Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Day

I know why you read blogs. You want to delve into the day to day minutae of others' lives, to break up your own. So here is the way I spent my day. I am neither being positive, nor negative.
7:06 After having slept with one eye open and one leg off my bed since 1:30AM, I roll over and wake up my four year old sharing a pillow with me.

7:40 Leave the house with Spaghetti and Meatballs - our 7 year old's lovebirds - in their cage to bring to said son's school for his Teva (Nature) class. It's raining.

7:45 Arrive at school and carry cage in to classroom. No teacher there yet, but there are 5 curious students in there.

7:55 Toss daughter out of car at her Gan so I don't have to get out again in the rain. She comes back to the car and says, "You forgot my umbrella, Mommy." Really.

8:12 Arrive at house worried that the service guy has come and gone. He said he'd be there between 8 and 10. I tear down note Air has left in Hebrew for service guy. At least I get a chuckle.

9:45 Service guy calls to say he'll be here in 20 minutes. I look at the clock and wonder what this means in Israel.

9:55 Second Grader calls from his cell to tell me I forgot to give him his 10 o'clock meal. I look and it's on the table. I tell him I can't bring it right now, but I will try to get it to him after service guy leaves.

10:15 Service guy arrives and works on fridge. He's very nice but complains it's too hot in here. It occurs to me that people who liv in this climate are unhappy no matter what in the winter. Outside at 50 degrees it's "freezing" and inside they refuse to turn on the heat. Interesting.

10:47 It's still raining. We both leave and I run to bring my son the meal he has forgotten, the bank to pick up my checks, the Iriya to spend them, and to the supermarket to buy out their supply of apple juice, apple sauce, and red and green apples. Note the consistency of my children's eating habits. At the Iriya I find out that I have not yet paid for something called "Mazganim" at my kids schools. I ask what it is, and the very patient lady behind the desk rolls her eyes and says, "air condition." I have no idea what she's talking about, and she tells me that everyone pays it, and I have to pay it, too. It's some kind of tax for having the kids sit in air condintioned classrooms in the summer months and heated classrooms in the winter. But....see 10:15. I pay it with a smile. I think about tuition in the US.

1:14 I arrive early at Gan and have a chance to ask one of my English-speaking friends who moved here at age 9 what the story is with this Mazganim. She pointed to the Gan and said, "I hope you didn't pay for the Mazganim here. It's a very old building. Nobody pays here." I just smile and nod. It was a whole 72 NIS for the year. It's OK, I tell myself, as I think about real tuition. It's still raining.

1:41 I pull up to Second Grader's building and ask the guard if two birds in a cage have left yet. I call out to playdate of SG and tell him to meet me at the corner. "Where???" Where you see Second Grader and a cage with birds. It's raining on the birds, and SG asks me, "Why are you so late?" Ooooh boy.

1:47-3:33 Too much to tell about playdate. Let's just say I love my own children. I know what to expect from them, and they know me pretty well. They know I hate balloons and repetitive noises, they know I like them to use a fork at lunch and they know not to put wet shoes on the white upholstery. Enough said. Play date announces he doesn't play games or toys. He only watches TV. SG and I look at each other, speechless. I serve a hot, Fleischig lunch and then sit down to eat when they are finished. I can't eat, and look at an eating kid I didn't raise, at the same time. Does this make sense to anyone?

2:30 Fifth Grader calls from his cell phone to tell me his playdate is moved to his friend's house instead of here. I dance a little. Might be my only exercise for the day.

3:33 I start laundry. I actually like to do the laundry. The machines are on the same floor as the clothes.

4:00 Play date for youngest is supposed to start, but I hate to wake the Princess from her nap because she had some trouble sleeping last night.

4:50 It's still raining and I drive youngest to her playdate a block away, but because of construction, have to drive six blocks to get there. I ask SG to separate his laundry while am gone.

5:05 SG has not separated laundry and is playing Gameboy. Sigh. Says he thought I meant to pick up laundry thrown onto the floor and put into basket.

5:55 Oldest would like to be picked up because it's still raining. I tell him Daddy will be home in a few minutes and will pick him up. I call playdate hostess of youngest and tell her to hold steady till the Daddy comes.

6:20 Air comes in and does an entire house search for the car keys, and I worry I have left them in the car. After a few panicky minutes, Air realizes he has them in his pocket. He needs to get more sleep.

