Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Da Vinci Code Cracked

The numbers from the weekend are in and X-Men 3 took $102 on its opening weekend. Da Vinci Code only managed $34 million which was a massive 57% decline from its first weekend.

This would tend to indicate that the film is not going to be anywhere near as successful as the book was, which was always on the cards.

The subject matter was touchy and controversial to say the least. The release strategy was also bizarre. They wanted to open early to avoid the heart of the summer but only had one weeks grace before they were swamped by the X-Factor.

As for MI:3, it opened with $48 million but since then has only managed weekends of 25, 11, 7 and 9 respectively.

This week, the new film opening is The Break-Up starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston which is meant to be a huge turkey.

Our Rachel hasn't had much success with the big screen but then again her choices have been pretty awful. She's the One, Picture Perfect and 'Til There Was You were all her being typecast as Ms Green.

Office Space was great but her part there was more of a cameo. Good Girl was so-so as was Rock Star. Bruce Almighty and Along Come Polly were just further examples of her playing the second fiddle. Rumor Has It and Friends With Money both didn't do much.

She has three more movies on her slate in which she is starring and is also producing as well. Easily the most profilic of the six Friends since the show has finished but not even this has helped her in making a successful transition.

Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer all appear to be busy as well - not that it has helped them break the Friends mold. Then again it's not that easy to cross over - just ask the cast of Seinfeld.

Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc don't appear to be as active but not that it matters. They each made at least $40 million from the last two seasons of Friends, not forgetting what they made in the first eight as well as endorsements and the like.

I like JA and hope her luck turns as she deserves better. She hasn't had the best of luck with her relationships and there are also all the well documented problems with her mother.

Brad was no idiot. If you are going to leave a great girl like JA - it ain't going to be for just anybody.

PS: It's amazing what a difference it makes if a woman covers up her nipples and areola.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Movie Meme

I've been Meme'd by Jerusalem Cop.

So with no further adieu lets get this thing under way -

Top 3 Favorite Action Movies:
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
2. Die Hard
3. The Matrix
Top 3 Favorite Animated Movies:
1. Aladdin
2. Shrek
3. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut
Top 3 Favorite Biographical Movies:
1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2. Bonnie and Clyde
3. The Pianist
Top 3 Favorite Classic Movies:
1. Casablanca
2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
3. It Happened One Night
Top 3 Favorite Courtroom Dramas:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Primal Fear
3. Judgment at Nuremberg
Top 3 Favorite Documentaries:
1. When We Were Kings
2. Hoop Dreams
3. Spellbound
Top 3 Favorite Dramas:
1. Citizen Kane
2. Fight Club
3. American History X
Top 3 Favorite Historical Movies:
1. Gallipoli
2. Bridge on the River Kwai
3. Spartacus
Top 3 Favorite Horror Movies:
1. Psycho
2. Alien
3. Jaws
Top 3 Favorite "Juvenile" Comedies:
1. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
2. Meatballs
3. Poison Ivy (the one with Michael J Fox)
Top 3 Favorite Musicals:
1. Grease
2. Moulin Rouge
3. Oliver!
Top 3 Favorite Romantic Comedies:
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. Sleepless in Seattle
3. Annie Hall
Top 3 Favorite Science Fiction Movies:
1. Star Wars: A New Hope
2. A Clockwork Orange
3. Back to the Future
Top 3 Favorite Sports Movies:
1. Caddyshack
2. The Bad News Bears
3. Victory aka Escape to Victory
Top 3 Favorite Superhero Movies:
1. Batman Begins
2. The Mask
3. The Incredibles
Top 3 Favorite Thrillers:
1. The Usual Suspects
2. The Third Man
3. North by Northwest
Top 3 Favorite Trilogies:
1. Indiana Jones
2. Back to the Future
3. The Godfather
Top 3 Favorite War Movies:
1. Paths of Glory
2. The Great Escape
3. The Deer Hunter
Top 3 Favorite Westerns:
1. Blazing Saddles
2. The Magnificent Seven
3. High Noon

I tag IfYouWillIt.

Magical Mystery Tour

As I was getting my haircut over the radio was playing Elliott's duet of One from the finale with Mary J Bilge.

Got me thinking about how they are about to embark on their massive summer tour. Looked up the details online and they have a pretty extensive and gruelling schedule ahead of them. 30 states and 48 cities in just under three months.
It would be a great way to see America although they probably have no time for sightseeing.
Wonder if they get their own rooms or have to share?

Funny thing I saw on the Ticketmaster website is that Melissa and Kevin have both been cut out from the promotional photo. Maybe that's because they took the photo after those two were eliminated or maybe they just don't like Kevin.

This tour is an absolute cash cow and should make even more money for the Idol empire. Apart from the tickets themselves you can rest assured there will be a mountain of merchandise sold at the concerts.

