Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Saturday, March 26, 2005

HaShkedia Porachat...(The Almond Tree is Blooming)

Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
I do, don't you? 'Course you do.
But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me,
And makes ev'ry Sunday a treat for me.
All the world seems in tune
On a spring afternoon,When we're poisoning pigeons in the park.

I don't think Tom Lehrer had Jerusalem's parks in mind when he wrote that, and now that I think of it, I don't see many pigeons in Israel's parks, possibly due to the very large number of feral cats rather than poison, but spring is definitely the loveliest time of year in Israel and we are wallowing in the throes of it right now.
Most unusually, the weather is fine for Purim this year. Usually, for reasons known only to the Most High, Purim, Lag b'Omer, and Independence Day tend to be cold and rainy, even though it's nearly summertime by Yom Atzmaut. Everything is green and blossoming. The wildflowers (protected by law--how many countries protect flowers ?) are scattered over the hillsides, which have, even in the Jordan Valley (where it never rains) a velvety cover of delicate grass. Brilliant scarlet poppies, shy anemones, rare blue-black irises, jonquils and narcissi, peep out of the foliage, soon to wither and scorch in the Mediterranean sun. Soon, everyone with allergies will begin sneezing (the olive tree is especially tiresome in this respect and most immigrants to Israel from colder climes are completely unprepared for olive pollen and react violently, myself included) and hacking. For most, it's a small price to pay for the mild weather and the (comparative) lushness of the countryside. It fades all too soon.
Purim is a harbinger of Passover, and so most women are somewhat ambivalent about its arrival. The Seder night is exactly one lunar month away, and the Pesach cleaning now moves into high gear. If there are traditional practices that just about every Jewish Israeli adheres to, no matter how secular, it is the Passover Seder and rituals associated with death and mourning. Depending on one's ethnic background, the cleaning can mean a total house painting, a virtual disassembly of cupboards and appliances associated with food production, literally shaking out every book to discover any hidden crumb, total change of dishes and utensils, boiling water poured over every surface that can sustain it; plastic put over every surface that can't. This year, since the Seder is on Saturday night, there are additional halachic problems. I hate the whole business, frankly. The Seder may be uplifting, but the weeks before it give me radical anxiety and stress.
So I guess I ought to make hay while the sun shines (sneeze!) and enjoy Purim and the spring. Indeed, I shall. I've reassembled the porch swing, and will shortly remove myself to it, accompanied by some crocheting and my pocket PC, to which I've added a number of mp3 files from a site I've recently found, called Nonags ( You have to take out a subscription, which is $25 a year (special deal is currently available--40% discount for a "lifetime" subscription) and it gives you access 300 GB of audiobooks, plays, and old-time radio shows for download. The stuff is fantastic! Everything from classical BBC drama to The Lone Ranger; poems by Edgar Allen Poe read by Basil Rathbone to Burns and Allen (which I'm downloading to my computer as I'm writing this); the unabridged reading of Dr. Zhivago to Amos 'n' Andy. Bill Clinton reads My Life (surprisingly well) and there are recordings of radio programs featuring all the greats of the Swing era, like Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. For someone like myself who grew up in the Golden Age of Radio, it's a mechiah.
In spite of this being a post about Purim, I haven't really written much about it. I suppose this is because my kids are now adults, and I don't have to figure out any more how to make costumes warm enough for them not to get pneumonia but creative enough to maintain my "reputation" as an "arty" person. The Adloyoda parade in Tel Aviv resumed this year after a couple of years when the intifada interfered with it (interestingly, maybe because everyone still jumps at the noise, there seems to be less fireworks than I remember), but Jerusalem has always been more subdued. From Taanit Esther this year to the end of Shushan Purim it's a full 4 days, which has always seemed odd to me, coming from a place where Purim was barely a day. Which neighborhoods of Jerusalem celebrate Purim proper and which celebrate Shushan Purim has resulted in a logistical nightmare for those giving mishloach manot. Fortunately, everyone I know lives close enough to me that I don't have to figure it all out, although I was paid a visit by two young men from Gush Katif who wanted me to accept one, complete with a CD explaining why I should "join myself" to the settlers there. Does Gaza come under the category of a "walled city in the time of Joshua"? I forgot to ask them. I also forgot to tell them that this family supports disengagement. Ah well...
A Purim sameach to all of you, and an easy preparation for Pesach!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Hot Licks

This appeared on a local message board recently:
I need help with my washing machine. Is there anyone who can repair it? It's licking water from the filter.

