be done so I flew home alone and walked into an empty house. Devoid of dog and people it it is deathly quiet. Were it not a house I might have said that it was crypt like, but even though the missing members are gone I still hear the echoes of their footsteps.

When I arrived late last night I followed my usual custom of patrolling the house. I walked into each room and checked to see that all was in its proper place. Stopped and stared at a few items because I couldn’t remember them being there when I left.

Heard a strange noise coming from the back of the house and stopped in my tracks. Standing still I strained to identify the sound. I was tired and cranky from a long plane ride. The guy in front of me invaded my space with six hours of horrific gas, it was unpleasant. So when I heard that noise in my home I was disturbed.

With no one else around it was a particularly bad time for an intruder to show up. Inside my mind I heard a little boy ask me to kill bad guys dead. I think that he was about four when my son said that to me- a lifetime ago.

Break into my home and all bets are off. But like I said this time I had no one to worry about other than myself. Alone in the dark I prepared to creep over to the location that the noise was coming from. In a moment I was going to confront someone or something.

I stopped and glanced at the time, 12:35 A.M.- well past the witching hour. Slowly I moved through the house. Armed with a baseball bat a bottle of hairspray I was ready to do battle. In just a moment someone was going to be very sorry that they walked where angels fear to tread.

And then it happened….I stepped on a toy and screamed. Legos are particularly good at finding the soft, tender places in your foot. In seconds I morphed from Ninja dad to “you could be the idiot on hopping around on one foot dad” who was filmed for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

In the midst of cursing all that is holy I turned on the lights and discovered that the source of the noise was a child’s toy. A E%%#^&%^#&%$# doll whose battery apparently holds enough power to keep the sun burning for a thousand years.

Later I would lie in bed and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Oy, life is just something else.

And now, during the morning hours it is clear that I was exceptionally tired. And so it goes. So I sit here sharing these notes with you. In another moment I will sign off and go throw the laundry in the dryer and take a shower.

Afterwards when I feel a bit more awake I’ll tackle the mail. Vacation is over and reality has set in.

I Am Not Awake Yet

Time zone changes never affected me much. I always attributed that to having a personality that allows me to adapt and adjust quickly to whatever is going on around me. Today is a little bit different, not really sure why.

It is the last day of a two week trip around the East Coast and I am not quite awake yet, though I probably should be. Technically it is almost 11 but my cellphone and laptop disagree with the clocks in the house and maintain that it is not yet 8 A.M. Don’t ask me why, but I never changed any of the clocks for this trip. Kind of odd for me as normally that is among the first things that I do, change the clock that is.

My normal hours are probably different from most people, or so I assume. I routinely stay up past midnight and then rise again around six or so. I am slow going in the morning so I take my time waking up. It is fair to say that I am not unlike the grouchy bear.  Those that know me understand that caution is needed in the early morning because like that bear I am willing to use claws and teeth. The children of course ignore these things. Fearless little cubs climb into bed and hop on pop. They jump, poke, prod and tickle me.

Progeny does have its privileges or maybe it is natures way of protecting the young, but I am relatively tolerant of these things.

Under normal circumstances I would have injected myself with a dose of high powered caffiene, showered and headed out the door. But today is a travel day so I do things differently. I am not really ready to be awake yet. Even though I didn’t change the clocks I did make a few adjustments so I am kind of in this time zone, although I guess that it would be more appropriate to say Mountain or Central. Might not be New York City, but it could be Dallas.

Staring out the window I see deer walking through the trees and squirrels dancing in the leaves. The squirrel reminds me of a few that live in my backyard. My flight isn’t for hours, but I am starting to get restless. I can feel the pull of responsibilities of home life calling to me. There is a gate to fix, junk in the garage to be given away and painting to be done. I try to push it out of my mind- no reason to think or worry about that which I cannot deal with now.

Still, I hear silent whispers inside my head- these are the signs of the end of a vacation. Little symbols that though I may not be home physically the mind is preparing the body. The end of the trip is bittersweet. Overall it has been a very good time and I have some special memories to take home. My new toy, the Flip camera has been a joy and an incredible amount of fun to play with. I have made a bunch of videos and am enjoying it immensely.

It is good for me, this camera. These videos tickle my creativity and I find joy in it.

Joy is something that I discuss with the children. Joy and happiness. We talk about what brings us joy and what makes us happy.These are things that are important and noteworthy. They help us to get through the days be they good or bad.

One last stretch and another sentence to share here. I still am not ready to be awake, but I suppose that a hot shower will help take care of that. Won’t be long before the Traveling Jack show boards the plane to head back home and another tour becomes a memory…………


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