Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My Two Front Teeth

this posting is back by popular demand!...with some updates!

All I want for Christmas...

There are some products that you just can't get here and if you want to send me a "care package" these would be appreciated more than you know. Yaacov says that I should find products in Israel to take the place of these things, but I've yet to find good replacements to these products.

I REALLY want pictures of everyone. I would LOVE for you to send me a big picture of yourself or your family. You can send the frame if you want, but we DO have frames here in the Holy Land.

other things...


  1. Cetaphil Lotion (Sensitive skin and no fragrance)
  2. Rembrandt Toothpaste Mint Flavor
  3. Bumble and bumble Hair Products I use the Seaweed or Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner, Grooming Creme, and Sumotech.
  4. Thorlo Socks
  5. Copies of Dwell Magazine.
  6. You know those homemade crocheted dolls that cover rolls of toilet paper? Well, I want 3 of them...three different ones. Strange, I know.
  7. Good knives (I haven't found any here worth a hoot.)
Shipping things to Israel can be expensive! When you go to the Post Office you can ask for Global Economy Parcel Post. This will get your item to us in 6-8 weeks. It's the cheapest way to send things. The next best option isn't that much more expensive and is Global Airmail Parcel Post. That will get things here in 6-8 days! Be sure to give yourself time to fill out the Customs Form. Be sure to check the box that says GIFT. You don't have to be too specific about the contents. Customs Officials want to make sure it's not business samples or a large enough supply to re-sell. So you can just write "1 bottle of lotion" for example.

Have fun!

UPDATE!: If there is anything that you want from Jerusalem, let me know. I'm talking about olive wood trinkets, post cards, Jesus figurines, Jewish things...

I know the post office works both ways.


Monday, November 29, 2004

What Did You Do with Bridget?!?!


Duh!

I found this commentary (see below) and it sums up pretty well what I am feeling after my first movie experience at a "mainstream" Israeli theater. I was SO looking forward to this movie. I really enjoyed the first one...but this one stinks. It's rotten. Don't go to see it. Not even on DVD!

The only redeeming thing about the whole experience was that I rode on a Jerusalem bus by myself for the first time. Baby steps to INDEPENDENCE!

The following comments are from anhedonia from www.imdb.com.

Bridget Jones goes beyond the edge of reason into sheer stupidity and boredom
First rule of comedy: Be funny.But the makers of "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" don't bother with such trivial matters. Not when they've deluded themselves into believing that merely bringing back Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and a few others would automatically make the sequel funny, too.

They were wrong.

The 2001 original was funny and charming. It had verve and wit. Bridget (Zellweger) was normal, as were her dilemmas and crises. She was plucky, resilient, but never a fool. We identified with her. Daniel (Grant) was delightfully caddish, Darcy (Firth) properly funny. The sequel squanders a tremendously talented cast, none of whom seems to have a clue what to do.

I don't know if they're wholly to blame - they're stuck in a dud. Although again based on Helen Fielding's novel, this has none of the original's wit or zip.Although the sequel begins only four weeks after the original ended, Bridget, Darcy and Daniel have become caricatures of themselves. Their behavior's cartoonish. You know this film's in trouble when Grant simply slums it as a rake and Firth sputters about as if he's wondering how on earth he wound up agreeing to make this horrible picture.

The film relies completely on Zellweger's star power. She's game, but gives quite possibly the worst performance of her career. Bridget's become a daft twit. She's lost any semblance of intelligence. With nothing genuinely funny to fall back on, director Beeban Kidron gets Zellweger to simply waddle about the place trying to eke laughs out of us. Unfortunately, Zellweger's shtick is barely amusing and gets tiresome very quickly.

The idea of laughing at a large, buxom lass while she pratfalls her way through a horrendous film must strike a chord with some women. At the screening I attended, I sat next to four women who did not laugh - heck, I didn't hear even a chuckle from them – throughout the entire film. Yet, they applauded at the end, as if they'd just discovered their anthem film.

