Saturday, January 15, 2022

SSD or HDD?


Dear, faithful followers

I'm taking a break from blogging for a while.

My PC has left me after 12 years of service. Bad timing, as I'm in the middle of a legal matter and I need to learn stuff from the internet and type some important documents.

Yes, I prefer to work on a PC. It's more stable, powerful, easier to upgrade, and cheaper than  a laptop.

The device, is positioned adequately in the room,  allowing space to prevent its getting overheated , and me the ability to see and think clearly.  I work on the computer, mainly at home, so mobility is not an issue.

Outside my home ( waiting room,  library,  cafe), I usually don't feel much at ease with reading/writing. As a matter of fact, on moving vehicles (car, bus, train, subway) I might get a sort of motion sickness when trying to read or write something. So, where possible, I look out of the window instead - quite a treat!

Anyway, it seems I have no choice now but to buy a new PC ;this one is based on the old, friendly Windows XP  operating system - and I get no updates any more. My laptop is also based on XP .Well, it can't go on like this.

I'll have to take some decisions such as: Windows  O.S. 10  or Windows O.S. 11; SSD or HDD (the older, heavier hard disk) and about some other hardware and software items.

Hopefully, things will go smoothly with both my new PC and the handling of the legal matter.

See you soon!





 




 





 

 Hopefully, I'll get my new PC  as smoothly as possible.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Zero Tolerance

 

It seems China's handling Covid rather well. The key to that, lies, I suppose. in its people's discipline.

We all know that without discipline nothing good and lasting can be achieved ; not in schools, not in the army, not at work...nowhere. 

The disciplined population, helps China successfully practice the strategy of zero tolerance towards the virus. 

This strategy includes: mass testing, quarantine, surveillance, localized lock-downs, and more.  A sporadic outbreak is immediately dealt with lock-down to prevent further spreading of the virus. China' s trying to achieve zero infection while elsewhere, in the Western world, people are getting used  'to live with the virus', vaccines and boosters. 

(The Chinese are not too confident about the effectiveness of the vaccines to prevent infection. They believe, as we do, vaccinated people might still contract covid, but perhaps won't have to go to hospital).

The zero tolerance policy is also part of the Chinese narrative to claim superiority of their system (political, medical, social etc...) over the West. They would like us to believe through the pandemic that China could "conquer" the West with no tanks, rockets, or the nuke - but with a tiny virus. 

After all, the virus started its 'activity' in one of China's towns, Wuhan, and according to one of the theories - in the town's laboratory - specialized in coronas, and which belongs to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  The lab,  a 40 minutes drive from the Huan Market where the first infection was spotted,  could have been engaged in a possible testing of a biological weapon . So who  knows?!


Friday, December 31, 2021

Needed In Afterlife

  

The shopping Race  before holidays, reminds me of a common reaction heard from people :Hey, what do you need all this stuff for? Remember, you'll take nothing with you when you leave this world!

True, but that wasn't  so in antiquity. I learnt about it at the archeological museum (one of the finest in Europe) of Heraklion, Crete island. There was a section in the museum that attracted many visitors, as it displayed exhibits found in people's graves at cemeteries: tools, weapons, clothes, jewelry, worship figurines, decorations, household items.    Interesting!

People in ancient times demanded to be buried with their belongings as they believed they 'll need the stuff in Afterlife. Not a good idea. Soon after the burial, the grave was opened by thieves and robbers. 

Swords and brooches were noted as being among the most commonly taken items from the graves, probably because these items were given as gifts and passed on across generations providing folk stories and fond memories. Still, even after the robberies, there was enough stuff left for the modern archeological excavations to discover.

(I noticed a newspaper picture there of Liz Taylor wearing a golden brooch  in the form of a bull horn designed according to the original item found during an excavation. I included the photo in the post I wrote in 2016, after my visit at the museum).

                                                                               Liz Taylor

I  believe that behind the Afterlife scenario, there's also the very human tendency to get attached to items, as it often occurs to me . This tendency makes it hard to impossible to declutter the house. Sometimes, the item has neither money value nor sentimental one. I just happen to like it, and even though I don't use it, or it takes up space, I won't get rid of it. So, there  goes my decluttering.

 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Ubersetzt Und Verbessert

 

The above title  is a well-known german expression referring to translation, and  meaning 'translated and improved', that is, the translated version is better than the original one.

This expression could be applied to any form of 'conversion' , not only from language to language. Food , for example. Sometimes, a version of a certain dish is better than the original one.

