Friday, October 30, 2009
PUZZLE ME THIS
One of the things that really makes me happy is doing crossword puzzles. Not just any puzzle, mind you - the New York Times puzzle, the puzzle in New York Magazine when I can get it, the puzzles constructed by my cousin Steven which occasionally appear in USA Today - and, because I live in Jerusalem, the weekend puzzle in the Jerusalem Post.
Have you any idea how frustrating it is to settle down to do a puzzle - cigarettes (yeah yeah I know - I really should stop smoking) and coffee at the ready - pencil sharpened - and no puzzle.
The Jerusalem Post seems to have a gremlin living in their offices. More often than not there is something not quite right with the puzzle - but usually something quite small that one can work around. Last week and this week, however, the gremlin seems to have been working overtime.
Last week's puzzle was missing almost half if its DOWN clues. So this week there was a "corrected" version along with the new puzzle for this week. What happened? The "corrected" version was, once again, missing half of its DOWN clues - and the new puzzle was also missing half of its DOWN clues.
What gives Jerusalem Post???
I know, I know - in the whole scheme of things this seems quite trivial. After all, I have to worry about Afghanistan - will he or won't he send more troops? The medical coverage brouhaha in the States - will he or won't he get the bill pushed through somehow? Who will come out better in the U.S. elections - Republicans or Democrats?
Will Iran or won't Iran.........? Will Hezbollah or won't Hezbollah........? Will the Light Rail Line in Jerusalem ever be finished?
But dear gremlins - I can do the puzzle and worry at the same time - please go home and let the three puzzles appear correctly in the paper next weekend.
Monday, October 19, 2009
YET MORE THIS 'N' THAT
- Have you seen the film "Julie and Julia"? See it! An absolutely adorable film - Meryl Streep has Julia Child down pat. I laughed and I cried - and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I always looked forward to watching Julia on the television. I've never forgotten her "disasters" in the kitchen - food falling on the floor - her potato cake breaking apart as she tried to flip it. I follow her philosophy to this day - what happens in your kitchen stays there. If you don't tell - no one will ever know. For instance - my flourless chocolate cake fell on the counter - NOT THE FLOOR - as I was transferring it to the serving plate - and broke apart. What did I do? I rolled the cake into little balls and served it as chocolate truffles!
- I will read the back of cereal boxes if there is nothing else around - and for a while I seem to have been reading a lot of cereal boxes - so to speak. But -- I just recently read three books that I have to tell you about - really good and enjoyable -- I think you might like them.
"The Little Book" by Selden Edwards. I'm not crazy about "time travel" books - but on the recommendation - nay, nay, the insistence - of my friend, Marallyn, I read this. It is beautifully written - Mr. Edwards took about 25 years or so to write it - and each word he uses is the absolutely perfect word for what he wants to say. I loved the book - both the style and the story.
"Cathedral of the Sea" by Idelfonso Falcones. Much in the style of "Sarum" or Pillars of the Earth" - a sweeping historical saga taking place in Barcelona. A bit draggy in spots - just skip those bits - but fascinating - much that I didn't know.
"Six Suspects" by Vikas Swarup. Did you see "Slumdog Millionaire" or read the book from which it was adapted - "Q & A"? I did both - and enjoyed both equally. This book proves that Mr. Swarup is not just a one-book phenomenon - this book is excellent. I was so sorry when I came to the end - it was just that good and I wanted to go on reading.
- What do you think of the "Goldstone Report" damning us for our actions in Gaza during "Cast Lead"? We killed Palestinians? Sure - that's one of the prices of war. Nevermind that we warned the Gazans that were were going to bomb and to get the women and children out of the way. Nevermind that during the "war" we sent in humanitarian supplies to Gaza. But why should I be surprised? Israel is blamed for everything - whether it's our fault or not. So why should Mr. Goldstone be any different - or any fairer than anyone else? Between him and Barack Hussein Obama the Arab world believes it has a free pass - blame the Jews - blame Israel. Am I paranoid? Probably.
- The restaurant scene in Jerusalem is getting better and better. A new place opened in the shuk (our outdoor market called Machane Yehuda). The restaurant is called "Machneyuda" - written as one word - but as I've never seen the name written in English I'm sort of guessing at the spelling from the Hebrew.
The place is non-kosher - the food is delicious - the service is lovely and caring and friendly - and they have some of my favorite things on the menu. Moach (brains) - shkeday egel (sweetbreads) - slavim (quails) and netzach ketzavim (butcher's cut). Very hard to get a reservation - just keep trying.
