Monday, July 31, 2006

Apocalypse Now

It’s hard not to be cynical when seemingly everyone cheats, manipulates, scams, exploits, dupes and swindles.

The twin announcement that both the winner of the Tour De France and the world’s fastest man have both tested positive to drugs has rocked the world of sport to its very core.

Is there anyone out there who isn’t on drugs?

When Ben Johnson tested positive all those years ago at Seoul - it was a massive shock and everyone thought if the biggest domino would get caught then maybe that was needed to clean up sport. Instead the opposite occurred.

Now shock has been replaced by apathy. We know everyone is on drugs, its just a matter of who is caught.

And if cheating is so prolific in sport why would it be any less so in any other form of life? If an American election can be rigged then surely anything and everything else can be?

Why do we all break out in a cold sweat when there is a problem with our car and we have to take it a mechanic?

As for the media? We all know about this and also all know that the truth is the first casualty of war.

Like I said its hard not to be a cynic.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Magic Carpet Ride

Had a nice weekend. Played my first game of cricket in three months and we had a good win. Will probably be the last game for some time as well...

Then had some people over for lunch including three bloggers. Being Katamon, people brought along other people and made for an interesting meal. Although we had no idea how interesting it was to become. …

For most of the meal, Scott was just another American visiting Israel for the summer. He lives in Los Angeles and writes for What I Like About You - which was pretty cool in itself.

He was sitting at the other end of the table to me so I didn’t get to speak much to him but what the little I did found out that he went to Harvard and was a pretty nice guy.

After the meal ended and we were all sitting around, I asked him if he had an IMDB page.

Not like having an IMDB page is a big deal. Almost anyone can have one.

He said he did and then somehow it slipped that he was Aladdin. That’s right the voice of Aladdin in Aladdin!!!!!

As you can imagine, all hell broke loose. Everyone who was there was excited except for Scott who was at pains to be modest and downplay things. Despite this, he hadn’t lost his sense of humor.

DCDI: I don’t recognize you.
Scott: That’s because I’m not wearing my little hat.
Everyone: Laughter.

DCDI: You’re the most famous person I’ve ever met.
Scott: I feel sorry for you then.
Everyone: More Laughter!

Funny how one’s perspective on someone can change so quickly. Now this guy had been turned into someone and someone pretty impressive at that. We bombarded him with questions for a few minutes and then he left but there was still one surprise to come about 60 seconds later.

Mrs Co.Il: Holy &^*@#$. He's DJ’s boyfriend from Full House!

Indeed he was. Not only Aladdin but Steve Hale.

Shabbas in Jerusalem - It really is a whole new world.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sense and Sensitivity

The milli-second you see someone with a new haircut you instantly notice it. Afterwards you struggle to recall what it was like before.

The human is a very malleable creature and quickly adjusts to its surroundings. Now been around two weeks of fighting and the status quo of constant fighting is starting to feel 'normal'.

Everything is about the status quo. I just looked up the origins of the phrase and it interestingly enough, it comes from the diplomatic term status quo ante bellum, meaning "as it was before war".

Well we have this opportunity to make things different to how they were before war and we shouldn't waste it.

This is something spooky and twilight zone-ish. Check it out!

This is the Psalm in question.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One Hit Wonder Three Weeks Edition - Mark Hamill

Was watching an E! special the other day about the top 100 entertainment moments of all time. You know the ones where they go through the various ones and in-between have these nobodies give commentary on the moment in question.

Well who was one of those talking heads which popped up but Mark Hamill. At first I was curious to see how he looked and then I became a bit sad because he shouldn't be left to doing VH1 specials.

“So this is what has become of Luke Skywalker,” I thought. Not for a second could I have imagined Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher doing the same thing. Kenny Baker or Anthony Daniels possibly, but not Our Luke.

It seems as though Hamill has become a parody of himself and everything he does is in the area of cartoons, cameos, computer games, science-fiction or mocking Star Wars.

