Even if you’re not a Washington junkie, you might still know Helen Thomas. She’s kind of famous, for being part of the White House press corps since before fire was invented.
Anyway, apparently she also feels that the Jews should, “get the hell out of Palestine,” and “go back to Poland and to Germany.”
Wow – let’s work to make this part of her Wikipedia entry, ‘mkay?
I learned about this story from the great blog, Jewlicious.
Filed under: Feelings, Hey!, Identity, Struggles | Tags: blockade, Flotilla, Sandra Bernhard
A lot can change in 24 hours. Sunday night I got to watch Rihanna perform in Jafo’s Bloomfield Stadium, and she was magnificent. The concert was part of a cool initiative called the Orange RockCorps. To score a ticket you had to do four hours of community service or know my friend Beth and get given a ticket for doing nothing. This was RiRi’s first time in Israel.
I had a stupendous time at the show. I almost didn’t make it! Beth told me RiRi was performing at Ramat Gan Stadium. I set out on my bike with plenty of time – dressed in “26-year-old drag.” My friend Ashley told me that the RockCorps tickets were only for kids ages 16-26. With bad lighting, sleep in your eyes and visual impairment, I can maybe appear 32-years-old; 26-y-o would be really pushing it (#understatement). But I wore a baseball cap and little O.P. corduroy shorts and gave myself a fresh, clean shave.
Google Maps on my BlackBerry got me there easily enough, and I realized the stadium (actually in Bnei Brak) was across from two skyscrapers where I had business meetings in the last few weeks. I was feeling that “more has been revealed” satisfying feeling that (unknowingly at the time) those meetings had helped familiarize me with this location to help me find the concert.
Except, major #Fail, b/c RiRi was not performing there at all. She was performing at Bloomfield Stadium in Yafo, which is basically the southern tip of Tel Aviv. Bnei Brak was like two towns over, north of Tel Aviv.
Fortunately, this whole country is the size of a peanut, and RiRi is Diva enough to never start the show on time, and I made it to the correct stadium about :10 minutes before she went on.
I passed for 26-years-old or, they just weren’t checking! I had a ticket to stand on the floor, which was fine b/c it was very close up. Even arriving as close to showtime as I did, I still was maybe 15 feet away from her when she came stage right. It was like I was babysitting or 15,000 teenagers, but it was fine.
Don’t you love it, when you remember to bring your camera and when you whip it out to take your first shot, you’re greeted with this message on the display: “CHANGE THE BATTERY PACK.” #Fail !!! Why doesn’t the camera have a gauge that shows you battery strength as you go along, but instead tells you nothing before – “Hey, doufus – I’m done. Change me.” #Fail !!! BlackBerry pics had to suffice, mainly of the video monitor, b/c cam was not high quality enough to get good shots of RiRi directly, close as I was.
Great show. Of course, I’m gonna find all the ways she was derivative of Madonna, but she really turned it out and rocked hard. It was really fun. Since I’m building my own business, I work *A LOT*, and it’s a real challenge to make myself get out for social activities. Seeing a big act like RiRi feels tangible to me, like I can point to it and feel – See, I do stuff.
Next day, late morning I see one of the new friends I’ve made from this crowd that’s really active on Twitter, Benji, tweet something like – “So sad, can’t stop watching the news.” Part of me thinks Uh-oh, what? , but I’m swamped as usual w/ work, and I don’t pay full attention. I can’t remember how long, but later that day the twitter chatter becomes loud enough that I realize something big has happened.
I’m trying to remember now what the first coverage I read was like – was it the US and global press accusing Israel of a “massacre of peace activists” or was it links from the people I follow on Twitter, who told a different story – that the IDF soldiers were “brutally ambushed by the terrorists at sea“?