The vegetarian pizza, a popular dish, has its modern roots in Naples, south Italy. I happened to eat pizza in Naples and in other parts of Italy, and didn't like it. I constantly compared it to my local pizza in Israel, and concluded  that  the local one was much improved, it tasted better.


                                vegeterian pizza - slices

There's another kind of pizza  'on the market',  a non-vegetarian pizza with a minced meat topping (lamb or beef) mixed with minced veggies and herbs.  This pizza is of turkish-armenian origin, and is named 'lahmajoun' (or lahmacun). They introduce it in a taboon oven, which is hot enough to cook the raw meat and dough simultaneously and the result is "to die for".

lahmajoun
 

 the taboon

There was an eatery near my place of work based on this turkish delicacy. So, I had quite a few lahmajouns at that time. Once, I told someone (a tourist guide) that the first thing I 'll do if, and when I visit Turkey is to have an authentic lahmajoun. Ha,ha, ha, was his reaction,  authentic or not, this, here, is the best lahmajoun you'll ever  get.

Remembering my experience with pizza in Italy, I said to myself, that maybe he was right. Perhaps, the Israelis found a way to ..."verbesser' (improve) the original.

Nowadays, I seldom eat pizza or lahmajoun. I do however, eat almost daily 'tahini' (techina in hebrew), the one and only,  the sauce that goes well with any pizza and with everything else. I don't care about  its origins and versions. I rely only on my own version. I buy the main ingredient - sesame-seeds' paste , and make it as Sinatra would say -  'My way', adding the essential three items: lemon juice, garlic, water.

 

* web pictures

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Eggplants - from Farm to Table.


Eggplants (aubergine)  are a favorite of mine and  I buy them often. I like eggplants for their fiber, taste, and versatility of use. ( My method of cooking, by the way : on the stove top over direct flame - messy but delicious). 

                    standard looking eggplants

During the last years one sees huge eggplants in various purple shades, in addition to the  normal looking eggplants . I'll buy, of course, the normal size, shape, and color, as the huge ones are probably grown with pesticides and hormones (non organic, non - GMO food). 

big eggplant

My approach applies to all veggies and fruits. When shopping at the market or grocery store I'll choose only those food items that resemble in size, shape, color, taste  the ones I'm used to, since childhood.

From reading, I understand that eggplants are very popular in south-eastern asian countries , such as Bangladesh . Eggplants (known there as Brinjal)  are  grown as genetically modified from 2014. Those in favor of GMO claim that the crops are  good (reduced pesticide), the farmers' profits high, and that  it gives the people of this  country some food security.

                                                                     Brinjal eggplants                   

                                    Brinjal chart

As far as I know, GMO is bad for human consumption. After all,  veggies and fruits are our body's nutrition and fuel. We take from them vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber -  all necessary to make body and mind work. We don't wish our nutrition to get genetically manipulated in the lab.

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about possible food insecurity in the world as a result of Climate Change and the Covid-19 pandemics. I believe we might indeed face, at some point, food insecurity and even famine. This calls for alertness, as it may bring GMO into the picture.

 

 *  web pictures

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Caring For The Future Generation

 

New Zealand's  planned Ban on tobacco ,  makes me smile, for two reasons. The first one - I like the idea and approve of it; the second one, it reminds me of my beloved father (rip).

According to the Media, New Zealand will ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008, under a law expected to be enacted next year, to make sure young people never start smoking. 

 


On the day he was told by the doctor he had to quit smoking, my father  just "walked away" from cigarettes  without ranting. He was a quiet, timid person, but had willpower and self-control.

 

                            My father David

Most people have strong opinions on everything, but ..weak character. Thus, many of them easily fall into addictions: tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling - to name  but a few (the really bad ones), and can hardly, if at all, get out of it. These addictions could ultimately destroy the addicted and his/her family. They also  heavily affect the State's social and health budgets.

In my father's days, there were no support groups,  online forums, medications, rehabilitation centers. One had to be highly motivated and stop on his own, take matters in his own hands, as they say. It was  challenging but possible.

In general, addictions are seen as "a life long enemy, and recovery as a daily battle". I believe that's true; therefore a lot of thought should be given to prevention. New Zealand's act is a small but positive step in this direction.



Monday, December 6, 2021

Get Prepared, Get Candles

 

Candles , as a source of light, warmth, and decor - are  great, versatile items, and an interesting subject. We celebrate, pray, mourn, honor, decorate, etc.. with lighted candles in the background.

We use candles on festive occasions  (holidays, anniversaries) , on solemn occasions (prayers , funerals, Remembrance ceremonies), as decorations and gifts, as emergency light during power outages, etc... 

