Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh No! I've been memed!!

I don't even really know what the word means, but I've been tagged for a meme, which looks to be something like a chain letter, minus the threat that if I don't send it to ten people within ten minutes of reading, my spleen will spontaneously combust, my dog will commit a major-league white-collar crime and a good friend's grandmother will stub her toe.

Anyway, here goes. The 'meme' (definition, anyone?) is about books:

1. Name one book that changed your life:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

2. One book you've read more than once:
The Last Continent, Terry Pratchett

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
Whatever Terry Pratchett's latest is at that stage, with a standing order for each time he publishes a new one (which is at a rate of knots anyway)

4. One book that made you laugh:
When I was a child we had a book containing scripts of the BBC's 1950s Goon Show (Spike Milligan, Peter Sellars and Harry Secombe). I was giggling at those guys from a very early age.

5. One book that made you cry:
Exodus, (the Leon Uris one, not the God one), but I was 13 at the time.

6. One book you wish you'd written:
Ok, it's not a book, it's a play - Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. The first play that I saw that so impressed me that I went out and bought the script afterwards, just so that I could read it again (and I have, several times since).

7. One book you wish had never been written:
Lord Jim by Joseph Konrad. 400-odd pages of guilt that I had to read for my final exams in year 12 - and which, I'm proud to say, I didn't even open. I mean, common, I have a Jewish mother - as if Joseph Konrad could teach me about guilt??

8. One book you're currently reading:
Well, in the bathroom I have Vol. 2 of the Monty Python's Flying Circus - All the Words (why does it look as though all I read are film, tv or theater scripts?), and by my bed, I have essays by Yeshayahu Liebovitz (in Hebrew) (and no, I can't remember what the book's called, and I'm in the salon now, and I couldn't be bothered going to get it to find out).

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
I don't think there is one right now - that's why I've got Liebovitz by my bed and Monty Python in the bathroom. Any suggestions for something compelling or funny or both?

10. Tag five people:
Well, Yael tagged all my people and then suggested that I tag them again.
I'm not going to do that, because, well, that's just not the sort of thing that I'd do.
So instead, we're going to do this using the honor system:

If you like this meme (or even if you hated it), I invite you to consider yourself tagged, and answer the points in it accordingly.

To make it slightly more interesting, please let me know in the comments section if you decided to do that :)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dining out at Chez Barmitzvah

My dear friend Noorster has blogged before about her place of work, and I guess I just had to see it for myself. I'd walked past it often enough, but had never ventured in. It's the sort of place you don't really go into unless you have a reason, such as your friend Noorster happening to be waitering there.

So in I glided, my bevvy of beauties in tow (+ our canine harem), to take our seats at Noorster's one available table - which just happens to be fabulously placed - right next to the band. Yes folks, this is a restaurant with a band. Well, not quite a band. More like one guy, posing as a singer, whose level of sobriety is inversely proportionate to the lateness of the hour, and his sidekick, posing as 'the guy who plays the keyboards', providing the back-up for the first guy, and occasionally (though probably unintentionally) even playing chords in the same key as the first guy is singing in. They regaled us with such unforgettable numbers as 'No Woman No Cry' (I kid you not), 'Sweat A La Long' (ditto; and when he positively shouted 'push it, push it some more', I thought I was going to spray my drink all over the table), and others. The decibels were set at 'ballistic', presumably because any lower and people might be able to talk about the quality of the music and come to the conclusion that they really weren't enjoying it. At this level of sound, all people can do is grin at each other, and wonder why everyone else is grinning when it really is so utterly painful to listen to.

During the band's break, when the singer went to fortify himself with half a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label, the helm was commandeered by an Elvis impersonator. Well, an Elvis impersonator by name at least. The resemblance ended there, although there were sideburns and a very silly white suit involved as well. We played the game of "guess what Elvis song this is" - If we managed to guess it before it was over, he was doing well. The worst part of the Elvis performance was the realization that he had probably rehearsed ...

Noorster expertly took our orders, which was followed, a rather incredibly short time later, by her ushering in platters the size of, well, platters, absolutely heaped with food. And good food too. I guess something had to be drawing the crowd (the place was packed) and I was hoping that it wasn't the band.

