Journal 4- Chapter 17 of Stuck in Neutral

We have been reading a book in Morah Eta’s class called Stuck in Neutral. It is about a 14-year old boy named Shaun McDaniel who cannot control any of his muscles. He can’t even control where his eyes look! Everybody thinks he’s stupid; a test that he took showed that he was as smart as a 3-month old. In reality, however, he has a memory that is so good, he can remember everything that he saw or heard from the age of 6 and up! He can’t tell anybody that. His seizures are one time that he likes because his spirit come out of his body and he can do whatever he wants. His dad thinks that he is suffering, and Shaun thinks that his dad will kill him. Now, Shaun is alone in a house with only his dad, and a seizure hits. Here is what happens next:


My spirit slowly comes out of my body, and I am now free. I watch my dad take out the poem that he wrote about me, Shaun. He reads it, and then adds another stanza. My spirit goes over to him, just close enough so I can see what he is writing:

Shaun. He is my precious, youngest child. The person that I live for. I care for him the most, more than anybody else. I cannot bear to see him suffer. He is the jewel of my life. What can I do? The only thing I can do. End my pain of watching him suffer.

I watch my father take out a pistol. He stares at it for a second. He caresses its metal barrel. Then, he starts writing again, this time in cursive. He only writes in cursive if it is something very important. I go over to see what he is writing, but my seizure is ending. My spirit comes back to my body and I am back in my wheelchair. I hear the safety of the gun clicking off. My father is going to kill me.

I come up, quickly, with the happiest thought that I have. But I don’t have time to. At that exact moment, I look at my father and he looks at me. He says, “Goodbye Shaun.” He says it quietly, with much concern and caring, like an old weary man. My father lifts up the pistol, but instead of pointing it at me, he points it at his heart. He pushes the trigger, and I hear the bullet shoot out of the barrel and rip into my father’s heart. My eyes look and I see my father, Sydney E. McDaniel, lying dead on the floor, in his own pool of blood. I pass out from the smell of the blood.

I come to about 20 minutes later. I hear the door open, and mom comes in with Paul and Cindy. She comes in my room and, seeing my father on the floor, screams. “Paul! Cindy! Come now!” They rush into my room and see my mother on the floor, next to my dad. Paul says, “He killed himself. I can’t believe that he committed suicide.” My mother bursts into tears. Cindy says, “Look. There’s a paper on the table next to the bed.” Paul picks it up and reads it. I hear him say, “He wrote his will on here. It says, ‘Let it be known that I did not take my life in vain. I didn’t want to bear the suffering in the world, especially Shaun’s. I contribute all of my life’s savings to try to find a cure for cases like Shaun’s.'”

We are at my father’s funeral. He is being buried where he grew up, in California. He is near my grandparents, his mother and father. His epitath reads:


Caring father and poet

And the last, newest stanza of his poem Shaun is written on it. I’m sure that now in heaven, he is looking down at me and smiling. I can almost hear him say, I love you Shaun.





  1. I have changed my blog name. First, my old time readers, you would remember it was Jake G. Just my boring name. The I changed it the Jake’s Online Journal, about a year ago. Then, I changed to to Jake’s Online Adventures last summer. Now, I have changed it again to… Shmuel’s Stunning Online Recounts! It basically means my stunning blog posts. I will now prefer to be called Shmuel. Please put that in the notes, imaginary scribe!
  2. Next, this is for my SBC Students who I’m mentoring- Please look at the Student Blogging Challenge website! Please post posts! If you don’t you will be kicked out of the challenge.
  3. Today my Clustrmap is 2 years old! Well, not actually, but according to the day that it says on my Clustrmap it is 2 years old. As I am writing this, it has counted 3,265 visits from 67 countries. The 5 most popular are… US with 2,379 visits, UK with 186 visits, Canada with 169 visits, Australia with 159 visits, and India with 38 visits. My blog turned 2 11 days ago. Also, my sister Reba’s 4th birthday party was today. Happy birthday, guys!


Do You Know Who Lemuel Gulliver Was?

