Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Rant At The Religious

I hate that it gets dark at 5pm. On Saturday we changed back from daylight saving time. Why, you may ask. The days are still long, it's due to be 29 degrees C in TA tomorrow, it gets light at 6am. Well our religious brethren have decided that they need the sun up early and to hell with the wasted electricity that comes with darkness at 5pm. Something about morning prayers and Yom Kippur. The fast is 25 hours no matter how you slice it. I saw one of their Knesset members say its never been proven that daylight savings saves money anyway. You can clearly tell where he went to school - who needs math and logic, the Tanach has it all. So once again a minority dictates and all reason is thrown out the window. The same Knesset member claimed it's all in the "status quo". What is this status quo, we get shafted, pay for people to study in Yeshiva and have babies and in return they pray (not for us, I'm sure) . I've had it.

So you can imagine my joy when bwo pointed me to this article in Haaretz. Basically, the head of the "Lithuanian Haredi Community" decided that shabbat elevators are not kosher. Here in Israel on shabbat, elevators in religious buildings stop at every floor. This way religious people (who don't roll on shabbos) don't have the "desecrate" the sabbath by pressing a button, thereby closing a circuit and causing work to be done. It's OK if the elevator automatically takes you floor to floor and stops at each floor, so you can get out. It sounds like a cop out if you ask me. So now they must walk up the stairs. I am sure it's less work.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carl Sagan (ft. Stephen Hawkin)

I grew up watching Carl Sagan on TV. Cosmos made a lasting impression on me. I watched it all again a few months back and found it was as inspiring as ever. This YouTube mix is a musical tribute to Carl Sagan, with Stephen Hawkin on backing. It's quite tasteful and well put together. It's particularly good when you consider just how cheesy this could have been. Here you go, Carl Sagan - A Glorious Dawn featuring Stephen Hawkin.

And do yourself a favor and watch this (Star Trek meets Monty Python).

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's over for another year

The best thing about now is that it's as far away from next Yom Kippur and the fast that it will ever be. This year was surprisingly easy. After four straight days with killer headaches I was convinced I would suffer, but nada. Completely headache free the whole day and I made cinnamon rolls and everything. My head is sore now though, nothing a good sleep cannot cure. Have a good year and a fine signing in the book.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tel Dor

We visited Tel Dor this morning. It's on the coast 30KM south of Haifa (google map here). Tel Dor was a working port from the Middle Bronze Age (around 2000 BCE) through to Crusader times. Excavations have been going on since the 1920s till today. Last season The Hebrew University ran a dig, there is a good website with Dor's history and its occupation by the Canaanites, the 'Sea Peoples' (very interesting bunch of pirates believed partly responsible for the fall of Bronze Age civilizations in the area), the Israelites, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. Pretty standard for the area.

We were both very surprised by what an excellent site it was. Overlooking the sea, on the headland, it's very pretty. There was tonnes of wildlife in the area, and I have devoted some pictures to the living this time. This is well recommended, it is not far.
The usual shadow picture, this time over the shallow rock pools. I forgot my hat in the car, luckily it was not too hot.
We took our coffee makings with us and found a bit of an old temple overlooking the sea where the boy did his stuff.
This is what a lot of the site looks like. Huge blocks of stone all piled nicely one onto of the other.
You can see the stratigraphy in this eroded cliff face. The layers of civilization are visible. All those orange bits are pieces of pottery. There is tons on tons of sherds laying all over the place.
Having a site that overlooks the sea is always nice. I think this is one place I would like to dig in the 2010 season.
It's a big site with ruins all over the headland. We climbed up and down. Bso noted that it's far better than Caesarea because you can climb over the ruins and nothing is fenced off, except where they were excavating last season.
I liked the way this pathway had been cut into the 'living' rock. There was a large camber through the hole on the right hand side. We were not sure what it could be used for, perhaps storage. It was far too near the sea to be a water cistern.

