Category Archives: Eurovision

Will 2011 Be Our Year?

I know it is only late January, but… It isn’t too early to start thinking about Eurovision 2011.  As usual, the contant rule changes (both internationally and here at home) have led to a new shake-down.  For the past few years, the representative singer was selected by some committee, and the public could only choose between four or five songs (also selected by the committee, written, on request, by major local composers).  But this year, the public will also get to vote on the singer. Yeah!  Stuff starts happening soon, with the final selection broadcast on 08 March.  We are hoping to get someone great with a kick-ass song to represent us in Germany.

Meanwhile, Eurovision Times listed the public’s choice of the Worst Eurovision Songs of all times. Several of my sister’s favorites are listed here (specifically numbers 10 and 11).  Actually, I thought that Dancing Lasha Tambai was hysterical and way better than some of the bland pop songs.  Hmmm…

Meanwhile, a new Avodah? Labor party internal explosion, with Barak leaving (along with Vilnai and two others), may be a Really Good Thing. If Yehimovitch can pull things together, we may have a rejuvinated Avodah, getting back to the good ‘ol labor ideals that helped found this nation.

Even geeks get sentimental: IBM puts out this fab video to celebrate 100 years of social and technological innovation.  RISC! System 36!  Punch cards! Fortran! Makes me weep with nostalgia.

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Godzilla Flotilla

Now it makes sense: I finally figured it out—Turkey is behind the flotilla because they are pissed off at Israel for not giving them a single vote in Eurovision.  Hmmm.  Meanwhile, a song we can all sing. Hat tip to my sister Tracy.

A Cargo of Lies

Peaceful flotilla or armed weapons transport? Every new piece of info makes gives lie to the Turkish outrage.  Released footage shows the Israeli Navy hailing the vessel and shows the “peaceful” activists attacking the soldiers with lead pipes and trying to wrest their guns from them. Here’s one piece worth reading from Canada (despite the typo in the photo caption).  Hat tip to Central LS. And here’s more… plus an opinion piece that is interesting (though please don’t ask me why Ynet is selling ad space to Scientology knuckleheads!).

Meanwhile, there were several pro-IDF rallies today at most of the major universities and even some major intersections.  On the flip side, MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) is under police protection after an uproar in the Knesset, with hotheads calling her a traitor over her participation in the flotilla.  (Balad is an Arab party, BTW.)

Technophobe alert: I ran into three scary cases of the technologically-challenged over the past few days.

  • The first was when I faxed a document to someone. During the phone follow-up, he asked me if I needed the document back, because he could “fax it back to me.” 
  • The second was told to me by a friend who claims that her brother was so clueless that he would periodically confuse the cellphone and TV remote. She would get a call at an odd hour and hear the TV.  (Someone had obligingly programmed in her phone number as a speed dial, and that was the button that her brother would push, while aiming the phone at the TV.)
  • The third occurred during a meeting with a prospective client. They told me that they had met with another contractor who didn’t know what “hi-tech” meant. Had never heard the term. Aaaauuuuggghhh!!!!

Echos of Eurovision: Walking Terri the other night, we pass two young girls strolling along, playing music on a cellphone.  The song? Milan Stanković’s Ovo Je Balkan (Serbia’s entry in Eurovision).

Mop-up in the Med

Welcome to the clusterf*ck: Commandos attempting to land on one of the ships were attacked, opened fire, and ended up killing ten people. Confused? In a nutshell:

  1. We imposed a sea blockade of Gaza to attempt to stop the huge influx of weapons (aid to Hamas in their ongoing attacks launched from Gaza).
  2. We kept the supply of humanitarian aid (food, medicine, etc.) going through the land checkposts (via truck, etc.).
  3. A group of international activists (mostly Arab PA supporters) headed towards Gaza in a flotilla of boats, including a refitted cruise ship.
  4. Israeli Navy warns flotilla to turn back.
  5. A dawn raid with a small group commandos (rappelling down from a helicopter) was supposed to give us control of a ship and turn it back.
  6. The commandos came under attack (knives, lead pipes, etc.) from a large crowd on the ship.
  7. Our guys opened fire, killing ten.
  8. We towed the ship to Ashdod and brought people to hospitals (Rambam, etc.).
  9. International condemnation and outrage on all sides breaks forth, as can be expected.
  10. Turkey yanks its ambassador to Israel back home.
  11. People here are screaming for Netanyahu to get his butt back here ASAP (he’s currently in Canada and was scheduled to meet with Obama in another day or so). 

So, basically, another screwed up operation that will  further vilify us (if that is possible) to the world.  The big mistake seems to be that we didn’t wait until the ship was in our water; since the operation was launched while the flotilla was still in international waters, this is already turning into a major anti-Israel PR clusterf*ck. Damn.

Organic cows unite! Love the interrogation. Hat tip to my mom. 

A little herring, anyone? I hope that the Eurovision grand final in Oslo didn’t disturb this little darling. Hat tip to Central LS.