Well, you should. I recently read his autobiography about his sea travels. He was born in 1661. He was a ship’s doctor who loved to travel. He went out to sea, leaving his wife behind. His ship crashed and he landed on an seemingly deserted island. When he woke up he saw bunches of little people on him! Oh, did I forget to mention that Lemuel is the main character of a novel titled Gulliver’s Travels, written by Jonathan Swift?

Gulliver’s Travels, written by Jonathan Swift in 1726, focuses on the travels of adventurous Lemuel Gulliver, who leaves his wife and kids for a life as a ship’s doctor at sea. He ends up being tied with ropes as thick as threads with many armed miniature people, about 5 inches tall, on his body. They soon give him many little barrels of food and wine, which makes him sleepy. Who and what are the little people? Are they friendly? What will happen to Gulliver? Read this exciting novel to find out.

I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars, because it can be a little hard to understand sometimes. I think any mature readers who enjoy fictional adventure stories would love this book. It has so much in it, it is a good book to read over and over again and you will never get bored with it.

8640342993_b72f1e2e61_sA picture of one of the covers for Gulliver’s Travels.

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Student Blogging Challenge C2- A1, 2, 3, 4, 7

Well, I’m back in the Student Blogging Challenge! I am again both a mentor and a participant. This time, I’m mentoring 20 10-year olds. Its going to be a big job, juggling my mentoring, my participation, and my school work, but I think I can do it. Anyway, I didn’t put up a post for Challenge 1 because I already did everything for it. So here’s Challenge 2, Activities 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7. Hope you enjoy it!

ACTIVITY 1- How old is your local town or city? When was it established? Who named it? Why was it given that name? Introduce us to the history of your local area.

Jacksonville, FL first started 6,000 years ago. Pottery was found that is the second oldest in the US! In the 1500’s, the Mocama Indians were living there. Ponce De Leon landed in Florida in 1513, but it wasn’t until June 22, 1564 that Fort Caroline was founded in the Jacksonville area by René Goulaine de Laudonnière for France. Tradegies afflicted the fort, including mutinies and the Spanish arriving in St. Augustine. A force was sent out to destroy the St. Augustine fort, but it was caught in a storm. The Spanish took Fort Caroline and renamed it San Mateo. The Spanish gave up Florida to the British. That is when Cowford started, the first “city”, later becoming Jacksonville. After a few years control went back to Spain, and Cowford continued to grow. Florida was given to the US in 1821, and plans were dawn out to make a city. They decided to name it Jacksonville, after Andrew Jackson. It was a major part in the American Civil War, and after the war it became a tourist attraction. It suffered a big fire on May 3, 1901 that destroyed most of downtown. Jacksonville was the big movie producer of the US before Hollywood. It had a big role in World War II because of its Navy base. Finally, in 1968 all of Duval County was united to become the Consolidated City of Jacksonville. That is when Jacksonville was finally complete.

ACTIVITY 2– Name 5 places in your local area you think visitors should see. Give reasons why.

1. MOSH (Museum of Science And History)

MOSH is a really fun museum. It was rated #18 on TripAdvisor. It has a planetarium, park, mini zoo, and amazing exhibits. On the first floor they have a gift shop, little kid area, human body exhibit, marine mammals exhibit, the mini zoo, and a science and pressure activity. On the second floor they have a major exhibit that changes and a walkthrough of Jacksonville’s history. The third floor is offices and another exhibit that changes. MOSH is a fun museum that I recommend for all.

2.  The Jacksonville Landing

Rated #57 on list of attractions on Trip Advisor,The Jacksonville Landing is a mall-like place located on the St. John’s River. It has a big food court, shops, and events all the time. It’s a great place to go for first-time visitors to Jacksonville. However, it needs some cleaning-up.

3. The Jacksonville Zoo

Rated #5 on Trip Advisor, the Jacksonville Zoo has a detailed map of all of the animal exhibits. I like how they grouped them into catagories by continent so it feels like I’m traveling to every continent. They need to add Antarctica! They have a train with two stations, a water park, a merry-go-round, a really fun playground and lots of oppurtunities to learn. The Jacksonville Zoo is a great place, but it can get crowded and very hot on summer days.

