Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Show Me The Way To Go Home

It a good thing I'm going home tomorrow. For two reasons. Firstly, I'm starting to fall apart here in the great US of A. I never lose things. I am so possessive with my things that I typically hold on to them tightly. In the course of the last few days I have lost my excellent swarmy that blackwifeo bought me in France and now I seem to have lost my cell phone. I have looked everywhere. I carefully retraced yesterday's steps, from the meeting where I last called out, to Chipotles where I ate lunch, to the family mail drop where I picked up some of blackwifeo's potions and lotions, to Academy where I bought a pair of black dickies. No one has seen or heard it. Its a big problem, clearly I am getting old and I'm losing my mind. Everyone has been so helpful, looking in lost property drawers, calling yesterday's workers, but no one has seen my phone. So if I don't leave here soon who knows what else I will lose.

The second reason I need out, is simple. The longer I stay the more Blackwifeo orders from amazon, bed and bodyworks, ebay etc. Each day the UPS guy smilingly delivers more stuff for me to take home. Below is a sample of the potions and lotions I have to squash into one of the (now) two bags I will be shlepping tomorrow:You would think that its not possible to buy cosmetics in Israel. I thought I was going to the US on business, little did I realize that I'm merely a pack mule, sent here to meet the daily UPS drop for Blackwifeo. If I stay any longer, she alone will order enough to cover the $700B financial bailout for US markets. Unfortunately, looks like I'll be working till I'm 143 to pay for all this.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Long ago in a faraway land, I, youngblackpetero lived. Once a year on the Jewish New Year my parents would invite hoards of people over for the first day lunch. Preparations began weeks in advance. Blackmothero would spend hours in the kitchen bothering the maids while they put together a wonderful feast for those simple folk of my faraway town lucky enough to be invited. The highlight of the day was when Blackfathero would strut around proud as a peacock, offering and re-offering the fried kreplach. These delicious morsels, a simple blob of mince wrapped in a thin pastry, fried golden brown, were legendary in our family. Michael Radomsky was reported to hold the world record of 124 (or was that 421) in one sitting. No matter how many Joycie fried, they would vanish long before the server could make it back to the kitchen. Traditional kreplach, a small dumpling filled with ground meat, are usually boiled and served in soup. Somewhere, somehow my family decided to fry these and serve them as finger food. They were just the delicious sort of things childhoods are blessed with.

Fast forward a few decades. Blackfathero is unfortunately not with us any more and during these holidays his presence is especially missed. But, my Houston family, ever the believers in tradition, still follow the path set out all those years ago in the old country. There are some changes. The first day lunch has become the evening meal on the night of the New Year. This now belongs to my sister, blacksistero. She worked very hard this week and even made a spongecake (from scratch), so that we could have the traditional brandy and spongecake toast that Blackfathero loved so much. Blackmothero, a little slower but twice as stressed, spent hours in the kitchen. Together they made chicken soup (vegetarian - not even a chicken could tell), brisket, real chopped liver (disgusting) and of course, fried kreplach. These days they use won ton leaves rather than spending hours rolling dough into thin leaves. Instead of real ground meat they used a vegetarian alternative (very nice of them). They are still fried golden brown.

When I arrived at Blacksistero's tonight, I was able to steal a few kreppies before anyone noticed. I ate quite a few more. The whole meal was great and as warm as ever. I miss being away over the holidays and this was a rare treat. Now perhaps the memory of those kreplach we had back in the old days has become idealized over the years. Maybe they really were not so good. But, to be brutally honest, to my taste, the new version is definitely 80%.

Addendum:I hang my head in shame at my sloppy reporting. I have been corrected and must apologize. Blackmothero rolls the dough for the kreplach by hand. She NEVER uses won ton leaves, that would simply be sacrilege. Clearly the fall in quality of the kreplach is solely due to my changing tastes. I beg forgiveness, and admit the 80% is me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shanah Tovah Y'all

Usually I shy right away from the various programs run by the Israeli government or other charities that bring young people to Israel. A lot of these programs just end up giving right wing fanatics a chance to come and bother the locals. But, I have to say the Taglit-Birthright people have some kick-ass advertising on YouTube. This is my favorite clip:

There are some others that are pretty good (if a little lame), check out this one and this one.

Tomorrow evening is the Jewish New Year. Lets hope 5769 will be a good year for all. May all of you have a happy, happy new year, Hag Sameach and don't eat too much. I miss my blackfamilyo and hope that they have a wonderful time with all the 37 people coming for dinner. I will be at my sister's with the Houston family. Shanah Tovah Y'all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The SwArmy Cycle

Let me tell you what irritates me. This hard plastic wrapping that most everything that is not boxed comes in here in the US. To open these wrappings you need some sort of scissors or knife or something. What a hassle. I've been told that its such a drag to open these that often the stuff you buy (or say get for your birthday) just stays in the wrapping forever.

The tool that works best for this task is of course a Swiss Army Knife scissors. But, seeing as all SwArmy knives now come in this wrapping, you run into the cosmic cycle where you need a SwArmy knife to get to the SwArmy knife. You see its not all fun and games here in the US of A.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Politics as Usual

So there's a lot of politics going on in America. Wall Street wants a $700 billion dollar rescue package, Washington Mutual set the record for the biggest bank to ever go under, and Sarah Palin, was interviewed by Katie Couric. I watched this going down, and had one of those moments where you are so embarrassed for someone that you have to look away. This woman will be the president of the US should anything happen to McCain if he is elected. She has not a clue. The interview shows her to be completely out of her depth. This is a small snippet on foreign relations with Russia. Its like watching a train wreck.
If you insist on torturing yourself here are both part one and part two of the interview.

Between the noise and the babies watched the first debate between Obama and McCain tonight. Its getting scary here in America. With the economy in a shambles and a foreign policy that has alienated most of the world, the US had better change. Obama seems like the only choice, McCain smells of business as usual. Lost of people seem to agree, but we will have to wait and see.

While driving around Northern California I saw hundreds, if not thousands of Obama/Biden bumper stickers, posters, yard signs and flags. I never once saw a single McCain sticker anywhere. I expected to see a whole lot more McCain stickers on cars here in Houston, but I did not. Blacknephewpaulo says its because people here are afraid what will happen to their cars if they advertise Republican. But its apparent there are many people who simply will not vote for a black man. I heard on CNN that on a current poll 5% of those polled nationwide would not vote for a black. And these were people who were not shy of telling this over the phone to the pollster.