- And now off to do some cooking of my own. Some friends are showing up on Wednesday from the States - actually they're already in Israel and are doing a bit of touring and visiting up north. I'm doing a Shabbat dinner in their honor - I'll let you know how it went.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE - Feh Feh Feh
'Splain me Lucy - just exactly what has Barack Obama accomplished? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
He is waffling about what to do in Afghanistan - why should we be surprised? He took four months to choose a dog.
He has put the United Stated trillions of dollars in debt. I guess that was an "accomplishment".
As a senator he voted "present" more than 130 times. What does "present" mean? It means he had his tushie on a chair at the time the vote was taken - he didn't vote "yes" - he didn't vote "no". I suppose that was a good idea. That way he couldn't be accused of having an opinion.
When he made his little speech on the White House lawn he said he was "humbled" - as well he should have been - he has much to be humble about.
He said he "doesn't believe he deserves the prize". Right on - he doesn't.
When Yassir Arafat won the PEACE Prize I thought the world was in trouble. Now that Obama has been awarded the prize - I know we are in trouble.
If Barack Hussein Obama was really humble he should have thanked the Nobel Committee for the honor - but refused to accept the prize until he has done something tangible to deserve it.
Alfred Nobel must be flipping around in his grave.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE
Don't ask about the excitement - of getting there - of being there - of being a part of that magical, electric, exciting, smashing evening.
The short version is that Marallyn has a friend - whom she hasn't seen in about fifty years - who remembered that she lives in Israel - who has a son who was coming to do the sound for the Leonard Cohen concert - who offered to get her two complimentary VIP tickets - who got the tickets - and there we were.
Can you imagine - she didn't even consider asking her kids to go with her - I was the lucky invitee. Another "don't even ask" - you all know that I have the chush kivoon (sense of direction) of a toaster oven - with my apologies to toaster ovens - they probably have a better sense of direction than I have. (That we arrived there and back home in the same century was a miracle.)
Anyway - off we went. The concert was due to begin at 7:45 PM - and L.C. always begins his concerts on time. So we left Jerusalem at 3:00 PM - and none too soon, I might add. Marallyn called people for directions. I called people for directions. We looked on the internet. And had it not been for a very nice lady who took pity on us when we didn't know where we were and led us directly to the street we needed - I'd still be driving around. It only took us two hours to get to the stadium - mind you, the immediate world was going there - or at least 49,998 other people. Yes - 50,000 people were there.
And there was not nearly enough parking space. The spaces we did see were being "guarded" by people with cell phones who were directing their husbands / wives / friends to the spaces they were holding. So we drove up one aisle, down another aisle, up another aisle etc etc etc. Until suddenly - well, those of you who know Marallyn know she doesn't move too quickly - she doesn't run, doesn't sprint, doesn't hurry - Marallyn was no longer sitting beside me. She had seen someone going towards a car - she jumped out of my car - ran to the soon-to-be-available-spot - and stood there guarding it until I was able to get in. OK - so the space wasn't exactly legal - a bit on the grass - a bit on the sidewalk - who cared - it was a place to leave the car.
Forget all the rest of it - going to kupa 1 (box office 1), going to the trailer, going back to kupa 1, going back to the trailer, finally getting our tickets, walking halfway around the stadium to our entrance gate, walking up a million stairs, walking down a million stairs, finding ourselves in the wrong section and walking back up and down the other million stairs - we were there.
And then the magic began. No half naked dancers, no pyrotechnics, no dry-ice smoke - just Leonard Cohen - a 75 year old man wearing an Armani suit and a black hat - and singing his heart out for us. We all loved him. He loved us back. After all - we belonged to him and he belonged to us. He was a Jew coming home. He spoke to us a bit in Hebrew - he introduced his enormously talented back-up singers and musicians - and at the end he gave the priestly blessing (Birkat Cohanim) that only a Cohen (priest) can give - and he is Leonard Cohen after all.
Israeli audiences are the best - we appreciate the hell out of everything - we react - we show love - we are there with the performer. There were moments you could hear that proverbial pin drop - there were moments when we all sang along with him - you could feel our love for him and his love for us. He sang for 3 1/4 hours - all my favorite songs - and at the end he even had the energy to skip off the stage.
Bank Discount sponsored the concert and on each one of the 50,000 seats was a green and black canvas bag in which was a pillow (to make it a bit easier on our tushies), and a "thingie" - I don't know what it's called but when you bend it the liquid inside lights up and stays lit for several hours. Just imagine the sight of this large stadium - the largest in Israel - with 50,000 people waving these green lights in time to the music - slowly, quickly - but in time - in tune - with Leonard Cohen.
It was magic - it was electric - it was not-to-be-missed - and to my dearest, dearest friend - Marallyn - I can only say simply - Thank You.