Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fever Pitch

Wasn't so much a crazy Shabbat as a crazy lead-in into Shabbat.

That twilight hour before Shabbat is always hectic - maybe this has to do with what went down on the first ever twilight before Shabbat .

Mrs DCDI hadn't been feeling so flash the whole week and had a cocktail of ailments including bronchitis and fever with a temperature of 104. Some of this had been transmitted to Yakira who began not feeling so well or being her playful self.

Come Friday, she didn't want to feed anymore which is a real problem as it can lead to dehydration and a bunch of other not-so-good things.

At 4pm we decided to take her to the Wolfson Medical Center of which with most of Jerusalem we are loyal customers. Want to catch up on all the gossip? Then sit in the waiting room there.

There was one doctor still there and we got there like the wind. Only problem was that the cab couldn't drive in so we had to get dropped off at the top and walk down through the spiral driveway.

The Doctor looked her over and prescibed us Kiddie-Nurofen. Off we went to Derech Hebron and the only pharmacy open on Shabbat. Apparently they rotate as to which one stays open over Shabbat for emergency situations such as this.

Go inside and there are two people ahead of me. Unfortunately the pharmacist is working at whatever the oppositie of the speed of light is. The speed of dark maybe?

His movements were exaggerated in a slow way that was infuriating. He would pick up a plastic bag, put it down, lick his fingers, pick up the bag again and open it, put the item inside and all this took about two minutes which in the scheme of things is an enternity.

Ask for the Nurofen, then wait and wait and wait and wait.

Finally get it and get home around 5.

Over Shabbat, Yakira fed better and we alternated between giving her the Nurofen and Acamole. She seems to be somewhat on the mend - we will see.

For all of you out there who are going to go crazy tonight, hope you feel ok in the morning. For all of those of you hoping to leave the party with a different person who you arrived with, hope it happens. Best though to have absolutely zero expectations about tonight - New Year's Eve is the most overhyped occasion of the year and in many instances the most over-rated. Staying home, playing Boggle and drinking hot chocolate could be more rewarding and enjoyable.

In any event, here's looking forward to a great 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Snow Job

The snow has stopped, is melting and now everything is getting back to normal.

But while it was happening you would have thought that it was something far more menacing falling than little white snowflakes.

Like I mentioned yesterday, if you wanted a cab the wait was at least 30 minutes and more like 75 in reality.

We tried to order food for dinner and no-one was delivering. It was as if they were petrified to go outside. And North American and Europeans would laugh because this was no blizzard we are talking about. Ultimately it was just a couple of inches.

I guess it is a true indicator of Hashem's presence because it boggles the mind how a country who is brought to a standstill by snow has the wherewithal to not only withstand but defeat a number of hostile neighbors.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

News Update V

As you are all probably aware it's snowing in Jerusalem and the Maginot Line theory is just about the only thing holding up.

Everywhere else it is utter chaos. You can't order a cab for love or money. Traffic is horrible.

How can something that looks so pretty and elegant cause so much havoc?

News Update IV

No snow there yet. Notice how the lights are starting to take effect. Looks like they may struggle to get a minyan there tonight....

News Update III

Still snowing here but not at the Kottel where just a few hardy souls are at the moment.....

News Update II

No snow there yet...
Will keep you posted.

News Update - It's Snowing

It's snowing. Pelting down.

This should get interesting.

How long till the first picture from the Kottel? Give it about nine minutes.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

The first real rain of the winter came bucketing down yesterday and hasn't stopped since. Additionally there was hail as well.

As for the snow, they keep talking it up and it doesn't appear which I think is a good thing. The authorities may think they're prepared for if/when the avalanche comes, but they remind me about the French and their bragging about the Maginot Line.

On the homefront, one of our neighbors is doing renovations which means noise at all hours of the day. Last night they were still going at 10.30 which really isn't cool.

The builders are like the unwanted guests from hell. They leave their trash and debris everywhere, they smoke in the lift causing it to stink and they don't wipe their feet when they come in.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Winding Down

The rest of the year is now in holiday mode which isn't the case here. All just regular as usual and truth be told, it does feel a bit weird to come into work both on Xmas Day and Boxing Day.

So when much of your work involves overseas people, it's a bit quiet.

At home Mrs DCDI isn't feeling well so looking after her and hoping she will improve soon.

Monday, December 25, 2006


You can tell a lot about a country's situation based on their attitude to dental care and dental hygiene. Call this another Big Mac Index which compares social values.
If dental care is a priority then the country has a pretty good standard of living.
It is funny how a person opening their mouth and not saying anything can speak volumes about them. All you have to do is look at their teeth.

Here in Israel you see some shockers. There are some smiles which would make many hockey players proud or even blush and then there are those which would make you cringe.
When I was single, can't tell you how off-putting it was to see a girl smile and reveal teeth that look like a pile of dominoes have been thrown onto the floor. Conversely there is nothing sexier than a mouth full of white, straight teeth.

In any event, dental care in Israel is expensive. Given that, there is a propensity to overlook it and only go to the dentist when you're writhing in pain which is even more expensive.