I wonder if we are looking at the end of the American empire. The next few weeks and months will be interesting. Don't worry America, Israel can bail you out. Just send word and we will bring all the humus you can eat.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Once again its late at night and I'm exhausted. I spent the morning in the city, had a great burrito for lunch and excellent Thai food for dinner so I can't complain. I need to be up before the early bird as my plane leaves for Houston at 6am. I have had an excellent stay in the Bay Area. Not as good for business as I would have liked, but I got to hook up with many "world class" people and as always I learned much from them. There is a whole lot to like about this place. I know that this is not how normal life in Silicon Valley goes and living and working here is very different from the occasional visit. Staying at Jonathan and Dewi in Los Altos Hills is better than any hotel anywhere. They have been perfect hosts and Dewi spoils me rotten. She actually made me trail mix and sandwiches for my flight tomorrow. You should all check out her cooking and baking blogs for dose of 100%.

I'm going to grab a few hours sleep and then its airplane hell for a while before I get to the family in Houston. I promise less boring posts once I am less busy and have more free time to be pissed off in. G'night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Dollar Saved

I have been having a great time here in the US. I've managed to see a lot of old friends, and received much insight into where the world is going. These are smart people. I was lucky enough to work with many in the old days. They have all moved on to bigger and better roles. The food has been good, the air is clean - I like it here in Silicon Valley.

But, blackpetero takes his responsibility seriously and I uncovered something thats way less than 80%. You heard a few days back about my crappy Dollar rental car. It only gets better. My flight out of San Jose leaves 6am Friday. When I picked up the car I asked the Dollar dude whether the San Jose Airport car return is open that early. He had enough trouble talking English, and he certainly had no intention of finding this out for me. He told me to call up and ask (or maybe haul ass and fast, I'm not sure).

So I called and asked. The rather snotty girl I spoke with informed me that the SJC office is open from 6am. When I asked her how I could return my car and catch my plane at the same time she very helpfully told me to return it the night before. And how was I supposed to get to the airport? By taxi. Surprisingly Dollar was not prepared to pay for this. Nor for the airport hotel she suggested I stay at once I returned the car. I was outraged and asked for her manager. She promptly forwarded me to "roadside assistance" where Lance explained patiently that they don't even have a drop box for the keys any more and that he was terribly sorry for my predicament, but I was shit out of luck.

I sent email to Ella our travel agent and got her to book me an Avis car for one day and tomorrow I will go to San Jose Airport after my meetings, return the piece-o-crap Dollar car and check one out from Avis. They're a real company and have 24Hr service at the airport.

So in future, I won't try save a dollar and will avoid Dollar.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Got Lucky

Its music video Tuesday today and I am back in the US of A. Back in 1982, our record store Z Music was going strong (or weak really), when I went off to the US on vacation. MTV was in its infancy and I spent a whole lot of time in front of the TV enraptured by round the clock music videos. That year Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released Long After Dark. It sold well in the record store. The album was "easy on the ears" and was one of those certain sellers. If you played it on the store's sound system, within minutes you would sell a copy. We could never keep it in stock.

So there I was in the US watching MTV round the clock, lounging on the sofa at my sister's place when the You Got Lucky video was released. It blew me away. Nowadays its not earth shattering, but its still one of my all time favorites. I'm not sure why. I love the piece where Mike Campbell uncovers the Gibson ES and casually plays the solo. Blackwifeo and I got to see them live in 87 and they really rocked. The Heartbreakers were so tight that Petty gained my complete respect from then on.

Enjoy. This video is from MTV videos not YouTube, I hope it works.

The Ongoing Saga

Blackwifeo here doing an unscheduled guest blog for poor BPO who is really suffering from jet lag and is too exhausted to post anything let alone talk. It's a good thing that he is conked out, because I am going to take this opportunity to quickly let you in on the suddenly ongoing saga of our washing machine- Jonathan II, who you may have already heard about in a previous post from July.

Ok. So husbando really did not want me to get the new 'Merican washing machine/dyer, even though it only cost us 700 shekels, a total bargain for a Maytag. And yes, we did have a few teething problems in the beginning but those were all sorted out and I have been happily using my Maytag for the last couple of years. I can’t tell you how much I actually enjoy doing a load of washing that takes only 25 minutes instead of 90 as the European models take. The capacity is also double what our ex top of the line Telsa did, so really, with all of the hassles of before, I was SAVING the blackfamilyo money.

Until the phone rang, while sailing lazily down the Trent and Mersey Canal a couple of weeks ago. Dushka, our cleaner informed me that Jonathan was unfortunately a bit on the sick side. Actually, he had stopped working period. Not spinning and she thinks there may have been a bit of a burning smell. shite. Ok. So I quickly called David the Maytag Man, (who was on vacation) and after about a week, he finally showed up yesterday around 12 pm.
I don’t want to bore you guys with details but there was talk about motors, transmission, bearings, welding, melding and other things that I just can’t remember. At one point it was suggested that maybe Petero bring back a new transmission in his luggage (only about $250 and about 15 kilos). I was in a sweat and the Maytag man was not doing any better. The laundry room is the size of a closet and not air-conditioned, really, terrible conditions to work in. Six hours later (I kid you not) I got the bad news. The hoontistashura (Yiddish for bottom line) is that
1- the tub bearing was seized
2-in order to get to it, he had to take out the transmission
3-He then found that the radial bearing was also seized onto the shaft/gear box/ break assembly.
Or whatever.
It is only going to cost between 2000-3000 shekels to fix (maybe less if he can get away without having to yada yada yada- It's like a fucking car- I cant keep this all straight.)

It was suggested that seeing as its going to take a while to get this all sorted out, I should take my laundry over to brother Ari and use his top of the line Telsa in the meanwhile. Petero is going to love that.

I discussed this whole issue with my friend Todd yesterday. I am now copying and pasting a piece of our chat:

A new machine would cost about 4000-5000
so you see, I am actually saving black petero money
hmm, so your repair is almost the COST of a new machine
No, it’s half as much!!!
Yes, so you are SAVING blackpertero money
He should actually make up the difference by buying you something very nice as a thank you
That’s what you should tell him
EXACTLY- Whew, at least someone understands

There you have it guys. The good new is that the transmission is fine and so is the motor.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


S-o-r-r-y I a-m d-e-a-d t-i-r-e-d, m-u-s-t b-e j-e-t-l-a-g. F-e-el c-o-m-p-el-l-e-d t-o p-u-t d-a-s-h-e-s b-e-t-w-e-e-n l-e-t-t-e-r-s. W-i-l-l p-o-s-t i-n t-h-e m-o-r-n-i-n-g.