Luckily for Elliot there is no show scheduled for August 2 which is when Tisha B'Av begins. There is one on the 3rd in Atlanta which starts at 7pm so he might have to miss the first part of it.

The last two concerts in Bridgeport and Wilkes-Barre will be on Rosh Hashana though

Walk On By

I have started walking home from Tachana Mercazit in the afternoon. It is about a 35 minute walk which goes through Gan Sacher. Something very relaxing about it all - walking through a park, surrounded by grass, trees and butterflies as the day is coming to a close.

Lucky I have adopted this practice - city traffic was basically brought to a standstill yesterday as all the streets around Gan Sacher were shut down so a concert could take place.

I don't understand how the city can make a decision which adversely affects ten of thousands of people for a concert which maybe a 1000 attended. Have the concert but don't close down the streets. The streets struggle to adequately cope at the best of times but yesterday it was mayhem which was exacerbated by the cops trying to direct traffic. Everywhere you looked there was complete gridlock. It looked pretty ugly and the tempers of those behind the wheels was beyond boiling point. We are talking honking of horns at unprecedented levels.

The streets should only be closed in exceptional circumstances and this was no exceptional circumstance. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

Speaking of which, yesterday I wrote how I had seen everything on the buses - well add one more to the list. I get on the bus yesterday afternoon to go home and I see that there is only one spare seat. It happens to be down the back. I get there only to find a dog occupying it. Conundrum time.

Do I make the dog get up, then where will the dog go? The decision was made for me when the guy sitting in the seat across from the dog and her owner gets up and sits next to her as she picks the dog up and puts it in her arms. Problem solved except I had to be sitting next to that guy. You know, the one who talks loudly on the phone the whole way home.

Be careful what you wish for.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Principal Vernon Dead

For fans of the Breakfast Club, you will be saddened to hear of the death over the weekend Paul Gleason.

The 62 old Gleason played Principal Vernon with his other claim to fame Clarence Beeks in Trading Places.

His list of credits include Die Hard, Van Wilder, Friends, Seinfeld, Dawson's Creek and Malcolm in the Middle.

He specialised in playing 'that guy'.

On the Buses

Having to go home via Tachana Mercazit in Tel Aviv never fails to provide some sort of adventure and excitement. Summer is always worse because all of the people who come to the beach. If a bus or two is late the patient crowd quickly turns to an unruly mob.

Thought I had seen everything until yesterday. The snaking queue went for 25 metres past the door. Outside were about 50 people milling around waiting for the bus to come and when it did they stood in its way obstructing it as if to say, "Stop right here where I am standing."

There was an almighty shove and groan when the bus came to a stop. And nothing produces whinging and complaints like a late bus. An old lady to my left was blaming the Americanisation of Israel for the decay in society and its behaviour while a guy to my right said how it was Egged's fault because if the buses came every 15 minutes like they were supposed to there was no chance of a huge backlog of people waiting.

The first bus was barely touching the sides of the massive mob trying to get on so it was assisted shortly after by a second bus which came that was then followed by a third. Couldn't see how much of a crowd was left when the buses left but I think it wasn't much.

After that everything was uneventful but for the jerky-jerky driving nature of the driver.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Meet The Parents

Has been scorching hot over the weekend. Any doubts that summer is now well and truly here were dispelled by the sight of cherries and watermelon at the Shabbat table. If any two fruits signify summer – it would be those two. Had there been mango we would have had the holy trinity.

A line that loves to be thrown around at weddings is “I haven’t lost a daughter/son, I’ve gained a son/daughter.”

Well what about the other side of the coin? “I haven’t lost my parents, I’ve gained inlaws.”

Whether its Endorra from Bewitched, Laban from Genesis or the mother from Everyone Loves Raymond, Inlaws are notorious for providing not the easiest of situations.

Thankfully I don’t have any of that with mine. We all get on just fine.

They are staying with us and leaving on Tuesday. Been good for them to see Mrs in her pregnant state as this is their one and only chance to do so – this time around. With their first grandchild on the way they are very excited. The culmination of their trip comes this afternoon when they go to the doctor who among other things will perform a scan.

Last night we got out of the house and went to town which was buzzing and then sat down at Café Rimon for something to nosh on. Having been around since 1953, the old pomegranate is something of an institution but something always happens when we go there. Not quite the horror stories of times previously but still.

When we received our orders last night every person said “This isn’t what I was expecting.” I ordered a smoke salmon and cream cheese toasted bagel which came with fries. I was envisaging a toasted bagel on which the cheese and salmon which be shmeared on. No. It came as a toasted bagel sandwich i.e. the stuff was put on the bagel which was then toasted. Who would want cooked smoked salmon? Additionally the fries came stone cold.