Lovely Lena: German strolls away with Eurovision. While Lena was one of the bookies’ favorites to win, Eurovision remains a gloriously bizarre crap shoot, so that any friggin’ song can win any year. Styles that do well one year are suddenly at the bottom the next; singers who are wretched get points over better singers; countries continue to show blatant favoritism by voting  for their neighbors, despite how horrific the entries may be (you have only to witness Portugal voting for Spain, or Greece voting for Cyprus; check out the full scoreboard here). As usual, the purposefully funny or satiric entries are way less entertaining than the supposedly serious ones. Unfortunately for all of us, the Eastern European and former Soviet Union bloc countries are getting much slicker and more professional, so there are not as many car wrecks on stage. I’m happy to say that Israel gave our douze points to Armenia, which was pretty good, but I was appalled that we gave ten points to Russia. You can still watch whatever you missed (Eurovision TV fixed their streaming feed, plus they have all the shows available to watch). You can also read all the juicy news, including the humiliation in the UK over ending up in last place (richly deserved, IMO).

Lena’s performance was significant in that there was not a sequin to be seen, no wild dancers, no pyrotechnics; just a fresh kid singing a fun and funky song. It helps that Lena can sing in English without sounding fake or awkward, unlike many of the participants who should stick to their native languages.

Cowgirl, yes. Texan, no.

Turning the clock back on human development: Leave it to Texas to boldly take a giant step backward and condemns their students to more ignorance and idiocy.  Nice to see an outside take on the issue.  Times like this have me despairin’ for the world. Makes me miss the late-great Molly Ivans, one righteous cowgirl who was not afraid to stand tall against small-minded bigotry, ignorance, and mean-spirited redneck ideology. 

There is simply no way that I can reconcile Texan hospitality and the cowgirl mystique with this idiocy, so just color me confused (but note the boots).

Missing Denise: My sister’s yartzeit was Friday. Hard to believe that it has been a year. (Actually, it will be a year by the Gregorian calendar in another week.)  Each holiday or event without her marks another milestone, so it was with some contemplative sadness that I found myself baking a cheesecake for Shavu’ot.

Terri is less hairy: Girl got a haircut this morning. She was well overdue. Now that the hotter weather is here, the brush is dry and loaded with burrs, so each walk ends with me picking oodles of the little buggers out of her fur. I’m lucky to have such a good girl; she sat patiently while the clippers whirred and buzzed around her.

First semi-final is tomorrow! That’s right, the insanity of Eurovision is upon us!  Don’t have your parties lined up? This is your chance. The first semi-final is Tuesday, the second is Thursday (that’s the one Israel is in), and the finals are Saturday. Yeah! If you haven’t reviewed this year’s entries, you still have time.

I’m Back (again)!

Wasn’t I just in the States? Yeah, this is the busy conference season!  This time it was the Summit, STC’s big annual conference. This year STC returned to Dallas for what, IMO, was the best conference yet. Venue, speakers, sessions, attendees… everything was brilliant. The Summit also marked the end of my three-year term on the Board of Directors, and it was with a feeling of accomplishment (and a sign of relief) that I handed the reigns over to the new directors. Once off the Board, I actually had time to attend some sessions, and didn’t hit a single dud. From the latest usability data to Don Moyer’s hysterical napkin doodles, each session I attended was professionally delivered and rich in content. (Well, I can’t speak for my own sessions, but…)

While in Dallas, I paid homage to the infamous grassy knoll and visited the memorial.  Cheek and jowl with Dealy Plaza and the Book Depository is a small cry for tolerance: the Holocaust Museum. Yes, Dallas has one. It is small but very well done, and, I’m happy to report, well-attended.

In addition to the conference itself and seeing friends and colleagues from all over, one Dallas highlight was Bruce, the manager of Wild Bill’s.  Bruce spent close to two hour fitting me in the perfect boots for my oh-so-troublesome feet. Complete with boots and a hat, I got in touch with my Inner Cowgirl.   

Then it was on to Seattle for some quality time with my folks. Once again, I brought the good weather to Seattle, and we made the most of it. As usual, I stuffed myself on all the local goodies. In addition to family, I got to see a few friends from high school (yes, I had friends in high school), visit the zoo (Seattle’s Woodland Park is one of the best zoos in the country), walk around Seward Park, visit the International District (aka Chinatown) with my cousin, who introduced me to boba tea (aka bubble tea).

It’s that time again: Yes, Eurovision is almost upon us! Check out the update.

More Post-game Analysis

The jury’s in: This year had yet another major change in Eurovision rules, with televoting contributing only 50% of the vote, and a panel of professional judges (five from each country) making up the other 50%.  If you look at only the professional vote, we came in way higher (9th place instead of 16th), which I guess means that we were almost at the bottom for the call-in vote.  Overall outcome was the same, though.  I still can’t wait to see the full break-down of country-by-country votes, statistics, etc.  (You think baseball or cricket fans are nuts about stats, you should look at the trivia Eurovision loonies can quote.)