O.K. I'm back after a few hours sleep. Its 5am now and I would leave for my walk in the hills, but its still pitch black outside and I might get eaten by bears. I read somewhere that one of the most successful techniques for jetlag avoidance is being outside to watch the sunrise and sunset. It's supposed to reset your biological clock. Its never really worked for me, but it is nice to see the world of change that a bit of light can bring. Yesterday morning, I woke just as the sky was getting some faint color, I walked up into the foothills and watched as the trees and the hills became more defined in the light. Not a car passed, and the stars were very bright. It was chilly enough that I could not stand still for too long and after about an hour my fingers began to ache (I'm an amateur when it comes to cold), but it was magical. Why did we ever leave here? After stopping in "downtown" Los Altos for coffee to warm my hands, I trekked on back home, avoiding the swarms of early morning cyclists that flow around every corner on a Sunday. Most are done up in these uniforms, just like Tour de France teams, heads down concentrating on pumping up the inclines. I need to find out what this whole cycling team stuff is all about, its a little to "lets play at being cycling pros shall we" and there are quite a few too many scary bulges of fat pushing out the too tight spandex.

Then I headed off to Target to go buy a 110v converted for my cell charger - someone "borrowed" mine and failed to return it (if I find out who, there will be blood on the HaMenofim street). Its not the same without Blackwifeo. The store was still quiet and sparklingly clean, it was quite joyful. But, I miss Blackwifeo. While I can appreciate America's consumer bounty, its much more fun to see these stores through Blackwifeo's eyes. Its a kind of religious experience for her (a temple of shopping). I could move back here, easily.

I met friends for lunch and dinner and got caught up on the lives some of the people we knew when we lived here. I ate way too much. Alex and Elaine took me to a great new Vietnamese restaurant on Castro street (called Xhan, I think). Their hot and sour soup was excellent with big bits of sauteed tofu, fresh pineapple and some Vietnamese type of broad celery stalk. I had a great time with both sets of friends, but Blackwifeo was missing.

I suppose its not surprising I miss her when I am away, we have been together for well over 25 years now. When I'm traveling and she is not around its like going through the world with one eye shut. Its not only that I miss 50% but in addition she adds the extra stereoscopic depth that having two eyes open provides. Enough of this, or she will think I need her.

The sky is getting slightly lighter, I going out for my walk. So that's yesterday's post completed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Some Quick Trip Observatons

Sometimes you have to travel half way around the world to make it in time for your daily blog post.  Its around 11pm here in California.  I made it to Jonathan and Dewi's wonderful home in Los Altos Hills after 24 hours of travel and was immediately made to feel most welcome.
Some trip observations:
  • I lose the ability to speak coherently when I get jet lag.  I know what I want to say, it just does not come out right.
  • Why is it that people have such trouble with the bathroom doors on planes.  On the way from TA to London, I sat by the bathroom and was amazed at how many people could not work out that they just need to push where it says PUSH and the door opens inward. Countless people broke off the ashtray near the bathroom door (a remnant of earlier more carefree day when smoking on planes did not kill on the spot) in their fumbling attempts to find something to pull in order to get into the bathroom.
  • Kung-Fu Panda, Speed Racer, Zohan,  a Bollywood movie called Krazzy 4 and the insulting new Indiana Jones, played over and over in a loop could be used at Guantanamo for torture.  My VOD movie selection was busted and hence I only had 6 movies to watch.  At least Keira Knightley is Audrey Hepburn hot in Pride and Prejudice.
  • My dollar rent a car is so low end that it has no central locking, power windows or movable side mirrors.  Its some sort of American car company that I think went out of business years ago. Oh, it smells of cigarettes.
  • The GPS and I are now buddies.  But, it still has trouble finding satellites in the Bay Area.
  • The light and air here is wonderful.  It feels clean.
  • I bumped into Martin and Gun (with two dots on the u) waiting for the SFO flight.  Its cool to find people you know when you least expect it.  It was great to see them again.
Enough, I must sleep!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I don't know if I've told you this before, but I hate air travel. I suspect I'm not alone in this. I love being there, its the flying there I do not like. Days before I am due to leave, I begin to obsess over the trip. I know, when you think about it rationally, even going as far as San Francisco from here basically only takes a day. What's a day in the big picture anyway. I am looking forward to seeing all the ex-squints in the Valley. I loved living there and look forward to being back. But, man, do I hate that cooped up, sardine packed, sharp-edged, lack-of-control, uncomfortable seats, plastic food, being touched by each person that walks past, waiting in line for the bathroom, waiting to get on, waiting to get off, waiting in passport control, waiting in security, taking off shoes, Oh yes and being touched.

I don't sleep well because if I'm not concentrating on keeping the plane flying, then who is? And its terribly exhausting having to keep the whole plane aloft for hour upon hour, just using your armrests.

Its really becoming worse and worse. Once, in a faraway country in a faraway time, I used to fly business class all the time. That was much better. Still airlines and flying and shit, but made tolerable. But now, its peasant class all the way (except for the last lovely holiday) and I'm without Blackwifeo, who loves traveling and airports and airplanes and hotels (all that shopping). She has a calming effect and is able to tell me to shut up and stop being miserable exactly when I need it.

In my continuing obsession to try cover every possible angle for my upcoming trip, I called US Airways yesterday evening. At some point I'm to fly from San Jose to Houston with these shelppers. I did not check the eticket closely enough and it appears the normal 3.5 hour flight by Continental takes US Air 5.5 hours (I get to visit Phoenix). When I logged on to their site, I found to my horror that I have a middle seat the whole way. Of course, there was no way to change this online (I hate the grayed out options in pulldown menus), so I called. Seems you have to pay for a aisle seat. They are all taken already, but if I log on 24 hours before the flight, I may be able to find one if say someone dies or gets leprosy or something. But it will cost. Each checked piece of luggage costs. A pillow costs.

Come on and invent those instantaneous transporters already, can't be that hard, they already had them in the first Star Trek!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who Are They Talking To?

In an attempt to instill some normalcy in my crazy life (I'm off to the US West Coast on Saturday morning), I decided to try get back to my old routine and so went walking at the coast early this morning. I set out before 6am and it was still dark. I parked in the usual place, turned on my shuffle (I am listening to The History of The Word, Updated by J.M. Roberts all 44 hours of it), and went walking on the breakwater.

The sun was just coming up behind me and the sea was as flat as a mirror. It was quite peaceful. But, something was bothering me. Over the cries of the birds and gentle lapping of the ripples against the rocks, I could hear talking. A walker, walking most upright, hared past jabbering into his cellphone. He had barely taken two steps when two women joggers approached both talking animatedly into their cells. I noticed that probably a full third of all those working out on the beach this morning were talking on phones while exercising. At first I thought it a pity that all these people are unable to disconnect and need to be in constant cellphone contact with the world. But, then the big question struck me. Who the hell are they talking to?