The Wildlife
We parked near these wetlands. There were thousands of birds of all shapes and sizes. There were quite a few bird watchers out, it seems that these wetlands are used by birds on their migrations north and south.
These little fish were visible once you stood very quietly on the bank of one of the wetland pools. One movement and they disappeared in a flash.
Please click to enlarge this picture above and see the unbelievable camouflage of this chameleon. This picture is for Michael who is cursed to never see a chameleon because of a cosmic punishment having to do with a sick chameleon and a freezer.
I have no idea what kind of bird this is, but I would guess it's a kingfisher, but I'm probably wrong.
I have no idea what this is and any help would be appreciated. As we were driving out on the very bumpy and rough road, two of these guys scurried out of the bushes next to us and took off up the road. They looked pretty mean, what are they?

Well that was our morning. Definitely worth checking out, just look at the google map I posted on the top of the page. It's Yom Kippur already, we have eaten our fast meal. A house alarm is going off down the road and will probably keep us up all night. A 'good signing' folks.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Cop Out

I woke up this morning significantly hung over from last night's wedding. So the boy and I just slept in (I actually just hit the books). Tomorrow, erev Yom Kippur, is a holiday and we will go out early tomorrow morning - at least that's the plan. Y'all must be soooo disappointed. This getting old is completely overrated.

Mazel Tov

Mazel Tov Sagi and Maital. Excellent wedding last night. The squints all seemed to have big fun. I was exhausted by the time we got home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


A week or so ago I got a phone call from Benny, inviting me to a memorial service at "The Lodge". For as far back as I can remember, my dad was a member of "The Lodge". I never understood what they did or why. I always imagined secret handshakes and dark rooms where they plotted to take over the world. When my parents moved from PE to Raanana, dad joined the local branch (Hebrew Order of David, Lodge Moledet No. 44). He was I believe the treasurer for many years and when he died we received many reports of his kindness and insight from anonymous (at least to me) Lodge members. It seems it was important to him. So when Benny called and asked if I wouldn't mind coming to light a candle in his memory at the "open" meeting they have annually. I, of course, agreed.

Last night at 8:30 I showed up at Beit Fisher. It's a remarkably bleak building with florescent lights, whitewashed walls and plastic chairs. As the Lodge members arrived it became clear that this particular group is nearing extinction. There are way more names on the memorial board than there were members in attendance. They walk around wearing colored collars, calling each other "Worthy Brother" this and "Worthy Brother" that. The ceremony started more or less on time and it was all very formal, with each one of the "Worthy Brothers" called to arise (those that could) and say something or read a prayer or psalm. The candle lighting ceremony was simple but very effective. I heard a lot of whispering behind me when I was called to light my dad's candle, as clearly many of the "Worthy brothers" had no idea who I was.

After the ceremony the customary tea and cake was served. Many of the brethren sought me out to tell me how much they miss my dad and what a good person he was. It always amazes me how he helped so many people, quietly, with no fuss. All asked about my mom and were happy to hear she is doing great in Texas. I have to admit I found it all quite emotional and found I had a lump in my throat when I thanked Benny for inviting me. My dad would have liked the ceremony - short and to the point, no long speeches, with good humor throughout. I got to thinking on the way back to the car. My dad and I certainly had our differences but he continues to teach me. One of the lessons he lived is that integrity is not something you wear like a badge (or a Lodge collar), it's who you are when no one is looking.

A Dream

I got my course grade from the University of Leicester today. I am happy to say I passed and can carry on to the next course. I have been very nervous about this whole grading thing since I sent in my work. I have not been truly graded for a long time and I was worried. I dreamed last night that "they" had decided I plagiarized my whole essay and that they called me up to a disciplinary board. The course outlines give you very, very stern warnings about what happens if they catch you plagiarizing (they bring out the "comfy chair"). Well, I dreamed that sitting on the disciplinary board was the cop who caught me speeding, my standard five teacher (Ms. Visser - I didn't know I remembered her until last night - I don't think she was that good), Avigdor Lieberman and the guy who owns the shoe shop where I buy my Paladiums. They all sat behind a huge desk and looked at me over their glasses. "Not Goot", said Lieberman, who appeared to be the spokesman for the group. Ms. Visser just nodded her head sadly. The cop was picking his fingernails with a huge knife and the shoe guy was smiling obsequiously (I love that word). "Copying wooords" Lieberman's access was thick Russian. I was glued to the spot - couldn't move, I knew I had been found out. I forced myself awake and sat up in a sweat. While I am enjoying the studies, the stress may kill me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Stranglers

