Tuesday, January 25, 2005

as long as josh is still reading, it's worth scrounging up the obsurd meaningless moments of my days and collecting them here for future generations to enjoy. observe. learn from my errors. bask in my glory. fidget in my awkwardness. wallow in my misery. speak only when spoken to. eat all their vegetables. avoid scurvey like the plague.

for my part, i'm off to get packing. how many doors do you have to knock on before someone has a scale you can borrow to weigh your bags that are burdened with books you fear may tear a whole through the cheap fabric....5. now, THAT'S trivia!

when i'll blog next, nobody knows.......

so, less than 48 hours to go and i'll be on my way to new york. im mildly apprehensive. it's been a long while. did i ramble about this already? probably. i wonder if i'm different. i guess we'll find out. you know what i love about israel? it's just very friendly. really. or maybe it just makes me very friendly. to wit, i got on the sherut (that would be the pseudo-taxi that gets me home) and there's a guy sitting there with a whole bunch of balloons, so i wish him mazel tov. then on the walk down the block i see a dog run across the street, and a couple sitting there not paying attention, so i stop to ask if it's their dog and tell them to be careful cos it's running amok (well, not really, just wandering into the road, which is bad enough). all this at one in the morning. and everyone's nice about it all. can i adjust back into an atmosphere that's so formal? we'll see. at least i'm not british. or worse, japanese. israel is very make it or break it for the japanese. either they go crazy and have to go home, or they turn into giant slackers after about six months (i've seen this, it's quite entertaining).

i wonder who's reading this. i've been curious about this for a while now. i know there are some regulars. i wonder if there's anyone i dont know. probably. there have been a few stray comments from people i dont recognize, which is always nice.

who are you voyeur!?

Monday, January 24, 2005

i've decided that "take on me" is a surprisingly sweet song once you figure out what the hell those swedes are saying. i've heard rumor that chasemanhatten will pay arabic speakers 150,000 starting. i've become mildly apprehensive about going back to new york, even though it's only a visit. still very excited, but it's been quite a while, and last time barely counted cos it was so short. i hope it isn't too strange. i want my family to move into the new house already so i can have a study. i've always wanted a study. i want to fill it with books from floor to ceiling. i want it to have a wet bar. want want want. shut up. i like that i'm rambling. it's what is it its that chain of no stream of conciousness. yes. i used to love kerouac as a kid. he's really entertaining at that age. ah. now. well. let's see. what am i thinking about now i'm thinking about i'm thinking about thinking love thinking love thinking love thinking? no thinking about love. decided that it's time. the details will come later. the who's and the how's and the what's and the whatnots. not important for now. but it's been decided. and adventure. adventure. tomorrow perhaps an adventure back to passia. this time with D. he keeps pressing me to go, and tomorrow really is my last opportunity before going to ny. hope they're open. some muslim holiday last week. i'd like to make 150k. i should work harder on arabic. i should finish this paper. should should should. fuck. damn. ok. i should probably sleep. but eh. it's ok. slept enough. more than enough. really. need to get work done. love six feet under. fucking love it. is this enough? probably. yeah.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

it's weird when you start laughing at what was once the epitomie of pain and spend your long night walk home singing the same few lines of old billie holiday songs. (isn't 'old' a bit rhetorical there? perhaps that's relative)


i wached 'the salton sea' tonight. really good film. there was a great line in it that i wanted to share, but now it's slipped my mind. perhaps i'll remember to ask D tomorrow, and perhaps he'll even remember it. eh....the point of this post? not sure...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

it wont stop raining. it's crazy. it's not even regular normal rain, it's crazy tel aviv rain, where it's like the heavens turn into one giant high pressure showerhead and the lightning pops like collosus 19th century flash bulbs and the thunder sounds out like armaggedons trumpet. indeed, it is raining really fucking hard.

a professor died today, but not one that i knew. he had a heart attack in the middle of a lecture with the british ambassador. the Advisor wouldnt postpone class though, much to his credit.

everything feels ominous.

on a lighter side, i've learned several new and excellent jokes. some of you have probably gotten these emailed to you, but maybe there are people out there i dont know reading this, in which case, um, i'd be interested to know who you are. that'd be super neat.

first joke!
A Syrian bomber plane is flying over the Middle-East and one of their engines dies. The pilot radios for help saying, "This is the Syrian bomber A-14. We've lost one of our engines and request permission to land anywhere in the Middle-East EXCEPT Israel."There is no response.

They lose another engine and radio again: "This is the Syrian bomber A-14. We've lost two of our engines and request permission to land anywhere in the Middle-East EXCEPT Israel."Again, no response.

A few more minutes go by and they radio again: "This is the Syrian bomber A-14. We've lost three of our engines. If we do not land now, we are going to crash. We request permission to land anywhere in the Middle-East INCLUDING Israel."