Its 6am in the morning. I assume most normal locals are either sleeping or getting their kids ready for school. 6am in Israel is 4 or 5am in Europe, so they cannot be chatting with the English or French. Its 11pm in New York so they surely cannot be putting in their sell calls with their Lehman Brothers brokers on Wall Street. Its only 8pm on the West Coast, so I suppose they could be chatting with cousin Yossi, the mover, in LA. Then it dawned on me, they are probably all talking to each other. The guys working out on the Sharon Beach are talking to the guys working out on Hof HaNehim, and the ladies jogging on the breakwater are chatting with their friends having a brisk early morning walk on Gordon Beach in TA. Its beautiful, it saves time, they're doing two things at once, so its really efficient. What a perfect way to start a power day, chock full of more cellphone calls. The only ones who suffer are the poor fools who get up early to try find some peace and quiet in this pressure cooker of a country.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Want To Talk About It !

I know people are just being nice when they ask about the vacation. I just don't want to talk about it yet, the pain is too fresh. Its over. Sigh. Yesterday, I underwent an intense reacclimatization to Israel. We arrived home at 6:30am and by 8am I was on my way through the hellishingly congested streets of Raanana to catch a ride to Jerusalem. Every idiot parent insisted that I reach deep and chop off huge chunks of my recently refilled inner peace, while trying to edge their giant SUVs down narrow streets so their idiot offspring would not need to walk to school. It took 33 minutes to drive about one kilometer. As if this lesson in coming home was not enough, I was promptly packaged off to Jerusalem for a meeting, followed by a trip into the depths of the old city to pick up some gifts, accompanied by the honking and screaming that finding a place to stop and park in Jerusalem always generates - all this is true I swear.

So don't ask me about my vacation. Its over dammit. I knew I was back home when I walked across to go buy some veggies for a lunch salad this morning and a huge truck was blocking the entrance to the supermarket. I politely asked him why he has to park illegally blocking the entrance to the super when there's a whole empty parking lot for him to use. I was thrilled to get my favorite response: "What do you care!!!" Thank you Israel, its so bloody great to be home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Richard Wright

Richard Wright died of cancer yesterday. I don't think there is a single group that features more on the soundtrack of my life than Pink Floyd. I grew up with these guys, they blew me away first time I heard them, and honestly, even thought their music is so overplayed today, they still matter to me. I have claimed over the years that without Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, while a good band, were never again great. Richard Wright was always a quiet member in a group that seemed so much more than the sum of its parts. Certainly these guys were 100%.

The clip below is from the PULSE tour in 2006. Roger Waters is sorely missed, but this clip spotlights Wright's keyboards that are so much part of the distinct Pink Floyd sound. Unfortunately I do not have much time today to research and find a better clip, so please post in a comment if you spot one somewhere.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hello Again

I'm sitting here in the lounge at Manchester Airport. The usual bitter-sweet end of holiday anticipatory gloom settled in this morning. Its good to be going home to see blackfamilyo. I missed them more than I should admit. The holiday is over and all that's left is a stop in Heathrow and then the flight back to Israel. As I have explained before, Israel begins wherever the last departure gate connecting you to Ben Gurion Airport is situated (in this case Heathrow, Terminal 4). Its the Ben Gurion Worm Hole.

Before another word is written, I need to thank my guest bloggers. You rule!! I'm not worthy. We read your posts each day on brothero's blackberry while sailing on the Trent and Mersey Canal on the good ship Prospero. It rained a lot, but we had a great time none the less. I was completely cut off from all news of Israel and even reading email was not usually possible. We did have to track hurricane Ike as it barreled into Houston, and blackbrotherandsister-in-lawo are returning to a house with no power, and hopefully that's the worst they face coming home.

All in all a wonderful time was had by all. Blackwifeo outdid herself and cooked up a storm in our nautical kitchen. I will have to hide from WeightWatchers for a while, because once they weigh me, I will be forced into the circle of pain, where all the ladies stand in a ring and beat you with their points planners.

More later or tomorrow depending on how much time we have in Heathrow. Let's hear it once more for the guest bloggers, your rewards will arrive shortly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just in time

joch here, and I need to apologize first for the late post - I logged in and found out I missed so many (long) posts, it took me a while to get up to speed. Well, it's 11pm here, I might just get this one in on time...

So, I had quite a hard time finding a topic to write about, and almost got to the point of making you read a long and boring rant about the Israeli education system [how my daughter got into a new school, and we didn't know until the last day of summer vacation who is her teacher, where and when will the school bus pick her up, or if there will be any school bus for that matter, and which books she needs for the new year (actually we are two weeks into the school year now, and still don't have the full list), and in what time she needs to get in in the morning and when do we have to pick her up from school in the end of the day, and how on her first day the air conditioner in her class didn't work (well I can't blame them for that, they had only two months of summer vacation to get ready for the opening day which came as a big surprise on September 1st), and how the first parents meeting (which took place today, and was quite short since the class teacher is also the teacher of another class and had to go to the other parents meeting) looked like a circus more than a meeting (did you know that UNESCO declared Bridge as the most educating game for kids?), during which we had to sign on a piece of paper torn off the teachers notebook that we allow our daughter to go out for an educational trip out of school tomorrow (well, can't blame them again, this trip was organized at the last minute after the kids complained that the headmistress promised them a bi-weekly trip when she was trying to convince them to join this school, and when the year actually started they were told the first trip will be "Achrey Hachagin" ["after the holidays" for the Hebrew impaired readers, which is the equivalent to "don't call us, we'll call you"])]. But then I've decided you're probably not interested in this kind of crap, so I won't rant about the Isreali education system this time.

And then I thought I should complain about the holiday season coming upon us (how it starts with a grandiose holiday dinner with the whole big family in Rosh Ha'shana, and ends after a month with people promising themselves they will spend the next holiday season as far away from their big family as possible, preferably in a place with no phone lines or cellular coverage, and how they feel guilty the next holiday season if they actually stand to their promise, and how as the years go by they find out that the whole big family feels pretty much the same, and it's only inertia which keeps these holiday get-togethers going, and that their parents are also happy to be as far away from them as possible during the holidays, and that's why they found this "great deal" on a trip to Costa-Rica which - alas - is available only during the holidays, but it's important to keep the family together so why won't you make your mother feel better by inviting your sisters over for a holiday dinner at your place? We'll see you Achrey Hachagim). But this is a subject so beaten up already, I probably shouldn't complain about the holiday season either.