This flashback to Top Of The Pops 1978 is for Brian. The Stranglers originated in the UK punk scene of the 70s. I bought the album Rattus Norvegicus when it first came out and was hooked from then on. I love this quote from wikipedia "but the group's confrontational attitude toward the press was increasingly problematic and triggered a severe backlash when Burnel, a martial arts enthusiast, punched music journalist Jon Savage during a promotional event". Still Nice and Sleazy has one of the best bass lines there is. Hard to believe it's 30 years old. Enjoy.

My Post Office

Next to squint central is the car test place. In the car test place there is a post office. In the post office work three lovely young ladies. It's the best show in town. I look forward to my infrequent trips to post letters (or assignments). Last week while I was waiting in line, Jenny (the one in the back, smoking) started shouting at Nurit (who was not working today). She had come down with a touch of flu, and had come to work anyway. Jenny was telling her off - she needs to go out cough outside. She grabbed the "Tamiflu" pills from Nurit's hand and started waving them about and warning us all that it's definitely swine flu and we should leave if we know what's good for us. On and on they shouted, Nurit purposely coughing on Jenny while she scooted all over the 2 by 2 area behind the counter. Eventually Jenny gave up and had a cigarette leaning out the door (much as in the photo above).

Today I needed to post some invitations for friends in the US. Jenny's daughter is not feeling good and the army will not allow her to stay home. She was visiting the "Kaban" (some sort of army shrink) and he was rude to her. So while I stuck stamps on the invitations I got to hear everyone's advice. "He's a nevaylah (corpse) is that kaban", "It's not right, and you a single mother", "an antipat (not sure if there is an English translation for that), ben-zonah", "call Barak!!" or "Carmit Menash (radio army reporter" on and on.

I had my little camera in my pocket so I asked if I could take a picture of the ladies. Another huge discussion started amongst the dozen or so people in line. "You know what they do with pictures on the internet, they use 'photoshot' and stick naked bodies on your heads", "Ask him for dollars", "What is this blog?". They agreed I could take a picture as long as they could decide which one I could use. So above you have Shosh and Jenny. After the difficult call with the kaban, Jenny needed another cigarette. She asks if you have any protectsia (connections) to please make sure her daughter can stay home, "she's really sick you know".

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The autumn (fall) is coming. We had rain for the first time since the beginning of the year and it is still dark at 6am. I am so sick of the dusty heat and am ready for a cold, wet winter. While driving through the desert on Saturday a few lonely drops splattered the windscreen. More mud than rain, but still a reminder that water does fall from the skies occasionally. Then yesterday we had some real showers for a short while. I went outside to look at the dark clouds rolling in from the sea. Watching the dark line slowly move eastwards I realized just how much I miss real "weather". Summer here is one long hot, humid day interrupted by short hot nights. Come on winter, do your stuff!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I woke the family around 6am. They were miserable and grumpy. For some inexplicable reason I had decided to invite the whole crew (including blacknephewo) along, as after visiting Shivta we were to go lunch at friends who live on a Kibbutz that's so close to Gaza you can smell their humus.

