30 March, 2008

Not just any guy... well, maybe he is

This one is too easy - another example of someone who thought that adding some English to his sign would make it look so much more professional, but didn't have anyone who actually spoke English take a look at it first. Someone like that might have suggested that he use his whole first name, or maybe just drop the first name altogether. Oh, well.

23 March, 2008

A little bit beautiful, for Purim, and a little bit absurd, for Purim

A couple of weeks ago, our neighborhood suddenly overflowed with pale lavender and white flowering trees. I'm really no good at identifying botanical species (remember?), but I might naively guess that they were almond trees. Whatever they were, they were everywhere, and they all decided to jump into bloom at the same second. It was nothing short of breathtaking - quite otherworldly. I first noticed it just outside Efrat, on a late Friday afternoon, when we were in a rush to get to my brother's house for the weekend, and couldn't stop to take a picture. After that, the weather got really dusty and overcast, and it never seemed worthwhile to take one - wouldn't the weather surely improve tomorrow? Here's one that I tried taking during that week, but it really doesn't do justice:

Anyway, the weather finally cleared up. I went back to the original, magical spot, and the scene had entirely disappeared. The blossoms had continued on their path (toward fruit?), without waiting for me. It really was a shame, but that's life, I know.

And then, just a couple of days ago, I found this outside
a window of my office:

A slacker! A little baby flowering thing that couldn't keep up with the grown-ups! What luck! I snapped the photo and felt, for no good reason, much better.

But yesterday was Purim; we can't have a post with no humor at all. Here's something I got a picture of recently in a Chicago supermarket. This one totally took me by surprise:

Don't most people try to avoid calories? I could see, theoretically, someone buying a package of something because it advertised high vitamins, or low fat. But what's attractive about calories? It was all I could do to figure out what was even in the box - the shape or flavor does not seem to be for sale here as much as the calorie count. I just can't see this scenario. Hmm, I've got the Swiss cheese, I didn't forget the milk, yes, got the cucumbers... what's missing? Aha! How could I forget? I really could use 100 more calories.

Sorry, I tried, but I just can't manage to squeeze myself onto that wavelength.

Happy Purim!

14 March, 2008

A slight marketing exaggeration

Many of you may know this, but I recently flew back to the U.S. for a short visit. I left late at night, and was pretty exhausted on the plane. Yet something caught my eye - so outrageous, that even in my drowsy state I felt I had no choice but to pull out my trusty camera and take a shot. But before the photo, here's a fast micro-lesson in the laws of kosher food:

There exists a concept in Judaism of "glatt" kosher. According to Kashrut.com, "Glatt is Yiddish for smooth, and in the context of
kashrut it means that the lungs of the animal were smooth, without any adhesions that could potentially prohibit the animal as a treifa (non-kosher--T), an issue only applicable to animals, not fowl or non-meat products."

Okay, fair enough. Now, glatt has come, in many circles, to mean "super kosher," and so manufacturers like adding the word on whenever they get a chance. I suppose it's like the new custom of writing "fat-free" on things like raisins or cellphones - items that obviously have no fat, but seem even more appealing when it's pointed out. Although we don't eat red meat in our house, I often find myself eating chicken or turkey that has been labeled glatt. That's not really possible, as understood by the definition of glatt, but like I said, it sounds good, so the newly glatt items keep on coming.

Now, here's what I found on my kosher airline food:

Perhaps they're just referring to extra-creamy cheese, but come on... enough!

05 March, 2008

A real find at the Malcha Mall in Jerusalem

I'll tell you the truth - the big mall in Malcha is a bit pricey for me, and I try not to go too often. But about a month ago, there was something I had to pick up there, and of course the kids were with me, and of course the Purim costumes had just come out all over, so... I was talked into looking around a toy store for the skeleton costume that my son has been hoping to dress up in this year. They had two different skeletons to choose from, but I managed to talk him out of it for the time being. "Who knows, maybe we'll find something better in the next place, after all, Purim is still a month and a half away," I said, not in the mood to stick around (and likely overpay).

Needless to say, none of the many stores we checked in the following weeks had a skeleton costume. Not one! I was pretty surprised, and I was starting to feel really guilty. If they ran out of stock at the first place, I was going to be in real trouble. So tonight, we went back. Not only was my son's preferred skeleton costume (glow in the dark, naturally) still waiting patiently for him, it was marked half off! A happy ending for all.

But that was only the first lucky strike of the evening. On the way out, we saw this mild-mannered zebra-striped jeep riding mall thing.

Not so impressive, I know, I didn't take it too seriously at the beginning. But since two thirds of my kids had instinctively jumped in, I got closer, and discovered that this was no ordinary riding mall thing. Believe it or not, it dated back to Shakespearian times! Just see for yourself:

Now that was worth the trip.