All of the sudden, the radio comes alive: "Shalom, this is Tel Aviv, how can we help?"The pilot replies: "This is the Syrian bomber plane A-14. We need to land immediately or we are going to die. Can you help us?"The air-traffic controller replies: "Sure thing, but I need to give you some very detailed instructions and my Arabic is not too good. Does anyone on the plane speak Hebrew?"
The pilot asks his crew to no avail. "No, no one on the plane can speak Hebrew. What should we do?"
"Don't worry. Don't worry. All you have to do is repeat after me. Are you ready?"
"Sure. Sure. We're ready."

"All right, here goes. Repeat after me:Yitgadal, v'yitkadash, sh'mey rabah, b'alma di v'rah chirutay........."

second joke!

A sign at a business establishment in Philadelphia, PA: "WE WOULD RATHER DO BUSINESS WITH 1000 ARAB TERRORISTS THAN WITH A SINGLE JEW"

This sign was prominently displayed in the window of a business in Philadelphia. Most would be outraged at the thought of such an inflammatory statement... One would think that anti-hate groups from all across the country would be marching on this business... And that the National Guard might have to be called to keep the angry crowds back...

But, perhaps in these stressful times one might be tempted to let the proprietors simply make their statement... We are a society who holds Freedom of Speech as perhaps our greatest liberty... And after all it is just a sign... You may ask what business would dare post such a sign?

Goldberg's Funeral Home

joke 3!

The Saudi Ambassador to the UN has just finished giving a speech and walks out into the lobby where he meets President Bush. They shake hands and as they walk the Saudi says, "You know, I have just one question about what I have seen in America."President Bush says, "Well your Excellency, anything I can do to help you, I will do."
The Saudi whispers, "My son watches this show 'Star Trek' and in it there are Russians, Africans and Asians, but never any Arabs. He is very upset. He doesn't understand why there are never any Arabs in Star Trek."
President Bush laughs and leans toward the Saudi and whispers back, "It's because it takes place in the future...."

last one!

A man arrives at Ben Gurion International Airport with 2 large bags.The customs agent opens the first bag and finds it full with money indifferent currencies.

The agent asks the passenger, "How did you getthismoney?"The man says, "You will not believe it, but I traveled all overEurope, went into public restrooms, each time I saw a man pee, Igrabbed his organ and said, "donate money to Israel or I will cut-offyour balls."

The customs agent is stunned and mumbles: "Well...it's a veryinteresting story... what do you have in the other bag?"

The man says, "You would not believe how many people in Europe do notsupport Israel"


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

what of those we see but never speak to? those who fill momentary daylight dreams and the twilight consciousness before sleep conquers us? do they see us? do they dream of who we might be, of what we are and are not? do they wonder how fast our hearts beat or how we spent childhood summers? do they imagine shame or our deepest miseries? do they spend the twilight of their consciousness dieing with us into old age? as we have done so many times.

twilight fades with the memory of strangers.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Just listened to Etta James' version of Randy Newmans 'God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)'

(although i'm a bit suspicious, cos she'd have to have been quite old to have covered one of his songs, but who am i to challenge google?)

anyway, here are the lyrics:

Cain slew Abel Seth knew not why
For if the children of Israel were to multiply
Why must any of the children die?
So he asked the Lord And the Lord said:
Man means nothing he means less to me
Than the lowliest cactus flower
Or the humblest Yucca tree
He chases round this desert
'Cause he thinks that's where I'll be
That's why I love mankind

I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
From the squalor and the filth and the misery
How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
That's why I love mankind

The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
They picked their four greatest priests
And they began to speak
They said, "Lord, a plague is on the world
Lord, no man is free
The temples that we built to you
Have tumbled into the sea
Lord, if you won't take care of us
Won't you please, please let us be?"
And the Lord said I burn down your cities-how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
You all must be crazy to put your faith in me
That's why I love mankind

You really need me
That's why I love mankind

i love six feet under. love it. i'd buy a dvd player just to own all the episodes. i wish i knew which ones i've missed. one day i'll have to sit down and just watch all of them. perhaps i should find someone willing to sit with me. anyone? anyone?

....adventure...think adventure.....

Sunday, January 16, 2005

the AFP are such scum, really. it's not just their normal anti-israel, anti-american bias, it's there completely shoddy reporting. just look at this. it's like the entire press agency is run by french jason blayers.

is there anything more torturous than renting a DVD that's all scratched up, to the point where no matter how much you huff and puff and do that weird *heeeh* hot breath blowing thing on it, it's still fucked up? all the actors start stuttering and it looks like everyone's doing the mr. roboto dance. still, it came out of a vending machine, and i dont think i'll ever get over how neat that is. oh, i rented the life of david gale. pretty good.

i've also discovered myspace.com, a good long time after everyone else abandoned lame friendster and moved on to this new fangled thing. well, we all know how i feel about technology. it's all one big tsunami waiting to suck me in. paranoid? never. bah. not really. i'm exaggerating. sorta. yes. maybe.

perhaps i have a weird desire to be watched. perhaps im just bored. perhaps im just finding ridiculous ways to keep myself from doing things i should be doing. bafhdaflkdajflk. minor outbursts. bear with me. i need to go have an adventure. i need to do something exciting. it'll happen. i feel it brewing. whatever it's going to be, it's going to be big. real big. kaplowi big. sumo big. uber-big. just wait. ooooh, just you wait....

