Saturday, June 25, 2022

A Ray Of Light



main building


The prestigious school of contemporary music 'Rimon' is a ray of light in my neighborhood. ('Rimon' is the hebrew word for pomegranate fruit).

'Rimon' school of Music was founded in 1985. It has over 500 students (israeli and international), and 90 academic staff members. 

The school offers studies in all contemporary fields of music: Jazz, pop, rock, hip-hop, folk, blues, country, electronic - and  seven (7) majors; composition, arranging, conducting, songwriting, performance, music education, music production.

Of great importance are the ties of cooperation established with 'Berkley' college of art in Boston. There are agreements, connections, and exchanges between these two schools with great benefits for both parties.

'Rimon' school is located on a quiet residential street, in a modest neighborhood. Its buildings and the various facilities, encircle a green lawn and yard in the very center of the campus. So, the classrooms are actually at the back, less interfering with  the street and neighboring houses.

 tiny entrance

green lawn





Students that come from afar rent flats in the vicinity and become during their study period , part of the local population, contributing to its quality and standards. Most students get involved in community musical projects and in volunteering performances and activities in hospitals, elderly care facilities, at-risk youth clubs.

It should be emphasized that many of 'Rimon'  school graduates have become well-known music professionals and performers both in the local music industry as well as throughout the world.




Saturday, June 18, 2022

Parcel Or Money

 

At the beginning of March, I ordered a small parcel from an american supplier. I got it on the 15th of June!!

A month after the order and confirmation, I checked with the local post office. I was told that the tracking number I had was invalid.

I emailed the supplier more than once, but no reply. That surprised me. I was not a new customer, and it had never happened to me before. I thought to myself, perhaps there was a new factor that took over the company, and for some reason wanted to discourage me from being their customer.

So, I turned to the credit card company through which I paid for the parcel. They gave the supplier 60 days to clarify the matter for them. I've got the parcel, they haven't got the clarification yet.

Checking the outer papers glued to the box, it seemed to me the parcel was already here but sent back as unclaimed. I saw the 'invalid' number too; probably belonging to UPS carrier.

Something definitely  went wrong with the shipping. I hope the credit card company will enlighten me on the matter when she gets the clarification.  It seems to me that both the supplier and our post office have failed in assuring smooth and on- time delivery of the parcel.



green everywhere



Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Summer Visitors

 

During summer, we might see some uninvited visitors in the house: ants, cockroaches, mosquitos (small flies).

As I don't like to use chemicals. my favorite 'killer' is water. Yes, water kills.  I spray  the ants with plain water, and instantly get rid of them.


water sprayer

With the cockroach it takes a bit more time. Water seems to disable it from running across the floor, but it can still crawl. After a day or two, I'll find it tough, inactive or even dead. Cockroaches are said to carry disease, so the water method is good but not good enough. I should find a way to dispose of them faster.

Mosquitos are also considered disease carriers.  I can handle the bite - usually by applying vinegar on it. I could prevent the bites with clothing covering arms and legs.  In my experience, the best mosquito repellent is a fan. I've got a small fan on my desk, and when ON, it definitely keeps mosquitos away.

There are many species of these 'visitors'  in Nature.  Luckily, mine are of an 'inferior quality' with regards to breeding and damage.  It's possible to have zero such visitors, but I live in an old building, with the kitchen facing south, and other enviromental issues. 

Anyhow, no need to waste time, and money on chemicals. The natural things we have at home can help provide adequate  solutions (garlic powder, baking soda powder, mint, lavender, citronella candles, fans, etc..).


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Resisting Temptation

 

By the time we enter the third and last phase in life (over 60), we should have learnt  to deal with temptations coming from our encounter with  food,  travel, shopping (to name a few). 

Food and Travel bring us great joy and pleasure, but  might often  leave us weary and dependant on 'doctor appointments'.

Most people choose to go along with the temptations and are willing to pay the price. They"ll say: 'life is short', 'we live only once', 'we're but human'  - 'let's taste life and enjoy it from all its angles'.

That's all right, provided they're  aware of the choice and take responsibility for the consequences; that is, not constantly blaming  other factors such as genetics, age, stress, luck (albeit each of these factors does influence our well-being to a certain extent).

Me, I'm trying to resist temptation without fighting it. It's not easy, but it's possible, with the right willpower and a few helpful tips. The reward becomes visible if and when you  manage somehow to protect  your health,  and on the way,  save the money that usually goes to those temptations.

On various occasions, I'll also use sayings (see the above) to justify my choice. For example, I'll say about sightseeing - 'oh, well you've seen one, you've seen them all' - which, is of course, not true. The various attractions and places of interest (museums, parks, churches, markets etc..) differ from each other;  the ideas behind them, however, are more or less similar so, I'm probably not totally lying to myself.

The two and a half years of Covid in the background, have inserted a certain balance into our heads. Let's hope it stays there. Avoiding excessive/processed food, skipping crowded places, being selective at buying things, and practising good sanitary habits - that's the way we should always follow, covid or not covid.

*

Still wearing a mask.










Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Sky Is The Limit

  
'the sky is the limit' sculpture

                                               

'The sky is the limit' is the name given to the above  public sculpture placed at the very beginning of a major street in a town adjacent to mine (Ramat-Gan town). Whenever I'm in the area, I pause to have a look at it, and each time I discover some new and exciting detail.

The sculpture , donated to the city by the internationally renowned israeli painter and sculptor, David Gerstein , is made of a laser cut metal frame, and hand-painted wooden figures (one in each of the  spaces) in playful daily life scenes. On top of it, a human figure symbolically pointing at the sky.

placed at a busy intersection of two major streets

The area surrounding the exhibit comprises some of the tallest sky scrapers in the country. Two lovely coffee shops, one at each side of the street offer their customers a nice view of the colorful sculpture and of  the street with its passersby and car/bus traffic.








and the flowers - oh, the flowers!