The Ynet article really made me feel better – See, we’re not barbarians…we boarded the boat and *they* attacked *us* !! In an interesting twist, right afrter reading that article, the next tweet I see in Tweetdeck is from comedian/actress/author/personality/singer Sandra Bernhard – who I have adored ever since the mid 80’s, when she seemingly appeared on Late Night w/ David Letterman every few weeks. I remember thinking – Who *IS* this chick !?! I don’t know if Sandra was out then (I certainly wasn’t), but I was captivated by the way she clearly marched to her own drummer and seemed so much more authentic and original than the celebrities I was accustomed to seeing.
Anyway, so I’ve been a fan of hers for 25 years, and I read her tweet saying:
Not mean spiritied. Just a question – a *good* question. But in this environment – when, AGAIN it seems the world is unifiyingly holding Israel to an unfair security & self-defense double-standard…and yes, I was probably taking on some of these critical attacks on Israel personally…because Sandra is influential (and Jewish) and many people pay attention to what she has to say, I didn’t want her question to go unanswered or manipulated for another person’s purposes or change the opinion of someone still making up his/her mind up about what was still breaking news.
So, I answered her over Twitter:
And I included a hyperlink to the Ynet story I had read. Then, I continued working. I was still swamped, and flotilla or notilla, that hadn’t changed. When I checked Tweetdeck a little later, I saw that Sandra had answered me. While I had half-hoped she would, I certainly didn’t expect her to. Anyway, here is our conversation:
OK, so maybe it’s less of a conversation and really Sandra’s response to my tweet, and then my 3 replies to her, plus one re-tweet from my new friend @Jewlicious. (But if you remove the 140-character limitation, then – yeah, it’s her response, then mine, then me forwarding something.)
Anyway, I continued working, but of course that means checking both Facebook and Tweetdeck (and Atraf) every 5 seconds, and I came across a link to video posted by The Huffington Post, and it made Israel look just awful. A British Al-Jazeera reporter is giving a report from the deck of the raided flotilla boat. He mentions in his report that the flotilla was “carrying aid” when the “Israeli commandos descended upon it in International waters after surrounding it with ships from all sides” and mentions that on board the raided boat were “activists, parliamentarians, women, children and the elderly” and that “tens of people were injured, and there were still sounds of live fire despite white flag having been raised.”
I started feeling bad after watching this report. Not just – Oh, shit, this is *Bad* for Israel, but more like self-doubt, like – Oh, shit is this who we are? Are we barbarians? Am I in denial when I say the world is being unfair in its condemnation of us for what transpired? Are we really evil?
Another report I read on HuffPo had a pundit calling the incident “Israel’s Kent State” and a “massacre” and referred to those on the boat as “activists.” Head was starting to spin. Were they activists delivering aid, or terrorists attacking soldiers with metal rods? What was the truth ??
The HuffPo post was updated with video from the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) that showed the people attacking the soldiers when they first boarded the boat. This did a lot to reassure me – both that we had not perpetrated a massacre, and that more balanced coverage was making it’s way to American media, if not Europe.
Here is close-up of the same footage I found on the IDF’s YouTube channel:
I felt even more reassured when I read my friend David Hazony’s report. David is a writer and author on religion, Judaism, Israel, and the Middle East. From his piece I learned that the flotilla had written a press release in advance about the attack and were able to send it to news media around the world as soon as the incident occured. Premeditate much? David’s piece talked about the need to win the media war via press releases and Twitter, and I popped a PR boner. This is what I do, man !!! Maybe this is the reason I am here in Israel – I’m supposed to offer my PR and communications expertise (all in mother-tongue English) to the Israeli government and IDF and help us win the media war the next time.
I fired off a tweet to Sandra Bernhard, with a link to David’s piece. Then, I went to the gym to get rid of some of this anxiety and fat. But first, here are two exchanges with friends on Facebook. But are friends I love. One is Jewish, and she thanks me for “getting the truth out.” The other is not Jewish, but he lived in Israel before and loves Israel. But after the news coverage he saw, he had decided Israel and the IDF were in the wrong here, and he was condemning the IDF raid. Can you see why this was very confusing and heartbreaking for me?