And it was then, as I sat and ate my ktitsot keves and watched the people on the dance floor moving not quite to the beat, the extended families at their long tables, and the children pouring salt and pepper into their drinks, that I realized what this restaurant reminded me of. I suddenly realized why this all felt so familiar. This place was Chez Barmitzvah! It truly felt as though we were at the barmitzvah of someone we didn't know, whose guests we had never (thankfully) met - the sort of function you get invited to because your mother's a friend of someone whose daughter once babysat for someone whose next door neighbor just happens to be ... well, you get the picture. Having come to that realization, I think we were then able to relax and enjoy it, because we knew the genre and were able to appreciate it for what it was. This wasn't a restaurant pretending to be a restaurant. This was a restaurant pretending to be a barmitzvah; or a wedding; or both. The customers were variously at the function of their choice - without, of course, actually being at a function, meaning that they didn't have to bring presents or (as is more common over here) a check.

Of course, we were not on either the Bride or the Groom's side, or the barmitzvah boy's side - we were there for the waitress.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye. We had had our fill (and left our leftovers - the food was good, but in true barmitzvah style, was piled so high it would have taken a week to get through). The band was getting less and less coherent, though louder, and the guy playing the back-up vocals on the keyboard had started slouching. The dancers were paying less attention to the beat and to each other, and, of course, the barmitzvah boy was no-where to be seen. So we just paid our bill, left our tip, and, escorted by our charming waitress, exited stage left.

And as if to rubber-stamp the theme of the evening, a few minutes after we left, I got an SMS from Noorster: "Some woman is eating your leftovers" ...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yet more from the Adnan Hajj school of investigative journalism

Apparently, wherever you look, if you're Hezbollah, there's a potential story.

Like this one.

The funny part being, they didn't even try to doctor the picture and superimpose an Israeli flag on it, or put in any token Hezbollah figures.

They just took the photo, of the sinking of the Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Torrens, and put 'moqavemat.ir" on it. Yes, guys, that is certainly enough to show that the ship, which was decommissioned and sunk by the RAN itself, in 1998 (a mere 8 years ago!), was in fact an Israeli ship hit by a Hezbollah missile in August 2006.

Absolute geniuses.

Hat Tip: Peter, commenting at no. 7 on Big Pharaoh's blog, here. Thanks Pete.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tick Tock

Found a tick on my dog at 3:00 am last night!

Was in total shock, didn't know what to do about it ... ended up burning it (the tick, not the dog) in a tissue in an ashtray and almost setting fire to the kitchen ...

Dog is unscathed ...

Owner is relieved ...

Tick was unavailable for comment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The 'posting cos I didn't post yet' post

Hello people,

Just checking in, cos it's been a few days since I've posted and people are wondering if I'm dead. So no, I'm not dead, just - like Monty Python's parrot - resting (and possibly pining for the fjords ...).

Birthday came and went but I had a bit of a virus thingy, so the celebrations have been postponed for the moment.

Last night I went on absolutely the world's most boring date. I'd blog about it, but that would be giving the guy way too much credit. Suffice it to say that sometimes, accents speak louder than words.

Well, have heaps of work, so I'd better get back to it.

Ciao for now!

*** Update ***

It occurs to me that I ought to have mentioned that Mr. Boring Date spoke with a French accent. That may have made the whole "accents speak louder than words" punchline thing actually work.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

siba lemesiba

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday dear Nominally Challenged!
Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeee


Blogging question - technical

Ok, I wrote a blog with a spelling mistake, and published it before I noticed the mistake.
Then I went back and edited the mistake out, and republished.
Now, the mistake appears on the main page (the one with all the recent blogs), but not when you click on the actual blog entry itself.
Why is this?
Can anyone tell me how I get the mistake out of the main page as well?


Oh yes, the country is bound to agree to that ...

Amir Peretz, military genius and compulsive proponent of industrial action, has decided, in his wisdom, that the way to pay for the war that is apparently to end in the next two days without any specific resolution, is to impose a special tax on the people in the center and south of the country.

Like that's going to work.

I think, Mr. Peretz, you're going to have to prove to us that you actually achieved something with your little war, other than strengthening the image of Hezballah in Lebanon and enabling them to rain katyushas down on the North of the country for a month and destroying whatever image Israel had in the public prior to all this, before we are likely to agree to pay your tax.