To their credit, they still keep packing them in.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Greatest Show on Earth

I'm not about to mince words - The American Idol finale last night was two hours of the greatest television I have ever seen.

To organise a show of that length and breadth, with that many numbers, guest stars and costume changes and to do so in a week is nothing short of incredible.

The only suggestions I would have had for it would be:
Medley of all the guest stars during the year ie Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Some guy pretending to look like Kenny Rogers
Medley of all the previous American Idols ie Kelly, Rueben, Fantasia and Carrie
Paula doing a song and dance with Randy on bass.
Anything I missed?

Many reality TV show conclusions just wind down to the final results not AI. It began as a spectactular concert and there were so many twists and turns you didn't know what to expect next. It was part variety show, part class reunion. Everyone appeared to be a good sport on stage, of course we don't know what happened backstage or who they tried to be part of the show and said no.

With everyone on a high by the end, the announcement just sort of came and went.

And that is the other big difference with AI. Most other shows are an end to themselves. But even if you finish 8th or 4th you still have your foot in the door to a potential career. Chris you would say is pretty assured of future success and you would say the same for Paris and Elliott.

Idol could have suffered from fifth year blues but it has banished them and now the king of not just reality TV but American TV. It has so much power and clout that it wouldn't beyond the realms of possibility that stars such as the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Madonna or Paul McCartney appear on it.

In the early years there was some backlash - that its just a talent quest. But not now. They clearly have the respect of the music world and the depth of this year's final 12 is testament to that. Where else could someone like Chris got a chance? How about Mandisa?

Luckily, any post-Idol depression will be forgotten to the re-emergence of Entourage.

You ready to hug it out, bitch?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When Two Become One

If you had a mid-week wedding in the Diaspora you would wonder what was wrong with those people but this is just another part of life in Israel which we simple accept and get on with. Shame too because Sundays are perfectly geared to be a day to have a wedding on.

Even here, mid-week weddings can be a tricky proposition where the timing is crucial. Start too early and no one will turn up. Start too later and your guests will be leaving before the first dance bracket.

In Australia we didn’t have the buffet beforehand. That came before the meal as opposed to before the chuppah. It is a pretty intense time. Everyone is sizing up each other out and checking out what they are wearing. The comments are flying thick and fast with occasionally the faux pas of doing so when the person in question is within ear shot.

When you are standing around in the midst of random people its amazing what you hear. Further still, it’s amazing what people will say about their friends when the friend is on the other side of the room. “Gee that person’s sheytl looks simply disgusting” and when the person in question approaches Kiss/Hugs and “Why, how incredible you look!” I guess that’s what friends are for – to talk about and trash behind their back when they aren’t around. Another one of the fine aspects of humanity along with road rage, domestic violence and farting in elevators.

But make no mistake it was a fantastic and emotional chuppah. Smack bang in the middle of Jerusalem on the precipice of Yom Yerushalayim, what better way to spend it then to see two great people start building their Bayit Neeman Be’Yisrael.

I am still new-ish to attending weddings as a married person. The vibe is very much different. First and foremost having been through a wedding yourself you now know and appreciate all the preparation and work that goes into one. So now, to just have to shower and whack on a suit and tie to get ready feels great. But the difference is more than that. You can now just enjoy the night without feeling pressure.

The Wedding Crashers may have been released last year but it wasn’t a Chiddush of any sort. Weddings are the most conducive environment for meeting a potential shidduch. With love and romance heavily in the air, everyone dressed-up to the nines and possibly had a few, it’s hard to be single and not wonder when it will be your turn to march down the aisle.

It’s also interesting to note how you graduate from table to table.
*You start off in a pram by your parent’s table.

*Move on to not being invited because you are too young.

*If it’s a family wedding and you are a kid you are lumped with the other cousins your age.

*If it’s a family friend’s wedding and you are a kid you are lumped with the other family friends your age.

*Once people your age start to get hitched you will be on the singles table. But this means you can still end up anywhere depending how they decide to classify you. It could be anything ranging from sorting you out by eye-colour to height. Often your night will be made or ruined depending on which table you are on. Put on a table with people you don’t know or can’t stand and you could be a good chance of spending the evening alongside Johnny and Jack. This is another one of the good things about being married – the stress about which table you are on is virtually non-existent.

*X-Factor is if you are there and so is your Ex or Ex's. The effort required to keep you two apart plus any other exes there besides you, turns doing the seating into something more resembling a Sudoku.

*If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend you could be with the other couples who are dating or back with the singles if that is where all your friends are.

*Same if you are engaged but you have the flexibility of being sat on the married couples' table.

*Married and you will be with the other married couples and this can be either married’s with kids or married’s without kids.