It has to be mentioned and emphasized that candles are a fairly good (not powerful) option of energy during emergency/survival times for lighting, cooking and heating.  They can be stored in large quantities, produce minimal toxins when burned, and are easy to use.

       emergency candle (web photo)

The variety of candles seems to be endless. There are factory - made candles of various sizes , hand-made candles with natural ingredients, fragrant candles, colorful candles, survival candles.  I've got samples of almost any of the above mentioned types, but I tend to use mainly  the basic, factory- made candles.

We've just made it through the eight days of Hanukkah holiday, at the center of which there's a Menorah (lamp) and... Candles.

          Menorah and    Hanukkah  candles  (web photo)

'Hanukkah' celebrates miracles done by God in ancient times  to help the nation get rid of foreign oppressors, recover Jerusalem and rededicate the Second Temple.                

Both adults and children love this holiday which is also called the 'Festival of Lights' (Hag Haurim)., especially as it is accompanied by eating of donuts, and singing of lovely, specific songs.

The Menorah or Hanukkia  has 9 candle holders : one for each of the eight nights; the ninth candle is the 'shamash' (helper) ; it helps to light the other candles.

I love candles in the house,  as they illuminate with a low glow creating an intimate atmosphere of warmth and relaxation. There are people who even believe that light of a candle drives away 'the evil eye'.

 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Poets And Money

 

 I never really paid attention to the  human figures on banknotes, until recently when I wished to get a closer look at the face of  the poetess, Rachel,  on the 20 NIS (new israeli shekel) paper bill. 

 

                                                Rachel

I was surprised  there was no mention of her name, only a line from one of her poems "And Perhaps", (poem that had been turned into one of the most beautiful, beloved Israeli song of all times). 

I checked the other three banknotes with poet figures :      Saul Tchernichovsky on the green 50 NIS banknote, Leah Goldberg on the orange 100 NIS banknote, Natan Alterman  on the  blue 200 NIS banknote. No names, only a line from their work on the back of the banknote.

                                            the four poets in the series of banknotes

There was one name ,though, on the paper bills, the name of economist Karnit Flog,  Bank of Israel Governor at the time of the emission of the poets' banknote series in 2014-2017.         I found that rather unfair and frustrating.  However, maybe, there's a reason for not mentioning the poets'  names - I'll have to try and find out what it is.

Rachel Bluwstein (1890-1931)  known by her first name 'Rachel',  interests me not only for her lovely, simple poems, but also as a woman, and as a person with a tragic life (she died untimely of tuberculosis). Lake Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee) was her whole world (and she was buried close to it).

                              Rachel's grave at Kinneret cemetery (Wikipedia)

*

"And Perhaps" (Ve Ulai) - lyrics

 

And perhaps, these things never happened, never existed

And perhaps, I never rose at dawn to work in the field with my own hands,   by the sweat of my brow

On the long, blazing days of harvest / while on top of a cart with sheaves/ I never did  raise my voice in song

Never did I purify myself with innocence, in the azure waters of my Kinneret

Oh, my Kinneret / were you real or was it my dream?


                  

                                singer Ester Ofarim
          

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

OREO - 'The Blue Uniting Force'


The incredible 'Oreo' industry of biscuits, wafers, cookies, cakes, chocolate - you name it -  has quite an history behind it. They first appeared on the market in 1912! They boast a 100 year of activity! 

The juicy part - the disagreement between the two brothers-owners who eventually had to split,  actually led to the big prosperity of the business. The first two letters of the Oreo name - 'Or',  is french for 'gold'. Perhaps, a hint to the business being a gold mine for its owners.

I'm familiar with one product only : it comprises two  tiny, thin,  brown biscuits with dark chocolate cream between them  (a sandwich cookie). 'Thin and tiny' sure gives one the illusion of less  dietary damage caused by the sweet item, so people go for it.

The first time I bought the above ( to accompany my morning coffee)  I was looking on the package for the name of the supplier, and that's what I found: Ukraine, company name: Mondelez.  In fact, the country of origin is USA,  Mondelez is the international mother company, with branches all over the world.

The products are vegan and kosher. There is a great variety of shapes  (round, oval, button-like), of texture (crisp, soft, creamy), sizes, flavors, and wrappings with the background color of deep blue. 

It seems  this merchandise  is popular everywhere (at my local supermarket Oreo products are quite the Hit),  as it is a suitable treat for everyone - kids, adults, poor, rich, secular, religious. It fits every taste and pocket.  We could rightly say  - it 'brings  us together'.  In the divisive world we live, that's quite a lot.