It took four writers - Fielding, Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis and Adam Brooks - to write the drivel for this movie. They never find the right tone even once. Every joke is telegraphed or straining to be funny. This utterly unnecessary movie seems, at times, like an extended music video. But even the songs are predictable. During two scenes - at the Bangkok airport and an idiotic fight scene in a fountain - the music was so loud, it completely drowned out the dialogue. I don't know if the theater was to blame for this problem, but I suppose it was a blessing in disguise given how insipid much of the dialogue is.

This film is devoid of any novelty or humor. By the time we get to an excruciatingly long and unfunny prison sequence featuring yet another sorry moment that tries desperately to be funny - a chorus of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" - this film has gone so way off the tracks, there's no hope of it ever getting back on. This is a great example of a film being made because of star power and the need to make money, regardless of whether it was good or funny.

"Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" is lousy storytelling, rotten acting and awful film-making.

Greed and Curiousity Killed the Cat

The other day during my favorite part of Ulpan -the break- I went to a little shop a bought a bag of, get this, potato chips! They tasted like America...like home! It was Lays Potato Chips...and nevermind all the Hebrew and Arabic writing on the package and the fact that they were marked as Kosher...they tasted just like the ones at home...nice and greasy. Lovely!

In the bag of chips there was a little packet. It was sort of like a prize in a Cracker Jack box. Inside the little envelope was a card that had the metallic film that you scratch away to reveal your prize. Even though my Hebrew is improving, I couldn't tell where to start scratching as there were several options. When Yaacov got home I shared it with him and we uncovered the first box. I won a free bag of chips! Wahoo! What a great feeling to get something for free. Now there were 3 more boxes that you could uncover. One was 10 NIS (New Israeli Shekel), the other was 100 NIS and the last one, 1000 NIS. You could either win the money or loose everything. I thought about it for a while...I had already won a free bag of chips...I was already a winner. I HAD to try the next box. So, I scratched it off and lost everything...my bag of chips.

Gambling makes you feel stupid. I think that after I tried the second box, I felt worse than when I started. It's like if you never try chocolate, how will you know what you are missing?

Right now I am missing my free bag of chips.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Tacca chanterieri (The Bat Plant!)


Scary!

Yaacov's mom supervises the science curriculum for kindergartens in the Jerusalem public schools. Several teachers got together and bought her a plant in appreciation of her hard work. The flower they got her is pictured above! Believe me, it's much more frightening in person! It's described as a plant "with hauntingly black blooms and tentacles up to 30 cm long"!

Yaacov's mom loves exotic plants like orchids. I am assuming that the teachers just called a flower shop or nursery and asked for a very unusual plant. We had a lot of fun joking about the plant and deciding where to put it! I am not sure of the sentiment this gift conveys! His mom says it scares her everytime she walks downstairs!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Not Exaclty Christmas Bells...


Day After Thanksgiving Wake up: If you're looking for a little help in getting out of bed to be the first in line at the toy store on Friday, Target is here for you.
The retailer has set up a system that allows consumers to order wake-up calls on Black Friday and Saturday featuring the voices of everyone from Darth Vader to model Heidi Klum. To get such a call, go to Target's Web site at www.target.com, and click on the link "Free Wakeup Call," then follow the instructions from there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I mentioned to many of you in an email that Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. Many folks wrote back to say that Thanksgiving was their favorite holiday too.

Here are some things they said:
"Thanksgiving is MY favorite holiday as well. ...with a big plate of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and a tryptophan-induced coma."

"...we need more Thanksgiving holidays. ...focus on family and friends, good food, and take our time and count our blessings. "

Next year, I'll be settled into Israel a little bit more and will host my own Thanksgiving for all of the Americans I know here. Right now, Yaacov and I haven't yet fully set up housekeeping. We have yet to receive our shipment of household items from the US. I'm still learning how to use this weird oven and I just found a place today that sells cranberry sauce!