At weddings in Israel it’s amazing the disparity between what the guys wear and what the girls wear. The girls really make an effort to look good spending hours getting the hair, the shoes, the accessories, the dress and the make-up all ready.

You get the feeling with some of the guys that it took enough convincing that they come wearing pants. Some didn’t have socks, some had sandals and socks and there are lots of poor unfortunate souls out there who didn’t get the memo that cartoon character ties really are out.

Not that I have to worry about the fashion memos anymore. My wife dresses me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sign of the Apocalypse?

Just got in and out of the post office. No queue to contend with. Polite courteous service. Air-conditioning working great. Out of there in two minutes.

Golden Times

The weather is starting to hot up and after a few days out of it with illness, so is our social calendar.

We have a wedding tonight, the in-laws also arrive tonight to check on the state of their grandchild to be and it's Yom Yerushalayim tonight as well.

Let me focus on the latter. Of all the billions of people born since the destruction of the Second Temple, how many can say that they have only known an undivided accessible Jerusalem? Very, very few so I am in indeed in elite company. Never thought twice about it and just took it for granted as many people born post-1967 have done.

Not that I make the most of this. In the 18 months I have been here would have been to the Kottel only about six times.

The day should be about a celebration of one of the world's most famous cities but how much celebrating is there to do? The attitude of Israelis not living in Jerusalem towards the city of gold is anything but complimentary.

It's ancient roots and legacy mean that at times it stuggles to adjust to life as a major metropolis in the 21st century. With its delicate and touchy it invariably means that no matter what happens here is always political. Whether its a Gay Pride parade, tens of thousands spent on a clock at the city entrance or trying to get them to stop digging up the roads.

But enough of that. Later tonight and tomorrow when you are devouring your Jerusalem Artichokes (forgetting that its neither from Jerusalem or an artichoke) and singing Jerusalem raise your glass to 39 golden years.

PS: Speaking of roadworks, can't believe that thing they have been working on for months at the exit to the city by the massive yellow crane is nothing more than a 40 yard detour. They must have spent millions on that!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

She's Not the Messiah, She's A Very Naughty Girl

And I thought she was one of ours. Old habits die hard I guess.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Defining Success

Everyone I have spoken to who has seen The Da Vinci Code didn't like it. The reviews have been equally as damning. This however, didn't stop the movie taking $77 million from its opening weekend.

Movies though tend to decline rapidly after the opening weekend once word of mouth gets out.

Even if this movie makes $300 million-plus does that make it any good? With its big name cast and crew and massive amount of publicity wasn't it a shoo-in to make that much?

On the flip-side, there are great films out there which are ignored or overlooked because their box office is not so good.

By the time the heart of the summer comes, I predict Da Vinci Code will be long forgotten. Not even Tom Hanks and his hair can redeem it.

Next week you have X-Men 3 coming out and in June comes Click, Devil Wears Prada, Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Cars and Miami Vice just to name a few.

Book adaptations are never easy and when you have the subject matter that Da Vinci Code has it is only more tricky.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


I don't get sick often but when I do it's with a bang. Whether I got food poisoning from something I ate or picked up a virus from my 18 month old niece, I sensed something wasn't right.

Got back from Ra'anana and then spent the whole evening and early morning hunched over the toilet.

Saw the doctor this morning and now on my way to recovery. Taking a 'sickie' when you are actually sick on a gorgeous day like today is a shame but what can I do?

Originally was going to write about the Eurovision but seeing how I only got to see glimpses of it can't really comment on it.

Not sure if the Finnish winners, Lordi, who look like the cast of Babylon 5 means a new high or new low for the contest which somehow always seems to be controversial.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

You'll have to forgive him. He's from Barcelona.

Bit crestfallen about the Champions League final. Not just the result but the way that it happened. Barcelona winning was always on the cards but their cynical, manipulated bending of the rules got to me.

Even if it meant my prediction being wrong, Arsenal had to score a second goal on the counter-attack if they were to have any hope of winning. They couldn't repel wave after wave of Barcelona sorties forever.

Barcelona celebrated like they played the finest match ever. Well sorry to break it to you fellas, but you played s#*thouse and needed the benefit of an offside goal to break through.

After the match, Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o said they 'did a Liverpool'. Truth-fiction-story- get in way of....
Samuel, Liverpool were actually down 3-0 at halftime and not playing against 10 men.

The manner in which the game was played upset me more than the result. I fear football/soccer as a game played in a spirit of fairness is no more. Gone the way of the pixies. The mantra seems to be that "there is no such thing as cheating if you get away with it."

The World Cup is coming up and how many matches there will decided by the subtle or not so subtle bending of the rules? With what we are now seeing in Italy, how can we be so sure that everything is kosher?

