Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've copied (with permission) the below funny piece from In my Humble Opinion (Nice Guy Eddie's political blog). Eddie's a liberal blogger and he got this stuff in an email sent to him by a conservative.

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock
for 6 am. While his coffeepot
was perking, he shaved with his electric razor
He put on a dress shirt
designer jeans
and tennis shoes
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet
he sat down with his calculator
to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch
to the radio
he got in his car
filled it with GAS
(from Saudi Arabia )
and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer
(made in MALAYSIA ),
John decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals
poured himself a glass of wine
and turned on his TV
and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA



The more I read about outsourcing the more I think of it as complete madness. Lots of people in the USA and in those countries that imitate everything coming from the USA - are unemployed. The lust of corporations for cheap labor, transferes every possible job overseas, and the government in charge of the national interests does nothing to prevent that.

Well, to my mind, this outsourcing thing undermines the economic independence of the country and is a clear sign of disintegration .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tears in the Park

He was sobbing quietly repeating between the sobs the question of 'why did he have to marry her' . His crying seemed to scare the birds that were chatting cheerfully nearby . It scared me too although I was familiar with the man's trauma as he was an aquaintance of mine , one whose advice in various matters I greatly valued.

The 'explosion' of his traumatic problem that he carried with him from childhood, usually happened upon the return from one of his visits to his father's widow; he used to get off at the bus station near the park with the red benches , and sit down on one of them to feed the birds and clear his thoughts before heading home to his wife and kids. He had promised his father on his deathbed that he would visit his widow regularly and help her out with whatever she needed. He kept his promise faithfully; moreover, he also helped his half brother who sometimes got in trouble with the law.

I met him in the park and listened , not for the first time, to the story of his life.

He (Marc) was born in a small town in Poland. His mother died at a relatively young age leaving a husband and two children: Marc and his sister. Not long after her death, his father remarried with the housemaid , a young woman who had come to town from one of the nearby villages to look for work and found her place with the small jewish family.

According to Marc's story, after his father's remarriage, the two children became the laughingstock of their colleagues in school and object to pity of the adult world of neighbors and relatives. The school mates used to mock them for their new Mom, calling her illiterate and peasant. The adults constantly uttered in their presence questions such as: why couldn't he just live with her like man and woman, why did he have to marry her, give her his family name, etc..? All this -not to mention the jewish community's boycotting of the father for taking a Gentile for a wife - was hard on Marc and his sister, and left deep scars on their young souls.

The story appealed very much to the romantic side in me . Here was a man (Marc's father) willing to sacrifice quite a lot to marry the woman he wanted. I saw in my imagination a relationship between two very different persons willing to accept each other 'as is' without any conditions and expectations, and I liked that. Of course, I never disclosed these thoughts to Marc as it would mean to sprinkle salt on his wounds. He liked to think that his father was not too bright ,to say the least, and that's why he had fallen into the hands of the maid. It never occured to him that his father could have possibly felt respect , affection, and even love for the peasant woman. After all, a child was born to them and the relationship was strong and lasted despite the hostile environment.

The widow has recently passed away. I think , may be with her death, Marc will finally get his well deserved inner peace . Who knows, it's hard to tell.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The fatal Bridge and Fungus

Bridges over bodies of water usually fascinate me with their variety of shapes, and of materials of which they are made. Yesterday, I was reminded of one bridge, a pedestrian temporary bridge that could certainly not be categorized as 'fascinating'. That bridge had collapsed on July 14, 1997 (yesterday was the 13th anniversary) causing the death of four people and serious injuries to sixty more. It happened at the 15th Maccabiah Games (a sort of Jewish Olympics held every four year in Israel) in the area of the sports stadium of the city of Ramat-Gan.