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Change in the Weather!


Locusts!

Over the past few days, Southern Israel has been attacked by locusts! They came across the desert from Egypt and are moving into Jordan. The pictures on the news were amazing. This picture is from Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.

Today's weather in Jerusalem was just as strange. It went from being sunny but cool to a winter storm. It is very cold here and there was some sleet today. It has been very windy and the rain just kept coming down all day. I got soaked going to ulpan and the heat in the building was broken today. So, I was cold and wet all morning. Not the best learning environment....but I looked cute!

I think that the forecast calls for improvement...few bugs and less rain in the days ahead!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Something Good to Eat

So, this being the week of Thanksgiving and all, I am thinking about food...and missing turkey, dressing, casseroles, etc, etc. Thanksgiving isn't celebrated here like it is in the US.

Here are some places I find yummy recipes on the web:
  1. The Spendid Table-Lynne Rossetto Kasper has a wonderful program on public radio. The web site is full of tasty recipes and good tips. Many things are quick and easy to make.
  2. Martha Stewart-DUH! There is a recipe search engine that I like.
  3. Everyday Food-This is a little magazine published by Martha-- good recipes and shopping lists. It helps plan means for the week. Gives you good ideas on using things that are in season.
  4. America's Test Kitchen-America's Test Kitchen is the cooking program brought to you by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Each week they bring you foolproof recipes, unbiased equipment and food ratings, and informative food science. The website is a little skimpy on the free recipes...but it's still worth checking out.
  5. Epicurious- This is a new site for me. I need to check it out. Let me know what you think.

Bon Appetit!


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Cinematheque


View from the Cinematheque

On Thursday night, Yaacov and I had dinner at Cacao. It's the restaurant at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The photo above is the view from the restaurant. Those are the walls of the Old City and the Tower of David.

Probably one of the best locations for a cinema in the world-- overlooking the Hebron Valley and the walls of the Old City. Two auditoria, schedule of the old and new, late night screenings at weekends, home of the International Jerusalem Film Festival.

Gmail for You?!

I have some Gmail email accounts available to share. Here's how to get one:
1. Leave a comment and include your email address.
or
2. If you know me, you can email me and ask for one.

What's Gmail? www.gmail.com and click on "learn more".

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Holy Grilled Cheese!

Check out this story from CNN!

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- The people at eBay were no believers in this cheesy miracle: half of a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich whose owner claimed it bore the image of the Virgin Mary.

Diana Duyser put the sandwich up for sale last week, drawing bids as high as $22,000 before eBay pulled the item Sunday night. The page was viewed nearly 100,000 times before being taken down.

An e-mail Duyser received from eBay said the sandwich broke its policy, which "does not allow listings that are intended as jokes."
But, Duyser, a jewelry designer who has bought and sold items on eBay for two years, insisted this was not a laughing matter.
"How could eBay do this to me?" Duyser said Monday, hours before the online auction was supposed to have ended.
On Tuesday, the Web site allowed bidding to resume, with the top offer reaching over $16,000. Bidding is scheduled to end Monday.
Company spokesman Hani Durzy said the listing was mistakenly removed because officials doubted whether Duyser could deliver the product.
"After looking at it a second time, there's nothing to indicate that the seller isn't willing to give up this cheese sandwich to the highest bidder," he said. "We're going to allow it to stay up."
In mocking response, two similar items were posted later -- grilled cheese sandwiches bearing the images of the Virgin Mary's used chewing gum and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Duyser thought eBay would be the best place to show off the sandwich, made on plain white bread with American cheese. It was cooked with no oil or butter.
Duyser, 52, said she took a bite after making it 10 years ago and saw a face staring back at her from the bread. She put the sandwich in a clear plastic box with cotton balls and kept it on her night stand.
At first, she was scared by the image, "but now that I realize how unique it is, I wanted to share it with the world," Duyser said.
The sandwich, she added, has never sprouted a spore of mold.