This is what happens when sport becomes such a big business. If it is literally worth millions and millions of dollars to score that dubious goal why wouldn't you? You can deal with your conscious later.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Clash of the Titans

There is a special buzz in the air with the Champions’ League Final on tonight. The game hopefully will be as exciting as last years which was one of the greatest matches I have ever seen.

The final pits Arsenal who has perennially underachieved in Europe against Barcelona who will never quite get out of the shadow of Real Madrid. I think Barcelona are the superior team but that doesn’t mean they will win. Arsenal have been playing perfect cup football which has been based on a watertight defence. Ronaldinho, though, is not of this world and is the X-Factor.

When you are in a World Cup year, the Champions League serves as the appetizer. Most of the players on show tonight will be in Germany. What won’t be on show is the World Cup itself. Unlike most countries where the World Cup is not allowed to be on pay-TV, Israel somehow seemed not to have got the memo.

Some things are basic civil rights and you would think the world’s most popular event would qualify as that. People even if they aren’t sports fans love watching the World Cup so if you hold them over a barrel and force them to pay they will. But don’t think of it as good commerce, but rather as extortion.

Many of the natives are unhappy about this and so a petition has been created.

Guess I can’t leave without making a prediction so: Arsenal 1 – Barcelona 0.

Enjoy the game!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Didn't Start The Fire

Is it a sign that I'm getting old that I wonder why people waste so much time and energy playing with fire?

Not that my pyromanic tendencies have disappeared or anything like that, but it just don't float my boat so much these days.

When you are a kid it is cool to throw things into a raging fire but last night all I wanted to do was relax and heading out to join a throng was the furthest thing on my mind.

In any case does smelling the stench of smoke qualify as participating? It all made me a bit queasy. Huge black smoke clouds emanating from the midsts of forests.....

Driving past Gan Sacher today, it looked in absolute disarray. The place resembled a tip as everything was left behind.

If you are able to get your stuff there, you should be more than able to put it in a rubbish bin.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Walk The Line

I have never been one for working out. For me, who likes competition, I would much rather get my exercise under the auspices of a game of soccer, football, tennis, etc.

But just as Mrs Coil has been expanding, I too seem to have acquired a belly of my own. Not sure if its the metabolism kicking in after all those years or simply a case of pets mirroring their owners.

The compromise that we reached was that with our birthdays nine days apart our present to each other would be a treadmill. Mrs Coil went out and did the research and an hour later had ordered one. It came last Thursday and looks impressive. It just about does everything but have someone run on it. That you have to do yourself. But there is a place to put your Ipod and it also records your blood pressure.

The thing is an impressive looking piece of machinery and towers above like a preying mantis. Just hope it doesn't eat me after we're done.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Patriot Games

On the back of the request for a book club, also looking for someone to play Scrabble with. I love Scrabble. Infact I love games be they Trivial Pursuit, Connect Four, Rummikub, Cards, etc.

I do though hate Risk and detest Monopoly. Invariably someone would always cheat at Monopoly. The most likely to win would also be the one least likely to get bored. Also never knew a game to have so many Minhagim.

There is actually a World Cup Monopoly which has just been released. Every country at the World Cup is a property. Brazil is Mayfair/Boardwalk and they've had the chutzpah to put Australia as Old Kent Road! We will show them.

So if anyone is around Katamon on a Shabbas and wants to rack it up, get in touch.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Sitting around the living room now by myself it is hard to imagine this is the same place was a hive of activity on Friday night.

To celebrate my birthday, Mrs Coil had invited eight people to dinner and then made a special dessert to which more people would be invited. The dinner took on a life of its own and by the time the table was set we were setting 16 places!

By the time I got home on Friday afternoon from cricket the kitchen was a hive of activity. As we got hammered and finished quite early I was able to get home at a reasonable hour and help out. Washed up everything in the sink, washed the floors and brought up the extra chairs from downstairs.

The meal was great with Mrs Coil having cooked up a storm. It was also good as we finally got round to inviting a bunch of people we had been meaning to for some time. We ate quickly, benched, put away the tables and then had dessert where a few more people dropped by.

Said it around the table but I will say it again. For all of us who say goodbye to our homes, families and friends to come to Israel we leave behind our support network. We are lucky to have such a good group of friends who build a new one. We are there for each other like they are there for us. I guess being in the same boat creates that sense of empathy. You can get away with this in Katamon but our circle of friends is pretty much exclusively Anglo (American, English, Australian, Canadian,et al).

One thing I am doing more of in Israel since I made Aliyah is reading. I currently am in the midst of reading three books. Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes is my book on the bus from home to work and back. Tom Wolfe's I am Charllotte Simmons is my Shabbas book and Leon Uris' Mila 18 is my book for when I am in bed. I was lying in bed in the afternoon and wasn't sure if it being Shabbas overruled being in bed but Mila 18 was right next to me and Charlotte meant getting out of bed so Mila 18 prevailed and I duly read the 150 pages which were left.