And then I thought - hell, I didn't have time to comment on the other posters posts lately, why don't I collect all my comments into one big post (like saying that although I did enjoy reading the many posts posted here since BPO has left us to his holiday, I had the feeling that people are too damn positive, and it's quite surprising that so many sickly positive people find their way into the man in black's blog, and how I felt the word "god" was used too extensivly, and how I'm amazed again and again to see how Marc is amazed again and again that people from cultures other then his see things differently when it comes to cultural induced behaviour [that was an awkward sentence, wasn't it?], and how kids, as smart as kids can be, still write like kids, and how Yuval is actually demonstrating a psychological projection when he calls Nitzan "naive" while we all know who is the naive member of the Drori family, and how much I miss England. Really. Haven't been there for almost two years. I need a vacation). But then I decided I shouldn't criticize people, some of them I don't even know, when I know how hard it is to come up with a post which won't bore people to death.

Another topic which crossed my mind was how the Media creates news when there are no news to cover (like this CERN black-hole nonsense they were chewing on again and again last week. Or the "Iranian nuclear threat". Or the "looking for Rose" soap opera. Or what's her name's daughter who got pregnant while her mother is running for vice-presidency. People have sex, don't take precautions, and get pregnant, you know. I should know, it happened to me twice. The kids coming out of this are not worse than the ones you were working on for more than a year. I should know that as well, it also happened to me once).

Oops, time is up, and I haven't found a topic to write about yet. I guess we'll have to wait for the next time blackpetero goes on vacation. Good night.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Good, the Slow, and the Ugly

When I moved to Pardess Hanna from Ra'anana back in '97, I was looking for a quiet place to live that was close to a train station. I also really wanted to get away from Ra'anana, the Israeli town most striving for 100% foliage. I preferred the barely 50% of Pardess Hanna, with it's potholes and the 65 percentage ness of it's population – the other 35% being registered with the Social Services for one reason or another. I wanted the ethnic mix of Ethiopian, Georgian, Russian, the lifestyle mix of Hippy, Yuppie, Arty, Spiritual, Ordinary, the local mix of Arabs, and Born and Bred Moshavaniks in their many shapes and colours. I even liked the people who just wanted to live near a train station, that way evading the necessity of selling their souls to afford a mortgage. These eleven years have been an eye-opener for me.

I have witnessed over 20 Open House weekends - when artists from around here open their homes to show their art, to one and all. We've had I don't know how many shiksuks - markets of everybody's old junk that nobody else wants. I have joined action groups, and watched them dissipate. I have bought organic from a co-op without the help of plastic bags.

Pardess Hanna-Karkur has and continues to change and grow non-stop. In the years I've been here, many many filled potholes ago, some roads have been completely re-surfaced, pavements have been paved, traffic islands have been created – some of them admittedly over and over again. We still have no traffic lights or blue-and-white marked parking. People sometimes forget that they are supposed to keep to a particular side of the road. Road names have actually been put up on street corners, enabling us to give directions in normal fashion, quite unlike the directions given when I first moved here like "turn right when you see the old men on the corner playing backgammon". Houses are being built on every available spot, new neighbourhoods too.

I look around me and I think – am I going to find myself in a shabbier version of Ra'anana soon? All the fields gone? Will the local population stop driving at most 30km/hr, stopping completely in the middle of traffic circles when there is nobody behind them - to allow you to merge with the "traffic"? When you walk into a shop that doesn't know you, and discover that you've left your purse behind, will the owner still just write down your debt on a scrap of paper, no phone number required? Hell - people still hitchhike around here.

When my daughter was a baby (she's eight now) I was out shopping when it started pouring with rain. I was trying to maneuver the baby, the umbrella, my bag and my car keys – oh, and myself – into the car. From way across the road – a wide and busy one at that, a man without an umbrella, getting into his own car, saw me. He crossed the road, took the umbrella from me, held it over our heads while I got myself and the baby into the car. He then handed the umbrella back to me, rain still pouring down on him, and went off on his way.

I hope to think that despite this growth spurt Pardess-Hanna-Karkur is going through, the essence of this wonderful place will survive. If you look at the expressions on peoples faces around here, you will see openness, an expectation of good from others. Give me this 50% dump any day. Somehow I think that whoever moves here will have a very hard time changing the very good vibes of this Moshava. They may just find themselves falling in love with an ugly and messy place and eventually calling it home.

The bigger picture

Hi. I'm nervous, but you can call me Scarlet.

That's obviously not my real name - my parents weren't that cool, but it'll do for the sake of this blog.

Alright. Here's the drill, although you've probably read this from the other guest bloggers. We have to write something about 80% and about where we live. So I got thinking about where I live, and basically, I got myself into a whole long-winded rant on where I live in the hope that it'd make me look a) funny and b) intelligent.

Epic fail.

At this point, I should probably explain that I live in Glastonbury, which is mostly known for the huge, anarchic (and recently over-hyped music festival) that takes place here every summer, as well as the ruins of the first Christian Abbey in the UK, the Chalice Well - where the Holy Grail is believed to have been washed (and possibly buried) and the Glastonbury Tor.

Glastonbury is an odd little town. It's been here for years and didn't really do very much of anything. Jesus' dad showed up for a visit and planted a tree a zillion years ago. We built an Abbey and then Henry VIII ripped it down and tortured the Abbot and monks to death. We built a church on top of a pagan worship site and an earthquake destroyed some of it.

Now it's called the Tor and people come from all over the place to look at it, sit at the summit, smoke illegal herbage and talk rubbish. Some other stuff happened too, but apparently nothing interesting enough to get a mention here.

But things really kicked off with the hippy revolution, when some bright spark decided that it was built on a place where a bunch of ley-lines crossed and the flower children moved in. Shops that had once sold groceries, sheepskins and clothes were sudden full of fertility crystals, hemp t-shirts and statues of the Goddess and Green Man.

The shops are called things like Gothic Image, The Cat and the Cauldron, The Psychic Piglet, Natural Earthling, Man, Myth and Magik, and Starchild. We have a Goddess Temple, a Tantric Sex Temple, Meditation Workshops and Healing sessions and weekend events on the Tao of Relationships and the Call of the Shaman.

It's populated by interchangeable women who wear purple velvet skirts and have alarming, long frizzy hair, henna'd to within an inch of it's life.

People talk earnestly about ley lines, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, transition towns. It believes
in UFOs, worships the Goddess and studies past-life regression. They all go by names like Kestrel, Xero, Galahad, Mystica and Ravensmile.

And (see, here's where I get to the 80% bit...it took me a little while, but..) as you might imagine these children of the sixties are not the best people to run businesses.

There's a local joke, that Glastonbury runs on GMT - Glastonbury Maybe Time - shops open when they feel like it, but usually around 10.30 - "Better late than grumpy" one shop has on it's sign thingy that shows opening hours.