Shivta was originally one of the largest Nabataen settlements in the Negev, although this fact is somewhat disputed currently. It may actually have been a Byzantine colony and a way station for pilgrims on the way to Santa Catarina (supposed site of Mount Sinai). It's a big place and there are many building remains among the rubble. Because it is so out of the way, there is no guards and the entrance is free. We were as usual the only people on the site. So we had the whole of the ruined city to ourselves. It was cool. The majority of the building took place during the 4th century, the churches were built then. Interestingly, unlike Mamshit, there is no city wall, the outer ring of houses all faced in and formed a protective barrier around the city. We saw there were numerous cisterns dug into the rock indicating that water conservation was very important (not surprising, it's in the deep desert).
This is the happy family before leaving home. Note the look of joy on the boy's face.
As soon as we arrived we we made coffee and ate juchnun, and pita cheeses lovingly prepared by the unappreciated father. You can see the ruins of Shivta in the background. It's quite far, about two hours drive not counting the toilet stops.
This is one of the churches. There are three in all, this is the South Church. There is a lot left standing.
The architecture is awesome. Lots of impressive arches and stonework.
The wife takes much better pictures than you usually find on this blog. The stonework, empty space and complete silence, lets you really taste the lost splendor of the city. You really feel you need to be respectful and introspective.
There are still a lot of arches that have not fallen. Its interesting how some places were totally destroyed while other buildings were still in relatively good shape.
A lot of the site looked like this. Walls, surrounded by rubble. It's a big site and we never explored it all. It was still cool in the early morning, and the breeze was refreshing, but it got hot as the day wore on.
At the start of the 6th century CE, the city was struck by a large earthquake. The results of which are evident everywhere. There are many crushed rocks that have been completely fragmented, like the one above. The power of the quake must have been enormous and must have wreaked havoc in the stone built houses. We tend to forget we live on a serious faultline in our stone houses.
These are the remains of the wine press. Serious one at that. The grapes were pressed on the higher section to the left and the juice ran down into the big round basins. There are remnants of many of the city's industries. Including a potter's kiln and stables as well a cross shaped baptistery.

had a great time. It was especially good having the whole family along. We laughed a lot and generally had fun. Read the wife's blog for her view of events between her bathroom trips.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shanah Tovah

Above you see a "before" picture. We are having somewhere between 30 and 40 people for New Year dinner. Most of these are the wife's family - everyone is helping, it's a real communal thing. I will post an after picture once the marauding hoards have come and conquered.

I have a gripe, I know it's not usual for me to have anything to moan about, but this is one thing that's been annoying me the whole day. I don't want any more group SMS "Happy New Year, Shana Tova" messages. If it is so important to you, call me, speak to me and wish me personally. If not, I understand. My feelings will never be hurt, I will still love you all. But this annoying business of group SMS messages must stop. There is nothing less personal. I think it shows a dangerous desire for approval, coupled with a fear of personal connection. You don't need to do or send anything, it's fine, but a text message is really lame. If you must send one, at least make it personal and only to me (ok you can include the wife).

Last year I was with my family in Houston. I particularly miss them on holidays like today. Have a fried kreplach for me guys. Oh, and a Happy New Year :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Blogging Family

It all started a while back when a certain innocent who wears black heard a lecture by a professional blogger and decided he should start a blog. That was a while back, let's for argument sake say around the 27th of February 2008 - a purely random date. Well this blackchapo started blogging and writing about how things could be better. He whined about the country they live, the heat, the dreadful governments, his family, all sorts of stuff.

At some point his family decided to get into the act. So now we have The Geiger Counter written by his son, Mice in the Dishwasher written by his daughter and now not one but two blogs written by his darling wife. She started out with Deal with IT!. Then yesterday she started another blog Note To Self. She is a collector of things is this wife, she has dozens of diaries, at least twenty cookbooks, she opens boxes of pens and bumps them all in the drawer - but still can never find one when she needs it, and lets not talk about the potions and lotions. She is a definite believer in more is more, is this wife. So please peoples, go look at her blog. Read her posts, comment profusely. She is definitely the better half.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Gaza Report

Most of the news here today is about the disturbing "Goldstone" UN Gaza report. I have not read the report, nor was I present in Gaza so I have no idea what went on and what was reported. I don't know what they expected here. The government refused to cooperate with the UN team, saying they were biased before the fact. Now it seems the report is harsh. Not surprising - as left wing, liberal as I am, I have no respect for the UN when it comes to Israel. The US Human Right's council that commissioned this report has spent more time discussing Israel's human right's "violations" that all the rest of the world's put together - including the atrocities committed in Darfur (more than 400,000 killed depending who you talk to, the Sudanese government claims "only" 19,500). I am not sure there were no Israeli violations, but man, there are some other serious issues out there that you should be spending time on.