 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Untitled

 

Since the start of the pandemics, I 've stayed  closer to home, going out / traveling - for essentials only.  This week, before the coming of the promised rains, and of  a possible new Covid wave (God forbid!), I took  the time to explore a little the immediate surroundings of my hometown and some landmarks in one of its adjacent towns. 

Not far from my neighborhood, I've spotted a small plot with trees whose trunks were white painted. I suppose it's for protection purposes - to protect them from the sun. Sun rays might crack the tender bark and so allow introduction of disease and insects. I gather the paint is water based or water diluted, so that no chemical harm is done to the tree.   Some of the trunk shapes look rather strange. Perhaps it's a special type of trees.




On  approaching the trees, a single hen crossed my way and conquered my heart; such a cutie!

Whenever I visit a town where there's a lot of construction being done, I get the impression that architecture (or shall we say architects) are looking for noise and publicity rather than for comfort and functionality.  What makes me think that, are not only the  towers  standing out in a variety of somewhat weird shapes, but also the use of certain building materials.

The exterior of the 9-story relatively new City Hall building in the adjacent town of Herzliya, for instance,  is made of blue glass.  I suppose the glass is not only for decorative purpose but has certain anti-reflective and security features. Anyway, one can see through the blue glass, from the inside out, but not vice versa.

 City Hall of Herzlyia town
 
 
I guess proper maintenance of this glass exterior , to assure its attractiveness and life span, doesn't come cheap, but ,Hey, what are municipal taxes for?
                                        
                                    For a short while, feeling free without the mask

By the way, judging by the low numbers in the Israely Media (attributed to the third dose, the booster)  one would think the pandemic is on its way out. I wish it were, but I'm  rather skeptical (the approaching winter, the disappearing masks, etc... ) .The issue discussed now is the vaccination next month of children aged 5-11.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Those Were The Days...

 

I remember the days when the neighbor next door used to ask my parents for a small loan until he gets the wages. With the appearance of the new banking system promoting overdraft and credit cards - it stopped. The neighbor no longer needed my parents. for the loan.

I remember well the days when our street was lively  and colorful, with voices and movement. And then, it gradually became deserted, as people went inside to watch TV and work on the PC. Interaction was maintained at nuclear family level  mainly.

(One evening, I stumbled on the pavement and fell badly  on my right shoulder. I was unable to get up. There was no soul around to help me stand on my feet, It was then that I realized the severity of the changes we were undergoing).

Next, people started to look for bigger apartments with more rooms. Each child in his own room, with his laptop and mobile phone. At this stage,  interaction between family members got disrupted too.

I so miss the youngsters' politeness and respect for older people of  those days!  Now, I sometimes can't believe my eyes and ears. They don't even fear the old advice given by parents: 'If you wish to reach that old person's age, you better behave yourself!'  It makes them smile or even laugh.

How does the song go? : "those were the days my friend/ we thought they'd never end". Well, apparently they do end. And now we all talk about the big change, Climate Change and the Glasgow summit conference.

It gives us a lot to talk and think about. It's just that  I 'm not sure we've got enough time for it. It's kind of urgent. We should better concentrate on what we can do - planning rescue and survival - not on what we cannot do - preventing  Nature's disasters.


 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Oh, The Price, The Price...

 

Our price labeling law is 23 years old. It is a good law for us, consumers.  The price label on the item  enables us to  easily know the price of an item, make comparisons,  take right buying decisions.

The supermarket chains hate this law; it makes it hard for them to raise prices whenever they want. So, when a new economy minister takes over , they immediately start putting pressure on him to cancel it. So far, without success.

Now, I learn from the Media that they're close to winning.The new economy minister (a woman, by the way) is cooperating with the populist proposal that the price be displayed  on the shelf only, not sticking a label on the item itself.

 tiny yellow price sticker on top of item


                  price on shelf 

Hopefully , the law stays intact, otherwise it will be a blow to the consumer, to  competition, and to price stability. This law is of  utmost importance , especially now in 2021, as prices are up as a result of the pandemics, and its supply disruptions. 

The price tag label gun works intensely these days.  In addition to the rise in prices, there's fear of inflation and of shortage in products. So far I see shortage in some imported, non-vital items, but who knows what's next.

There's no  market in my hometown, and specially commuting to one in the nearby area is hardly worth it considering the  high prices and low variety in today's markets.  Our local supermarket is not bad compared to other supermarkets and even to markets. The only drawback is its location, on the edge of the town. I don't want to get on and off a car or bus with my shopping cart, and walking to and fro takes some time and effort.