They close when they feel like it, maaaan, because, you know. Being open is such a drag, you know? Really heavy.

I'm not entirely sure if Glastonbury is a place, or a state of mind, man. I expect people to cut corners here, it's part of what we are. All the normal people moved out of Glastonbury a long while ago, and left all us fluffy, floaty-headed hippies in charge.

So as a Glastonbury resident, does that mean that I cut corners in every day life? Undoubtedly yes - you just need to look at my washing up to see that. Unfortunately, I live with the worlds biggest perfectionist who frequently points out my handiwork - bits of old food that have somehow avoided the dishwashing process, crumbs that have defied the hoover - to point out my domestic failings.

My response is always the same - I sarcastically offer to inform the media, get NATO involved, call out the army - clearly these crumbs are a matter of a national security! Yes, I know there are people trying to blow up London, I know that we're facing a recession, I know that violence against women is rising five times faster than the national crime rate, but these are crumbs, dammit! On the carpet!

But there are other areas of my life where 100% is a given. In my job for starters, birthdays and Christmas, when it comes to spending money on my dearest and dearest. And, apparently when I'm trying to figure out what to write in someones blog - for some reason, since Blackpetero asked me to do this, I've found myself waking up at 3am and trying to think of something to write about.

I think it's OK to be 80%, to be honest, as long as you give 100% when it really matters. I guess all you have to do is figure out exactly when you need to give 100% and then you're well sorted.

And I guess it's why Glastonbury works - Mystica and Xero and all the rest of them might all have their collective hippy heads firmly up their bottoms, but they believe 100% in what they do, what they sell and what they talk about.

And so do the velvet-skirt, stick-wielding tourists who come to the town to take photos of the Tor and the ruined Abbey and buy up healing crystals and statues of the Goddess by the truckload - otherwise there's no way the place would work.
And as well as the weird shops, we're aiming to be a carbon neutral town, we promote healing, health, well-being, enlightenment and empathy. It's a town full of people who genuinely, 100 % believe that the world can be changed through Shakuhachi meditation, crystals and incense. And when there's incense to light, and sharing, ritual and transformation groups to channel energy and allow you to connect with the conscious universe, find your true, authentic self and search for the path of your heart, the odd hour here isn't all that important, when you look at the big picture.


It's hard to write about 'what's 80% about where I live', because honestly? 80% would be a step up for Glastonbury. Most days we're lucky if we can scrape 50%.  Hell, I'd give my right arm for 80%.

I suppose I could do something about it. Join some sort of community group, stand for town council, lobby the chamber of commerce, set up my own business and be a beacon of industry and business ethics that would force other shops to up their game.

But..you know. It kinda sounds like too much effort.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My 100%

Almost missed the Thursday deadline, but I think I can still make it.

I just returned from a "one day" army reserve service. A teaser to almost a month coming very soon.

It is very tempting to write about Israeli 80%nes coming back from "miluim", but I want to talk about my shared 100% creation - Nitzan.

I know it may sound corny but I do see 100% in Nitzan:

100% naive
100% open, listening and learning the world around
100% loving

I know it will change because she will grow up to a not 100% parents in a not 100% environment but I am pretty sure that even if she grows up to be 80% - I will still love her at a full 100%

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Writing On The Walls.

So now, the post that you all have obviously been waiting for:

Blackdaughtero, reporting for duty from my nice corner seat in resource class.

I have had so many ideas about what I should post over the past few days that most of them have just got lost in the world of add which is my mind.

Blackfathero told us to talk about what is 80 % where we live.

Here is the thing.

I’ve never really listened to him before so why start now?

That would be a total waste of nearly 15 years of serious revelations.

I decided to write about my 80% room.

Over the years I have attracted a large amount of collections (mainly of dirt and trash) into my room. However my favorite collection was the writing on the walls.

The story began on a regular day, where I black daughtero had a friend over. This friend was very interested in art and actually sprung my infatuation with graffiti and cartoon art (this like all other things passed with time…).

I had grown out of the pink Barbie stage a few years previously and went down a much darker more…hardcore path. Instead of listening to Britney spears I would listen to Marilyn Manson and Bowie, The Cure, My favorite movie was no longer “Legally Blond” but “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. I felt like I was being imprisoned in a pink plastic dungeon A.K.A my room.

It drove me crazy.

I spontaneously decided that I would let my friend fulfill her dream, this being to draw in black marker on my wall.

It all began with a moderately large skull.

It was cute, I liked it and it would protect me from all evil would try to enter my head while I slept.

Over the years I have collected an incredibly large amount of graffiti and my room changed from a pink room with some writing to a graphitized room with some pink.

At the beginning the drawings where only supposed to be temporary, and I was aiming to repaint the walls in a dark red color soon after.

This however, did not really happen until a few days ago when I decided that I had had enough of living in chaos and an overload of Pentagrams and Anarchy sign and proffered take a more Gothic approach on my living style.

I picked out a nice dark red burgundy color, and a dark grey brown and good old Franklin the turtle painted it Shorty after.

I got back from school on Friday afternoon; tired, worn out, in pain and utterly oblivious of my surroundings.

I crawled up the stairs, avoided my dreaded schizophrenic cat, and opened to the door to my room……………

I felt my heart fall through my stomach and get entangled in my entrails and I made sure that I did not drop my laptop out of shock.

This was not a Bordo (blood) red room like I had always desired.

It was pink.

I could survive living in a room with a slightly pinkish tint, but this was 80% Fakatza (Fookachia as Blackfathero would say) Pink.

There is nothing I would love to do more then show you exactly what I mean. I actually have may many pictures of my room before the Pink Job.

But I am currently sitting in the resource room, listening to my teacher reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and enjoying a lightly toasted Pita cheese, 80% as ever!

Its not that we live an 80% life, we just live in an 80% country. Where one can infect someone with a deadly 80% virus, and later that girl will infect 80% of the teenagers in her town. Blackbrothero, I blame you. Half of my town is currently sick with the horrible mysteries illness which Blackbrothero has written about before hand. But like that will stop them from roaming the streets of Raanana after hours.

Even my School, which I really do believe BlackParentso’s are crazy for paying for is 80% if not less. The people are plastic (well most of them at least), the school has a giant campus for less then 500 students. And we pay through or ears. It costs a fortune, and the food there not only make want to pump my stomach after every meal which I eat, but costs about 20 times the amount it would cost in a normal expensive minimart. Today, I am looking forward to a nice evening of MUN (model united numnuts), Complaining about Volleyball practice and how much pain I am in.

I will then proceed to trying not to step on Blacklolao like I do almost every other day.