Those people in the Ghetto were simply incredible and carried on despite it all. They didn't have anything other than hope. Not the hope they would live but the hope they would survive, get to Zion and start building a Jewish State. As much as we complain, moan, whinge and bitch about Israel we are guilty of taking alot of it for granted.

PS: I am interested in starting up a book club. If anyone wants to be part of it drop me a line.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Parent Trap

As the pregnancy develops and focus occasionally turns to what happens when the big bump one day will burst forth, questions fly at you like a flurry of punches, but one in particular stands above them all - What kind of parent am I going to be?

There is no parenting school and no licence required. All you need to know is the birds and the bees and you are on your way.

So how to parent? Without even knowing it our first instinct it to repeat the sins of the father/mother.

I remember when I was in high school a bunch of us were sitting round, postulating about our various bed-times, how much TV were we allowed to watch, allowances/pocket money, etc. Then we got to talking about what policies we would implement on our future kids. Only one said he wouldn't let his kids watch any TV - he was the guy whose parents didn't let him watch any....

That is, the only thing we know about parenting is how our parents treated us. And as we sadly know, traits especially bad ones (violence, abuse, etc) can be passed down from generation to generation.

There are many issues to be tackled. Discipline is a huge one. You want to educate your kids but what is the most effective way to do it? They bring home bad words from the playground - is washing the mouth out with soap and water even allowed as a legitimate threat in the 21st century? What about wait till your father gets home...Is this still used?

What about when the kids are bashing the bejesus out of each other? How to decide what to do? Often the kid who is crying is the one who started it all. Now I am starting to understand the meaning of this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.

No right or wrong in parenting. You just want the best for your kids and as they progress in their journey of life so do you in your journey as a parent. There are no winners or losers in parenting; just survivors.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Clockwork Orange

Was taking the 405 home after work yesterday. Got me a window seat and then got myself comfy. After a while was staring out the window daydreaming. It was somewhere near the airport that I spotted it - a car shooting down the Ayalon with multiple orange ribbons attached to it.

Soon after saw a few more cars with orange ribbons. I began looking for a car with blue and white ribbons and couldn't see a single one. You know why? Because they were a gimmick while the orange was and is a way of life.

For those who don't know what I am talking about - orange became the symbol of the people who were going to lose their homes due to the Hitnatkut. There were orange bracelets, orange t-shirts, orange posters and of course orange ribbons. They were everywhere and were soon countered by people handing out blue and white ribbons. For those here last summer you will remember coming to a halt at an intersection and being deluged by people handing out ribbons. For one side though, it was a game and for the others it was far more serious than that.

Did the people handing out the blue and white ones really care about the Hitnatkut? To me they smelt a bit like the bad woman in the famous Solomon's baby case. When I heard first the fable I hated her but as I grow older and witnessed the darker, cynical side of man I became more fascinated by her. After all the villains always make the more interesting characters. I mean, to want to have a baby chopped up in half just so the other person misses out on her baby - that's some serious Schadenfreude going on. But not half as bad as what we see in today's society.

Did the whole orange thing last year become political? You better believe it. Regardless of whether you meant to or not, suddenly wearing orange was making far more of a statement than the guy who wore a pink shirt. Certain companies told their workers who had company cars they were not allowed to display orange ribbons. Some taxis had both ribbons to please everyone. After all business is business.

A week is a long time in politics, so how about nearly a year? With the fast paced lifestyle we live in, the government was banking on everyone moving on to the next flavour of the moment issue and soon the Hitnatkut would be nothing more than a dot in the rear view mirror.

You know what the definition of belief is? To do so when you have no reason at all to do so. When every sign, indictator and person tells you there is no sense in doing so. That is real belief.

So now the media and paparazzi have moved on to the next hotspot on the globe. The blue and white ribbons are in the rubbish bins but not the orange ones. You still see them affixed to backpacks, cars, houses and the like.

They still believe.

My Turn

Eventually the A-Z Meme got to me courtesy of the Parrot. Parrot I actually made the mistake of confusing your Purim blog with your real blog this morning and offering your Cadburys because the mice had eaten all of yours. Even if they didn't the offer still stands.

Anyhow along with the show.........

Accent: Australian. Not only am I meant to talk funny allegedly I say funny words as well. Talk about being separated by a common language.........

Booze: Drambuie, Cointreau, Absolut.

Chore I Hate: Making the Bed.

Dogs/Cats: Never had a pet but been standing outside when it was raining cats and dogs.

Electronics: Computer, TV.

Favorite Perfume/Cologne: Hugo Boss (all of them)

Gold/Silver: Upon advisement from Mrs Coil: white gold.

Hometown: Sydney.