He was unable to use the role of Luke as leverage into a career like Harrison Ford was. In between Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, Ford was in five films with some of them big ones such as the Frisco Kid, Apocalypse Now and Force 10 from Navarone while Hamill was only in one: Corvette Summer which badly flopped.

That should have been indication enough of where their two respective careers were heading.

Maybe he was just a bad actor and no-one else wanted to cast him.

Or maybe he found himself a victim of being typecast. After all, when you are the central character in one of the biggest film franchises of all time that is hard to break out of.

Or maybe it was that he changed too much. When things started he was innocent, farm-boy Luke. The country bumpkin from Tatooine.

In fact my favorite scene from the whole trilogy is the one where he goes out and watches the twin sunsets. That moment signals the end of his innocence and the beginning of his journey to becoming a Jedi.
Apparently this scene is the favorite for a lot of other people as well.

I always felt that once Luke went to Dagobah in the Empire Strikes Back he wasn’t "Our Luke" anymore. He was distant and aloof. The training with Yoda really took its toll and the beginning of the realization that Darth Vader was his father was starting to mess with his mind.

By the time Return of the Jedi came around he looked like an entirely different person. It was like we didn’t know him anymore. Things weren’t helped that apart from the start when they all try to rescue Han Solo, he is away from everyone else and only reunites with the gang at the very end so he can particpate in the Num-Num song.

It took five years after ROTJ that he was next in a movie.

Maybe the problem was, that just like Christopher Reeve and Superman, once he became Luke he could never be anything else other than Luke.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Smooth Sailing for Pirates

For the third week in a row Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest has topped the box office. Has earned 321 million already and on the way became the fastest movie to shatter the 300 million barrier. Its 16 days eclipsed the previous best of 17 by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

Even though its box office is slowly declining the other movies simply haven't been good enough to knock it from its perch.

The lacklustre Lady in the Water shows that former wunderkind M. Night Shyamalan is steadily losing if not lost his touch. Still not sure what to do with the hour of my life I have up my sleeve after I walked out of Signs.

Believe you me, something has to be pretty bad for me to walk out of a movie and I have only done it once before with Outbreak but Signs was simply atrocious.

Everything else - You, Me and Dupree, Clerks II, My Super Ex-Girlfriend and Little Man are all good for a couple of
laughs but just the same assembly-line of fluff that comes out of Hollywood where the trailer is as good as the movie except 100 minutes shorter.

Superman Returns did well but wasn't the smash hit that everyone was hoping it would be and The Devil Wears Prada has probably been the only film to match expectations and has even resulted in the book going back to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers List (Paperback Fiction).

Anything out there which looks remotely interesting?
Possibly Little Miss Sunshine which has had good reviews, the new Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen movie about NASCAR, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, the over-hyped Snakes on a Plane. But when about four new movies come out every week you would hope that there is something good in the midst of it all.

Monday, July 24, 2006

28 Days Later

Just four weeks to go now to the due date. Mrs Co.Il is very big and has something inside her which would like to stretch its arms and legs which in turn is making Mrs Co.Il very uncomfortable. Then there is lack of sleep which doesn’t help things.

So every day between now and then will feel like a week as we try to get through this. For my part, try to be supportive by making her things to eat and getting her things when she asks so she doesn’t have to move.

Some people might ask, you’re pretty brave not only to live in Israel but to bring up a child there, but to be honest that hasn’t been a concern at all. First of all, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have basically been unaffected and so for the most part it’s been business as usual with Emek in particular, packed to the rafters and people going about their normal daily life.

Second of all, while I may not have the utmost faith and confidence in our elected leaders I do in Hashem and the IDF and trust that they will take care of business. Hopefully very soon and with as minimal loss of life and collateral damage as possible.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Dilemma of Choice

Watched a fascinating piece of television last week. It interviewed each of the five members Take That and attempted to bring them together for the first time in 10 years since they split up.

Take That was a British Boy Band who had spectacular success in the early to mid 90’s. One of their members was Robbie Williams who at the time was a young rascal who was more interested in partying and getting smashed then conforming with the clean-cut image of the band.