And Finish the night with adding photos of my room to this post and procrastinating my readings.

This of course, will happen if we do not die from the super collider creating I giant black hole first.

So what is 80 percent in my life?

A better question would be what is not.


NOTE: I will be putting pictures up here later on tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Zikney Zephath

As you all probably noticed, today is Tuesday which means "music video of the week".

A week ago, Blackpetero gave me the privilege to post to his blog for the Tuesday slot. Since then, I hardly slept at night thinking about the right video for this week.

I read all previous Tuesday posts and watched the videos again and I must say, those videos are much more than 80%, every one of them in it's special way, the artist, the song, the clip itself, and then it hit me : "This blog is about 80%, and especially 80% where I live, which is Israel".

Without any further adu, Zikney Zephath (the old people from Zephath):

This video clip was filmed during 1991 for a television show about music,
which invited every week a young artist/band to come to the studio for a live performance, and this was one of them.

For a comparison, MTV was launched on 1 August 1981,
10 year before this clip was filmed.
The first video clip shown on MTV was Video Killed The Radio Star by the Buggels

I don't think that is a good video but it much better than "Zikney Zephath"
at least there are some special effects and the radio is exploding and don't forget it was filmed probably during 1981, 10 years before "Zikney Zephath" clip.
BTW: It is not even Zikney Zephath song.

During 1987 the video clip, Money for nothing by Dire Straits and Sting, was the first video clip shown on MTV Europe.

Obviously they spent some time and money on this clip
I know that today we are making better video clips, at least I hope so !!!
and I will be glad to see some.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Looking for the space between the clouds

I love science fiction films. As a young boy growing up in the tropic of Capricorn, I used to escape the teasing of the Aboriginal children by hiding between the shelves of the school's library. I would go straight for the science fiction section. I knew everything about the planets and how stars worked, but what I remember the most were these short stories with pictures of spacemen landing on Mars. Later, I got interested in the whole UFO thing and I would sit dreaming wildly out the school window about being a little green man in a flying saucer ... until Nun Superior came my way bearing her vinyl wiping strap. That's probably when I gave up on God (I was educated a catholic) and when I decided that I was tired of reading. Then I saw Blade Runner. People always talk about Star Wars, but for me it was Blade Runner. It's what made me think, shit, the future is beautiful. Set in a red, barren, dusty landscape similar to my childhood and the constant whirl of ventilators, here was a film that painted the agony and loneliness of life against a background of technology, levitating devices and the hopelessness of humanity.

My parents were, and still are, hard-core idealists. Now they are full-time members of the Green Party in Australia and live a frugal energy-reduced life. I suffered under the weight that they demanded from the world to be more responsible, less rich, less greedy. If there were two people who demanded 100%, it was my parents. The problem, though, is that they didn't demand it from me. They just showed repeatedly how 80% the world was. So what did I do? I hated the world back!

I now live in Israel. I'm no Jew and I still don't believe in God, but I do believe that the world is what you make it and that if you live where you live, it has its reasons just as your children are here to teach you something and not the other way round. If I had to describe what it is like to live in Israel, I would immediately jump for the word "hardship". Here is a country that demands a high level of living while paying below average salaries, above average working hours and taking half of what you earn to fund the war effort and pay for the practicing Jews who don't work. If I hate the world, then I came to the right place to fuel my anger.

But here is the catch. I actually came to the perfect place to learn one of my biggest lessons - to stop trying to be perfect. Sometimes the only way to learn something is to go into the lion's den. I am unable to give less than 100% and it kills me. I don't even know how to have fun anymore and the usual distractions that I came to enjoy in Europe - good restaurants, good wine - are all 80% or overpriced. It's true, this young-old country along with the Jews and Arabs in it have a few problems to solve. But just as the Blade Runner is saved from the mire by the object of his obsession, maybe I'm hoping that through all this self-imposed toiling, I'll wake up one day and say, fuck it, I've had enough of being 100% for everyone else, including the environment, and I'll decide to give myself at least 80%, or if I can't give 80% because one does need to put the bread and butter on the table, then I'll settle for 60% of my time to enjoy whatever I want to whatever degree of perfection I desire. For me, being 100% leaves no room to breathe.


*Cough Cough*

Blacksono here! Today I'm going to talk to you about :

UUrrrgggghhhh. BBbllllaaaauuuuggghhhh. I have just described to you how I felt Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and now, Sunday. It would seem that if anything’s going to be 80% this year, it’s got to be the cold I just got. Honestly, I have never felt so three quarters sick. No lucid dreams and no fever, but my nose still leaks like a faucet and my body wants to hurl. And it just refuses to leave! Fun stuff.

At first, I thought it was just seasonal allergies. I noticed something was off when I stopped being able to focus on the first of this years history essay assignments (Land: The reason America is America). Then I thought I was hungry. After all, just because your nose is running a bit and your stomach hurts a tad doesn’t mean you’re sick.

Things only got bad after school, when all us kewl kids (Ha! Kewl! I'm so rebellious!) went to the weekly MUN meeting (Model disUnited Nations). Suddenly, I was overcome with exhaustion half way though. I could barely keep my head up as some new kid (Death to Freshmen!) droned on about gun control laws in Texan schools (No. Teachers shouldn’t have guns. That’s stupid. They might shoot us. *facepalm*).

After waiting through two hours of presentations on the brink of death (Must. Not. Hurl.), finally I boarded the bus home. Almost immediately, I hop onto my blackcomputero (Yes. It’s a member of the family), intending to kill my brain so I couldn’t feel sick. I had mixed results (I love being in an odd time zone. Just love it).

The next few days followed more or less the exact same pattern. Be sick at school. Come home. Find something to do so I don’t feel sick. For the sake of your sanity, I'm not going to bother writing about them.

In all my time being sick, never have I had such a persistent, yet mild, illness. Its SUNDAY, and I'm still coughing. It’s like the microbes in my system are deliberately keeping me healthy enough so I don’t miss class, yet sick enough so I suffer. My nose runs, my stomach aches, my throat burns, and my sleep suffer, yet there’s no fever. It’s a conspiracy I tell you! Next thing we know, doctors are giving out 80% shots for the 80% cold/flu. Bah. Well, with any luck it will be gone tomorrow.

Ya. Right.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

C'mon now, get real.

Blackpetero invited us blackguestbloggeros to "improvise wildly" around the theme of "what's 80% about where you live." I'm going to take him up on the offer, because I'm not sure that what I'm about to expound on really qualifies as an '80%' situation. But it does happen to be something I'm currently passionate about.