I got my gym on. As I opened my locker to shower after, I saw that Sandra Bernhard had replied to me on Twitter! I was really happy about this. Because our conversation did not devolve into argument, but remained kind; other people could be following it over Twitter and having their thoughts on the incident broadened, and Sandra and I found some common ground in the end. Plus, I was able to get my starfuck on with a performer I have always enjoyed and admired.
Cool, right? Look, I didn’t know when I’d ever be talking to Sandra again, so I could not resist telling her about how I first became a fan. It’s like when I met Debra Winger while working on the red carpet of the Gotham Independent Film Awards and got to tell her the scene in ‘Terms of Endearment’ where she says goodbye to her kids is my favorite moment of cinema ever. I still didn’t get what Sandra meant about my response being disproportinate. But whatevs. This was still a cool thing on a lot of levels for me. Headed to a cafe to work for a few hours. Logged on and saw Sandra had responded!
Then, when I get home, I found out she had asked me what I do for a living here in Israel. Wow, I thought that was really nice.
I could have asked her what she meant by that. Israel is a democracy and all 7.1 million citizens have full rights and participate in government and society (not just the 5.6 million Jews), but it was almost 4am, and time for a few hours of sleep.
It’s a couple of days later now, and I was happy to see more examples of US media coverage that I thought was fair. Like, when Vice President Joe Biden appeared on Charlie Rose and defended Israel’s actions. And then, this wonderful opinion piece by Charles Krauthammer.
Almost finished, those of you who are still with me. Saw this last night. Superbly powerful parody/commentary of the Flotilla called “We Con the World” (like the 1985 USA for Africa single, “We Are the World”). I think it’s brilliant and the creative force behind it, Caroline Glick, is my new hero. Watch:
Alright, it’s Shabbat, my dog is dying to get outside, and I’ve been writing this post for more than four hours. Time to get cleaned up and head to Hilton Beach. I just knew I had to do a long post about my reaction to this international incident, though. Because I am an Israeli, but not a native one. I’m an American, too, and most of my friends live in America. America is more supportive of Israel than any other country, and American news media coverage of Israel is more balanced than most coverage in the world, which has a very anti-Israeli slant – maybe because the world views Israel as an illegitimate country who shouldn’t really be here at all. From my unique perspective as an Oleh Chadash (new immigrant) living in Israel for less than a year and a half, I am in between worlds, in a way. I live here. But I read American news via the New York Times, and links to US news sources sent around on Twitter and Facebook. I have friends in both countries. I dunno, it occurred to me that my reaction to this event was probably not the same as the average Israeli, and I wanted to document it (for me) and share it – in case there are other Olim who can relate to parts of it.
P.S. Here’s a good summary piece from NYT.
P.P.S. Footnote: that I have a friend in New York named Kevin, who works as a professional drag queen. His drag name?
So, you know, I still haven’t received my driver’s license in the mail yet, even though it’s been more than the “two weeks” they said it would take to arrive. No biggie – T.I.I., I knew it would take longer, and I know I’ll get it eventually.
But when I got an envelope with the word “traffic” on it, my mind naturally went to – Ooh! My license is finally here! But, you know, why was the letter from the TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS BUREAU in LOS ANGELES? Say it with me, people –
So, this is almost just too out there to even explain. But there is a citation issued against me from December 2009 in Los Angeles – a place I haven’t been since 1985 – for running a red light – even though the person caught driving by the traffic camera is a BLONDE WOMAN, and I’m like, you know, not.
So, I called L.A. up last week and explained the situation (b/c the form said I had to mail shit back to them – and there was a section to fill out “if you were not the driver of the car,” but when you haven’t been to the location in 25 years, you were on another continent when the accident took place, and the driver is a different sex that you – there was no section on the form to fill out for all that.
It turns out that the owner of the car, who was served the citation is an Israeli man, and he sent back information saying he was not the driver of the car – and that I was – and he gave my name, address, birthday…and for my license number, he got that wrong, but he used the Israeli equivalent of my social security card number for it.
The woman at the Bureau of Traffic Violations I spoke with in L.A. gave me the number of the deputy I should speak with about the citation, because my situation allowed her to. The deputy was not there when I called, but I did get to explain the whole situation to another officer, who took notes, and said I will hear from the deputy this week.