Most annoying is Mr. Goldstone himself. I read today that he is a Jewish South African. Someone I can relate to. I heard his daughter interviewed on the radio. She says her dad's "a Zionist and loves Israel". He's going to celebrate the Jewish New Year with her and her family in Toronto on Friday. I have a problem with all this. It seems to me he should have excused himself from the team. She said her dad "tried to soften the UN Gaza report" and "he thought he is doing the best thing for peace, for everyone, and also for Israel". The thing that disappointed me most of all is to find Mr. Goldstone is another so-called Zionist who lives overseas and is trying and save us from ourselves.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Two Step

A guest post by Blackwifeo.

When Blackpetero asked me to post today's Music Video Tuesday, Tunes for Tuesday or whatever it is now called, I had no problem choosing what song to play. The big problem was WHICH version and from WHICH show.

Dave Matthew Band have played Two Step, live, 802 times and all agree that it is the consummate live DMB song. It is usually played at the end of a concert or as an encore.
Each time the opening lyrics change, reflecting on Dave's mood, the weather or guest musicians. I did not know that there are 186 alternate lyrics to Two Step.
The length of the song changes depending on how long they jam for at the end.
The longest Two Step version ever clocked in at a whopping 27 minutes 34 seconds.
Even the tune and music genre on the song changes, sometimes jazzy, bluesy, classical, afrobeat or even salsa. DMB s concerts usually run between 2-3 hours and I would do anything to be at one right now.

Dave Matthews Band is famous for their prolific tours, featuring super long improvisational renditions of their songs and their guests (Tim Reynolds, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, The Rolling Stones, Santana and Trey from PHish, just to name a few)

I have chosen two videos. First, an acoustic version with the incredible Tim Reynolds, Live at Radio City. Check out Dave's face at approx 5:13 into the song while watching Tim's totally awesome guitar playing. The mans fingers just fly over that guitar. It's classic.

ooh crap, I somehow managed to delete this post, petero is going to kill me. (Seriously 80%, sorry). No worries, I think I have managed to save it, but prior comments may be deleted. Sorry Alon & Bob.

PS: Seeing as I deleted the post, am going to take the opportunity to post the Folsom Field concert instead of Woodstock. You really get a feel for the excitement and energy of the audience.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Apology

Please accept this heartfelt apology. I know the 80% blog has been rather less than 50% of late. My excuse is that I have been busy. I have been studying. Today I sent off my essay to the distance learning office at the University of Leicester. For better or for worse, I'm done with this course. I need to get a 60% to stay in the program, and honestly I am not sure this essay will do it, but enough is enough. I figure if the amount of work I put into this is not enough, then I can't make it in school.

So from tomorrow I'm back walking, riding buses, listening to audiobooks and generally collecting material to try get this blog to at least strive for the whole 80%. And man, am I gonna rant and rave!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The squints went carting today. Great fun was had by all. I hate driving and refused to spend one minute behind the wheel of a vehicle unless I have to. But they had fun chasing each other round and round the track.
This is the "Mario" team discussing their game plan. They won hands down, both races. Liran was killer, his fastest lap at 22.750 secs. Note, which team had all of the the most GraphTech ladies.
High speed refueling taking place. The pit crews were excellent. No one got seriously hurt.
Sometimes things did not go exactly as planned.