He quit in July 1995 which in effect was the beginning of the end. The band announced its termination in February 1996.

People were curious who would emerge from the Take That ashes. Would it be Gary Barlow, the lead singer and creative genius behind the quintet or would it be Robbie, the enfant terrible?

Coming off the momentum of Take That, it looked like it would be Barlow who was releasing some stuff which was generating positive results and feedback. Robbie was just doing ok but then came Angels and they rest they say is history.

He has since come out with hit after hit after hit while Barlow floundered to the point where he quit as a singer. But Barlow lives in a huge mansion in Cheshire which has about 36 rooms with each room as big as a tennis court. He is married to a former Take That dancer and has two kids. And although his singing career is finished, he is still songwriting and producing.

That wasn’t the interesting part though.

Barlow said, “I never wished I was Robbie Williams but there were times when I wished I had Robbie Williams' career.”

Later in the show, Robbie remarkably said, “I would swap all of my current success for Gary’s happy family life.”

Say that again?!?!?!?!

The wild child of rock and roll with a lifestyle that most people can only dream about would give it all up for domestic bliss? Yes. He was deadly serious.

Barlow doesn’t have to work another day in his life and has two photogenic kids straight from central casting and the trophy wife to boot and he isn’t happy with that either?

What is going on?

Shows that the grass is really greener on the other side.

But why is it as humans we simply can not be happy with what we have and covet, if not lust about what we don’t have or can’t have? That ultimately is the struggle in life.

This comes in the wake of the Christie Brinkley saga where the supermodel wasn’t good enough for her husband, Peter Cook and he had to start making do with girls who were barely legal.

I was once out with two friends A and B. A was married and B wasn’t. I wasn’t either. During the course of the night, both A and B told me separately. “If only B knew how lucky he is. He has freedom and can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants” and “A has it so good. Wish I could be in his shoes and have someone to go home to and not be lonely all the time.”

In this instant gratification, gimmee-gimmee-gimmee society we are used to getting everything we want and when we make a choice and have to adhere to it, by comparison it seems incredibly constricting. This is how you have sports and show-biz stars breaking out of contracts all the time. So I signed a four year deal? Who cares about that. That was then. I want something else now.

This has been going on forever since Chapter 2 of Genesis when G-d created the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Problem for us is that it doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Operation Get Licence: Mission Accomplished!


Don't think three letters have ever been sweeter, well maybe when I popped the big question but there you have it. Now I'm just another crazy driver they have allowed be put behind a wheel.

When the phone started ringing, I was sick to my stomach and could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins.

"Hello," I meekly said.

"Yes," Dudu replied.

"You mean I passed?" I couldn't believe it; that this ordeal would somehow now be over?

"Yes you passed. Shabbat Shalom," and then he hung up.

Told Mrs Co.Il the good news and now I'm in need of a stiff drink.

I'm still shaking and still too tightly wound to enjoy the moment but will celebrate later tonight. All I have to do know is go pick up the form and then pay NIS 371 for my licence. The final cost comes to 1076 which is only as small as it is because I took just two lessons. Would hate to know how much the people who have 28 lessons spend on this whole thing.

Final Costs:
2 x 40 minute lesson: 200
Eyetest : 15
Test: 457
Cab after test: 33
Licence: 371
Total: NIS 1076

Operation Get Licence: The Test

Ok so I'm back from the test.

If this was an election telecast and I was the expert, I would say too close to call. It went ok - I didn’t crash or anything like that but I wasn’t as precision-like as I could have been. For instance, there was a bag on the road and I didn't veer to get around it, so ended up carrying it underneath us for a mile or two. It's up to the tester - if he wants to fail me he can, if he wants to pass me, he will.

Hope it's the latter as can't afford doing this again. This costs are out of control. (See below)

The system in this country is that you don’t find out until the end of the day so now I am left to stew in my own worry juices till then. The reason why they do it this way is due to some guy stabbing his tester afterwards because he thought he failed. Only in Israel!