 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

"Kapparot"

 

Occasionally, I get hurt by someone's behavior and feel helpless and frustrated; there's nothing I could do about it to ease my anger. The 'kapparot' ritual has given me some idea, but I haven't put it into practice yet , probably never will.

Kapparot (plural of kappara - atonement) in Judaism is a ritual performed on the eve of Yom Kippur ( the Atonement Day), by which the sins of a person  are symbolically transferred to a fowl (usually a hen - for a woman, a rooster for a man).

The fowl is passed over one's head three times, and there's a prayer to be said; in English it sounds like that: "this is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This rooster (hen) will go to its death, while I will enter and proceed to a good, long life and to peace".

*

The ritual is considered by many as  cruel, and rightly so. Why transfer our sins to the fowl? what has it done to us? Why does it deserve this kind of treatment? because it's about to be slaughtered to provide  meat  for our meals?(The alternative proposed is to use money instead, which will then be given to charity).

Like many others, I'm against this ritual and against slaughtering animals (although, I admit , I eat meat now and then, out of habit and of fear the body might face shortage of some vital nutrient).

Now, what about the idea I got from this ritual?  I could mention three times the name of the person who has done me wrong , and say the prayer by which my sins will be transferred to him/her (omitting, of course, the death part in the prayer. I  wish no one to die ). Let him/her carry and deal with this burden, as revenge for  misbehavior towards me.  It may sound stupid and or childish, but talking or writing about this possibility makes me already feel a little better:)


web pictures

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Professor Emeritus and the Chinese Law

 

There was a sad story in our Media, some two weeks ago. A well - known professor of philosophy, and literary critic, aged 88, sitting in a wheelchair surrounded by boxes full of his archive files - in an appeal to the public: 'help me, don't let them throw me out of my flat'. To make a long story short, he owed a lot of rent money, and so he got a court order asking him to evict the flat.

I  was especially intrigued by the comments to the story.  The commenters mentioned  the university, colleagues, students, the Ministry of Education and other factors which should , according to them, intervene and solve the problem.  No doubt, the problem will get solved, but I asked myself how come nobody mentioned his children, his family? 


'Perhaps he doesn't have any', I said to myself and went to check with the Wikipedia. Well, he does have children - two sons from his third ex-wife (also a professor). The rumor has it that he used to beat his wife, and so they have all three estranged themselves from him . If the rumor is correct, I can understand them, and yet at his age and condition, they should have shown some forgiveness and empathy, not leave it all to the State and the public.

The story has reminded me of a Chinese law ( no, not the notorious one which allows a couple to have one child only) - a law from 2013 which requires children to keep in touch with their parents who are 60 and older, in addition to making sure their financial and spiritual needs are met. If children do not comply, they face fines and lawsuits. I think every country should have such a law.



Thursday, October 14, 2021

Politicians and Photos

 

I usually dislike  politicians, but there are a few exceptions. One of them is Angela Merkel, until recently the chancellor of Germany. There's something nice ,human and honest about her, that one doesn't find in the others.  Besides, I have a photo of her as a.....nudist :)

I feel uncomfortable to publish the photo here, although she looks great in it. If you're the curious type you could look it up on the internet.  It is a photo with three young nudist girls - students; one of them is Angela. 

The photo appeared in newspapers and magazines. She was asked about it but refused to comment. Representatives of Germany in various countries were also asked about the photo; they too refused to comment.

The general belief is that it is her in the photo. First, the physical resemblance. Secondly, the background. She grew up in communist East Germany. The photo is believed to have been taken at the nudist camp Costinesti (at the Black Sea), in communist Romania.

After the second World War, nudism was encouraged under communism, as a way of returning  to embrace Nature, and as a symbol of rebellion against the old order of things. It was believed that Angela Merkel was a member of a nudist movement called "Free Body Culture" (in german - Frei Korpercultur").

 * 

Another politician for whom I have a 'soft spot' is Boris Johnson the current P.M. of Britain. 

There's a photo involved here too. It shows Boris as a young volunteer on a kibbutz (agricultural collective community) in Israel. In summer 1984, he and his sister Rachel were volunteers at kibbutz  Kfar Hanassi in northern Israel.

According to his sister, he worked in the communal kitchen, scrubbing pots and pans; according to a leader of the kibbutz he also worked in the fields.

 B.J. in Israel - desert mountains in the background

Anyway, he looks very cute with his short pants and blond hair. How could you not like him.