How the Blog Works

Some people that read my blog may not be familiar with the layout of features and links. So, I just wanted to take a minute to give some hints.
  1. Google Search Bar: Just type in anything you want to know more about in the box and click "search". Google will take care of the rest. Google will provide a list of links related to the words you write in the box.
  2. The advertisement bar. I've added an advertisement bar to my blog. I don't fully control the ads that appear in the bar. Google has a "robot" that "reads" my page and matches the text on the page with ads associated with the same ideas. When someone clicks on the ads, I make a little money. Since the inception of this blog, I have made $.60! Wahoo! If you want to add ads to your blog go to www.google.com/adsense.
  3. The posts: Post appear in newest first order. Sometimes, I might reference a topic previously discussed and you might have to look around a bit to see what I am taking about. I'll try to make links to the original posts too. After 7 days or so, posts go to the archive. The archives are organized by month. Post never go away, they just get archived. (Sometimes I do take some things off the blog--like the Olsen pics.)
  4. Profile: You can check out my profile. I don't put a lot of info on there, but there's a nice cute picture!

Any questions?


Monday, November 15, 2004


A little Playmobile art... Posted by Hello

אני לומד עברית

This sentence says, "I am learning Hebrew." My first Hebrew typing experience! Wahoo!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

TRB: Total Request Blog

I am not inspired to blog about anything particular today. So, this is where you get to submit your ideas for topics. What do you want to know? about Israel? about me? about anything?

Just submit a comment or email me and I'll do my best to blog away based on the feedback.

Your turn!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Beach in November

I went to a beach just south of Tel Aviv today. It was about 82 degrees F and SUNNY!

We did pass an army base on the way to the beach from the main road. It was unusual to see rockets etc. among the sand dunes.

The clear blue water and warm breezes quickly took my mind off all of that though!

Flipping Out

The other day Yaacov and I bought two sets of duvet covers and sheets. I thought the ones we picked were really nice. When I got them home and put them out on the bed, I decided really didn't like them in the room. I needed to take them back.

I really didn't want to go back to the store by myself. My Hebrew is not good and I didn't feel "empowered" to make the exchange. In Israel, you can't get your money back. You just get a store credit or exchange. I walked to the place where we bought them and rehearsed the Hebrew on the way there. It is a 30 minute walk and the two sets of sheets got heavy after a while in the hot sun!

I got there and the woman that sold them to us was there. She was also working with another lady. They said that they wouldn't take back the sheets. This was totally ridiculous! We didn't wash them or use them. I put up a good argument (even for Israeli standards) but they finally said the they were simple workers and not the manager. If we wanted to exchange them, we'd have to see the manager. She would be in on Sunday.

So, I had to walk all the way back home with the damn things...and then go back on Sunday (the first workday in Israel) and talk to the manager.

I felt bad after this. I got really angry with the women. I got really angry with Israel for being a place where customer service isn't part of the culture. I was pissed that I had not been able to get the job done.

Accept the things you cannot change.

The women may have just been workers and might have gotten in trouble had they accepted the return. (If they said this in the beginning, I might not have freaked out on them.) There was nothing we could do about it. But instead of getting all bent out of shape, why not let it go? I have always looked at people who say to me, "Just let it go" as if they were from outer space. In the past, I had no idea what that means. I am beginning to understand.

Letting go for me needs a physical action. Next time I get angry like this and there is a situation that I can't do anything about. I am going to do something for myself that feels good...like eat ice cream, go to an art gallery, read a book, have tea, do yoga, ...something positive to "let go".

There's no need to take all of those bad feelings and spread them around to other people.

When you're feeling bad, it's a sign from your soul that you need a little lovin'. If there's nobody around to help, well, you just have to love yourself.