So we will see.

Did the test with this lady who was via Miami from way of Venezuela. I went first and drove for six minutes with the instructor next to me and her in the back seat. First time round I drove through the heart of Talpiot; this time it was in the backstreets so that was a bit easier. We then swapped places and she drove us back.

I really have no idea what the result will be. I’m bracing myself for the worst.

2 x 40 minute lesson: 200
1 x eyetest : 15
Test: 457
Cab after test: 33
Total: NIS 705

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

One Hit Wonder Three Weeks Edition - Catch-22

Due to the three weeks there really shouldn’t be any music but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any One Hit Wonders. Over the next three weeks will look at One Hit Wonders in non-music related fields and the three I have in mind are all pretty good catches. So it's fitting that the first one be the biggest catch of them all – Catch-22.

Catch-22 would be one of the greatest novels written in the 20th century if not of all time and has had a profound influence on popular culture and was the fore-runner for similar anti-establishment themes such as M*A*S*H and Porky's.

Some novels might see some of their characters enter our vernacular such as “He has a Jekyll/Hyde personality” or “No shit, Sherlock”. Some novels might see their titles become a metaphor like “Those teachers are crazy. The school resembles something from Lord of the Flies” or "You can't go to that ladies only shiur, it's only for members of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”.

But when a novel’s title enters the English language as a term in its own right that is pretty amazing. The irony of course is that the book was originally called Catch-18 but the release of Mila-18 had caused the publisher to change it to Catch-22 and as they say: the rest is history.

Joseph Heller wrote other books after Catch-22 so how is he a one hit wonder? Well, when your first book is one of the greatest novels ever written with unprecedented levels of success and for the rest of your life you are living in the shadow of that – you qualify for the club.

Heller himself knew this when he said “When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch-22 I'm tempted to reply, 'Who has?'"

Catch-22 is one of the greatest books you could ever read. I first read it when I was 16 and thoroughly enjoyed it although I didn't fully get all the subtle nuances at the time. I reread it two years ago and it was even better the second time around.

With the changes in perspective and criss-crossing chronology, the plot resembles somewhat of an Escher painting and nothing highlights the Kafkaesque absurdity of life more then war which is very apt given what is happening around us as we speak.

If you haven't read it yet - do yourself a favor.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Operaton Get Licence: Second Lesson

Things are really moving quickly now. Had my second lesson last night and after that Dudu told me how my test was going to be this Thursday at 11am.

"I thought you told me booking the test could take weeks and now you're telling me it's in three days. How did that happen?!" I ask.

He shrugs.

"I told you I wanted a time as early as possible," I said.

"I just give you what they give me," he replies.

My logic in wanting something as early as possible was two-fold. The first test is at 7 and if I do it then I can still get to work at a reasonable hour. Second of all, the traffic will be far less then and so there is less potential for pitfall.

The second lesson went well and simply reinforced my confidence. We drove around for 40 minutes and you can really go to many different places in that time if you are going to nowhere in particular.

One major plus about the way they do the test here is that there is no parking involved of any sort, especially not reverse (Americans call parallel) parking, which would be my Achilles Heel.

So all I have to do is drive around the block a couple times; indicating when I should, changing lanes nicely and not going over the speed limit. Sounds like a piece of cake, doesn't it - so how come I'm already nervous?

2 x 40 minute lesson: 200
1 x eyetest : 15
Total: NIS 215

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Blogging War

Nothing news services love like a good war as the desire for their content becomes more valuable than usual. The most infamous example of course being William Randolph Hearst and his involvement in the Spanish-American War.

It's interesting how the information age works. In the beginning we relied on newspapers for information with Heart's New York Journal leading the charge.

We began with newspapers for our news. Finding out how the Civil War, Boer War and World War One were going.

World War Two was conducted by radio with the BBC having a huge say in it along with the development of personalities such as Edward Murrow, William Shirer, Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally and Lord Haw-Haw.

