29 December, 2007

You see, dear, the giants are playing Dominoes

As I've mentioned in the past, we are lucky enough to live in the very top of a building on the very top of a hill, with a breathtaking view of the Judean mountains in quite a few directions. The hills are gorgeous, although the buildings themselves leave a bit to be desired on the outside - rows of seven story apartment buildings probably wouldn't have won the approval of Frank Lloyd Wright. But we enjoy our neighbors and our views, so it all works out for the best.

Now, the sun rises more or less in the East, so when choosing which bus stop our kids would wait at in the morning, we soon switched from the one on the West side of our building to the one on the East. It hadn't occurred to us, but the buildings create a huge shadow on the West side, making it a chilly morning over there. I happened to be out on the balcony one morning not long ago, and I suddenly realized that not only was this shadow quite visible, it was a bit humorous as well.

No? I could totally see images like this inspiring anything from
Greek myths to Just So stories. Where did the elephant get his long nose? And why do we hear big explosions when it rains? And what the heck are those lumps that we see on the hillside every morning?

20 December, 2007

Mmmm... vinyl...

A lot of the things you find in stores here in Israel are imported from faraway countries, not all of them as first-world (or even second-world) as some might be accustomed. I'm talking about all kinds of things: clothing, toys, household goods and more. The labels on some of these things are a wellspring of humor just waiting to be enjoyed as you shop - it's really great fun.

We purchased some birthday gifts for my niece this week (happy birthday,
Chana!) and I do hope that she enjoys them all. While wrapping one of them, I happened to notice some interesting notations on the back. I must say, she may not enjoy this gift for all the tempting reasons that the manufacturer thinks she will, but who knows? Kids these days are a lot more advanced than when I was younger - maybe it's just me who thinks this list isn't attractive.

First, the product: a doll.

She's cute enough, pink hair and all, how can you go wrong? But check out the back of the package:

Movable arms and legs - that's a good one. A sure sign of quality playtime. Perhaps the rooted hair is just a goofy translation - the information is still helpful. This hair is soft and brushable, not just painted on. I suppose the painted eyes might be impressive, it seems she's had her makeup done.

But kids choosing one doll over another because of its vinyl head? We truly live in a brave new world.

14 December, 2007

Standing room only

Here's an easy photo to post - it speaks for itself. This is a shot of my husband the rebel, apparently breaking a few laws with one simple stance. Ah, the beauty of simplicity.

Have a good weekend all!

08 December, 2007

Apparently, not even one of us can do it right

Here's a picture that I've wanted to put up for some time now. It's another one of those that strikes me as hilarious every time I see it, and yet I have the feeling that many of you out there may not see the humor. Well, I suppose it can't hurt to try.

This is a sign (i.e. photocopy of a newspaper article) that is
taped to a closet that was originally in my coworker's office. The closet has since moved much closer to where I sit, and so I have the fun daily opportunity to notice and chuckle. Here you go - see if you can figure out where the chuckle-factor lies:

It's an article listing tips (tipim, in Hebrew) for ways that those (like me) who work in front of a computer all day can keep healthy. It's full of good information: take regular breaks, angle your monitor properly, make sure that your chair is at the right height, and so on. And they visually demonstrate so well just how to sit, and how absolutely not to sit.

And therein lies the fun. Because they didn't seem to have any tr
ouble finding a picture of a real live person sitting uncomfortably and looking frustrated as anything in front of a computer. Just look at her, it's downright sad. (I do apologize for the photo quality - remember, it's a photo of a photocopy of a newspaper article...)

However, when looking for the perfectly positioned (and smiling!) specimen, there seemed to be no choice but to use an artist's rendition. Because, my friends, that specimen is apparently fictitious. So, the next time your back is aching after a long stretch of whatever you do at a desk, don't give yourself too hard a time - for better or for worse, you're one of us.

03 December, 2007

I'm not sure there's much they could have done about this one

I remember the days when navigating the streets of Jerusalem was a real challenge - back to back crowded side streets that always seemed to go in circles. Driving in Israel anywhere can be a challenge, although I've said for years that my transition from Chicago driving to Israel driving was made much easier by living in Boston for three years in between. Those Boston drivers are nuts (and of course we love them for it), and they make the famed Israeli crazy driver look like a pussycat. I was once witness to a Boston driver crossing in front of three lanes of traffic, turning right from the far left turn lane. But let's not get off the subject.

The point was meant to be: not too many years ago the Jerusalem municipality decided to plop down a lovely, spacious highway, right in the middle of the highest traffic areas. Crazy though it seemed at the time, it has made gettin
g around a lot easier, and a lot less time consuming. The highway of course needed a name, and so it was decided to pay tribute to the recently deceased former Prime Minister, Menachem Begin. Of course, to use his full name would be a bit of a mouthful, and so these signs can be seen all over the city:

This seemed pretty normal, until my brother (hi, Benjy!) came for the year, and started asking questions. "What, is it a race? Why are they telling us to begin?"

And I just haven't been able to look at it the same ever since.