Good work squints. Although it's probably best you keep your day jobs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


We visited Ashkelon today. It was surprisingly nice. First some things I learned. The name Ashkelon come from shekel, which was a unit of weight before it was a unit of currency. They used to grow a special kind of onion during Roman times, it was named for the city - the scallion.

Ashkelon goes way back. It has always been an important sea port and finds Neolithic times show that the area was settled 10,000 years ago. The actual city was founded during the Middle Canaanite period (2000-1550 BCE). It was surrounded by a huge defensive wall (a glacis) which has been excavated (see below). It was then ruled by the Egyptians, then during the Israelite period it took part in the Assyrian wars before being destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer in 604 BCE. Then came the Philistine, then the Phoenicians, the the Greeks. All the while Ashkelon was an important sea port astride the Via Maris, the Way of the Sea, that linked Syria with Egypt. During the Roman period It reached it's heyday. The city was large an well developed, well known for it's agriculture and produce. There was a large Jewish community, complete with synagogue during the Byzantine period (324-638 CE). During the Crusades the city swung back and forth between Muslim and Christian occupiers. The walls were demolished and rebuilt many times. During the Mandate, the British built a coast guard station to patrol the coast and to prevent illegal Jewish immigration.

We took the long route and walked all the way around the ancient city, following the path of the old Roman walls. It was cool.

The boy is making coffee and showing me how sore his arms are after Krav Magah yesterday.
These are the remains of one of the five churches built during the Byzantine and Crusader period. It's the Saint Mary Viridis Church if you are interested.
From the ramparts of the old Roman walls you can clearly see Gaza. I told the boy to watch out for Qassams. They have been know to land close by in Ashkelon.
Quite an impressive wall. There are remains all around the perimeter of the park.
There is still archaeology going on. They seem to be digging in many different parts of the park. I suppose they are looking at all the different periods of occupation.
I thought this was quite nice. It's great to be near the sea for once. Most of the sites we have gone to visit are inland for some reason. There was a nice cook breeze.
These are the remains of the ancient Canaanite city gate. They say it contains the oldest arch in the world, constructed around 1850 BCE. It's made of mud bricks and has been nicely protected under a structure.
This is the glacis, the fortifications from the Canaanite period. It includes this banked defensive wall and a moat.
For once we were not alone at 8am in the park. There is a big campground, filled with camping Russians. The smell of meat cooking over an open flame wafted over us as we walked along the path around the old city. Actually it looked like they were having a good time. It's a nice place as long as there are no Qassams falling.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is This The Way To Yerushalayim?

I had meant to rant about this a while back, but it sort of slipped my mind. Then this editorial in the NY times today got me all fired up again. Israel Katz, our Likud (fascist) minister of Transport (and Road Safety) has decided all road signs will only use Hebrew names. The article and many others (just google "israel road signs in hebrew only") don't really give the true story. Most make it sound as if Israel is changing all signs that currently have Hebrew, Arabic and English to only have Hebrew. This is not true, but the truth is still bad news. They will still keep the three languages only change the names to the Hebrew names. So Jerusalem will become Yerushalayim, Caesarea will become Kesariya, Nazareth will become Natsrat. Don't worry Raanana will stay as will Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion Airport, will become Natbag, descriptive isn't it.

It's just the kind of (not very well) hidden agenda, nationalistic ploy I would expect from this government. Their lack of strategy is only surpassed by their closed mindedness. Clearly the only thing that matters is not to be a "frier" (not being a sucker is the key to the Israeli psyche). In fact these were Netanyahu's very words in a New Year speech tonight: "We are ready for peace, but we won't be suckers". right.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big Fun

I took a day off work today and hit the Tel Aviv University Library. I have a paper to finish. I had a brilliant time. Its quite expensive if you are a non-student - 16 sheks to park and 30 sheks for the day in the library, but worth every cent (or rather agurah). There is no internet, bad A/C and not the most comfortable of chairs, but there are books - millions of them. Oh, and a whole lot of quiet and a place to plug in one's laptop. You have to check your bag into a locker in the lobby and they give you a supermarket basket for your laptop and books (see the blue one I used in the picture above - I have noticed they have stopped having these in the supermarkets around here, but that's a subject for another blog). They had most of the books I needed. Did you know that putting together a bibliography takes as long as actually writing the paper? I had forgotten that.