The temporary bridge placed over the nearby Yarkon river to allow athlethes and officials to enter the Ramat-Gan stadium for the opening ceremony march, collapsed as the second team of athletes, the australian team , was crossing it ( the first team was that of the austrians). The australians fell into the polluted water; other athletes and by standers jumped into the water to rescue the fallen. What was expected to be a big, exciting event was being spoiled by unneccessary deaths and injuries. The first day of the Maccabiah was one of deep mourning.

Sacha Elterman, 15 year old, was the most critical of the injured australians; during the years to follow, she underwent more than 30 brain and lung operations - and survived. Only one of the four dead athletes died as a result of the fall, the other three died as a result of the toxicity of the water (it was found upon investigation that the water contained a fatal fungus).

It appeared that the temporary bridge was constructed out of rusty metal pieces bound together with wire. Criminal charges were brought against the people involved in the design and building of this bridge . In 2005, eight years after the disaster, a permanent structure over the Yarkon river was built, and it was called 'The Bridge of Remembrance".

(The above picture from Wikipedia shows the athletes in the water under the collapsed bridge).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yell and Shout at the Mall

In the Middle East, there's no such thing as soft, quiet speech. Everybody shouts at everybody , everywhere, at any time. It starts early in life. Children hear their parents shouting at them and at each other- and they absorb and process this kind of behavior. They then take it out in school and public places.

During vacations, and especially during the long summer vacation, Malls offer various entertainment programs for children. The other day, I happened to be at the Mall and I watched some of it. The most popular are those with prizes, such as machine Games and Trivia contests. In the Games section, there's a terrible noisy music background, so if the child/teenager wants to talk to his friend he must shout at him and ,of course, the latter shouts back at him.

Then there's this spot in the Mall arranged in the form of a mini amphitheater with a large cupole ceiling above, some artificial little waterfalls , and a stage set up for the presenter running the event and the sound system. It's nice inviting individual children on stage, ask them trivia questions and give prizes (posters, toys, etc...) to the winners. The problem is that the presenter in order to diversify the program, chooses also to turn to the whole audience of children (of various ages), asking them to answer his questions. They all yell the answers at him. "I don't hear anything" , he says, " louder, louder" he encourages them. That call for 'louder' is hardly educational or entertaining.

The 'Yell and Shout' thing abuses vocal cords, hurts listeners' ears, damages hearing. Ask any audio therapist and voice therapist; they've got lots of work.
Parents can and should learn to control their anger/frustrations and refrain from yelling at each other and at their children. In public places they don't have much control on what's being offered as entertainment, and yet even there, damage could be minimized with a little effort.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gone with the Smell

The recent complaints of fishermen and other Gulf of Mexico area residents about a heavy oil odor in the air which might be toxic, remind us of the other heavy, stubborn odor which presents no danger, only great unpleasantness - the odor of fish.

One could smell a fishing village before one could even see it. The fishing villages have a charm of their own if you could ignore the smell. Well, as a visitor , and only as a visitor, I could. After all, the smell is an integral part of the scenery and the daily life here. People have to utilize what nature offers them . In the areas near lakes, rivers, ponds, seas - the offer is Fish of all sorts and sizes and with... the smell of fish.

(At home, that's a different matter. I like to eat fish, but I dislike the smell and I cannot ignore it as it can stick around long after the 'mess' of cooking and eating is gone. I do my best to find ways to neutralize it. Natural acids like lemon and vinegar usually do the job. There are of course, commercial solutions ,such as enzymatic sprays, which could help if anything else fails).

All over the world the shores of water bodies are punctuated with traditional fishing villages, and the more modern ones, the recreational fishing villages that allow urban people to escape from the everyday rat race.

A half day trip from Amsterdam, Holland, brings you to the world famous historical fishing villages of Volendam and Marken on the coast of the former Zuidersee (now called Ljsselmeer). These villages have wooden little houses, old boats and traditional costumes that are still worn by the local people .