Vietnam was the war which took place in the living room as people watched it unfold on TV. Walter Cronkite was a key character here.

The Gulf War was the first Cable-TV war and everyone was glued to CNN and in the process making a big star out of Peter Arnett.

Gulf War II was the first war where the internet was onto every step and guys like the Drudge Report were covering everything as it was unfolding.

I am calling this War the Blogging War as it is the first major conflict where blogs have been so prominent. My primary source of news and information is The Muqata as his information is timely and I trust it and its sources. There are lots of other excellent blogs doing great reportage as well.

Haven't heard the term, Blogging War previously so if it takes off - you know where you heard it first.

Operaton Get Licence: First Lesson

Had my first lesson yesterday evening and it went well. After an hour of driving around Talpiot my confidence is a lot higher than it was yesterday. I feel ready to do the test but am going to have a another lesson this Friday just to be sure.

My instructor's name is Dudu and he is pretty chilled. An old guy, probably in his 60s and he speaks good English.

When I got into the car there was another person driving doing a lesson and they stayed in the backseat for the duration of my lesson. Once I got out they had another lesson. This is how I suppose the Israelis get through their 28 lessons without it taking six months.

I was nervous but once I started to drive and get going instinct took over and I was fine. Old habits do die hard though and at times I was drifting to the right side of the road ie kerb.

It's a weird feeling when you start to drive in a place where you are familiar with but have never driven. You are used to the perspective of being a pedestrian or being driven but not driving yourself.

He never took the wheel or used the brakes on his side which was good as I hate teachers who do that if it's not really necessary.

For the record, going to keep a log of how much this whole exercise costs.

1 x 40 minute lesson: 100
1 x eyetest : 15
Total: NIS 115

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Drives Me Crazy

If Dementors existed in real life then mine would undoubtedly come in the form of a driving test. Nothing torments me more than the notion of doing them and invariably I wake up in the middle of the night bathed in sweat.

I have a license from Australia where I drove for over 10 years, albeit on the other side of the road, without incident or accident. I have driven successfully to and from Sydney to Melbourne, Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and New York to Boston.

If you make Aliyah and have a license from another country you do not have to do the mandatory 28 lessons but just a basic driving test which you have to take within two years of making Aliyah. This shouldn’t be a problem should it for a person who can drive?

Well I get very nervous when there is a person next to me watching my every move and driving tests and I have never exactly gotten on that well. By the time I had finished in Australia I was on first-name terms with all of the testers.

Here they have a two strikes and you’re out policy and I am behind in the count with one strike already on me. I went for the test last year and drove in conditions which I had never experienced before.

Driving in Talpiot at the best of times isn’t easy but with these doubled headed roundabouts and trucks double-parking left, right and center I was ultra cautious and this was ultimately what they said was the reason for me failing. That and me waiting to finish my turn to let a pedestrian cross the street. Apparently here they don't do that.

Then again they say everyone fails the first time.

With the baby around the corner and with that, the high probability that we would want to get a car plus time ticking away, I’ve had to banish the demons, pull my finger out and ready to face my fears.

Today I have my first lesson and hopefully this will be the first step of me getting my license. With the benefit of Janglo, have found what I think is a good instructor. Unlike the hopeless woman I had last time who spent the entire lesson trying to impart to me how to make a turn from a two-way street into a one-way street.

The irony of the system here is that they think putting someone through 28 lessons means they will be a safe, cautious and courteous driver once they emerge on the other side….

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Fast and The Furious

As is usually the case on fast days, think this is going to be a long day.

Even longer when it only finishes at 8.20 tonight and I have to endure a bus ride back to Jerusalem around that time as well. Not looking forward to it at all.

One of the good things about Australia was that this fast and Tisha B'Av both finished around 5.30-45ish.

Today I will try to fly under the radar and hopefully won't get any headaches which I tend to get on days like this.