Immediately the image of a large red tongue, reminiscent of the logo on a Rolling Stones album, protruding from the open door of a front-loading machine, swam in front of my eyes, even though I realized it probably was only a typo.

Not so simple to understand was a certain newspaper column where the writer expressed the "furlong" hope that Bush's next term would bring some order to fiscal chaos. "Furlong" isn't a commonly used word, unless you're a patron of the Sport of Kings--it's rather up there with "sennight", a word I loved using for its shock value. "Say what?" (Interestingly, "fortnight" is not so obscure. Probably because one can say "week" instead of "sennight", but "two weeks" takes longer)

After a moment, I realized that the Tyranny of the Spell-Checker was to blame. No one knows how to spell any more, and everyone's got a spell-checker in their computer. Bah humbug.

Ever since I discovered that the "auto-correct" feature in Word was changing the name of a beloved literary character from Lymond to "lemonade" I have banished auto-correctness to the furthest circle of Hell, but since Baby, my 21 year-old daughter is sending me emails from New York, I've been thinking a lot about spelling. She's a native Hebrew-speaker; we don't speak English at home because my husband doesn't understand it; and she spells phonetically. She often gets quite simple words wrong, while succeeding admirably with rather difficult ones (she probably looks those up). Also, in contrast to native English-speakers, whom I encounter in my many lists literally in the hundreds every day, she rarely makes some of the most common errors, such as distinguishing between the three "to's".

Americans seem not to know whether something is lost or loosed, whether they are lying down or have laid something down (ditto confusion over "rise" and "raise"). The young generation of Israelis, I've noted, share an equal confusion over whether one has given birth (ללדת) or one has begotten (להוליד) which surprises me. One hears "hi holeeda" (she has begotten) all the time, when it should be "hi yalda" (she gave birth). Dunno why.

I won't even go into the Misuse of the Apostrophe, which is massive. It's bad enough no one seems capable of spelling correctly any more, but doesn't anyone study grammar? Following a particularly complicated explanation of an NFL rule being challenged in a recent Monday Night Football game, Al Michaels added "Parse that!" which sent John Madden into gales of laughter. At least he understood the phrase. Because the answer is no, grammar isn't fun, so it's been dropped from the curriculum.

In my day, we had spelling bees at school and they were occasions of terror for most of my classmates. But we not only learned to spell, we learned how to use a dictionary--the kind that you turned the pages of (Gosh! I've just ended a sentence with a preposition--two smacks on my palm with a ruler). I remember the amazed exclamations when I taught my kids how to use theirs--the teacher had never bothered. Nowadays of course, you have an electronic one, or use the internet. If it's not fun, it's not taught, these days, and no one really liked diagramming sentences, apart from a few obsessive-compulsives, any more than anyone liked reciting the multiplication tables or lists of State capitals. (Tell me how many you remember and I'll tell you approximately how old you are. According to the National Geographic, one-third of todays US high school students don't know that Washington, DC is the national capital)

Once, one's fluency in one's language was regarded as an essential asset. There was a plaintive message, from a cybercorrespondent on a list that helps potential immigrants to Israel, lamenting that he can't get a resume or CV written in decent English, without spelling and grammatical mistakes any more, from applicants with half a dozen degrees to their credit. My friend wondered why the applicants didn't think it detracted from the impression they were trying to make (would you hire a dyslexic to be a proofreader?) I replied that they probably would care, if they knew they were making mistakes. But today's world is so visual, they probably don't. What with emoticons and a whole phalanx of abbreviations like BTW, YMMV, IIRC, etc., even cybercommunication isn't contributing to better expression (quantity over quality? Hmmm...)

Spellers and grammarians of the world, unite! You are needed as never before, to rescue communication before it deteriorates into a series of cyber-grunts! (And yes, there are two "M's" in "communication")

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Bush is Optimistic about Democracy in Iraq? Don't Make Me Laugh... Posted by Hello

Oliphant Strikes Again...Right Between the Eyes Posted by Hello