Marken costume and Volendam boats

Things change slowly but surely in the fishing industry: the methods of catching the fish, cleaning, weighing, salting, drying, marketing it, the quality of the boats - all undergo processes of improvement , but... the fish smell with its unpleasantness remains a constant factor which permeats the whole place.

Maybe scientists are able , or will be able in the future to grow in artificial ponds, fish without the specific odour, just as they nowadays grow sabra fruit without the outer thorns or water melons and grapes without the inner seeds. It wouldn't taste the same though.

* The painting on top - "A fishing village in Newfoundland" by Sterling Edwards (click to enlarge it.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HaYarkon 181

The above 9-floor building is known by the name of 'the crazy house'. The back of it looks as if covered with pieces of white sheets, the front resembles a persian carpet. I wouldn't call it 'crazy' ; 'unusual' seems to be a more appropriate word. Compared to the other buildings in the city , everything about it is unusual: its location - among ordinary buildings , the architecture - a mixture of Gaudi and Art Nouveau styles; the construction and decorating materials - a combination of natural elements such as wood, sand, limestone, shells, plants, and urban elements : metal, cement.

Anyway, it stands out in its surrounding; it can hardly be missed by the passers by. At the opposite side of the street, there's a bench (donated to the city by the entrepeneur) that matches the style of the building. The bench is a splendid idea; people can sit comfortably on it, and contemplate in wonder "the crazy house".

During the construction period 1982 -1985 ( it was ready to be inhabited only in 1989 as it took seven years to get all the necessary license documents !!) there was much controversy about this building project - people liked to hate it. It was not surprising; after all, people tend to dislike and even hate the unusual, the different, the alien. Besides, there was also the envy factor - not everyone could afford an appartment in such an exclusive building on the border line between the sea and the city, with both views - to the sea and to the city available.

After it became "fait accompli' , the locals got indifferent to it, whereas tourists found it a great object for photography. The area is frequented by tourists as it is close to the sea and there are many hotels , bars, travel agencies around, so this building became one of the city's touristic curiosities.

The 'crazy' house, designed by architect Leon Gnignebt , is situated at 181 Hayarkon street in Tel Aviv .The house is residential, not open to the public. To those interested in seeing the details of both the interior (with its wall paintings, sculptures, carpets etc..) and the exterior (including the roof, pool, garden, fence) of this odd piece of architecture , you could look for the video presenting the slideshow created by the tour- guide Henya Michelson. Even if the captions are in hebrew, still, it gives some pretty good idea of the building .

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Don't Panic, Go Organic"

Among the various food items in my kitchen, a place of honor is given to the bottle of the organic, extra -virgin, cold pressed, olive oil used for flavoring and cooking. My favorite brand is produced in a small, family-owned oil press in the Nahal (stream) Zalmon area.

The Zalmon stream is a long stream which flows in the north part of Israel on the border between the regions of Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee and terminates into the Sea of Galilee ( Lake Kinneret). The area surrounding it, is a very beautiful, peaceful one, often visited by families with children on vacation; the scenery is breathtaking: mountains, villages, valleys.(The serenity of the place was grossly violated seven years ago when a young czech tourist female was strangled here with a thin cable by a young man from one of the nearby villages; he then placed her head under the water and put large stones on her body. It was murder for the sake of murder , as the judge said in court).

The trees that grow the olives out of which the oil is extracted are hundreds and even thousands of years old!! There's no need for irrigation or any artificial manipulation, and the hard olives are hand picked. The oil produced from these olives is thicker, more aromatic , with texture and flavor of high quality.

A basic salad consisting of organically grown veggies and sprinkled with this organic olive oil, or a similar quality oil is a delightful dish. An addition of an organic egg and/or organic cheese to it, makes this dish into a
wonderful, healthy meal.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Midnight Slaughter in San Diego

In one of the previous posts, I've mentioned my Genealogical Quest - an attempt to track the saga of my ucrainian/romanian Great Grandmother in America, and find information about her descendants .