Apt given what is happening all around us that we are fasting today. The country isn't in the best of shape and communal fasting may do it some good.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One Hit Wonder II - Take On Me

If you want to know about all the magical powers of music go no further than listening to the opening bars of Take On Me. Instantly you are taken back in time 20 years. Ronald Reagan is ensconced in the White House while the Iron Lady has the keys to Number 10.

The Berlin Wall separates East from West while Miami Vice, Cheers and the Cosby Show rule the small screen.

On the playing fields Liverpool still reign supreme while in hoops, Magic and Larry hold sway. Joe Montana is in the midst of building a 49ers dynasty.

It was Bat Mitzvah season and the girls were celebrating with frizzy hair and banana clips, gloves and maybe even wearing lingerie on the outside like the Material Girl was doing.

That is what listening to the first few bars of this quintessential 80's song will do.

When the biggest issues in your life were what grade you got on your history assignment and if you would be allowed to go out and not come home till 10.30.

Great Times!

The truth of the matter is that a-ha were no one hit wonder - they are still around today but nothing has come even remotely close to the world wide success the Norwegians had with Take On Me. That is enough to gain them membership to the club.

After forming in 1982 they chose the name of their band after realizing that it would make sense in any language and on their merry way they went.

When originally released in 1984 Take On Me sold a grand sum of 300 copies. Some rejigging in the studio and a year later it sold 1.5 million copies in a single month. Ultimately it would sell about 7 million copies world wide and hit a peak of 1 in the USA and 2 in the UK.

Undoubtedly it benefited from its quirky video clip and being given mass exposure on MTV. The MTV age was still pretty much in its infancy and the song definitely took advantage of that. Plus coming from Scandinavia was a novelty as well. ABBA weren't back in the good books yet so these guys filled the void nicely.

With its catchy beat and quality vocals the song perfectly captured the essence time which was the mid 1980s.

The follow-up single called "The Sun Always Shines on TV" did ok but was a speck compared to the juggernaut which was Take On Me.

Although the latter half of the decade wasn’t kind to them they kept on putting out albums, maybe they were servicing the cult following they had formed, especially in South America.

At the Rock in Rio festival in 1991, a reputed 198,000 people turned up at Maracanã Stadium which is the highest ever number for a paying gig.

Inevitablly, they split up to "focus on their solo careers" but after a few concerts together decided to give it another go. They were at Live 8 in Berlin last year and do other big events such as the Winter Olympics and Nobel Prize awards cermony.

According to some sources, lead singer, Morten Harket is responsible for the "ripped jeans" fashion trend as he ripped them when running to try and get on stage.

They have definitely made their mark on popular culture with The Family Guy, the Simpsons and South Park all featuring the song once.

So strap yourself into the time machine and be prepared to go back 20 years as you listen to this sensational song.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pirate Treasure

So the unreachable point was scaled. They said it could never be done and now it has been. Records are made to be broken I guess.

Spider-Man’s $114.8 million opening weekend was smashed to smithereens by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest which brought in a massive $132 million.

A lot of people loved the first movie while I didn’t think much of it. It did ok without setting the world on fire but out there it must have developed a huge following. And to their credit they have jazzed up this version. There are more action sequences and less of wet-blanket Keira Knightley.

Make no mistake this wouldn’t be getting the box office it was getting unless it was a good movie which means having a decent plot. Nearly all the reviews are good which says something.

And how can you not love any movie which has Gareth, the only redeeming person in Love Actually and the Professor from Good Will Hunting!

Not surprisingly this cash cow hasn’t finished yet and work has already begun on the third one which will come out on May 25 next year.

Signs were good for the Pirates when it took $55.5 million last Friday which represented the biggest ever single day at the box office. Now it just about owns every record in the book including fastest film to 100-million and biggest opening day when it averaged selling about 10 tickets a second on that day.

To every winner there must be a loser and that was Superman Returns which dropped an astounding 58% from the previous week.

Think big props have to be given to Johnny Depp for much of the success. He had a bit of a lull in the mid-90s and then came back with Donnie Brasco and Chocolat. Now he is unstoppable and including the third POTC has five movies on his slate.

