Wednesday, February 22, 2023



In  Hebrew, the word 'balagan' means mess, chaos, disorder.  There's controversy about the word's origin (Russia? Turkey?...), but I'm not going to go into this.

 It suffices to say that at my age I hate balagan. I can try and control 'balagan' at my home (not always successfully), but not the one outside it .

Since the last general elections we've got constant balagan: protests, strikes, violence (both verbal and physical). It's all too little and too late, as they say, and as I firmly believe - but, who wants to know...   

People constantly ignore things, they live each inside their own bubble, and then act as surprised.  No surprise here at all. As expected, 'demographics' won the elections.  So, all that remains to do is try to make 'a lemonade out of the lemon', IF possible.

One must add to the above political kind of balagan,  the fear caused by the recent earthquakes in the neighboring countries Turkey and Syria. We are not prepared for such a disaster , so blames regarding  apparently faulty structural condition of buildings, are already flying  over our heads, in all directions.

Actually, the big balagan started several years ago with the Light Rail works in major cities -  Jerusalem and Tel Aviv first. The Light Rail has lots of benefits, but I pity those who live close to the stations and rails during long periods of work to be done. What a mess! 

They'll tell you it's all worthy as it raises house value on the market. Maybe, maybe not. In the meantime, one lives near a considerable balagan, and that's hardly quality living. If you've got kids, it could also be dangerous to live close to road /rail works.

Anyway, there seems to be no 'responsible adult' around, so things look  rather bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Three Surprises and One Pink Martini

The other day, I bought a few small items and got unpleasantly surprised by the price I had to pay.  It added to my gloomy mood I was in since the earthquake in Turkey last week.

The first item was a tiny pack of  sewing needles.'These needles are made in Germany', said the saleslady. What happened to China, give me chinese needles - these are expensive, said I. She smiled; no chinese needles in her shop.

Next, I fancied a loaf of light, sliced wheat bread . Unlike standard bread, light bread  (fewer calories) is not under price supervision, so it's subject to  constant raise by the supplier- informed me the vendor. Got it. 

The third item was a bag with potatoes. In winter, I often eat boiled, mashed potatoes topped with cottage cheese, or some piquant topping like sardine in chilli sauce. I like the red potatoes grown in Turkey. Immediately after the eartkquake, here, at the grocery store they shamelessly raised the price of these potatoes , probably in expectation of  shortage and/or difficulty with importing them .

To cheer myself up, I turned to Pink Martini,  no, not the drink but the music - something dramatic with a drop of fun. The drama in the youtube video was provided by an old, powerful song (Amado Mio - my lover), great voice, and stunning performance of the singer, Storm Large. 

The drop of fun was provided by a short pianist ( the leader of the american, successful Pink Martini band)  attracting attention with his over energetic piano playing, and a taller, standing  trumpetist attracting attention with his long hair. The live audience added nice background to both , drama and fun.

After running the youtube video  a few times, I felt better.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

On Earthquakes and Buildings

On  Sunday, we were told a storm named Barbara was on its way  from Greece to Israel, and will hit us on Monday morning.   In the meantime, at middnight, a deadly earthquake occurred in Turkey and was felt in the whole region: Syria, Lebanon. Cyprus, Israel. 

On Monday, at about midday, a second quake struck. Thousands of casualties in Turkey and Syria. Countries are offering to send teams with humanitarian aid, but the wintry weather is not cooperating with the search and rescue efforts. Terrible  tragedy!

Turkey has had her share of earthquakes in the past, and has learned important lessons from them, yet every new quake is  surprising and devastating.

One thing is for sure, we israelis, are not prepared at all  should a major quake strike closer to us. There's a lot of talk about strenghtening existing buildings. Some of it has already been done here and there.  New buildings are checked, before approval,  for specially designed features that will make them earthquake proof  buildings. So they say. I don't know how seriously things are done, if at all.

There's ,of course, no complete immunity to these buildings, given the unpredictability of intensity and ocurrence of the earthquakes, but it's the best we can do to bring damage and loss of life to a bare minimum.

Anyway, things look quite scary.