It's not an easy task; it takes a lot of time, energy, and feelings. Sometimes you come upon positive things such as one of GG's grandson being a leading legislator in Michigan and his sister a talented singer who has her own radio station; sometimes you come upon personal tragedies such as the untimely deaths of another grandson and his daughter in Miami. And then, you face an unimaginable event of extremely tragic proportions - the slaughter of an entire family by its adopted (at birth) teenager. An event such as the last one devastates you emotionally for weeks ,and greatly delays your work on the project.

It happened in San Diego , California. in the condo of an elderly couple , my GG's grandaughter and her husband. There were six people inside the condo : the elderly couple, their daughter and her three family members ( her husband, their 10-year old girl, and the 16 year old adopted son) on visit from Las Vegas. Five were killed by the sixth one, the adoptee.The murder was planned by the teenager as he was was very angry about being sent to a boarding school for troubled youths in West Los Angeles, away from his parents and sister who lived in Las Vegas. He used a hammer, a kitchen knife and an ax to slay his victims, then he cleaned the murder weapons, took a shower, changed his clothes, set the condominium on fire to cover up the crime, and left.

According to online sources, he was trouble from the beginning, hostile to his adopters and agressive in school. He was an emotionally disturbed child who turned into a vicious, dangerous teenager. There was also slight criticism on the parents in some sources implying that they had put pressure to change the diagnosis from "emotionally disturbed" to "learning disabled", and by doing so they had possibly prevented from him adequate treatment. I find that hard to believe (authorities always look for ways to cover up their action or lack of action), and I don't "buy" the possibility of treatment in this case.

Anyway, I believe the only good thing the parents could have done was to have opened their eyes widely before adopting him, by checking for defective genes inherited from his biological family. It's sad, but people are more careful about buying a car than about adopting a child.

The bitter irony was that my great grandmother had left Romania hoping for a more secure life for her children in the new country. Luckily, she didn't live to witness that mini american -style holocaust of grandaughter and her immediate family. May they all rest in peace!

The photo at the top - "Killer Bean Forever

Monday, May 31, 2010

The "Osama" Offer

I said No although I would have liked to say Yes.

It was summertime, and the spacious well air-conditioned Post Office of my town was a pleasant refuge from the heat outside. I was sitting on a small bench placed in a corner, trying to figure out the reason for the additional money I'd been charged with, to release a parcel sent to me from abroad.

Suddenly, I became aware of a guy of yemenite origin, his face resembling that of another yemenite, Osama bin Laden without the beard - staring at me insistently. He approached my bench, sat down near me, and after a few opening sentences offered me a nice sum of money for...the small, simple pendant hanging on my neck. I was so surprised by his offer that I immediately uttered the truth: "it's not gold, only gold plated", I said. "I know that, I've made it myself", "You what?!?!" was my reaction to his astonishing words.

He told me a story about his being a graduate of the Bezalel School of Art and Crafts in Jerusalem, department of jewelry. During the period of studying at the famous school (nowadays called the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design) he created some unique pieces of jewelry, partly based on knowledge he had acquired as a child in his father's tiny workshop (Jewelry-making was considered a respectful profession among the yemenite jews. They worked with silver mainly, occasionally with gold, and specialized in filigree style {filigree -twisted wire threads of silver or gold} and in granulation style{decoration of the jewel surface with granules-small spheres of precious metal} ).

"Then what's the problem, make another one like mine" I suggested.
He said he was no longer in the jewelry trade, he got no tools for that intricate kind of work, he was very busy, but...he had Money, and was willing to pay nicely for Bezalel-made pieces of jewelry in general, and to regain some of his own pieces in particular. In short, he was a collector.

I had to disappoint him. The pendant was a gift from an aunt of mine and it meant a lot to me sentimentally; besides , I loved its design. He left me his visit card in case I change my mind. After a few days, I told a friend about this strange encounter at the Post Office. She didn't buy "Osama's story"; she had some other theory about the whole thing, but I was not going to test it.

