Sunday, December 31, 2006

Save the Date

June 24, 2007 is the day the IBL, or Israel Baseball League, holds its opening day.

For the coming season, six teams will compete for the Israel championship. Modiin wasn't able to get a team yet, but I hope we can get one when the league expands at some point in the future.

Until Modiin gets a team, we'll have to make due watching the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox, The Petach Tikva Pioneers, The Jerusalem/Gezer Lions, the Haifa/Nahariya Stingrays, the Tel Aviv Lightning, and my personal favorite, the Netanya Tigers.

Seven Hours Missing

2006 is ending tonight, and I've lost seven hours. When I began the year, I was living in the Eastern Time Zone, but now that the year is ending, I am living in a different Time Zone, seven hours ahead.

I know, I know, it was my choice to move, but these seven hours are killing me. Because it means there were some things that I wanted to accomplish in 2006 which I simply ran out of time for.

Like losing weight. When the year started, I wanted to lose about 30 pounds. With the year ending so much earlier for me, there is no way I am ever going to reach that goal.

OK, I'm lying, I never really had a goal of losing weight. But I could have had that goal, and having the extra time would have been helpful.

I wanted to write a book this year. That didn't happen. And I wanted to write more fiction on the blog. But that didn't happen either.

I wanted to start a podcast, but didn't have time for that. And I wanted to meet Jameel at the Muqata and Still Wonderin, but could not make that happen.

Hmm. What else did I want to accomplish is 2006.

Not much else, really. But the seven hours lost this year definitely impacted my ability to reach my goals.

Something for all you kids out there to think about before you move to a different time zone.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I was reading the Jeusalem Post this morning when an article caught my eye titled When Abba Becomes Ima, Transsexuals in Jewish Life, or something like that. So I was skimming the article, which talks about how Mordechai from Toronto became Nicole, and is attempting to live continue his/her life in Toronto.

So here is the interesting thing. There was a secondary article which added a bit more information, including a few quotes from my friend, Miskin, as he talks about his friend, Mordechai/Nicole. And the article makes it pretty clear that Mordechai went to Yeshiva.

Now, if I went to the same yeshiva as Miskin, and Miskin was childhood friends with Mordechai, it makes it somewhat likely that I was in high school with Mordechai/Nicole. Especially since the article uses the term Rebbe when referring to an unnamed former teacher, rather than Rabbi, making it more likely that Mordechai went to Ner rather than one of the other schools in the Toronto area.

Very interesting.

So anyway, I want to get in touch with Miskin, for a number of reasons, but don't have his email address, so if any of you know how to get in touch with him, let me know. you can reach me at firstnamelastname at g mail dot com

Stat of the Day

I was watching SportsCenter this morning on ESPN and heard this amazing stat.

This past week was the first time in 34 years that the New York Giants scored touchdowns within the first three minutes of back to back games and lost both games by double digits.

Response - Aren't boys expressive?

Dear N,

Um, I am your friend.

I love you. I want to come to your class. Nothing else now.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

An E-mail

This morning, my daughter asked me to write an e-mail to her long-lost friend in Detroit. They have known each other since birth since they went to the same babysitter, camp and preschool. I thought it was so cute, so here it is. It'll probably be on their wedding DVD in about 18 years.

Dear Y,

Do you love my mittens? They are finger puppets. My name is N. How is your class? I love you very much. I miss you. You are my boyfriend still. My new friends are Ido, Talia G., Racheli, and my Morahs are Osnat, and Laya, and Sara, and that's it. Ido is also my boyfriend. And you are also my boyfriend, so don't be upset. I love you very much, so much.

When are you going to visit me? And I miss you very, very, very much, the walls will break down.


Dov Bear-Gate

Dov Bear reminds us to never trust a blogger

Dov Bear is a Blog. One of the more popular one, if popularity can be defined by links from other blogs. According to The Truth Laid Bear, which claims to measure links to a blog, Dov Bear is the 20th most linked-to blogger in the J-blogosphere.

Dov Bear is known for its liberal bend, his disappointment in modern-day torah leadership, and his punishing attacks on people he perceives as his enemy.

For a time, I enjoyed reading Dov Bear. There was always something new there, as he posts at a frenetic pace.

After a while I got bored of his holier than though stance coupled with his vicious mean streak. It was never enough for Dov Bear to knock someone down. He needed to throw in a few kicks for good measure as well.

Last week, an unknown blogger published 14 instances where Dov Bear plagiarised from others, without giving attribution to his sources. The unknown blogger, who called his blog DovWeasel, compared original sources to Dov Bear, showing where exactly Dov Bear copied his material from.

While not all 14 instances are clear cut plagiarism, and 1 instance seems to be a missed link where Dov Bear wrote Source, he quite clearly tried to pass off real writer's ideas as his own.