(PS: We finally got them to exchange both sets of sheets. Since the new items we wanted to exchange them for cost more than the sheets we originally purchased, we ended up spending 100 more shekels...or about $20!)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Poison

From www.haaretz.com:
Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal yesterday accused Israel of poisoning Yasser Arafat. Although doctors ruled out poisoning this week, the cause of the Palestinian Authority chairman's death yesterday is still unknown.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath told reporters Tuesday that the doctors' diagnosis "rules out poisoning totally." Sha'ath and other Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza have rejected the rumors as not credible.

But leaders of Palestinian groups residing abroad under Syrian protection, such as Mashal and Kaddoumi, who heads the Palestine Liberation Organization's political wing, are trying to recruit adherents to their theory that Israeli security officials killed Arafat.

"Israel poisoned Arafat and killed him by using its collaborators, and has thereby also eliminated the chance for negotiations," Mashal said. "Israel, by killing Arafat, has killed the peace settlement and is sending a clear message to Palestinians and Arabs that this will be the fate of whoever rejects a settlement according to Israeli conditions."

This just just the most ridiculous thing that I have heard this week! But I am sure that some people really believe it! This kind of irrational thinking is dangerous...and the pressures that combine to create a situation where people will believe just about anything are dangerous too!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Gray and Rainy


Charlotte, NC Posted by Hello
I grabbed this picture from www.wbtv.com. It's a shot of Charlotte, NC on Nov 11, 2004. I'm from a little town 30 west of Charlotte called Kings Mountain. Happy Veteran's Day everyone! There are a lot more Vets thanks to Bush...so, I guess it's a pretty important day for him. Did I mention that it was about 75 degrees today and sunny in Jerusalem? It's only rained once or twice in Jerusalem since I have been in here. (Although we're supposed to be in the rainy season.)

Arafat has died and I think we might be in for an eventful weekend in Jerusalem.

Poop!


No More Poop! Posted by Hello
This is for Meegs! I am obsessed!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Things I Like/Dislike About Jerusalem

This particular posting will grow and change.

Likes:

  1. THE WEATHER!
  2. Living within walking distance of the Old City.
  3. Tight clothes.
  4. Plants and flowers.
  5. The yummy fruits and vegetables. They're not the waxed, chemicaled (nice new word, no?), beautiful fruits we have in the US. But they TASTE a whole lot better!
  6. Did I mention the weather?
  7. Cell phones.
  8. The NEW Airport...especially the commercials for it. They're funny!
  9. There are a million cafes here...all good. Found a great on on Agrippas St. today.
  10. Hard water-it makes my hair do cool things!
  11. Cheap internet and phone service!
  12. Parks!
  13. Great radio stations!

Dislikes:

  1. Smelly buses. The exhaust. Not the passengers.
  2. Air pollution.
  3. Traffic.
  4. Drivers that act like they're not going to stop for you in the crosswalk until they are right up on you.
  5. Dog poop on the sidewalk. At night you just try to avoid the dark spots on the sidewalk.
  6. Those metal strips that puncture car tires if you drive over them the wrong way. A lot of places in Israel have them.
  7. Cell phones. People here will actually stop mid-sentence in a conversation with you to answer their phone. Voice mail, ummm, hello!
  8. Hard water-leaves spots on dishes and builds mineral deposits in the shower and water kettle.
  9. LOUD car horns. (There are many problems for me with vehicles in Jerusalem. Park and WALK!)
  10. Not many birds, or other wildlife...a city problem.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Ulpan is Hard!

Everyday I leave the apartment a little before 8:00 and walk to the Ulpan for my Hebrew classes. I have been in classes six days and already I can speak, read and write in Hebrew. (Ok, not A LOT, but it's a start!) It's pretty amazing. There is a lot to learn. The 4 hours class is exhausting. My mind is always "on". I am either concentrating on what is being said, following along with reading, or preparing dialog questions and answers. Nobody gets to hide in this class--you have to participate. This is a good thing because if forces you to learn. After class, I am starving and I come home to make lunch. My mind is exhausted and swimming with new vocabulary. At night, I try to review what we covered in class and complete any homework activities. Yaacov has helped me make flash cards and he checks my exercises. It's good to have a Hebrew speaker at home to help you study! He just laughs and laughs at my silly mistakes!