You have never really been in touch with the real people in this country - your strikes always benefited those trade unions that were strong anyway, and never really benefited the people who actually needed them the most - and here you are now, asking soldiers, whom you called up from the center and south (and north of course) of the country, to pay a special tax for the privilege? Apart from that particular inequity, where exactly are we supposed to get the extra money for this tax? Remember, even disregarding the death toll of your little war, it has gutted internal and foreign tourism during high season and is probably going to leave substantial parts of the economy in ruins.

Pay for it yourself.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Absolutely Justified

I have come to the conclusion that it was absolutely justified.

The past month has shown me this, as have several of the months that preceded it.

It was absolutely justified.

And if the opportunity were to arise once again tomorrow, it would be absolutely justified tomorrow as well.

Yes, if the elections in this country were to take place again tomorrow, I would, once again, vote for the Green Leaf party. I was absolutely justified in doing so last time, and I would be absolutely justified in doing so again. Even though they didn't manage to rake together enough votes for a single seat (their voters apparently either being stoned at the time, or erroneously convinced that by voting for the geriatric party, they were in fact voting for their own dear old grandparents), I still think they deserve to be in parliament.

Heck, they couldn't possibly be worse than any of the other clowns that are in there now ...

So go the Green Leaf party! At least if they were to get drawn into a pointless war, there'd be something good to smoke ...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just a rant


I wrote a really funny (in my view) comment on someone's post yesterday, and today I can't find the blog I commented on, in order to see whether anyone else thinks I'm really funny as well. How frustrating. Literally thousands of people could, by now, have read my comment, and commented on it, and I don't know about it. I could be famous, for all I know. And yet, I don't know about it. And probably never will. And all because I have the memory span of a guppie.


And in equally distressing news (can you tell that I'm in denial about the WAR that I am not writing about?), today, I went to post a comment on someone's blog, went to all the trouble of limiting it to 1,000 characters (what's that about?), only to find that when I pressed send, I got that horrid window that says "page cannot load" or something similar. And clicking "back" didn't take me back. I was in internet twilight zone. With the wind totally blown out of my sails. (How's that for a mixed metaphor?)


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Heightened alert

Walked past my friendly local bomb shelter today. Nonchalantly, of course. Not that I'm panicking, of course. I mean, Hadera is a whole 40 minutes drive away (which is at least 5 minutes in rocket time, right?)

Damn place is still locked. And oh so convincingly so.

I think I'll buy a shovel tomorrow and start digging one in the junk heap that purports to be the garden of my building ... If nothing else, it will get me out in the fresh air and stop me from reading news sites and blogs all day. That's got to be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Qana - the plot thickens

I have tried hard to steer clear of political postings about the war, however, the whole Qana thing is making it somewhat difficult to ignore. So, being forced out of my bubble (and to show that I am not totally unaware of what's going on), I wish to share this article with you.

As it is in French, here is my rough translation:

"Massacre in Qana, Lebanese-Israel Negotiations Reported

30 July 2006

Lebanon woke up to a new massacre of the innocents, the victims being
handicapped children who were refugees in a building attacked by the Israeli
airforce. Qana, once again a symbol. "Grapes of Wrath" in 1996 failed
because of this smudge. 40 or maybe 50 dead today in the South Lebanese
village of Qana. The Horror of it.

But why a similar smudge? An error? A premeditated massacre? A generally
well-informed source tell us his version: "Hezbollah, caught in a jam by the 7
points proposed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who has outlined a plan to
deply the Lebanese army in the entire territory, and essentially in South
Lebanon, thereby achieving the disarming of the Party of God's militias, wanted
to make those negotiations fail. It put into place a Machiavellian scheme,
creating an event which would allow it to cancel this project. Knowing
full well that Israel would not have the soul to bomb civilian targets, some
Hezbollah militants put a rocket launching base on the roof of a building in
Qana, and crammed it up with disabled children, with the full intention of
engaging a reply by the Israeli airforce, and then creating a new situation,
using the massacre of the innocents in order to take back the initiative in the

He adds: "They used Qana, which was already a symbol of a massacre of the
innocencts, and have stirred up a Qana 2".


I may have made a mistake in my translation, as my French is a little rusty. But the gist of it seems to be that Hezbollah purposely filled the building with disabled children, and then saw to it that they were killed, enabling them to blame Israel and thereby secure a cease-fire, in order to regroup and redeploy.

The site, by the way, is Lebanese.

There are many other questions about Qana. Yael poses some here.