Dov Weasel sent out an email to 53 bloggers, citing the plagiarism.

On Sunday, in a post titled My Mea Culpa, Dov Bear apologized for his mistake and laziness in not attributing posts properly.

I don't hold Dov Bear to the same writing standard that I hold Mitch Albom, or even myself. To my knowledge, Dov Bear is an online bully who has no qualifications for formulating an opinion, other than his ability to copy and paste. He tries to pass his blog off as the source of information for the online Jew, but the truth is, he is as anonymous a blogger as there is out there. Anyone who relies on Dov Bear for anything more than nickel entertainment is foolish as well.

But the thing that really gets me are the people defending Dov Bear in the comment section, and attacking Dov Weasel. They want to know why he said what he said, and what he is getting out of attacking the beloved Dov Bear.

Why did DW do it? I have no idea. Probably, he thought it would be interesting. Most likely he was an avid reader, and came across some unattributed quote in a different article. He did some more research, found a few more questionable items, and tried to bust Dov Bear.

Who is DW? I don't know. For all I know, it could be Dov Bear himself trying to get things riled up a bit, and see if he can overcome the self-created scandal. I don't think Dov Bear is bright enough a blogger to pull that kind of thing off, but who knows, maybe he just is that smart.

Bloggers like to pretend that their blogs matter. Maybe some do, but the vast majority of our blogs are just electronic dust on the web. If Dov Bear wants to pass off other people's ideas as his own, that's his right. And its Dov Weasel's right to try and uncover that plagiarism, which he in fact accomplished.

For the rest of us, it is reader beware.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

New Fiction

There's the beginning of a new story on the Deuce. You can find it here. Comments, as always, are welcome.

December 24

This morning I looked out the window of my office. I work on the eighth floor, my office overlooking the Four, or K'Vish Ga'eh, as the locals call it. The road, headed toward Tel Aviv, was packed. During my commute, only an hour earlier, my ride and I laughed at those poor bastards sitting in traffic. We knew where the backup began, and knew that they were in for a long wait. As I looked down on traffic, I wondered if the cars we saw at the same intersection an hour earlier had made it through the jam, or if they were still sitting there, looking at their gas gauge and tapping on their steering wheel, trying to get to work on time.

An hour passed, and I looked down on the road again. This time, at least as far north as Ranaana, it was all clear.

Business as usual in Israel.

I have one very distinct, very perfect, Christmas memory.

For some reason that I can no longer imagine, I was walking through Manhattan on Christmas morning. The city that is defined by its constant buzz was silent, its legendary traffic jams were clear; the roads were empty. Snow was falling that morning, light and fluffy.

It was, for me, a perfect New York morning.

There were years when I volunteered to work on Christmas. I knew, then, of course, that I would be turned down. I work in a field that shuts down in late December and doesn't wake up until early January. There was no need to work on Christmas, and nothing to be done, but I hoped that my manager or boss would give me some bonus points for volunteering. I needed whatever bonus points I could get; I was cashing all my goodwill every winter Friday, bailing and dumping work on people that needed to be done by someone other than me, because it needed to be done on Friday night.

I watched the traffic on a busy Sunday morning. It was December 24th, just a few miles away from the place where legend has it, a child was born in a manger and a new religion was seeded. And it was business as usual in Israel.

I had a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I worked in an ad agency, a retail agency, and our main client, the one I spent three years working on and writing for, was Kmart. Christmas work helped pay my bills, but Christmas work began in June or July, when we first started to work on our Thanksgiving ads. There were six large Christmas ads. Thanksgiving, the last Sunday in November, and four weeks of December.

Then, there were the smaller, high-pressure midweek ads, some of them only four pages but crammed with up to sixty items, on a tight deadline. Their was an occasional Saturday ad, and then, for good measure, some extra January advertising, where we were giving almost everything in the store away at 60% off. And that was before Kmart filed for bankruptcy. The Christmas they were in Chapter 11, our ad managers and product merchandisers were under incredible amounts of pressure.

The Christmas work season finished, for the most part, just before Thanksgiving, just in time for me to be bombarded with Christmas everywhere. The fruits of our labor, and other ad agencies around the country, were all battling for attention in a marketplace that got increasingly more crowded and louder.

And I think it was sometime there, beneath the Christmas cacophony, that I decided I did not want to live in a world that spent five months a year on Christmas, pausing briefly for Valentine's Day, Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and of course, Christmas again.

This morning, as I stood looking out my window, there was only one reminder that tonight was Christmas Eve, that tomorrow was Christmas. It was the date on the bottom of my computer screen. December 24th, it said.