I enjoyed every minute and the hours flew by as I pulled more and more books out the stacks. I left quite a pile. I think I have all the data I need and have done most of the writing. I'm 300 words over the 3000 word requirement, so some serious editing still needs to happen. There is no place better to work than in a library. So the big question is why's education wasted on the young?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Sound of Settling

Friends, Romans, Country-men...lend me your ears.
Yup, you guessed it. Blackdaughtero here, for everyone's favorite day of the week!
(honestly father, couldn't you think of something more catchy...maybe "Music Video Monday" or "You-tube video Tuesday")
This very eve, bdo has taken time out of her busy schedule, to entertain you all for a few short minutes.
I will begin by talking briefly about the process of finding the perfect video for this special night.
Daddy, I would like to say, I have no earthly idea how you can go through this ordeal every single Tuesday. you would think that it would be simple to find a video, but alas, it is a tiring, exhausting and demanding task.
Finding a blog worthy video is very hard, especially with most of the crap music coming out today.

After hours upon hours of slaving over you-tube video and watching pointless videos pile up, I had managed to narrow my choices down to three.

The first song was The Bitter End by Placebo. Everyone knows how much my Father loves placebo, almost as much as he like HIM (note the evident sarcasm). Girlie boys with way too much make up singing about teenage angst and lovers lost. I love this video because it is just so damn cool. I mean come on..they are rocking out on a satellite dish!

The second video was Blue Orchid by The White Stripes. I have to say that I really do love this song. It is catchy, it makes loads of sense (NOT) and the video is awesome.
However after much consulting with Blacksono....well actually Blackbrothero, I had managed to make my decision.

With no further ado

I remember listening to this song as we drove through the Scottish highlands and across various lochs on our quest to spot the lochness monster...we failed.

Death cab for cutie are an amazing band, and their ability to relate to the listeners is outstanding. I am sure that there is not a person on this earth (OK...I might be exaggerated a bit) that would not be able to relate to at least one of their songs.
One of the main reasons I like this video is because it did not make me wonder why I am wasting my time watching it. I do not really like watching videos on you-tube, it bores me. that is why when I found this video, I knew at once that it an amazing candidate for MUSIC VIDEO TUESDAY!

Well I hope you enjoyed my pointless rants about completely disconnected subjects.
Ta Ta my lovelies

*** Word of The Day: Ostrincized.
Similar to ostracized. This word describes the way you Ostrins might be feeling when the misery gene kicks in at a noisy family dinner.
Credit to SB

Monday, September 7, 2009

Doesn't Deserve A Title

Not every day can be good. And today was not. I'm not sure why, but it was one of those days where everything was a bit off. All sorts of little things at work, home and in life. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

One good thing did happen today. Blacksono showed me his blog (for the record blackdaughtero's is here). Anyway his blog pointed me to this guy AronRA, who's mission in life seems to be to challenge creationist's warped view of the world. I spent a pleasant hour watching wackos explain why Darwin had it wrong, and Jesus is the only scientist one needs. Brightened up my day, that did.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spare a Shekel for an Ex-Leper

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own daily lives we stop noticing whats going on around us. I have been so caught up in my own stuff and blind to what is going on in other peoples lives. Today I was brought back to earth with a crash. So many people I know are sick and suffering. Auntie Masha, cousins Viv and Laurence, Oupa Joe, my thoughts are with you all. Be grateful if you are healthy and spare a thought for those that are not. I hear even blackbrothero is not feeling too good these days

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nahal Me'arot

This morning we visited the Nahal Me'arot caves. These caves are interesting in that they were inhabited for many millennia. During the Acheulian Culture (200,000 years ago) which lasted for 50,000 years, our distant cousins homo erectus lived in the caves an used rough hand stone tools. The Muarian Culture began 150,000 years ago, and during it's 50,000 years humanoids improved their stone tool technology, using smaller more refined flints. During the Mousterian Culture, 100,000 years ago and lasting 60,000 years, Neanderthals lived here and made even more sophisticated stone tools. Around the end of this period the caves were deserted (perhaps as the Neanderthals died out) until the Natufian period, 12,000 years back. At this time early man's life changed and he began building more permanent settlements with the beginnings of plant and animal domestication and agriculture.