Hebrew is a very compact language. One way that Hebrew is more efficient than English is the use of vowels. Vowels in Hebrew are combinations of dots and dashes under and beside letters. The position of these dots and dashes lets you know if the consonant sound is followed by /a/, /A/, /i/, /O/, or /oo/. However in print and in common handwriting the dots and dashes of vowels are not used. So, you have to know the word in order to read it accurately. This saves a lot of time and space on the page, but is a real pain in the butt for the beginner. Once I become more familiar with the structure and build my vocabulary, I think it will be just fine.

Right now, I am having fun reading children's books at the bookshops. They all have the vowels included, so you can tell how to pronounce the words.

We got our new refrigerator. It's very nice.

And I DID hang up all of those clothes seen in the "Flashcards" posting picture!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

What Are You Reading?

I am reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Have you read it? What do you think about it? Leave a comment!

What are you reading? Anything good? Suggestions for us?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Flaschcards!


Studying! Posted by Hello
Yaacov snapped this picture of me studying my Hebrew flashcards. This picture was taken in the office of our apartment. Can you see the chair COVERED in clothes? Well, I hung a rod in the closet this week and need to buy hangers for them. They'll soon be put away!

The light in the photo is from the desk lamp and that's where I'm typing this post right now.


New Socks Posted by Hello
I need them.

The Sisyphus Fridge


The Old Fridge Posted by Hello
Yaacov and I bought a new refrigerator. It was supposed to come on Wednesday between 1:00 and 3:00. Yaacov defrosted and emptied this old one and moved it by the door to our apartment. The door is just to the left, but not pictured. At about 2:30 Yaacov called the store where we bought it and they said, "Didn't someone call you? It won't be available until Sunday." So, we had to load up the fridge again...which we'll unload on Sunday...again.

Has something like this ever happened to you. Were you annoyed? Did you have a different reaction? Tell us about it. Leave a comment!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Chic-Fil-A

OK, I know that I should be ranting a raving about the poor, terrible, horrible, miserable outcome of the election. But all I can think about is how I really, really, really, really want a Chic-Fil-A sandwich (no pickles) and waffle fries.

You Americans have it so good!

WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!

I am embarrassed to be known as an American in my Ulpan class.

The following is a note from the guy running www.electoral-vote.com. I've edited slightly (without permission of course). I felt it described the way I feel pretty well.

I want people to think of America as the land of freedom and democracy, not the land of arrogance and blind revenge. I want to be proud of America again. The U.S. media do a spectacularly bad job of informing Americans about what is going on in rest of the world. After Sept. 11, the U.S. could do no wrong. The entire world was on America's side. The invasion of Afghanistan was seen as completely justified. After all, the Al-Qaida leadership had to be decapitated. No one questioned that.

But Iraq was a completely different matter. Bush, Cheney, and Powell said they had conclusive proof that Saddam had WMD and could attack at any instant. The rest of the world wanted to see the proof. No proof was forthcoming. The answer was "trust us." We now know there were no WMD. There weren't even factories or labs to produce them. Saddam was an evil dictator with evil fantasies but he was no threat to America. Yet former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said that the planning to invade Iraq began the day Bush was inaugurated. The administration simply misused the horror of Sept. 11 as a convenient excuse for doing something that was already in the works.

Let me tell you a short story. When I was in elementary school, the school was plagued by a bully. He was the biggest, strongest kid around and would beat up anyone he didn't like. We were all exceedingly polite to his face, but hated his guts behind his back. One day he was chasing some poor kid and he tripped and skidded a considerable distance, scraping his face on the rough asphalt of the playground. He was bleeding and in pain, screaming for help. But nobody came to help him. We all just walked away. George Bush is the world's playground bully. The world sees him--and by inference, America--as arrogant, self-centered, and mean.