Call me a snob, but I don't go to an Israeli dentist. Funnily enough, every Anglo I speak to does the same.

You would think, given this, the water would be flouridated in Israel but it isn't. They used to do it then only some places did it and now they've stopped everywhere.
Ironically it seems as though only the countries where dental care is a priority such as USA, Canada and Australia is the water flouridated.

Don't get me wrong - there is a lot of controversy about the practice but despite any opposition you have to it, I can guarantee you that dental decay would dramtically fall if it was introduced. I have never had a single cavity or filling but coming from a country of flouridated water to one which doesn't, my chances of getting one or some or even lots has gone through the roof.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Concrete Jungle

When I first arrived in Israel I was given a few simple rules which I was told never to break. The same rules I pass on to newcomers when they ask for advice.

1) Never agree to mind someone's bag for them unless you know them.
2) Never drink the local alcohol.
3) Never buy anything from a guy called Ahab who only has one leg.
4) Never go to Malha Mall on a Friday.

Guess which rule I broke?

I was in a dire need of a haircut and a friend of ours was going to the Mall for one as well so I figured I might as well join him.

It was the typical Friday scene which greeted us when we arrived. Cars everywhere - on traffic islands, on the sidewalks and virtually triple-parking. Taking any space they could to park.

We decide the only way to get a spot is to play Waiting the Leader which is a combination of the Waiting Game and Follow the Leader. What this entails is to try and locate a shopper who is walking to their car, whereby you follow them to their car, thereafter taking the spot as soon as they exit.
Possession is 9/10s of the law so it is critical that you make an early spot because the sooner you spot the person, the stronger your claim to the space is.

So we get a nice and early spot on this lady to the extent that she even waves off other cars where they ask where she is parked. There were a few obstacles on our way to the spot but we arrive there just as she is pulling out.

It's all co-ordinated like clockwork: She waits to see us before pulling out. We drive past letting her pull out and as soon as she does we start reversing in. Crisp, clean and perfect execution of Follow the Leader.

One problem. As we start pulling in, a girl jumps into the spot and is safe-guarding it for her friends.

The unwritten rules for parking may not be set in stone but there is some basic carpark etiquette and at the top of the list would be that you don't contest someone else's spot when it is clearly theirs.

Right under that would be the section of minding a spot for someone. Sure if no-one else is around you can mind the spot for your friends and wave away everyone else but you simply can not run into a spot which you see someone is about to enter.

After a few choice words she moves and as far as everyone was concerned that is the end of that.

As we make out way towards the mall, the friends in the car turn up and ask the girl what is going on. She tells them that we tried to run her over (Rachel Corrie anyone??)

The girl in the car then decides to show off her sparkling vocabulary which consists entirely of four-letter words. Some of them were personal which make my friend go back and stand up for himself.

Inside the car was a guy and a girl. My friend tells the girl that that isn't distinguished speech for a lady. Then the guy gets out of the car and want to get involved to show what a man he is. Only problem is that when he opens his mouth he reveals this incredible lisp which somewhat deflates his image. Think being threatened by Steve Urkel.....

The interesting thing was how he went up to about two inches away from my friend, baiting, goading and provoking him. As if he wanted him to do something stupid.

Then being Israel, everyone has to stand around and watch, as if they had nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon. Followed by the security guard playing United Nations and wanting to have his two cents worth.

I'm pleased to say that after all that we got our hair-cuts. I'm even happier to report that when we got returned that the car was in one piece.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Miss ShopRite

Was in the area so went to the Supersol yesterday. You know the big one on the corner of King George, across the road from the Kings Hotel.

This has always been a popular shopping haunt due to its central location but was a bit of a mess. Recently though they have fixed the place up and it looks a lot better.

After picking up a few things I went to go pay. But you know how it is 6pm on a weeknight - 14 counters available but only two cashiers open. So stood in one and then when I could, plonked my things down on the conveyor belt.

I forgot a few things so quickly ran around the supermarket to get them. I had time because the 90 year old lady in front of me had a lot in her cart.

Come back and then it's my turn. The 14 year old check-out-chick whisks everything through including the bottle of wine which belongs to the people standing behind me. She has to reswipe it to take it off. I then have a look at the bill and something doesn't seem right.

You know how it's not enough that the supermarket is filled with millions of things to buy - that they have to have these wonderful bargains situated behind the cashier which you might want after doing all of your shopping? This week's special was Toblerone which somehow got mixed up with my things and she'd rung up.

DCDI: This isn't mine (holding up the Toblerone).

So she has to call her supervisor and take it off.

I thought all the excitement was over and done with but it was only beginning.
I start packing all the stuff into the bags and notice that the breadrolls are missing. I look around and the only explanatation is that it got mixed up with the old lady's stuff while I was running around the supermarket.

I found her sitting outside the supermarket while her son brought the car round.

DCDI: I think my breadrolls are somewhere in your cart?

Old Lady: What are you talking about? You weren't behind me.

DCDI: I was behind you in the checkout but then I had to go get something and I think you have nmy bedrolls.