All in all there is not much to see as obviously not much remains of these early settlements. At least it's close by.
The caves are built into the limestone rock.

The rock formations are quite impressive.
They felt they had to put these cheesy models in the caves. There is an introductory movie in the first cave, complete with grunts and dramatic music. I have to say that the whole place was a bit of a disappointment. These caves have an impressive history not really reflected in their current state.

The most exciting thing happened on the way to the park. I was minding my own business driving through the road works on route 4 near Zichron, when a cop car drew up behind me and pulled me over. He showed me my speed on his "devorah?". It appears I was travelling 111kph in a 60kph zone. He told me he would have to take my license away for a month and I would have to go to court etc. etc. I was very apologetic and respectful. "Yes Officer", "No Officer", "I'm really sorry Officer". Anyway, he let me off with a warning. I stuck strictly to the speed limit from then on. Phew!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I am sure all this archaeological stuff is probably boring you, but besides work it seems to be what I spend most of my time doing recently. One thing that completely blew me away was the cave painting in La grotte de Lascaux in France. The French have done a masterful job of recreating the experience in a website. Go look already. These paintings were painted some 16000 years ago. The cave was discovered by four teens in 1940, and has subsequently been closed to the public due to damage by Carbon Dioxide from the many visitors over the years. So the website is all we have. My favorite is the unicorn panel at the beginning of the cave. Really, go take a click and look a this, I'm not kidding, they're worth it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time Team America

So I've been getting into archaeology recently, don't know if you have noticed. It all started years ago when I was two bricks and a tickie high back in the old country. I loved digging up the back yard at 35 Mill Park Road, particularly the piece of ground behind the folk's room, in front of the "maids quarters". I was looking for treasure, but secretly hoping I would find the skeleton of one of the cats that was reputedly buried there (Cukerooch, that was eaten by the Miller's dogs, I think it was). This passion lay dormant for years while I got involved in all sorts of passing fads (music, marriage, computers, guitars, rc airplanes and children to name a few). A year ago (almost to the day), my love and I were in Newcastle (UK), we were staying at a lovely old house quite a way outside the town. It rained and rained and rained that weekend. Bwo just wanted to sleep. I walked around in the rain, battled with the pathetic internet and finally turned on the big TV in the lounge of our "honeymoon suite". It was Time Team Saturday on Channel 4. It changed my life that show.

When I got back home, I watched most of their 15 seasons as well as the specials. I view these guys as mentors - I want to be Phil or Mike when I'm big. I want wild hair and a shaggy beard. I want to pour over old documents and dig in the rain and mud. Well, now Time Team has migrated over the oceans and PBS has started Time Team America. I watched my first one tonight, very different, but not at all bad. More than 80%. So there is no excuse you US people, check it out on PBS. It may change your life too. Now all I need is Time Team Israel and my life will be complete.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Clipping Death

Metallica - A BSO Blog

I sure am a fan of Master of Puppets! I first listened to this album a few months ago, and I must say, its utterly amazing. Thus, I'm going to post something that's almost one of the greatest songs ever created.

I highly recommend that you go to youtube and watch this video in high quality.

You know, recently I noticed that modern mainstream music just didn't sound very good. The drums never sounded clear, the bass was always sounding funky, and the stuff was just too loud. Then, a few days ago, I ran across this video, and now its all clear to me.

For more educational viewing, follow this link here!

This is BSO signing off.