Thursday, January 13, 2005

hmmm.. i wish i had something insightful to write about, but i haven't been feeling particularly insightful lately. am i ever insightful? not too likely. hmmm, wait, i think i've got something.

so in history and historiography we were talking about Yazid Saygh (that's Sy-er) and his book Armed Struggle and the Search for State. Probably the best account of Palestinian nationalism written. We discussed how Saygh never uses the word 'terrorism' in his book. this is understandable. he doesn't refer to either jewish or arab terrorism as such. the stern gang and hamas are demarkated as terrorist organizations. this is quite respectable on saygh's part as he's writing history, and in doing so he's giving the reader the facts and leaving the judgement up to others. terrorism is a label that carries a lot of weight, and that weight can often be misproportioned. anyway, i wont get into all that.

i did, however, think of an interesting story that i'll bring up next time to see what the prof has to say. back in high school a friend of mine had a button with a swastika with the international sign for 'no' across it. (i.e. no smoking). A teacher stopped her and told her to take it off because it would offend someone. she retorted, "who am i going to offend? nazis?"

there's something appropriate in this when it comes to using the word terrorism. the problem of giving a clear definition that covers all grounds. well, there are certain cases that are clearly acts of terror. i think if a writer gives a definition of terror, than certain cases can safely be referred to as such, while others will simply have to be left ambiguous. however, the writer would still be quite bold in doing this, and i'm not convinced using a term like terrorism is necessary or appropriate when writing history. all one needs to do is explain, say, the munich olympics and what happened. the word terrorism is not necesary.

even as i write this i'm coming up with all kinds of conflicting notions about this. i'll have to think about this more when i'm a bit less cold. damn winter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

memo to Ben & Jerry:

fuck you. one miniscule swirl of fudge in my dulce de leche with fudge ice cream? i guess technically you didn't lie, but you still make me want to go all Cherlize Theron in Monster on your ass for being a couple of nerdy Newhampshire cuntfaces. gimmie my fudge dammnit! you know how many tsumani victims i can feed for the cost of one of these things? i hate you.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

i need to kill five minutes before 'six feet under' comes on. it's the only show i watch, and for some stupid reason i thought it was on at 12 not 11 last week and only saw the last five minutes. might have something to do with my computer clock being an hour ahead all the time. it just wont go back to normal. well, eventually daylight savings time will kick in.

passia was a hit. i found a doctorate written at the american university in beirut about black september back in the early 80's. the author later went on to be a minister of information (i believe) in jordan. still, she wrote it well before any archival information was available, so i'm still one up. there was also a book that Dr. Hadthi wrote (the guy is seriously brilliant) that has a huge section on black september and the before and after. also a few arabic sources that lord only knows how i'll translate.

i have to go back so i can borrow the stuff. he couldnt lend it out because he doesnt know how that works and he was the only one working on account of orthodox xmas. which is funny, because most of the people working there are muslim. he was getting bombarded by diplomats and reporters, but still took the time to sit with T and i. he even picked us up from the american colony hotel so we wouldnt have to wander around east jerusalem. the first thing he did was complain that he was the only one working, "I am, how do you say, stupid." well, whatever he is he was really helpful.

and now that i've filled you with pointless tidbits of what's happening in my life, i'm off to see six feet under!

Friday, January 07, 2005

as mike says, "oh, Richard Gere needs to die already."

i'm waiting for the Arab pop-star rendition of "do they know it's ramadan?"

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

it's gonna be a full weekend. thursday night i'm (hopefully) seeing R, from Spain fame, while she's here on birthright. friday i'm supposed to meet up with S and (different) R who i haven't seen in about 2 years, and saturday i'm heading off with T to East Jerusalem to visit PASSIA and do some research there. we're meeting the director of the joint Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi. Hopefully I should be able to get some good stuff for the thesis. If anything it'll be interesting to speak with Dr. Hadi. Luckily we won't have to wander around East Jerusalem looking for the place as the Advisor is buddies with Hadi and they'll be sending a car to pick us up from the American Coloney in Jerusalem and taking us to PASSIA. The Advisor is also going to email Adnan Abu Odeh and two journalists in Jordan to see if they'll speak to me. I'd like to get over there with D in April during Passover break. Not looking forward to telling the parents about the trip as they're very much against me going back to Jordan. I can understand why, but to be fair, the last time i went there a bomb went off in tel aviv. um, so there. Anyway, i wouldn't be going alone (which i think is what worries them more, because i had mentioned something about going there after London to do research). D also wants to try and get into the Jordanian National Archives. I need to talk to the Advisor about that and see what he says. I'm not sure they'll let us in, and if they do, i'm not sure i'll be able to get what i need. still, it's all in good fun. speaking of arabic, i'd better get some sleep so i can get up early and do my homework.