Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Israeli Girls Are Pretty And Smart

There are many advantages to being a 23-year-old member of the lesser half of this great species. I get to use the excuse "Hey, I'm a 23-year-old guy, what did you expect?" I get to burp in public, and if anyone gives me a condescending look I can just say "Hey, I'm 23, I get to be crude. That's what being a man is all about, right?" Oh, and to all my fellow new immigrants of the better half out there living here in Israel: You know all those female clerks who are always jerks to everyone? They're nice to me...

That being said, there is one huge disadvantage to being a young, single guy. Israeli girls are gorgeous. Gorgeous. I won't go into details, but let's just say that hummus is much better for the body than milk, as far as I can tell. I wonder if I could get a "Got Hummus?" ad campaign going?

My friends have told me that I have recently been a little girl crazy. Don't get the wrong idea. It's not that I'm out and about, mingling, gallivanting, or what have you. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I've been so detached from the dating world or from even talking to females outside of my group of friends that the entire idea of a relationship is so foreign to me now that when I see some attractive girl, I no longer know what to do. Inevitably it's the same reaction, however: 1) Eyes widen; 2) Thought - "She's human? There is a Gd"; 3) Mouth gapes.

So, earlier this week I was downtown and couldn't help but notice the sheer quantity of 10's walking around the city. Just walking here and there, going to a coffee shop, getting a book, buying some new shoes. Working as security guards. Talking with some old friend. Getting a cellphone fixed. Goddesses living human lives! This country has many great sights and scenes, but for the 23-year-old guy, well, the female population is #1.

And believe it or not, some of them are smart. I was waiting at a bus stop, standing next to three girls who I would consider out of my league any day of the week, and here comes strolling down the sidewalk yet another beauty. She was wearing a white dress, one of those sun dresses that you find at UVA football games, her dark brown curly hair falling on her olive shoulders, a red satchel slung over her right shoulder, and sandals so thin I swore for a second that she just had really thick soles to her feet. Fashion, looks, and apparently brains.

She was walking obliviously, even bumping into a couple kids dancing around their new little sister in a baby carriage. Walking with her head down, this young lady was hard at work on a Rubik's Cube. I swear on The Good Book that she was actually almost finished with that impossible exercise. She was working on getting the white side nearly perfect, and had two other sides essentially completed. Honestly, it looked like it was well over 80% finished. As she walked by I watched her go into the sunset, again baffled by her skewing of the traditional delineation between beauty and brains - her dress was backless, and she had some fancy looking bra hanging out.

Maybe you all are rolling your eyes, but for a 23-year-old single guy living in the Land of Milk and Honey, well, sometimes you can't help but notice all of the gifts given to this often misunderstood country and people.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Computer is Dead

Unfortunately, my computer has stopped working. It's not even turning on, and the last time I tried I swore I smelled something burning. So, the posts might be highly erratic, if with any consistency at all. Unfortunately, I have about 100,000 things to write. What a bummer! In Hebrew we would say many things, but I'd say ezeh basa! Essentially, this sucks.

I recommend signing up for my Email Service, whereby anytime I post an entry you would get that entry sent to your email address as a regular email. You wouldn't get any other emails, no spam whatsoever, and it's free and easy to setup. Otherwise keep checking in randomly!

I apologize to my faithful readers, and I hope to post soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Driver Loves Beer

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with me or with Israel, but I figured I'd share it. What a great world...

A CNN Article:

"An Australian driver who secured a carton of beer in his car with a seat belt but left a 5-year-old child unrestrained was fined 750 Australian dollars ($710; €460), police said Tuesday.

Constable Wayne Burnett said he was "shocked and appalled" when he pulled over the unregistered car on Friday in the central Australian town of Alice Springs.

The 30-can carton was strapped in between the two adults sitting in the back seat of the car. The child was also in back, on the vehicle's floor.

"The child was sitting in the lump in the center, unrestrained," Burnett told reporters Tuesday.

"I haven't ever seen something like this before," he said. "This is the first time that the beer has taken priority over a child."

Actually, now that I think of it, this does have something to do with me in Israel. I tell my friends all the time that I miss cases of beer. The biggest package of beer you can get here, like in the supermarket, as far as I've seen, is a six-pack. A six-pack? How many six-packs do you need to throw a party...

Just buy vodka, instead.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Bulldozer On A Small Street

I wonder what the driver of this bulldozer was thinking when he woke up this morning. "Yes, yes, I will drive a bulldozer against traffic on a side-street today. I will do this at eight in the morning. I will do this on a street with a large elementary school, that way I'll catch all the people dropping their kids off. Yes, yes, I will get them..."

Honestly, sometimes I just love this country. I wake up pretty early for me, get to school by eight every morning, five days a week, and then begin my day just trying to fight through the normal early morning reticence. Sometimes that can be harder than the Hebrew I'm working on, which is saying something.

So, when the first thing I see before walking into Ulpan Etzion, my Hebrew immersion school, is a giant bulldozer blocking a whole line of soccer moms and their kids, well, it really starts the day off right! I watched this scene for about five minutes. The guy just sat there in his not-so-luxury Volvo, staring out of that giant glass window. That's got to be the safest Volvo this street has ever seen.