The first order of business is to get the citation against me dropped. But after that, I want to prosecute this fucker,
Mr. Yaron Zarafshan, who lives on 17421 Collins Street in Encino, CA 91316.
I mean, this shit is some serious fraud. Using my name, addy, bday, and Teudat Zehut (Israeli soc sec #) illegally – let’s send this fucker to jail, people.
More to come…
Filed under: Hey!, Petey | Tags: accidents, growth, learning, temper, training
About two weeks ago, I began experimenting with letting Petey have some free run of the house – while I am there with him. When we’d come back from a walk (so I knew he was “empty”), I’d be at the PC blogging or surfing and would let him wander and sniff.
I’d be sort of nervous that he’d pee or chew something up, so I would sometimes call to him if I couldn’t see him and he’d come running back to me. Or, I’d stick my head into the bedroom or bathroom and spy on him.
This went REALLY well….the first day we did it. That first time, Pete was a good boy – curious, but harmless – for like a whole hour. Things went so well, that I repeated the experiment later that evening, and then once at night. Each time, he was a little angel. I liked seeing a preview of how things could be when he’s older: me writing, and him chilling by my side. And from the behavior he was demonstrating, maybe this would be sooner than I originally planned.
I also noticed something interesting. The whole thing with crate training is – not only is it a housetraining tool (b/c he’s not supposed to want to pee/poop where he’s laying, and you only give him enough space in the crate to lay but not really walk around too much), but in the wild, dogs build little dens for themselves. They like being in kinda confined areas with only one entrance/exit (think: cave), having their own private space. Even once the dog is house trained, he’s supposed to hang in his crate willingly to chillax, even when its door is open and he has a choice. But Pete wasn’t doing this, ever. But when he did do during these experiments, was crawl through the baby gates into his nighttime “pen” area to chillax on his dog bed in there. So, he was exhibiting this doggie-den-willingly thing…but in the pen, not the crate.
Then, duh, it hit me: it’s all about the bed.
Once I realized this, I moved the bed from the pen into the crate. We’re no longer using the pen area, and I’m going to check with Yoda when he gets back from the civilized world Toronto to ask if we can dismantle it.
Hunky dory so far, right? Well, you probably already know where this is going. We had A LOT of setbacks after this first day. Pete got more “roaming” time the next day…until he let fly a big pee right on the bathroom floor. Not a rug, but still – Hey !!! Yoda says I need to manage my expectations and remember that Pete is still just a baby. It takes time for these rules to sink in, and he is going to forget and make mistakes. But a defect of mine is to totally take it personally, like I ‘m some crap trainer not doing it right or he would’ve gotten it by now.
Then, another time, he was willingly chillaxin’ (willaxin’?) in his open crate, chomping on something. I thought nothing of it, b/c his Aunt Betz has given him this awesome “ancient Himalayan dog treat” that the Buddha’s dog chewed on thousands of years ago, and Pete loves it and it’s lasting a really long time. Except when I finally was over by him and saw what it was, I was pissed to learn it was actually a wooden clothespin Pete had taken from a little box under my bed. He had demolished it. Not really such a big deal, considering they cost pennies, and I have lots more. But he could’ve choked or punctured his innards on the metal spring! What really annoyed me though, was when I went back to writing, and I observed him bounce right into my room and over to the box and take another one out. Each time, I would pick him up, take it out of his mouth and put it back, and tell him NO! with a swift but moderately forceful, downward swipe against his little snoot. I expected him to get it after one of those NO!/snoot-hit combos. But he’s a baby, and he…doesn’t. 😦
But like – OK, let me get to the crying thing. Sometimes Pete will bleat like a goat from inside his crate. I’d be working and would ignore him…then, plead with him to shut up…then raise my voice and yell at him the same thing. Then, I’d ignore some more and he’d finally stop. Great, I’d think – I’m actually Ferberizing my puppy. Except I’d misread the whole thing. I’d finally go by him in his crate and see that his bed was wet, and he was laying in
a pile of his own pee. I’d yell at him, pick him up and point his nose in it, hit his snoot, and run downstairs for a walk. But it was totes my fault. What if his crying was just his way of telling me Dad, I gots to go, like now! Take – me – out !!! Maybe I was just an out of touch, un-clued in, violent monster?