OL: Take a look.

I ruffle through her bags and find the breadrolls.

OL: Those aren't mine.

Old Lady's son appears.

OLS: What happened?

OL: His breadrolls got mixed up with our stuff.

OLS: And he paid for them?

OL: No we did.

DCDI hands Old Lady 10 shekels.

With that wearing me out completely, I cross the road where I wait outside the Kings for a taxi. One pulls up and I get in. Be wary of getting into taxis when you are standing outside a hotel because they assume you are a tourist and don't know better.

Taxi Driver - Where do you want to go?

I tell him our address.

TD: How is 25 shekel?

At this time of day it should cost a maximum of 17-18.

DCDI: Just put the meter on.

Just another day in paradise................

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You Tube Songs I Like Part V

Today a seasonal selection which should bring back alot of memories for some people.

22 years ago a group of English musicians got together to record Do They Know It's Christmas Time? in order to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief.

The singers are a who's who of the English scene. Namely Duran Duran, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet and Big Country.

Some things to check out a very young Bono and a very 80s looking George Michael.

Maybe the equipment they used wasn't very good because everyone seems to be holding up their ear when they sing.

This song is dedicated to everyone in Israel who Christmas seems to pass by.

Monday, December 18, 2006

My First Chanukah!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Season's Greetings

It's that time of year again so enjoy :)

Have a great _________! (choose one of the following)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

You Tube Songs I Like Part IV

In honor of TAFKA PP's recent post, have decided to dedicate this to Queen.

The first song is Flash's Theme which is the theme to the movie Flash Gordon.

The second is You're My Best Friend.

This song has actually appeared in a number of movies and TV shows.

The third is We Are The Champions

You can't really listen to this song without thinking of some victorious team marching around the stadium, waving some trophy up in the air, while confetti is everywhere.

Check out the shorts as well as those teeth! They don't make them like that anymore.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lost In Translation

What is funnier - American comedy or British?

I think those with a sense of humour would say British.

But the only objective way to tell is to get both sides to perform the same routine and judge based on that.

You can do that with The Office.

This was a smash hit British series which they then tried to adapt for the Americans. After a few early teething problems where it appeared as though it might get axed, it looks as though it has found its feet and a following. It won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series beating off Curb Your Enthusiasm, Scrubs, Two and a Half Men and Arrested Development for the award.

Try as they might though, the American version of the show doesn't hold a candle to the British one. Steve Carell is no Ricky Gervais. The way he played David Brant was sheer genius. And forget about finding an equivalent Gareth - you just can't do that.

There have already been 38 episodes of the American version. The British one only had 14. This instantly draws a connection to Fawlty Towers which only had 12 episodes but whose legacy is larger than many series which last 10 times longer.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend At Bernie's

Nice weekend. Went to Tal Bagel's on Friday for brunch which has now become somewhat of a minhag. Is nice to have a routine like that - like the girls did in Sex and the City. Apologies to the voyeurs out there - there are no salacious conversations to report back.

Friday night dinner was just the three of us and finished eating by around 6.30 which is always fun.

After we played the new Trivial Pursuit 80s edition which was fun. The six categories are Headlines which is basically news then sports and wild card. The traditional pink Entertainment category has been split into three - movies, television and music. So if popular culture isn't your strong suit, you could be in trouble.

For some strange reason they have changed the board which was consistent with most if not all of the previous editions.

Shabbas lunch we had a bunch of people over and heard the good news that Benny Sela was caught. Finally somes good news :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You Tube Songs I Like Part III

When it comes to Elton John, his songs need no introduction.

I just love Don't Go Breaking My Heart.

Take simple lyrics, add catchy tune and big glasses and you have yourself a Number One Hit.

Here they are in 1977 at Wembley

Some 20 years later at Madison Square Garden they've still got it.

And here is the original very basic video clip if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

You Tube Songs I Like Part II

For all the hype and pizzazz about the Rolling Stones, facts are they are one of the greatest of all time and if they didn’t have bucket loads of ability and talent they wouldn’t be around today.

You Can't Always Get What You Want is one of my favorite songs of theirs. It came out 37 years ago today on the Let It Bleed album and sounds as good as it most likely did then.

I love the clip as it shows a very very young Mick Jagger strutting his stuff. The haircuts, the fashion and the choir all add to its charm.

Advertisers love using the song in campaigns because of its catchy tune but more importantly the message its bringing as well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bottoms Up!

Nice weekend with the in-laws around. Been shepping Nachas and doing alot of kvelling with the granddaughter.

Had a nice Shabbas and the conversation around the table was quite interesting ranging from Borat to Bo Diddly and everyone inbetween.

Call me naive, but part of the discussion had me in shock. Still getting over it.

The subject at hand was dating in Katamon and what was going down in the hood.

Female Guest: Apparently the trend today among girls in Katamon is to ask the guy to go through the back door and not the front so she retains her status.

DCDI: WTF? This can't be right can it?

Another Female Guest: I heard that as well about the Upper West Side.

Is this rumour urban legend joining the likes of the hole in the sheet or is this actually what's going on?