Don't believe me that the world hates us? The Guardian, one of Britain's most respected newspapers, ran a column by Charlie Brooker last week ending with this paragraph: "On November 2, the entire civilized world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed ..." Then it gets so bad that I refuse to quote it. Maybe Brooker is a nut and maybe it was a joke, but the fact that a serious newspaper would publish this piece shows how deep the hatred of George Bush runs. And this comes from our closest ally. Imagine what people in Spain or Indonesia or the Arab world think.

Bush is going to be faced with an unpleasant choice: accept another Vietnam-type quagmire lasting for years or reinstitute the draft. There is no way we can win in Iraq with current troop levels. Something has to change. More of the same won't work. And it is an open secret that after the election, Bush is going to ask Congress for another $70 billion down payment on Iraq. Who is going to pay for it? We are (and our children)!

In addition, the U.S. needs the help of other countries to gather intelligence about terrorists, cut off their funding, and track them down. Trouble is, when the playground bully comes asking for help, everyone just walks away. A new president who shows respect for the world instead of arrogance will get a lot more help.

Thanks, America, for keeping a bully and a frat boy in the Oval Office. Thanks a lot!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ahava Means Love

Today was my first day of ulpan. Ulpan is Hebrew school--I am learning to speak, read, and write in Hebrew. It's an intensive 5 month course. The ulpan that I go to is Ulpan Beit Ha'am. It's a progressive ulpan which means that there are all kinds of students in the class. Some of the students are Jews that have moved from the US to Israel. Other students are Arabs that are improving their Hebrew before college. It is a very interesting mix of people and I am sure will make for stimulating conversations once we get started talking.

Today we did some basic introductions and vocabulary. We learned how Hebrew vowels work and several consonants. It's fun! I feel like I am learning a secret code or something!

Yaacov helped me review tonight. Yaacov is taking an Arabic class on Monday nights. So, we're both learning new languages.

The word for love in Hebrew is ahava (ah-ha-va). We learned to say, read, and write this word and many others today.

Ahava is also the name brand of fancy pants skin care products from Israel. Their skin cream is great!

Bad News

There was a bombing today in the Carmel market in Tel Aviv. I am OK and Yaacov is OK. You can read more about it at the Jerusalem Post www.jpost.com, Haaretz newspaper www.haaretz.com, or at places like www.cnn.com.

Just for future reference, when things like this happen, I'll call my mom in Kings Mountain and will post an update as soon as I can here. If you don't hear anything, don't assume the worst. Now that I am back in school, I won't be posting in the mornings. So, don't freak out!

There are exciting postings under development--soon you'll meet Fat Cat and learn how to say "love" in Hebrew!

Back to School

It's a little past 7:00 and I am having breakfast while writing this. (Note to self: buy fresh milk!) I woke up a little before 6:00 and was pleasantly surprised at how bright it is. The sun isn't up all the way, but its light is shining up and over the horizon. It gets dark here at around 5:00pm though. It's so much easier to get moving when the sun's out! I remember those cold, dark winter mornings in NC and driving to Durham to teach or work at the museum. I remember those days when it felt like the sun just came out for an hour around 3:00. Not here, buddy!

So, I am up early today because today is my first day of Ulpan. Ulpan is Hebrew school. I'll be going four hours a day, five days a week for six months. When all my family and friends in the US see me again, I'll be fluent in Hebrew. Neat, huh?! I am a little nervous about going, but I think it will be lots of fun once we get going. I am pretty good with languages, so it should be ok.

Please remember to vote tomorrow. Get familiar with the other races (besides Kerry & Bush) before you go. Many newspapers publish voter guides that describe the candidates for each race so that you can decide for yourself.

Ok, time to brush my teeth and head out. It's a 20 minute walk to school from my home. I don't want to be late on the first day!