Tomorrow, while most of the world is quiet, I'll be on a conference call. Doing what I've always claimed to want to do on Christmas.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

For My Friend Scrambled Eggs

According to Yehoshua Meyer, the eyewitness to the incident, Shear's account is entirely accurate. "I saw everything," he said. "Someone got on the bus and demanded that she go to the back, but she didn't agree. She was badly beaten and her whole body sustained hits and kicks. She tried to fight back and no one would help her. I tried to help, but someone was stopping me from getting up. My phone's battery was dead, so I couldn't call the police. I yelled for the bus driver to stop. He stopped once, but he didn't do anything. When we finally got to the Kotel [Western Wall], she was beaten badly and I helped her go to the police."

You can go here for the whole story.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


It is the smallest of differences. One letter differentiates the S'vivon that my children are spinning this Chanukah from last year's model. One letter in English, too. The difference between Peh and Shin, Here and There. All it takes for the little letter to change is uprooting your life, your career and family, and suddenly, instead of celebrating events that happened somewhere, we're celebrating Chanukah in Modi'in, in the very place where Chanukah was born. Its like drinking a coke, in Atlanta, or driving a Ford on I-96. Some things just seem to go together.


I was thinking about this one difference. Not only in relation to Chanukah, though. Sometimes all it takes in one play, and instead of the championship series in Ranana, we're in the consolation bracket in Tel Aviv.

Its the annual Little League Chanukah Tournament. We played a double header today. We lost to Yerushalayim and beat Kibbutz Gezer, finishing with a 1-1 record. It was good enough to be tied with Yerushalayim after the days games were completed, but since Yerushalayim beat us, they will be playing for the glory.

And it all came down to one simple play.

The final score in the game was 8-6, but at the time of the play, we were leading 4-3. There were two outs and the bases loaded for Yerushalayim, when their player hit a ground ball to our Shortstop. Our shortstop is a likeable kid, one of the best players on the team. He spent his summer in Krakow, helping the Israeli team place third in an international competition this summer.

In other words he can play.

He fielded the ground ball cleanly, and wanted to throw to third base. It was the smart play, and easiest throw for him to make, especially as he was headed toward third to field the grounder.

But our third baseman was watching the play instead of reacting to the play, and did not cover third base. Our Shortstop looked toward second, only to find that our second baseman was not standing on the base either. By this time, there was no play at first any more, and the shortstop held the ball.

Five minutes later we had given up a four more runs, and were losing 8-4. We made it close, but didn't have enough punch in our lineup to break through and overcome our errors.

One play. If we make it, if our kids heads are in the game, we go to Ranana for the championship.

Instead, we get to play for the consolation tournament.


The smallest of numbers, the narrowest of margins and the slimmest change. But that one letter on the svivion, that one play at third base, and it made all the difference in the world.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

People, Israel needs you!!

"Title: facts about Palestinians
Name: Khalid

According to the latest figures, there are up to 10 million Palestinians in Palestine/Israel and the Diaspora.In Israel/Palestine, the Palestinian population is nearly 5 million and fifty thousand.It is expected that within 20 years, there will be more than 8 million in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.It is highly probable that there are today as many Palestinians in Israel and Palestine as there are Jews.Moreover, there are 30 Palestinians and colleges in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with as many as 50,000 College students.The number of Palestinian school children for the year 2006 has topped the 1.2 million the "there is no Paletine or Paletinians" canard is nothing short of a morbid denial of reality."

I don't usually make political statements on this blog, or anywhere else for that matter, but I was astounded by these stats in response to a Haaretz Op-Ed on the web. If these statistics are accurate, we are in bigger trouble than I thought. There is power in numbers. As of right now, there are 6,000,000 Jews in Israel. I know, a meaningful number.

But only people who still haven't made Aliyah can increase our numbers significantly. If you all come and bring your families, we'll out-number them.

Seriously, I'm waiting for you.

Hey Shlomo, Stay Jewish

It is Israel, and it is the holiday season. That time of year when TV stations play the classic holiday movies that we have grown to love over the year.

And that is why, on this night before the first night of Chanukah, we're watching the classic Hebrew Hammer, as we get in the holiday spirit.

Tehillim or Tefila

Please have in mind: Hinda Raizel Bat Sara

My Bubby is having a lumpectomy today under general anesthesia. (CORRECTION: heavy sedation and local.) She is 90.

UPDATE: She is well, Thank God, and I saw her last night on Skype. Which she thinks is AWESOME, by the way. Thanks for all your Tefilot. Thanks, too, to the dozen or so ladies at the Kotel who were innocently saying Tehillim before I accosted them and asked them to keep my Bubby in mind.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I love that, although you are mentally, physically, or emotionally unable to change the toilet paper roll, you capably cut open the laundry detergent and expertly poured it into the container.

Kol HaKavod!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

3 seconds of your time

This illustrates how we have become totally dependent on our computers...