So I told Yoda, and told him that from now on, any time I heard the bleat cry, we’d immediately leash up and run right outside. But, then sometimes we’d do this, and he wouldn’t pee or poop out there at all. He’d just go on a smelling frenzy and try and eat cat food the neighbors leave out for the strays. When, you’re busy with work, this feels like a big waste of energy and is another reason to get upset at him.
Told Yoda, who said, Maybe sometimes it does mean “Take me out!” but other times it’s just him being bored and saying “I’m bored. Bring me out and play with me!” Hence, the experiments with trying to leave him out of the crate for more time without him having an accident, but you already know those don’t always end well – and you can see the vicious circle thing, too, yah?
I think I turned all of this around finally, but first, a little more darkness: Pete has overcome his fear of walking down steps, and so instead of having to carry him down and outside, now we walk down together. I have to be quick about opening the building’s door once we’re in the lobby, b/c a few times, he has thought the lobby was “good enough” and started to pee in there. But if ever I oversleep in the morning (b/c it happens), sometimes – even though he has held it during the night for like 8 hours – he will be too excited to finally go out and he’ll start peeing right outside the crate, or right outside my apartment, or once or twice – all the way down the steps (b/c I didn’t realize it); then I had to take Clorox and paper towels and clean the entire stairway (all four flights) – GRR !!!
Similarly, if I don’t bring him outside FIRST THING after getting up (no time for coffee, or teeth brushing, or doing my own morning pee), sometimes he’ll just go on his dog bed. Heaven forbid, I go onto the Internet before we go down. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen. I’ll flip out and lose my temper, thinking: But Yoda said he’s not supposed to want to pee where he sleeps! Is he just dumb? Fucking with me? WTF ???
BTW, Yoda says dogs are not smart enough to fuck with you; it’s much more basic with them than that. I was noticing Pete has the ability to hold it 8 hours overnight, or 4 hours at a time if I’m out at a movie and coffee afterward with friends….so why, when he starts crying in his crate 30 minutes after we’ve just come back from a walk – why then, does he sometimes pee on his bed if I don’t immediately take him out again (thinking this is just one of those Play with me! cries)? How is this NOT him fucking with me? Yoda says it’s just not. They’re too dumb and not that Machavellian. OK, Yoda, whatever you say.
Anyway, the light? I have gone back to using some positive reinforcement on walks when does his first big pee after going outside. (Poos, too, but – THANKFULLY – he has gotten that one down and not been having ANY poo accidents in the house; thank you, God !!!) I stopped with the treats for a while, because he stopped being interested in them. He’d sniff ’em and be like, whatevs. But – I think this is b/c we were on the emergency he’s-too-skinny-so-just-keep-his-bowl-filled-with-food-at-all-times plan, and he was never actually hungry. Now, we’re doing about 85 grams of food breakfast-lunch-dinner mealtimes, so – whaddaya know? – he’s into treats again.
Then, when we get back inside, I shut the doors to my bathroom and bedroom, and Pete gets free run of the house. For 30 minutes tops. (Two days ago, he was chillin’ by my side as I wrote…and then he just opened up and started whizzin’ right on the corner of the living room rug. Boo !!! Clorox spray took the odor out…and some of the color, d’oh.) Then, even if he’s been good, he goes back in the crate. (Actually, now that the bed’s in there, he sometimes just goes in there on his own, if I’m being boring and blogging instead of playing with him.) Plus, we’re averaging 2-3 trips to the dog park a day, so this tires him out a lot.
He’s so cute – sometimes he gets right into the little space under my desk where my feet are and just sits in between them and the computer. Other times, he’ll try and climb right up my leg and I’ll just pull him up to sit on my lap.