As for Spidey - he will be lurking in the wings and don't be surprised if he reclaims his record back next May when it opens.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Shark Sighting

One of my favorites shows on TV is Entourage. The show revolves around Vincent Chase who is an up and coming star in Hollywood. Vincent has an entourage of three which consists of his half-brother, friend who acts as his manager and friend who acts as a schlepper.

The show was the idea of Mark Wahlberg and leant heavily on his experience of being a babe in the Hollywood woods.

The first two seasons many of the episodes dealt with this and all the mishegas that comes with that. Throw in quite a number of cameos from famous celebrities (Val Kilmer, Hugh Hefner, Ralph Macchio, Bob Saget, Brooke Shields, Jessica Alba, et al) as well as a sprinkling of T&A and you had the makings of a great show.

The show couldn’t have Vincent as a pisher the whole time otherwise the audience would get frustrated. But at the expense of this the show’s writer have ignored their roots and the foundation of their success and I am sorry to say this but I think the show has jumped the shark.

After watching three episodes of the new season, think it is all over the place, especially the character of Ari who is their trump card.

I’m happy to be proven wrong but they are going to have to overhaul things drastically if they are going to turn it around and salvage the situation.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Steady As She Goes

Friday morning we had a Bris which was nice way to start the weekend although not sure if the baby felt that while he was screaming at the top of his lungs.

Dinner we had over our good friends, Eli and Marissa, who are getting married on our due date as well as the always delightful Sabra At Heart.

We were out at family friends for lunch and we always have a great time there except they have two cats who tend to make me sneeze from start to finish. This time I decided to be prepared and took an antihistamine to try and counter that.

Only problem was that this non-drowsy version was very much the drowsy kind. Halfway through the meal I was seeing stars and felt like I had done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. The rest of the day was a blur and somehow we managed to stagger home with Mrs not doing it any easier due to the oppressive heat.

Here's hoping to a great week and I'm thinking the French will have much to celebrate this Friday when Bastille Day comes around.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Advantage: Politics In Sport

I've had just about as much as I can handle regarding the will they - won't they saga regarding the Indonesian Fed Cup team and their supposed upcoming tie in Israel.

They were coming, then they weren't, then they were and now they're not.

There have always been issues with Israel and sport. Logically they should be in Asia but if that was the case they would never play anyone due to boycotts. Israel used to participate in the Asian Games but not anymore. Israel used to qualify for the World Cup through Asia but not anymore. You know who know does both? That's right - Palestine.

Instead of using sport as a political pawn and it being part of the problem, these boneheads should try to use sport as part of solution.

The only losers in this situation are the athletes themselves. Such as Arash Miresmaeili who was the favorite for the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Judo but forfeited because he was drawn to face an Israeli in the first round. Although he was applauded back home and praised like "although did not get a gold medal, he earned eternal honor by his refusal" you can be assured that he wasn't too happy about the whole situation.

If these guys really wanted some propaganda material they would play Israel every chance they could. In the hope they would defeat the imperialistic Zionist state at tennis, basketball, judo, soccer or whatever else it was. Then they would really have something to shout about.

Although how anyone can cheer on a team whose colours are green, red, black and white is beyond me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Holding On

I want to dedicate this post and create a series of posts to the one hit wonder.

In whatever walk of life it is, the one hit wonder is an amazing phenomenon. Everything aligns for one brief instant in time, making you king or queen of the world which lasts about as long as the blink of an eye. From there you are consigned to trivia immortality and the fodder of VH1 specials.

Which makes the achievements of a Madonna, an Elton, a Kylie, a Sting even that more remarkable. That they were able to stay at the top of the tree for a sustained period of time requires an inordinate amount of talent, dedication and commitment.

But for every Bon Jovi you are going to have five Dexys Midnight Runners, Right Said Fred, Baha Men, Twisted Sister and EMF.

