Monday, January 30, 2012


It's a rainy stormy night out there. Quite cold too.  I like this kind of weather as it makes me want to sit here in the warmth of my office at home and do some work.  My dad had this theory that the cold weather led people to be more productive and hence the superiority of the northern climate based people.  While it's a nice theory it's not really born out by history (or archaeology) at all.  Humanity started out in hot Africa and many early civilizations were based in the temperate Levant.  Not to mention those based around the Mediterranean sea. The cold weather gave us raping and pillaging Vikings. Still, unlike many others in this country, I like the dark wet world around us today, I appreciate the cozy warmth and shelter inside. I don't even mind working on my dissertation in this weather.

Anyway, in a very short while it will get too bloody hot again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chef Edition Tapuchips

I must say, I was surprised by the above effort to surpass the 80%. Firstly, as a well known lover of chips, I was impressed with the "Chef's Edition" Tapuchips, as designed by the famous chip chef "Ayal Shani" (I've never heard of him myself). The "Onion Jam and Balsamic Vinegar" (I think onion jam is actually onion chutney) flavor is quite pleasing to the palette, and the crunch is wholesome. Certainly a passable attempt at trying to reach first-world chip status.

But, the stunning things about these chips is the yellow label.  I translate "Special Price Reduction: Short expiration date" and then the price reduction from 4.99NIS to 2.99NIS. They actually expire on 31 Jan 2012, in 4 days - plenty time for a chip lover. The whole concept of NOTING something will expire soon, and then REDUCING the price, is revolutionary here. It goes so contrary to the central tenant of retail life here in Israel - "Shitat HaMatzliach" (loosely translated as The System That Works, there is probably a better translation out there). This is where an attempt is made to knowingly unload some junk on you hoping you will not complain (or notice). The question remains, is this just a freakish occurrence (and heads will roll for messing with success) or is it a trend?  I promise to investigate and report back.

Friday, January 27, 2012


There is a lot to be said for hot soup on a cold and rainy Friday morning. My first wife (I risk bwo's wrath here, but if it was good for my father, then "the first wife" moniker will just have to do) made an awesome "grain soup".  I am afraid to ask what is in it, but whatever these so-called "grains" were (you see, I don't like pea or bean soup, and the may well be a lot of peas in this here delicacy) they made a delicious, thickish, hot soup.

Of course, the soup almonds (they are such an important part of Israeli life that not only can you buy them at the duty free in the airport, but they have their own wikipedia page) make all the difference. Also, another idiosyncrasy of my dad's, the soup needs to be nuclear hot and basically inedible for a while, and so it is important to add the soup almonds at exactly the right instant so they don't get too soggy but retain a slight crunch throughout the soup eating experience.

It's the simple things.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bad English

Sorry, I have been a bit busy of late. I have what to write about, and will get to it later. In the mean time, I leave you with this, it must be some of the worst English translation I have ever seen.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Call

A conversation in Hebrew this morning.
me: Hello.
him: Can I speak to Sharon.
me: Sorry, you must have the wrong number, there is no Sharon here.
him: I definitely dialed the right number.
me: Sorry, but you must be mistaken.
him: But, I know I dialed the correct number. I dialed 054-XXX 6962.
me: My number is 054-XXX 9696.
him: But my phone says that I dialed the correct number.
me: Look, there is no Sharon here, and I know what my number is, it ends in 9696
him: Are you sure you are not Sharon
me: Pretty sure.
him: (voice filled with skepticism) Sorry, I will try again.

????????? Gotta love Israel.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two for Tuesday!

I know it's not cool to post two lots of music videos one after the other (day after day).  But, there is such excellent stuff being pushed my way (mainly on FB).  Check out these two videos.  I have never hear of either before but both are excellent. This is Walk off Earth with Somebody I used to Know (thanks Selwyn, fascinating 5 people on one guitar.

Now this song is the theme to Kiki's Delivery Service (one of the kid's favorite movies when they were little) sung by Laura Shigihara, who it seems is a famous video game music composer. I had to listen to this twice last night. I just love how Japanese sounds so light and airy (thanks Lior).

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Weight

Once again my nephews come through with the good music. This time it's from Eddie.  I think this live rehearsal of "The Weight" with Mavis Staples, Nick Lowe and Wilco at the Chicago Civic Opera House is wonderful. Just watch it and enjoy.

If that was not enough try (another gem from Eddie) this one for size.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Six Glasses

I'm listening to a fascinating book, A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. His basic premise is that we could rethink the three ages of man (stone, bronze and iron) that are based on his tool usage, and perhaps think in terms of drinks.  He maps the history of humanity onto six representative drinks: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Cresent around the time man left his hunter-gatherer ways and turned to a more sedentary, couch potato, agrarian lifestyle. Then wine took over with the help of Greeks and Romans and their conquering ways. Spirits like Rum and Brandy, did not spoil on long voyages and so spurred on the age of exploration. Coffeehouses became the center of European revolutionary and intellectual exchange in the age of reason. Then "Britannia Ruled" the world while sipping tea from china cups. Finally came Coca-Cola (and Diet Cola - god's drink) and conquered us all (especially our teeth).

While I think the whole coffee/tea/cola half of the story a little weak, it is still an interesting thought. While we may think that we control what we eat and drink, perhaps they actually rule us (just look at the all-conquering maize). 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Phish New Year

And there we thought we had a rocking party to see in the new year.  Nephew Stevie was once again in NYC at the Phish concert in MSG. Just check this out. It's a bit ling but worth it. Watch it full screen.