Monthly Archives: July 2007


Too hot to think:  Call it a hamsin, a sharav, or a plain old-fashioned heat wave, the current temps are hot enough to curdle your brain.  Gill and I slip out for dinner last night, and at 21:15 it is still 34 C.  The AC guy is back, tanking up the freon in my car, and he claims that it was 47 C (117 F) in the shade.  Oi!  Right now, it is probably about 37 C out there, and it is only 9:00.  Gonna be a scorcher.

Back at the Bistro: I’ve mentioned HaBistro haMi’komi before, the little boutique restaurant that opened in Karmiel last year.  The owner is from Romania, the chef from Mexico, and the menu intriguing.  Last night David, the chef, pulls up a chair and has a long cozy chat with us.  We’re favored customers, always getting a chat and often a little freebie.  Last night is no exception, as we drink Columbia Crest (a very nice Washington State wine) instead of the usual house wine from Chile, and we end with shots of Kaluah and cream, on the house.  Nadine scores a bit of salmon in a spinach sauce.  Her eyes bulge as she gobbles it up.

TracyHangin’ wit my homey:  Nothing like having family visit from the Old Country.  My sister Tracy is here on an educational seminar and I drive up to S’fat to see her.  The heat, the hills, and curves have my little Ignis straining.  I’m surprised the tires didn’t melt.  It is too hot to walk around outside, so we end up hanging out inside with the AC on full blast.  Considering that Tracy was out hiking that morning in the blazing heat, she looks remarkably refreshed! 

How Am I Behaving?

Double hat tip: Thanks to two loyal readers (Northern LS and George) for this one.

eich ani…

Diary of a Mad Shvitzer

Ready, set, strike!   Histadrut (the main labor union) does it again with a strike that affects the trains, post office, and other government services.  The worst: no garbage pickup.  If this was a mild climate, it would not be such a crisis.  But with the current hamsin (heat wave), temps are in the mid-to-high 30s C, and humidity is also high.  The bugs are out en force, and anything left out for even a few minutes becomes a health risk. 

The heat is miserable.  I drag myself out for a morning run, and am barely into the first leg when I’m already feeling the heat.  It is like trying to run with ten kilo sacks of cement tied to your legs.  My computer is feeling the effects of the heat, too.  Poor Nadine, already too fat and fluffy for her own good, is completely miserable.  She lies on the floor and moans.

We’ve moved!  After over 12 years in Akko, In Other WORDS moves its headquarters to the industrial zone in Karmiel.  Since most of us live in or around Karmiel, this makes a lot of sense.  But moving during a miserable hamsin is not fun.  I teach a class last night in the new facility, despite the AC not yet being hooked up and the place in shambles.  We hope to be settled in soon.

Free online Hebrew lesson! Interested in learning Hebrew?  You can sign up for a free lesson

News Feeds

A new online news feed:  Hat tip to Northern LS for the new Israel News site, offering broadcast coverage in four languages, 24-7.  If you can ignore the annoying Flash ads on the side, the actual news coverage is interesting, and the stories are often followed by beautiful scenery of the country.  I have watched several issues and have not detected any particular slant, either left or right, so I think that it is pretty cool.

It’s hot!  The high temps and soaring humidity have reduced us to limp rags.  Nadine does her Flat Cat impersonation on the marble floor.  She is listless and miserable, and only perks up when I hand-feed her pancakes.  The slightest exertion makes us break out in clammy sweat.  It is not fun.  My computer, perhaps reacting to the temperature, crashed and refused to boot for almost 24 hours.  These are the times that we start fantasizing about a vacation to the Arctic Circle.

Only in Israel: Gill snaps this picture during yesterday’s bike trek.  The central prayer Jews share at S’lihot (the period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) begins, Ribono shel olam—literally, Master of the Universe.  Just think, “This property protected by Smith & Wesson,” only religious style!


Goats ‘n Gloats

Goats:I dodge a major goat-jam on the highway, as a two goatherds allow their flock to spill over into the slow lane on east-bound 85 (the Akko-S’fat highway).  The goats trot along blandly, floppy ears bouncing, seemingly unfazed by the freeway-speed traffic zooming around them. 

Gloats: You can watch people kvelling about STC Israel’s convention.  There is a nice video of Patrick Hofmann, plus some cool interviews with various attendees.

Turmoil on the Tracks

Take the slooooow train: I leave the house at 5:30 this morning and catch the train in Akko.  It is a bit late pulling into the Akko station, and eventually we find ourselves sitting on the tracks in the middle of nowhere.  “We appologize for the delay,” says the voice on the PA system.  After sitting in Atlit for half an hour and then Binyamina for another half hour, we slowly get underway, with much confusion about the stops.  “This is now an express train to Tel Aviv,” says the conductor.  Seconds later, the automatic message comes on and announces a stop that we have already passed. The train turns into a ma’asef—the slowest of the milk runs, stopping at every station along the way.  I call one of my Tel Aviv students so that they know what is going on, but at 8:45 a different student calls to find out where I am.  I explain about the problems on the train and ask, “Didn’t Liz tell you guys?”  Turns out that Liz decided to have a nice little shluff without passing on my message to the rest of the students.  She wakes up during the call and I hear giggling in the background.  So much for communication, technical or otherwise!

The only saving grace on this loooonggg trip (three hours instead of the usual 90 minutes) is some exceptionally luscious eye candy sitting across from me.  Where is the justice in men having eyelashes like that?

I couldn’t have said it better myself:  My students are introduced to the joys of online Help authoring today.  RoboHelp becomes cranky on one PC, causing a student to exclaim, “I can’t get it up!”  OK, call me warped, but I do a spit-take and almost choke on my coffee.  And I’m not alone.  One brave student valiently tries to explain why this is not the way you want to refer to problematic applications, but he becomes embarrassed.  Is this what they mean by software?

Why you need a young Japanese dude to design your website: Godzilla hates cats.

The Language Police

You want me to call it what?!  Hat tip to former student and fellow-blogger Bracha, who sends us these latest gems from the Academia l’Lashon haIvrit (the official group of eggheads who try to maintain Hebrew).  Our language academy, like France’s l’Académie Française, enjoys official status via their government appointment.  However, unlike their French counterpart, our guys are toothless, as there are no laws here that enforce language usage.  Quebec’s infamous Bill 101 would never work here.  We are free thinkers and natural scofflaws; you can suggest a new term, but you can’t legistate language usage.  So, for what it’s worth, here are the new words:

Hebrew terms
Actually, one of the things that I love about the confluence of Hebrew and high-tech is the way that Israeli engineers “hebra-ize” English technical terms. L’dabeg (to debug) is one that comes to mind.  And the Hebrew inclination to turn all initializations into acronyms is another constant joy.  Since the YMCA becomes “yimca” in Hebrew, it is only natural that PCMCIA becomes “pick MEE see uh” or that HLLAPI becomes “huh LAP ee” (causing me to do a spit-take in a client’s conference room when I finally twigged what they were talking about).

And I just gotta ask: has anyone seen a Segway in Israel?