4.  Adventure Landing

This great arcade, water park, and amusement park all rolled into one got #13 on the Jacksonville activities list on TripAdvisor. It’s arcade includes fun games, a restaurant and laser tag. Outside, they have miniature golf, a batting cage, a mini roller coaster, and a racing track. They also have the water park, with a lazy river, water play village with big and little slides, and numerous water attractions. They have a slide that lands in the lazy river, a half pipe, a slide with a toilet bowl, and another slide with tubes. The have great food choices and a overpriced gift shop. Excluding the gift shop, it’s perfect. The only thing I don’t like is that the slides get boring after a while.

5. The Jacksonville Library

The Main Jacksonville Library, downtown, is very big with tons of books and activities. It’s very well organized. Recommended for bookworms who need to use up a whole day reading.

ACTIVITY 3- You might need to research this – are there any other towns around the world with the same name as yours? Where are they?

Besides Jacksonville, Florida, there’s a Jacksonville in North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, Alabama, New York, and Oregon.

ACTIVITY 4- What makes you feel proud to be Australian or American or a citizen of your country? How can new residents become citizens in your country? September 17 is Citizenship Day in Australia. Do you have something like that in your country?

Go to this link.

ACTIVITY 7- Write about some of the iconic landmarks from your country – these could be natural like the Grand Canyon or Great Barrier Reef or man made such as Statue of Liberty or Sydney Opera House. Remember to write in your own words, not just copy and paste from a website.

One of my favorite landmarks of the US is Mount McKinley, located in Alaska. It is 20,237 ft and 6,168 m tall. It is the third most prominent peak in the world. It is the tallest mountain in North America, making it one of the Seven Summits (the tallest mountains on each of the continents). It’s the 3rd tallest of the Seven Summits. It is the 111th tallest in the world. I think it is so special because it is so tall and very beautiful, and an important part of mountain history.



This is a really nice picture of Mt. McKinley.

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Journal #3- A Sukkah For Orly

On Friday, September 14, Orly Ohayon, 16, and Ester Ohayon, 57, were hit by a car while walking to Yom Kippur services. Ester died on the spot and Orly was rushed to the hospital. Ester was my 4-year old sister’s teacher. Orly has had 2 of the 4 surgeries that she will need to recover. Orly is now an orphan, her father dying when she was three. She is now still at UF Hospital. Since we are now in the holiday of Sukkos, we decided to send some students over to the hospital so Orly can have a sukkah. The kids were picked randomly out of a hat. I was upset that I didn’t get to go, because I really wanted to.

I think that the reason we did it, even though knowing that she probably wouldn’t be able to go in it, is because to show that we really care about her and hope for her speedy recovery. This will never become “old news” to us. It makes me feel great that we were able to do such a big mitzvah for her, not just the mitzvah of sukkah, but also the mitzvah of helping orphans and bikur cholim, visiting the sick. How lucky we were, that we were able to do three mitzvahs in one! This will have lots of meaning to her because it was built in memory of her mother. It was also built for her in symbolism, because she probably won’t be able to go in it. I’m sure that everybody’s Sukkos will be enlightened knowing that we were able to help a sick orphan do a big mitzvah. Good Moed!

Ester and Orly Ohayon.Ester (right) and Orly (left) Ohayon.

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Journal 2- Delivering Honey Cakes

Since Thursday is Rosh Hashana, this week we did our annual mitzvah trip of delivering honey cakes to seniors. One or two cars went to River Garden and the Coves, and the rest went on planned routes. I went in a car that had a planned route. I was able to visit the Holocaust survivor that I interviewed last year, Hilda Warfield.

I think the most meaningful was this lady who we visited. We gave her the honey cake, and then she asked us to come in so we could meet her mother. Her mother was lying on her bed, and she was very thankful for us because she told us she wasn’t able to go to services this year. It was meaningful to me because we were her Rosh Hashana. The mitzvahs we were aiming to do were Honoring the Elderly and the mitzvah in celebrating Rosh Hashana. I think we did both of those mitzvahs with that one visit.

Have a happy, sweet new year! Eat lots of apples, honey, and honey cakes!

Have a happy, sweet new year! Eat lots of apples, honey, and honey cakes!

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