Insomnia: Not yet but once the baby comes may prove a handy trait.

Job Title: Writer.

Kids: Please G-d on the way.

Living Arrangements: You know putting a piece of tape down the middle of the room like they do on TV shows really doesn't work.

Most Admired Trait: Blue Eyes.

Number of Sexual Partners: Define Sexual Partner?

Overnight Hospital Stays: Had one last year for Mrs Coil. Never had any myself.

Phobia: Heights. Pentheraphobia (Just joking!)

Quote: How you like them apples!

Religion: Modern Orthodox. Sometimes a bit more emphasis on the modern.

Siblings: 2 sisters. I am in the middle.

Time I usually wake up: Early.

Unusual Talent: Never had a bad experience at the Misrad HaPnim or any other Misrad.

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Zucchini.

Worst Habit: Hitting Across the Line.

Xenophobia: Not really but hard to avoid in Israel.

Yummy Foods I love: Milkshakes, Pizza, Chocolate, Steak.

Zodiac Sign: Taurus

I tag the new kid on the block aka GsFunk, Ms Sabra@Heart and Alizapalooza.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cruise Control

The box office for Mission Impossible III is ok but not that good relative to the earlier editions of the franchise. Reasons for the sluggish box office has been largely attributed to the public malaise with Tom Cruise.

What happened to the guy who used to be Mr All American? After starring in films such as Risky Business, Top Gun and The Color of Money he was the next big thing in Hollywood. He went to the next level with Rain Man, Cocktail and Born on the Fourth of July which earned him an Oscar nomination. He met Nicole Kidman on the set of Days of Thunder and married her.

By the time he did A Few Good Men and The Firm he was a serious A-lister. He had enough clout to greenlight his own projects. Interview with a Vampire was ok but Mission Impossible and Jerry Maguire propelled him into the stratosphere.

Then he started to spout all the Scientology garbage mumbo-jumbo.

Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, Vanilla Sky and Minority Report didn't really do much. He had split by Nicole by this time and was alleged to be dating co-star Penelope Cruz just to create publicity for Vanilla Sky.

The Last Samurai was boring, Collateral was a nothing film and War of the Worlds was just so-so.

By this time he had gone Scientology crazy. He attacked Matt Lauer on the Today show, attacked Brooke Shields, there was the South Park controversy and obviously the Oprah incident.

Don't know what to believe about him now and what not to:
Was the romance with Katie contrived and artificial?
Did he really want to eat the placenta?
Does he really believe everything he says?

The public may not fawn over him like they used to but I don't think he cares. He earned $118 million from War of the Worlds and $75 million from MI3. The last time he was paid less than $20 million for a starring role was Interview With a Vampire which netted him $15 million.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

I wouldn't recommend arguing with a pregnant woman. You can if you want but you will never ever win.

Apart from a few aches and pains early on and some occasional vomiting, pregnancy ain't as bad as it's cracked up to be. You can eat treif if you so desire, you never lose an argument and you get bigger breasts. What could be better?

So far the cravings haven't been too exotic but what has had a big black line ruled through it is chicken. The once noble chook has become a definite no-no and even the mention of the mere word is enough to trigger queasiness.

A husband gets off quite easy while the wife has something growing inside of her causing to run to the toilet every four minutes. While we can try to, we can never truly know what it is like to be pregnant. Thus we have to be as supportive as possible in this period.

As many women dream about wearing a pretty white dress and standing under the Chuppah as many would dream about the day they become a mum - holding their newborn in their arms and continuing the link in the Jewish nation which began way back when with Abraham, Sara and Isaac. A women may have to go to hell and back but in the end it's all worth it.

Come to think of it, don't think I had much success in the argument stakes before the pregnancy....

Friday, May 05, 2006

Men in White

It's a gorgeous day in J-town today. The flowers are in full bloom, the birds are chirping and there ain't a cloud in the sky. Could think of nothing better to do on a day like this than playing cricket.
Cricket that iconic symbol of the British Empire which to most people looks insane. But for us members of the Commonwealth it is sheer heaven.

I play cricket in Israel for Ra'anana seconds. Most of the side are teenagers with me one of the more senior players. Two of the other senior players have pregnant wives as well so our ranks could be depleted. After a tough first season last year we had our best win ever last week. Can't wait for our next game which is next Friday.

And that therein lies the problem. There are no Sundays as we know it in Israel. Part of the deal with coming here is giving up the best day of the week. It sucks. No amount of reconciliation or rationalisation can turn what what Sunday and Saturday night are out in the rest of the world into what Friday and Thursday night are here.

For some reason the idea of yours truly standing in the sun on Erev Shabbat with a bunch of teenagers and old men and and getting back right around candle lighting time ain't exactly that appealing to the Mrs. Can't imagine why.......