6:45 That's now. Air is home. Have a good night.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards are named after 81year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case inspiredthe Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States. Here are this year's winners:

5th Place (tie):
19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th Place (tie):
Terrence Dickson of Bristol , Pennsylvania , was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish . The jury agreed, to the tune of $500,000.

4th Place:
Jerry Williams of Little Rock , Arkansas , was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on thebuttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The awardwas less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who had climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3rd Place:
A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster , Pennsylvania , $113,500. aftershe slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor becauseMs. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2nd Place:Kara Walton of Claymont , Delaware , successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city whenshe fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred whileMs. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

1st Place:
This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Mrs. Grazinski purchased abrand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having drivenonto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back& make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.

Modiin Miracles

It seems that the powers that be have decided to award Modiin with a team in the inaugural Israel Baseball League season.

It seems from the schedule that there will not be any games played on Shabbat. Friday games take place at 11:00 AM, and Saturday night games take place at midnight. There are also no games scheduled on Erev Tisha Ba'av or on Tisha Ba'av.

All of Modiin's home games will start at 7:00 pm, and will be played at the field in Kibbutz Gezer.

The All Star game will take place on Sunday, July 29 at 7 PM.

Here is the schedule for the first 10 games of the season. Tickets on sale soon.

Sun, June 24 - Petach Tikva
Mon, June 25 - At Petach Tikva
Tue, June 26 - Netanya
Wed, June 27 - At Bet Shemesh
Thu, June 28 - At Tel Aviv
Fri, June 29 - Bet Shemesh
Sun, July 1 - Nahariya
Mon, July 2 - Netanya
Tue, July 3 - At Petach Tikva
Wed, July 4 - At Tel Aviv

You can find the entire season's schedule at www.israelbaseballleague.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Israelification of the Kids

So the kids are at Soccer. Not playing. Watching.

It seems that if you want to go to a game here, you have two choices.


And right now they are at Teddy Stadium watching soccer.

Go HaPoel. I think.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Very Funny Diversion

Some Frank Talk About Urinals

I like urinals. That's not to say that I have one in my house yet, but the truth is, the urinal is really a highly evolved toilet.

There are, as any man who has ever been in a public restroom knows, several types of urinals. There is the ceiling to floor urinal, which does not discriminate against children and midgets or dwarves. There is the junior urinal, which was designed for children, midgets and dwarfs and hangs a good six inches lower than the standard urinal. And of course, there is the standard urinal, which hangs on the wall, and is the proper height for your average non-midget adult male.

There are other urinal types. A enterprising man in some foreign country created the standard urinal, but instead of white porcelain, the urinal was in the shape of a woman's lips. Tasteless, perhaps, but good for a laugh.

Inside the urinal, there are usually several pieces of soap, and on occasion, even some type of spinner for men to try and spin.

I tell you all this not merely because I use a urinal several times a day, but because there is not enough urinal talk in the J-blogosphere.

There are dangers to the urinal. Children like to touch the sides of urinals, especially when they are too short and need to hike themselves up a bit to get themselves over the edge (I am not sure if this applies to midgets or dwarves as well).

Urinals also come with different flushing mechanisms. Some randomly spray water down the sides intermittently throughout the day, while other require a flush. Some more modern urinals have automatic eyes, which flush when you step away, and who among us has never felt the misty spray of an automatic flusher that flushed too early.

Anyway, the reason I told you all this is to discuss the urinal at work. It is an Israeli urinal, and I don't believe it is made out of the same porcelain that it's US counterparts are composed of. It is not as shiny.

The urinal at work is deeper than most urinals, meaning that the distance from where the urinator stands (in this instance, me) is farther away from the back wall of the urinal than most urinals I have experienced. Surprisingly, the extra few inches that the urinator stands back actually protects the urinator from the urinal's darkest secret and biggest crime. Splashback.

With the deeper urinal, there is no risk of splashback regardless of how strongly you hit the wall.

The urinals are so deep, that they remind me of the precursor to the urinal, the trough.

Troughs are hard to find these days. The last time I used a trough was September 27, 1999, at the final game in Tiger Stadium. Talk about a bathroom that could move people. Dozens of people could use the trough at the same time. And while urinals have improved privacy issues, the price we pay is longer lines.

So, just to review.

Urinals - Good
Splashback - Bad
Urinals without Splashback - Good
Troughs - Excellent

Class dismissed

More on the Israel Baseball League

You can actually order hats for your favorite Israeli baseball teams. Just click here.