Anyhow, I haven't put any piece of jewelry around my neck since that day ; I can't explain this, but it's a fact.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dolphins and Humans

The first time in my life I saw dolphins was at the Dolphinarium on the beachfront of the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Dolphinarium with its big stadium, large dolphin pool with underwater viewing arena, and the performing bottle nose dolphins (the most common dolphin species) - made a lasting impression on me.

The dolphin daily show at the Dolphinarium ( part of the Aquarium housed in the great Bayworld Oceanarium complex) , was a very popular attraction amongst local and international visitors. People, and especially children, were fascinated by the beauty, and grace of the dolphins's acrobatic jumps, flips, breaches , tail waving etc..

It's amusing to know that these performing creatures sometimes have to be put on diet. Despite the fact that they excercise a lot and display great energy in their acrobatics, if they overeat they develop fat stomachs which affect their abilities in their aquatic performance. So, no fatty mackerel for you guys, only white, lean fish.

(It's a bit like in humans; exercising is helpful in maintaining normal weight, in preventing weight gain, but if you're fat, you'll first have to do something about your food intake, excercing alone won't make you slim).

Dolphins , like humans, recognize themselves in the mirror - sign of self-awareness and that's great! Well, they do have what to see in the mirror: cute, friendly faces and an intelligent look.

Speaking of intelligence, dolphins are considered the most intelligent animals and this trait is very appealing to humans who make use of it and interract with dolphins in various fields: medical (therapeutic swimming of dolphins with handicapped children and adults) , military (dolphins are trained to locate sea mines by producing sounds and listening to their echo), fishing ( dolphins cooperate with fishermen by driving fish into their nets), rescue (dolphins can save people from drowning by raising them to surface). Dolphins adapt well to human companionship and are easily trained to perform tasks, provided the trainer shows them respect.

Relationship between mother dolphin -baby dolphin and that among grown-up dolphins seems similar to relarionship in humans.

Baby dolphins suck warm milk from their mother's mammal glands; they keep close to their mother who protects them and teaches them skills to get their food. How sweet!
As for dolphins in general they appear to be quite social creatures, they're seen ganging together like humans.

Here's a lovely 'dolphin' poem by Horace Dobbs, I've found on the Web:

Pushing through green waters/ Symbol of joy
You leap from the depts /To touch the sky
Scattering spray/Like handful of jewels
Not caged by union rules/unfettered by sales targets
No trains or planes to catch/ Your time is set by the flow
of the sea's tides
You give us images of ecstasy/That we lock away
Behind the doors of memory /For quiet moments
When released from our possessions/ We dream of a freedom
like yours
[Dolphins and Man...equals?]

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Ugly and the Beautiful

The title of this post doesn't refer to people, but to two memorials located within a central, busy square - Rabin Square - of the Town Hall in Tel Aviv. The square ( previously called Kings of Israel and renamed Rabin's Square in memory of the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzach Rabin) is often used for demonstrations, open-air concerts, exhibitions, various ceremonies and festivities.

At one end of the square there's a memorial sculpture for Holocaust victims. created by the israeli painter and sculptor , Yigal Tomarkin, who's known as an anti-establishment person and artist. It's a 10 meter tall monument, a rusty metal structure of an inverted pyramid with glass window panels. The monument is ugly and totally out of place. I don't like to look at it, certainly not come near it as it's rusty, full of dust and bird shit (I suppose it gets cleaned from time to time). There were attempts to remove it , but the sculptor fought against these attempts in court and outside it, so here it stays.

At the other end of the square - there's a memorial area for Yitzhach Rabin located a few feet away from the spot where he has been shot. The monument , designed by a woman architect, Ms. Claude Grundman Brightman and carried out by the sculptress Yael ben Artzi, is made of 16 bazalt rocks arranged in a grid and contained by a steel frame; the stones are set at varying heights and lit from below by a light suggesting the everlasting fire.