I like greenery. (I suddenly sound like the Knights who say "Ni!") No, but really, grass and trees are wonderful things. I always said that if I ended up living in Manhattan I'd have to spend all of my free time in Central Park just trying to connect with greenness.

Now I don't live in New York City, but I do work there, and there's a lovely park in the center of midtown called Bryant Park. The site has had quite a storied history, going from giant, walled reservoir to drug-infested no-man's land to handy spot of green for folks like me. Since 1992, it's been a great place to sit in the grass for a few minutes for busy midtown folks. The large lawn is surrounded by trees and patios. There is an outdoor "reading room" with books and magazines and game tables where people from all social strata play chess and checkers with each other.

On my afternoon walk from the office to Grand Central Terminal for my train home, I usually walk through the park. If it hasn't rained recently, I pay tribute to the park employees who keep the lawn nice by taking off my shoes at one end and walking barefoot on the grass (in the middle of Manhattan remember!) for as far as I can. Ahhhh.... It feels wonderful after a long day at the office to reconnect with the earth. It's nice to watch people relaxing, tanning in their undies, or at the very least going outside to work (free wifi, of course).

All this blissful nature-loving humanity must pause, however, so that the world of High Fashion can do this:

Pardon your appearance???? Are you freaking kidding me???? Apparently, making NYC the Fashion Capital of the World requires that they completely destroy the park for six weeks twice a year so that they can smother the entire lawn with a gigantic temporary building and surround the park and neighboring streets with "command" trailers and deisel generators belching fumes and making noise. You have to see it to believe it:

Six weeks of this drek for one week of glitz and glamour? I think people disrepect God. (I'm sure this is a slippery slope, but I'm going to go with it anyway.) We and our natural surroundings were created as beautiful expressions of God. We don't need cosmetic surgery, high fashion, and grass-killing temporary buildings to be beautiful. I prefer women without make-up and, if it's not freezing, I prefer people without clothes. You don't have to be thin, buxom, or muscular to be beautiful. God made you pretty already. Believe it.

Every now and then, go put your bare feet on the grass, dirt, or in the water where you live. That nice feeling you get? That's just God saying "Hi."

Friday, September 5, 2008


What a great day. It started early with a foggy run over the moors. I watched rabbits and dear and chatted to cows and sheep. Otterburn hall is wonderful. The picture above is from the side, our suite, room 1 - the bridal suite (I swear), is the window on the top right. After a serious dinner and breakfast, we took the bus from Otterburn to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Its a long story, but we had to go pick up our rental car in the city. The bus drive, and waiting at the bus stop was an experience to remember. We met Agnes, and chatted about the terrible rain they've been having (Oh My!).She gave us tips on where to go, but kept forgetting we will have a car. Anne the busdriver, passed out sweeties (candies) to all the passengers, who seemed to know one another. The drive took about an hour and we arrived in Newcastle in the pouring rain. It rained from then on and looks like it will continue through the weekend. I think I am the only person on this island who is happy with it all. Blackwifeo needed a shopping fix, so we stopped at Marks and Sparks and some other places on the High Street, and bought rain gear. We then trudged through the driving rain to the Avis dealership hidden God Knows Where. Once we got our car, the GPS was a life saver, the stupid thing seems to know its way around the UK much better than Israel or Portugal. I cannot blame it.

Then we motored off to Hexham to see Hadrian's wall, but suddenly my right foot gave in (while eating lunch at a quaint little "bistro" across from Hexham Abbey). I have never had this happen before. Its really quite painful. We drove home to Otterburn Hall,and enjoyed the scenery. Passed "The Wall" at 75mph. Once home, I realized this foot is extremely painful, I have no idea why - probably just old age. So I'm going to nap. You all talk amongst yourselves now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day One

I have to become rich. No question about it. All I need really, is to be rich enough to always fly business class, with no guilt. We lucked out on this trip, we were upgraded all the way to the UK and back. There is nothing quite as perfect as having a sleeper seat on a flight, with on demand movies and food service on china and glass. I so enjoy hanging out in the lounge, eating the little nibblies and drinking drinks out of small cans. I'm good at it. I am sitting here in the BA business lounge in the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow. They have curry, Fullers London Pride Ale, little triangular sandwiches with the crusts cut off and of course all sorts of potato chips (crisps). Plus free internet. I have eaten about 5000 points and will have to run 200 kilometers to work it all off.

So far no 80%, I've looked everywhere.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy, busy!

Its been a busy day today. I have a lot of running around to do pre vacation - we leave early tomorrow morning. Never fear, dear readers (if there are any), the guest bloggers have all been given their assignments and are waiting in the wings, keyboards at the ready, to leap in and contribute. Please be nice to them. Getting comments is surprisingly uplifting. I started out not caring who read this, but now, I enjoy the feeling that there is someone else, besides blackwifeo (I have to constantly remind her) who read my ramblings. Anyway, while I'm out, the guest bloggers will do their bit, I am confident.

Last night we took the squints cooking. One of the greatest difficulties associated with running a high tech company is deciding what "fun" pursuits we will choose for "squint welfare". Personally, I am all for the "goat in the living room" theory and would have liked to have bussed the complaining hoard to Yad Vashem (holocaust museum) so they could see how shit life can really be. But, I was overruled and we went cooking instead. It was a good time. One thing always works - more than enough meat and wine for the squints. Below you can see some of them hard at work.Well hopefully, I will be posting tomorrow from England. See you round.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Le Vent Nous Portera

Back when I used to pick up blacksono from school in Kfar Shmiriyahu, on Tuesdays I never missed the BBC world service's World Music Show presented by Charlie Gillett. The first time I heard, Le Vent Noun Portera by Noir Desir, I was blown away. When I bought the Des Visages des Figures album, I listened to it over and over, even though I had no idea what the lyrics were about. I loved the dark and painful quality to their music that came through in every song. And all this was enhanced by not understand a word. Watch this video. Wow.
It was not beyond belief when I learned in 2003 that Bertrand Cantat (Noir Desir's founder and singer) was found guilt of manslaughter. In a drunken argument in a hotel room in Lituania, "apparently related to infidelity", Cantat hit his girlfriend, Marie Trintignant (I love the Executive Summary on this webpage: "Popular French actress beaten to death") causing a cerebral edema of which she later died. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

We have listened to this song many times at blackhomeo. Its been a constant on the "four star" playlist. A playlist that is often the soundtrack to any medium to large scale meal preparation. I was happy not knowing anything more than the title means "The Wind Will Carry Us (away?)". I was amazed to find a YouTube version with English Subtitles. I was most disappointed, perhaps its the translation, or perhaps the real lyrics really are a bunch of pretentious bullshit. Don't watch the translation, the quality sucks anyway, sometimes not knowing is the key.