For every Robbie Williams you are going to have five Los Del Rio, Toni Basil, Vanilla Ice, Nena and Sir Mix-a-Lot.

There was no other choice with which to open this subject other than Hold On.

What an amazing song!

With the pedigree of a Beach Boy and a Papa, the trio of Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips had the makings of something special and that was fully displayed with their 1990 debut album which featured three number one singles (Hold On, Release Me & Compulsive), selling 10 million copies worldwide and garnering four Grammy nominations.

Shadows and Light which came two years later only sold one million copies and soon after the pin was pulled. All over red rover but not before they were able to leave us the legacy they have left us.

Hold On is a very inspiring song and that combined with a catchy tune made it the hit it was and still is.

Some day somebodys gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Dont you know?
Dont you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tour of Duty

With the big day in around seven weeks, the finishing line is starting to get in sight. Given that we just did a tour of the hospital and the set-up there.

Would have been around 15 couples there and 15 couples who represented the whole spectrum of Israeli society. Ranging from the frum couple who asked if there was a Niddah issue with the husband cutting the umbilical cord to the Scientological couple who asked if it would be ok for them to eat the placenta.

The highlight of the tour would have been stopping by where the new-borns were gathered and when I say new-borns I am talking less than 12 hours old. They were so cute and its amazing to think that soon there will be one of those which we can call our own and not only can we look and ogle at it but we can take it home as well.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Class Dismissed

We had our final birthing class yesterday. Over the past five weeks I personally have learnt so much about pregnancy and the birth process that I never even knew existed.

It was a real eye-opener and I would wonder how people who go to the hospital without any type of heads-up would fare.

Now the task at hand is to be able to recall all this as well as being coherent during labour.

Over the duration of the class, all the couples bonded. We went from strangers to sharing a common experience. There will be a reunion in October with our pride and joy once we have all become parents.

It is the responsibility of two couples to provide dinner every week and last night was the turn of us and another couple. Mrs Co.Il brought out the big guns.

Amazing how the simple pleasures in life can bring so much satisfaction.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Long and Winding Road

The J-Blogsphere is resembling the set of 24 as blogs are going down left, right and centre in what you could call - Being knocked out of the World Cup syndrome.

Last week it was the Australian, Dutch and Swiss bloggers who found the going tough after their team was unceremoniously dumped from the World Cup, today it is the turn of the English as yet again the Three Lions fail to roar.

A loss is a loss is a loss but how the English must be besides themselves after losing on penalties - yet AGAIN! Oh how they would love a record like the Germans who have been in four World Cup penalty shoot-outs and never lost one.

Even our Brazilian friends have gone quiet. But when you’ve won two of the last three tournaments and come runner-up in the other one you really don’t have that much to be upset about.

So it looks like the only bloggers who still be blogging by week's end will be the Germans and French which doesn’t do much for me because I don’t read any French or German blogs.

Shabbat was good but am starting to get sick of the sight of the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv road. Came to work on Thursday. Left work on Thursday afternoon before turning back a few hours later all in the search of good sushi. Went home last night and then did it all again this morning. For those keeping a tally at home, its five times in 72 hours with a sixth to come in three hours.

In Israel you don’t feel as much as if you are traveling to a different city as a different planet. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are so many worlds apart you sometimes forget they you don’t need your passport or even a spaceship to get from one to another.

That a tiny sliver of land can have two major cities so close but yet so different in every way is just one of the quirks of Israeli life and society.

When work colleagues ask me where I live and I answer “Jerusalem” their response is normally a combination of shock, awe, bewilderment and disbelief. For typically you are considered to live far from work if it’s a 20 minute bus ride away.

I don’t think twice about it though. Most of my travel is necessitated by the fact that most of the jobs in my field which pay decently are in Tel Aviv. I just see the commuting as part of the job - no different to if a lived in the outer suburbs of New York, Melbourne or London.

The funny thing of all this is that when I wasn’t working I considered it a pain in the backside to have to go down to the makolet around the corner when the milk ran out.