It is beautiful. I would say, it definitely has a woman's touch; after all, it's the creation of two women. Many people come to the place, lit candles in Rabin's memory, pray, take pictures, discuss its significance. No one can remain indifferent to the dark basalt rocks sunken in the pavement.
Unlike the Hollocaust Memorial which stands high above the ground, Rabin's Memorial is almost at ground level, so it doesn't interfere with anything, but looks an integral part of the square.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"He has met his Waterloo"

Waterloo is a nice little town near Brussells in Belgium with lots of green fields. About a mile from the town is the battlefield where Napoleon Buonaparte's french army, was defeated by the Duke of Wellington's allied forces in June 1815. The legend of Napoleon's invincibility was shattered at Waterloo. Hence the expression "He has met his Waterloo" (meaning 'he has met with defeat').

On the spot where the decisive battle took place, there's a memorial monument in the form of a lion a top a manmade hill with 226 stairs(!!) overlooking the battlefield.
(Ladies, please wear trousers not a skirt when climbing those stairs , otherwise you will be offering a panoramic view to the people at the bottom of the hill, prior to the real panoramic view awaiting at the top !!).

the Lion Hill

In a building adjacent to the Lion Hill - the Panorama Building - there's a huge circular painting portraying scenes of the battle fought on 18 June 1815. In the background, sound effects of battle noises, cannon and gun fire. The viewer relives the great moments of the battle. A very thrilling experience!

part of the circular painting

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo - couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo - finally facing my Waterloo

The above is the refrain of the famous Eurovision Contest winning song (1974) WATERLOO composed and performed by the very successful swedish ABBA band.(see the video below).The song was inspired by the battle at Waterloo and Napoleon's defeat, and it's a sort of comparison of a lover's romantic surrender to that of Napoleon's surrender.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fame and Horror in Edinburgh

The name's a bit confusing as it is spelled in various ways: Edinburg, Edinburgh, Edinborough, Edinbourgh...but the city itself is remarkable in all respects. It's an inspiring city due to a lucky combination of historical , architectural and cultural elements.

Edinburgh , capital of Scotland, is the birthplace of Sir Walter Scott, the famous novelist (author of "Ivanhoe") , Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( the creator of Sherlock Holmes), actor Sir Sean Conery (the first 007 agent, of the renowned TV serial). The city is host to a lot of annual festivals, the most well-known being The Edinburgh International Festival of music, opera, theatre, dance, and exhibitions held in August.

The dark gothic monument built in honour of Sir Walter Scott is one of the biggest attractions in the city - 61 m high, its top reached via 278 steps! (The architect never saw his final work as he tripped into a canal and drowned). The monument is decorated with 64 statuettes which are believed to illustrate characters from Walter Scott's novels and from scottish literature in general. Below the arches, there's a white marble statue of the writer and his dog.

The Edinburg Castle- the symbol of Edinburg and of Scotland, fortress and formal royal residence - is ,no doubt, number one tourist attraction in Edinburg. It stands on an extinct volcano and offers a splendid panoramic view of the city. There's much to be seen in the castle: royal appartments, the room containing the scottish crown jewels, the dungeon, cannons, and various arms on display. There's some military presence at the castle for ceremonies mainly.
I happened to be there when a gun was fired and it scared the bejesus out of me.
It was the firing of the one o'clock gun used to allow ship captains to set their clocks and watches by.

Horror tours within the historic old town area are very popular. Visitors are taken to dark courts and alleys, to chambers used by witches, to haunted graveyards - and told scaring tales about tortures, murders, paranormal happenings. Edinburgh Castle is considered one of the most haunted places. Like many other castles it has its dungeons where prisoners were tortured and killed. These dungeons are believed to be haunted by the ghosts of their victims.