Being married is a huge transition from being single. Gone are the days when you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. In their place is discussion and that dreaded C-word: Compromise. Word of advice for anyone out there: choose your battles wisely.

Luckily Mrs Coil is very understanding and in the end we work everything out. Better yet, she even understands Cricket and Australian Football. Infact just before I arrived to Israel she specifically ordered Fox Sports for me. Now if only they would show something useful on it as opposed to the World's Strongest Man and Rodeo

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Nailing It

When you live with a pregnant woman one of the things you have to be wary of is where you put your nail clippings.

No longer can I just bite them and spit them out as I am prone to do. I actually did do this last week and when I realised what I had done, spent half an hour on my hands and knees looking for the errant nail.

For those who are unaware the Talmud (Niddah 17a) states "one who trims his nails and throws them into a public area [causes great harm] because a pregnant woman may walk over them and miscarry."

It is a superstition but then again we are a very superstitious folk. Does anyone out there know of a woman who actually miscarried due to walking on nails?

It's a Small World

Was having a chat with a colleague at work and it didn't take too long before the B-word came up. Said colleague isn't a B-er himself but that doesn't mean he doesn't find himself immersed neck-high in the world of B's.

He told me his room mate is and at the time he was chatting on MSN with.

His name is Hugh and he adamantly told me he was not. From my surname he worked out the connection to .

Now my entries about work will have to be tempered or maybe it can be our little secret.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Independence Day

This is definitely the festive season. Yom Ha'atzmaut today, Lag B'Omer round the corner and both of our birthdays as well. Throw in the Eurovision song contest, French Open, FA Cup final, Champions League final, UEFA Cup final and World Cup and its a great time of the year.

After not the easiest of first tri-mesters we didn't go out much and so now enjoying the ability to do so now. As the Bible says the second is the one where the woman has the ability to do the most.

We are definitely appreciating it while we can so it was nice to go to a couple of parties with Mrs Coil over the National Day. Once two and a half becomes three our ability to go out so freely is gone, especially at night. The evening began with a lovely BBQ in Jerusalem. After that we made the trek to Tel Aviv for the party of the night.

The vibe and pre-match hype for this shindig was pretty big but it wasn't evident when we got there. This was due to us being the first ones there. It didn't take too long though till it got under way and then it really started to bounce. Being married takes away all of the nervous apprehension that I used to associate with parties. Amazing as well, how much more inclined girls are to speak to you when they know you are married as opposed to hitting on them. There were a hell of a lot of people there and as per usual all the singles, especially the girls said there was no one there.

The party fulfilled all the pre-requisites for being successful. People vomiting off the balcony, random hook-ups, a stuffed toilet, some weird and wonderful outfits, some guys trying too hard and some crazy dance moves.

Got back to DCDI HQ at 4.30am and today had a BBQ with the very regal Queen of Katamon herself. Was a nice chilled occasion except for some of the cranky neighbors who couldn't help themselves from being kill-joys.

The BBQ was called for 2pm so you tell me why everyone arrived at 3.15? What happened to the good old days when people turned up when they were meant to? I must have not got the memo.

For a while it looked as though the event may break all the rules of Jerusalem social protocol and not have the B-word (Blog) mentioned at all only for a suprise vistor to change all that.

I didn't know it but the Purple Parrot was there and within a flash was able to identify who I was. As you can imagine from then on end blogs dominated the discussion. PP was also kind enough to fill me in on all of the blog gossip.

As for me, had enough meat in the last 24 hours to suffice till Shabbas.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Toilet Humour

One of the things which you don't consider when taking up a job but only think of after is the state of their facilities.

When it comes to this subject, I am firmly in the camp which says "there is no place like home."

If possible, I try to time my number 2's not during business hours. If not then I have no choice.

At my last job something freaky happened in the toilets. They were always filled to the rim with toilet paper or other things floating in it. After having enough of this I decided from then on to go to another level to do my business. Another advantage of this is that no one knows who you are so you can do what you want with no consquences.

Here the situation isn't that flash. There are only three cubicles for men and they look dirty and dingy. Think again will have to survey the other levels to see how they stack up.

Working Class Man

Good to be back in the workforce. In Israel this is always a delicate subject. Coming from the Diaspora, careers aren't always so flexible. First and foremost you have language issues and then you have local standards/practices which may mean having to requalify.

Pay packets also may not be what you were once used or accustomed to. As for workplace culture, that deserves its own post.

Living in Jerusalem doesn't make it easy as most of the jobs seem to be in Tel Aviv. Not to worry, get on the 6.45am bus and get here bright and early by 8. That allows me to leave at 5ish.

With a baby coming, rent to pay, bills to deal with good to have a steady income which can arrest what was the gradual eroding of our bank balance.