There are two stone plaques at the bottom of the sculpture: one mentioning the name of it and that of the donor, the other with a warning message (do not try to climb on it!).

name of sculpture and donor in hebrew and english


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Shortage?! Famine?! Not Likely, But...

 

Whenever I complain about the high prices of food, I'm told to keep quiet as the worst is yet to come. Shortage and even Famine are next.

I already notice shortage, but not of essentials. We still got plenty of bread, milk, eggs, fish, veggies; yet... being a country  based on import, we should worry. Covid and Ukraine are not without global consequences. It is well-known that epidemics and war disrupt both the production and  distribution of food, through damage to production means and transportation routes.

Of course, there are always the usual causes such as population growth and natural calamities ( drought, flooding, cold weather, etc..). We cannot control natural causes,  but we could prevent shortage and famine by trying to prevent war,  fighting epidemics, and especially giving high priority to local production of food.

Our government does little  to encourage local agriculture and industry. It appears, so far, to have supported the importers in their making big money - buying cheap, selling expensive.

I always  check the labels on products - and it makes me sad. Most of them are imported. It's more profitable for the big firms (like our Elite coffee firm) to import  stuff rather than  produce it locally. However, it's not only the cost that matters, but also the food security. There's no such security if the country depends on outer sources. It is a well-known fact, and yet highly ignored.

Anyway, let's hope for no shortage, for sane prices  ,and for increase in local production of food .

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Toxic Positivity


We often hear and read about 'toxic negativity', but there is such  a concept 'toxic positivity' as well. It is when we force ourselves and others to always look at the bright side of things ('think positive') and ignore the other sides. It can be harmful to our well-being almost as much as toxic negativity.

Positivity does not exist in a vacuum;  it needs to be rooted in reality for it to be helpful. Just as we need to manage our negative feelings, but not deny them, we need to manage our positive emotions without practicing fake cheerful attitudes.

It is not easy to oscillate between the two  aspects of life (positivity, negativity). In fact, it's quite a struggle, especially in old age when time, mobility, health, opportunity and everything that matters - are limited.

A positive outlook is said to help those with a major illness; it brings relief to suffering, hope to the patient. It is also believed that focusing on the positive, might help those grieving, to move on and find some solace in their loss (usually  a tragic loss of a child or a young sibling).

I wouldn't really know much about that, as I turn to God and pray for help whenever I'm in distress. What helped me in the past, and helps me in the present is my belief in God and His miracles. Yes, miracles. He did some for me over the years, and I'm forever grateful to Him.



Thursday, May 5, 2022

Customer Service


 I got myself a new desktop PC, with Windows 11 operating system. I had some trouble at logging in, and then at trying to approach my blog, as I constantly got messages of  'wrong password', 'wrong account', or 'wrong code'.

Since Microsoft has let me down with its support, I had to figure things out myself, and....thank God, it worked. Hopefully, no more issues ahead.

Microsoft offers at least five ways of  contacting them: phone, email, fax, chat, internet. None of them was helpful to me.

It seems customer service is getting worse everywhwere. They have all adopted the 'mantra' :"We're here for you". You'd better not believe it. They're there for you before selling you the device, afterwards you're mostly on your own.

My mobile phone company used to have representatives in physical stores. Whenever I had a problem I went to the nearest place and got it solved on the spot. Not any more. Everything is done by phone (putting you on hold), email, fax. Moreover, when one finally gets to a real person, one often becomes unpleasantly surprised by the lack of professionalism and patience that the person exhibits.


Friday, April 29, 2022

Responsibility


Two months ago, a former co-32worker, a woman in her mid-seventies, died a few days before she was to undergo a heart surgical procedure.

Her heart problem was known to us collegues; We also knew that her sister's husband, a cardiolog, took care of it, and kept an eye on her.

The rumour has  it that the cause of her death was the first anti-covid vaccine. She told people that since that vaccine her whole health condition had deteriorated.

One of those people, another former coworker, who was on friendly terms with her, has contacted me the other day to tell me that she intends to find out the truth by talking to the sister.

Well ,I'm not sure the later knows the truth; and even if she does  know it , I am not sure she'll volunteer information.  Nevertheless, I appreciate and support the intention to try and find out the real cause of her friend's death .

What I personally learn from this sad story , is that one should take responsibility on one's health and not automatically rely on doctors.

Both , politicians and doctors have interests that do not always coincide with our needs.

The mask is an external and quite  efficient device . The vaccine on the other hand, interferes with our own immunity system, and might cause damage in certain cases.

Anyway, may the deceased co-worker rest in peace!

Friday, March 25, 2022

Coincidence or Sign?

 

Brought to my attention recently:

World War 1

Began 7-28-1914

7+28+19+14 = 68

World War 2

Began 9-1-1939

9+1+19+39 = 68

Invasion of Ukraine

Began 2-24-2022

2+24+20+22 = 68

Hopefully, it's just coincidence.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Just a Thought

 


No , Iיm not ready to resume blogging, yet. I just wish to write a few words on what's happening in the world right now.

Zelensky of Ukraine looks cute and brave. They say he's also an accomplished actor and entertainer. However, his plan for Ukraine to join NATO has proved to be disastrous and a clear example of the stupidity of mankind. Human life is above all plans.

Anyway, I fear for his life and pray for a good outcome for both him and Ukraine.

The Maori king in New Zealend wishes the 'end of occupation'. NO laughing matter.  That goes to show that colonialism is never ever to be forgotten and forgiven.

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