Monthly Archives: August 2009

Onward, Debators!

Cheering for our guys:  In a surprise victory, Tel Aviv University debate team duo wins a spot in the European Championships.  Nicely done, indeed.  (As a former high school debate team geek with a display case full of trophies, I am cheering enthusiastically!)   Go, team!

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Hard Choices

Want to live longer? Y’all know the drill: eat less and exercise more.  (Or, as one friend quipped, it may just seem as if you are living longer!)  But despite knowing that we should put down the junk food and get our fat butts up off the sofa, we remain fat and lazy.  And the glut of information doesn’t always help.  For example:

…and the list goes on.  Milk and dairy products.  Meat.  Butter.  Wheat.  Jogging.  You name it, it has been both praised and pilloried by the scientific community.  What’s an info-consumer to do?

Personally, I think we all rationally understand that our bodies were meant to consume things closer to whole (unprocessed) foods, and that we were meant to move and exercise.  If anything, the French Paradox reinforces this, as the typical slim Parisian may eat saturated fats, drink wine and coffee, and even indulge in pastries, but all in moderation (portion size is tiny compared to that of the US).  And mostly, they walk.  A lot.

Nu?  What do you think?

Everybody Gets the Blues

Even doggies feel sad: No date, no wag.  Or so their owners think.  The solution?  Match-making for dogs… Terri has no such trouble.  As a happily spayed mutt, she has oodles of boyfriends: Sushi, Archie, Gur, Bikey, Crocs…  Hat tip to Tracy.

Even celebs feel sad: Especially when they are in jail after ordering hits on the broadcast management responsible for canceling their shows.  Dudu Topaz’s suicide was a real waste.  The King of Entertainment had already tried to off himself while in lockdown, but this time he succeeded.  I was never a fan of Topaz, who sought out the lowest common denominator and then continued to dig to reach truly sub-moron levels.  His comedy was course, his talk shows were shmaltzy and maudlin, and he embodied everything he touched with an air of tackiness that set my teeth on edge.  Every time I heard him holler, “PEER-SO-MOT” I wanted to scream.  However, it is shocking to see someone who was so much a part of Israeli culture fall so far.

Even YouTube searches make us sad: Checking to see if anyone else had uploaded a video of Denise, I stumbled on the GazettE, a Japanese glam punk band.  (I suspect that ‘guren’ is a phonetic transliteration of something in Japanese.)  All I know is that Denise would have loathed these strange boys (yes, they are all guys!) and their music (one of their hits is called “Agony and Maggots”).  The boys seem to combine goth, punk, glam rock, and kabuki.  Both disturbing and very funny as the lead singer licks the microphone and the bass player sports a huge band-aid across his face.  I can just imagine the acid remarks Denise would have made about this odd cultural phenomenon.

Speaking of Denise and YouTube, I’ve updated her site and the YouTube video (for those of you who can’t view the video on the main site) is collecting hits.

Butter Dog

It’s better with butter: We make our annual visit to the vet for a checkup and vaccinations.  There is much bureaucratic red tape before-hand, as I dash all over getting the city dog license form stamped.  (For some reason, I never got the official form this year—probably lost in the move.)  Terri behaves quite nicely, though she trembles as Dr. Ofer checks her out, and yelps when she gets one of the shots. 

Part of the annual tipul is half of a gigantic worming tablet.  In the past, I have put a bit of butter around the pill and conned Terri into swallowing it like a treat.  But this time, I miscalculate the heat, and the butter is too melted to work with.  I end up with butter all over; Terri licks it off, but rejects the pill.  Not wanting this to escalate into a long battle, I grab Terri, pry her mouth open, and toss the pill down before she knows what’s happening.  Mission accomplished, but in the process, I have well and truly coated my dog with butter, and it is this very buttered dog that crawls into bed with me a few hours later.  I am haunted with dreams of popcorn.

It’s better with bombast: Or at least that is what Bibi seems to think.  More saber-rattling as we take a gigantic step back in the peace process.  On the flip side, he’s making noises about resuming talks for Gilad Shalit.

It’s better than a kick in the head: There isn’t much good news these days, between the budget crisis, corruption charges, the Haredi riots in Jerusalem, the body-in-a-dumpster case in exclusive Ramat Gan, and the lack of progress on finding the assailant in last week’s attack on the Tel Aviv Gay support center, so finding a missing teenage hiker is cause for celebration.  That and Kiryat Yam’s mermaid (though I wish they would leave her alone)…

It’s better than bunnies: Hyrax, that is.  The shefan selah are out and doing their thing on the rocks in the wadi.  Terri finds them fascinating, and still scrambles up the rocks in a futile attempt to catch them.  But she is learning; more often than not, she just stands there and stares at them for a few minutes before resuming her walk.

More Train Trauma

Jam-packed trains: Monday sees me down in Tel Aviv teaching a workshop at a client site.  Going down is not a problem; snagging a taxi from the train station proves to be the real challenge.  I finally get creative and leave the taxi stand, commandeering a taxi as the driver lets a passenger off on the other side of the street.  Sneeky me.  But I get to my client in time and everything is fine.

Coming home is another story.  The train is already packed when it reaches the University station.  I end up standing for about 20 minutes until a young soldier takes pity on me and gives me his seat.  In the next seat over is an older man who appears to have been pickled in vodka.  He may not be drunk at the moment, but the fumes coming off of him are enough to make my eyes water.  He is carrying on a conversation in Russian and gesturing emphatically.  He almost whacks he in the face a few times.

We are halfway to Haifa when the AC packs in.  I’m already exhausted, both physically and mentally, and now I have a headache and nausea to boot.  By the time I get home, I’m a wreck.  I spend the next two days in bed, feeling miserable.  I drag myself out to walk Terri and the crawl back to bed.  Terri tries to make me feel better by licking my toes, lying across my stomach, and finally bringing me her stuffed monkey.

Further proof that people are clueless: The Brits do a big study to prove that organic fruits and vegetables are not more nutritious than non-0rganic.  What?!  Who in the world buys organic to get more vitamins?!  We buy it to get less pesticides and toxins!  That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!  I can see it now: a new study proving that doing crossword puzzles does not improve your hamstring flexibility.

Aroma Ettiquette

Go easy with the aftershave, dude! Yesterday’s train ride to and from Tel Aviv leaves me pondering the odd cultural norms that make it seemingly acceptable for someone to be in a crowded public place while smelling like a goat, or to be drenched in some gag-making perfume.  The hygiene-challenged are not fun to be around, but someone’s BO doesn’t usually send people to the hospital.

Yes, it is hot.  Yes, we are all sweating and miserable.  But make an effort!

Speaking of hot: It hit 103F in Seattle and 104F (40C) in Portland, Oregon (two cities known for the cool weather).  New records and just more signs of the extreme weather brought on by global warming.  While we often have temps that high and higher in parts of Israel, we are a bit more equipped for it.  (Of course, when the train’s AC fails, you sit on the tracks without moving for half an hour, and the window shade next to you won’t pull down to block out the sun, well… let’s say that you wish for 40C!)