It was Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh, who wrote the nightmarish story "The strange case of Dr Jeykell and Mr Hyde". Well, the Old historic, haunted town and the New elegant, sophisticated town of Edinburgh are said to be symbolic of these two characters: Dr Jeykell, and Mr. Hyde.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pedestrian Mall and the Star

On Tuesdays and Fridays, the pedestrian zone of Nachlat Benyamin street in Tel Aviv, turns into a colourful, lively, open mall with artists selling their original handicrafts, with musicians and pantomime entertainers performing their magic shows, with cute cafes and restaurants feeding the visitors, with lots of people wandering among the stands looking for gifts to buy or just contemplating the crafts on display, and absorbing the special atmosphere of the place.

The pedestrian zone of Nachlat Binyamin street is located between Carmel Market and Alenby street. At the meeting point of these three sites , one could watch the singing performance of Miri Aloni (60), a former star with a superb, powerful voice who has become during the last decade a street singer. She accompanies her Hit songs with guitar playing; people watch, listen and put coins and bills into the box placed near her.

Miri Aloni first came to be noticed in the Sixties. She was then the soloist of one of the army regimental bands, The Nachal Band. She had a captivating voice, good looks, great talent, and so, following her success during her army service , she became one of the greatest israeli pop and rock stars. But something happened to her on the way to consolidating her stardom. After a very promising start and a certain period of glory there began a decline in her career. According to the gossip columns in the newspapers it was 'cherchez l'homme'- look for the man in her life. It was said that she was attracted to the wrong type of men who suppressed her personality and damaged her professional carreer.

Anyway, in november 1995 she became well-known abroad too due to a tragic event - the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhac Rabin at a peace gathering held at the Municipality square of Tel Aviv. She was on the stage singing together with Rabin and the foreign minister Peres her famous song Shir La Shalom (Song for Peace); minutes later, Rabin was assassinated. In interviews to the Media during the ensuing years she claimed that she was not happy being associated with tragedy and complained that this association had deteriorated her career and her ability to make a living.

Miri Aloni should be appreciated not only for her vocal performance but also for her tough character. Not everyone in her position would have survived this transition from concert halls to street corners.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Schaffhausen and the Rhine Falls

Schaffhausen- a word I could never forget. My father owned a schaffhausen watch , which was considered expensive and hard to obtain. One day it was stolen from him and that made him terribly sad. No hugs and promises of a new watch could make him overcome his bad mood. ( I'm afraid I have inherited this trait of character ; whenever I lose an item I can go sad for days , which is of course stupid. One shouldn't get so attached to things; it's only people that matter.).

Later on, I learned that Schaffhausen is a city in northern Switzerland with a long tradition of fine watchmaking. The IWC (International Watch Co) , a high-end Swiss watch manufacturer, is located in Schaffhausen.
However, the main attraction in Schaffhausen is not the watch industry or the city itself with its medieval car-free old town, but the Rhine Falls (3 km distance from the city).

I came to Schaffhausen with the ticking of my father's stolen watch in my mind, and I ended my tour with the thundering of the Rhine Falls in my ears. I could have composed a piece of music starting with ticking, and ending with thundering, and in the middle of it, the various noises made by the tourists ( if I were a composer).

Anyway, near Schaffhausen, the river Rhine offers a spectacular show (especially on a sunny day) of the waterfalls - the largest waterfalls in Europe (150mW, 23mH). It is possible to reach the Falls walking along the banks of the river , or by bus.

Once on the spot, one has to try and change positions to find a good angle to best see the roaring falls and take good pictures.
One can also catch a boat ride to a rock in the middle of the cascading waters which enables a closer view of them (if one doesn't mind to get wet by the gushing waters, of course)
Close by, on a cliff, proudly overlooking the Falls, is the old castle Schloss Laufen, which serves as a complex, housing: a restaurant, a hotel, a youth hostel and a gift shop.

A visit to the Rhine Falls is great fun; it offers amazing sights and sounds.