Are you male or female?

To know the answer, look down!!!

Not here, Stupid


It rained here for the first time in a month. The Israelis are now driving at normal speeds. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Everybody Knows

I work with a woman named Liat. Liat is South African, and the two of us share an office.

Liat would not know a football if it drilled her right between the eyes. She asks me to stop talking about the Lions every Monday morning, usually right after she asks who the Lions are again.

But this morning I kept going. I talked about how Artuse Pinner was cut by the Lions, and came back to Detroit yesterday to torch the Lions for three touchdowns. This, just after Joey made his 3-TD triumphant return.

So what did Liat say, when presented with all this information.

"Clearly they need to change who's making the personnel decisions there."

If it's so clear to a South African girl who thinks 100 yards is just a big neighborhood, why can't Mr. Ford see it?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Bus Incident

Last week my friend Miriam sent me an email about her experience on the #2 bus. The email began with Dear Naomi, who I assumed to be Naomi Ragen. Naomi Ragen, the author, has an emailing list that I used to be on until I switched email addresses, and this seemed like her kind of story.

Anyway, that's not the point.

So an anonymous commenter asked me what I thought about the story. Because anonymous, whoever he is, knows that everyone on this blog has read some of Miriam's writings on Air Time before.

If you want to comment on the story there are over 300 comments on Dov Bear, and 60 or so on Emes V'Emunah, and probably a ton more on the other blogs that the story is found on. I'm not going to bother with the story itself.

The last time she wrote on Air Time, she was not named by name. Can you guess the name we call this prolific email writer on Air Time?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

the Joy of Kablash

I don't know if this is an Israeli tradition, or just a tradition at the company I work for, but I am really enjoying Kablash.

Kablash, of course, is an acronym, which stands for Kabbalat Shabbat. Looknig closely at the word, it is not a pure acronym, but I will leave that for the language blogs to work that one out.

Anyway, Kablash is basically Thursday afternoon snack time. Remember Shabbos party in nursery school. Think that, but with adults at work without the singnig and no one gets to be the Shabbos Abba. And there is no challah baking, like they have at my littlest's gan.

So maybe it is not the same thing exactly, but it is snack time at the end of the work week, in honor of Shabbat.

And if you're wondering about my vascillating between Shabbat and Shabbos, well, so am I. Its some kind of reconciliation between my past and my present. One day maybe it will be worked out, and maybe it won't.

But one thing is certain.

Thursday afternoon Kablash is a nice break in the work day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


So you may remember this story. Friend of mine gets married in Louisville, we all drive down there, the wedding is dairy, and we BBQ during the wedding. Some might even say we saved the wedding.

Well, the dairy couple is at it again. Through my investigative research (also known as readin the IM in our chat), I have discovered that they are going to raise the child as a dairy eater, by scheduling to have him/her born on Shavuot.


Monday, December 04, 2006

No good title comes to mind

I am not a film buff. I don't spend too much time analyzing movies and talking about them. I almost never watch the deleted scenes or alternative endings in DVDs, because I trust the director.

That having been said, there are times when they show alternative versions of movies I have seen. Like in the TV version of Road Trip, Stiffler (OK, not stiffler, but that is what I call him in every movie he is in) ends up with the blind chick instead of the med student.

So that having been said, I was very pleased to find that American Pie was on TV last Thursday night. Veev and I settled into the coach, with an Artichoke and dip on each of our laps, while, in a bowl, and the dip was actually between us, but whatever, you know what I mean, we weren't sitting at the table eating, we were just eating and watching the classic American Pie.

So we are watching and things are going along just fine. Jim's dad brings him his reading material, the Sherminator seems to have grown from Sherman the boy to Sherman the man.

Kevin gave his speech and read the book his brother led him to and Vicky was, as always, quite pleased. But then, Jim walks into his kitchen, and sees the Pie. And here is where the movie takes a dramatic turn from the version Veev and I saw in the theater a few years back, and on video or cable every now and again.

In the states, the scene with the pie takes place while Jim is standing up. However, in the version we saw on Thursday night, Jim is actually lying down on the counter with the pie underneath him.

Later, there are more differences in the film. In the US version of the film, it is very ambiguous whether Oz has fulfilled his end of the pact. However, in the version we just saw, it is quite clear that Oz and the Goody Goody Choir Priss girl fulfilled their end of the bargain. And Stiffler does walk into the pool room where Finch and Stifflers mom are hanging out, which may have happened in the US version of the film, but I can't remember.

The final scenes at Stiffler's graduation party are more detailed, leading to a richer understanding of the events of the critical night in the movie. All in all, I thought that these extras enhanced the film, although the scene with the pie in the kitchen was just as good standing up as it was lying down.

And that's all I have to say about that.