The dozer just sat there, waiting. The woman in the car directly in front of him, as you can see, finally got out of her car. The woman in the car behind her got out, looked at the line of cars backed up behind them, and just threw her hands up. Exasperated. A pedestrian went over to the driver and they chatted it up, actually just laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation.

Mind you, I would have expected Israelis to be screaming, yelling, throwing menacing hand gestures, or in the least giving the evil eye. Instead, everyone was quite civil. Not normal in this country, it seems, when it comes to drivers.

Maybe we should have more female drivers? Or maybe more bulldozers on the streets, going the wrong way. You have to laugh when this world throws you purple lemons.

The craziest thing is that I don't even know of a construction site in the direction this guy was headed, and I've walked the area...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Jerusalem Zoo: Peeing and Humping

I went to the zoo a couple days ago with a few friends. It's a nice zoo, with all the animals you could hope for. Don't worry, this peeing primate was just about the first thing I saw too. He was sitting there, squatting by the moat, staring at his audience. I guess he didn't think much of us.

Penguins in the Middle East? Yeah, we've got that.

That's a random lion tranq dart inside their cage area. They were just chillin'. I guess they already shot up? Junkie lions, who would have guessed?

And finally, a tiger mounts his lady. This was probably the best zoo experience EVER! Sex, drugs, exhibitionist urination - is this a zoo or San Francisco?

The zoo was actually really cool. It's called the "Biblical Zoo." What that means is that for each animal they put a passage from the Bible where such an animal is mentioned. Snakes, various types of rams, goats, and antelopes, insects and lizards and giraffes; everything.

I was loving the desert range they had. Giraffes, hippos, ostriches, rams, zebras - all living together. A massive hippo walked next to the alpha giraffe, an easy kill it looked like to me, and they just brushed by like any two New Yorkers not giving a fiddler's fart about the other. We've got a lot to learn from these beasts.

Here's one safe for the whole family. I don't want my grandma to think I'm a weirdo or something...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Who Needs A Translator?

My boss sent me these pictures. These are 100% real signs in the Lake Kinneret area, the Sea of Galilee, the Jesus place (and Israel's biggest freshwater source). My boss, Mikhael, is pretty dead on with his observation of whatever mindset could allow these signs to actually be paid for and displayed in public as legitimate warnings for a well traveled area. I mean, these signs just take the cake!

According to Mikhael, and I agree: "I think that Israelis are so PROUD of their English, that they won't dare ask anyone to proofread it. I've been taking pictures of signs and wrappers since I got here, too. From the Psak Zman "4-play" candy bar (to put you in that special mood) to Kenvelo's F.B.I t-shirts ("Inspect body girl" -- get it?!), to permanent storefront signs ("Burger's Bar"), they just will not ask a native speaker to give it a once-over before it goes to the printers, I guess."

No, these are not Photoshopped.

That almost sounds like an Orbitz commercial. Keeps the teeth cleaning!

Could someone please translate the Arabic for me? Post them in the comment section on this post...

That one is probably the worst. It is, in no way, even just a terrible translation! It's on a different planet. The others were on the right track, with a bit of an adjective and noun shotgun blast. That one...

Heaven forbid the paid employee would stop any one of the thousands of Americans living in Israel and ask casually if their translation is correct.

Thanks to Benji at What War Zone??? for the link!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yom HaShoa - Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today in Israel is Yom HaShoa, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a day to remember the six million Jews that died during World War Two, to keep their memory alive, and to energize our state towards the future. The remembrance of those who were struck down stands on its own as being a necessary memorial, but we also can combine this solemn day with a reminder of why Jews are sticking with the struggle to keep Israel a viable state. And moreover, this is a day that we can remind everyone how terrible war and despotism and blind hatred can be, how vile and destructive hate is, and strive together for peace and understanding. All of this peace and understand talk doesn't necessitate idealism, either: let's just not kill each other for what we believe in. That's all.

Well, that's what Israelis hope for on this day, at least. Not Hamas!

According to The Jerusalem Post, "Jewish leaders concocted the mass murder of handicapped Jews in order to keep from having to support them, and this murder is what the Jews term "the Holocaust," according to a documentary special that aired on April 18 on Hamas's Al Aqsa television station."

Also, "The film claimed Jewish leaders blamed the Nazis for their own massacre of Jews "so the Jews would seem persecuted and try to benefit from international sympathy.""

I dare anyone to try to tell me that Israel is the side that is not an honest member of the peace process. How do you deal with the Palestinian Hamas government? They control Gaza, and a recent poll showed that if elections were held today in the West Bank, Hamas would win a majority of government seats and positions there as well. The people that put on this film, this demonization of Jews and Israel, are the very people that are supported by a majority of the Palestinians - and they are our "partner in peace." This is a clear institutionalization of the impossibility on the part of the Palestinian government to even think of wanting peace with "the Zionist state."

Come on! Here's some of the video itself. Enjoy...

Check out my friend Benji's post on Yom HaZikaron, the memorial day for fallen soldiers of the IDF. There is a video showing how everything stops with a siren for a minute or so, everyone stands still, everyone stops their cars - nothing happens in Israel for this minute. Same thing happens on Yom HaShoa. Scroll down that linked page to see the video.