Aww. So, I think this new system is totes brillz. Happy we negotiated it out of much trial and #FAIL error. Pete’s not the only one learning.
So, I’ve had some grey hair around my temples for about ten years already. It’s never increased. My hair has 98% retained of its dark brown color.
My beard, however, has had a Big Old Grey Party for like the last five years. It has gone quite grey since then, as my brother likes to point out. It’s OK, he has a bird chest.
But the hair on my head has stayed the same color.
Until now ?
I thought I saw new patch of grey recently, right in the center/front of my hairline. Although, on closer inspection it turned out to be just really thick face sunscreen having coated it white. Close call.
But then my friend Leah remarked last week that she “really liked the salt & pepper thing” I had goin’ on. *anxious groan*
Look, I’ve always thought I’d let myself go naturally grey, rather than look like one of those oil-slicked, clearly dyed Gramps with an Eddie Munster ‘do. Greys are like “God’s highlights,” I’ve proudly remarked many times.
But then you start gettin’ more of them…
And last week I got my hair cut in a salon. Up until now, I’ve been going to a barber and just getting it buzzed. It looks nice that way, ya gotta love the no-maintenance aspect of it, plus I think when paired with a clean shaven mug, it makes me look quite young.
But I’m gonna let it grow longer for the winter, and I so I went to a salon to get it styled. After the cut, the guy asks me if I want him to put a rinse on that will get rid of my greys, but look very natural. *burn* Maybe I considered it 15%, but I ultimately declined and continued to do so as the stylist kept saying Are you sure?
As freaky as it is to watch yourself age…what’s the alternative – to die? And it would be weird to always remain the same age; probably boring, too. It would probably even be weird & boring to just look the same age even if you did continue to get older.
Anyway, there’s just one more thing. I found my first grey “secondary sex characteristic” hair last week. And I’m not talking about my already very grey (and trimmed, to minimize the effect) chest. Wow. It did give me a great idea for a book title though, which I’ll be coy and not share.
Filed under: Hey!
Now, it’s full-on constant pouring, more like what I’m used to at home.
This is worse.
My & Petey are on a fierce routine. I figured, you know, take the dog out every few hours, yada yada, you know, the usual – it ain’t rocket science. But as I’ve mentioned a few times already, my friend (and owner of the Tel Aviv dog walking service, Happy Dogs – soon to have a Facebook fan page!) Jeremy is a Yoda-level-master-slash-Dog Whisperer with this training shiz, and has us on a schedule where I take Petey out after every hour of being in his crate. Every hour.
And after a pee or a poo, he gets mondo praise and treats (I’m actually cutting them up into fours), and then we continue walking so he doesn’t think the walk’s gonna end the second he pees/poos, then major petting time on a park bench, then some more walking, then we go inside.
The last two days, the post-walk routine has expanded into a few minutes of training inside the apartment (now, we’re on the SIT command; stay/come are next…), then a few minutes of play/roughhousing, then I fix him a Kong, and he goes back inside the crate to futz with it/work to get the food out, then sleeps. Until an hour passes, and then we do it all again….
But previously, I wasn’t doing the post-walk inside training & playtime bit. We’d come inside, I’d make up a Kong for him, and he’d go straight in the crate. (Jeremy told me not to have him go straight in there post-walk, b/c then maybe he won’t look forward to the crate instead of viewing it as his little home/private area.
So, anyway, two days ago (when it was still this simpler routine), I went “off script” for like two seconds, and let him wander/sniff around the apartment just a tad – you know, see where Dad lives. He checked out Central Command my computer area, my couch/coffee table area, then headed into the bathroom to see what that’s about, and…lets fly a tinkle right on the bathroom rug.
I was like – WOAH, Petey !! Ran over, picked him up, yelled No! at him, while I held his face right in front of the pee puddle and hit his snoot in a downward motion twice (timed with the No!‘s). (Before you get all PETA on my ass, can I blame it on my parents say that this is just how we did it in my family with our dogs growing up, and I actually think it’s a pretty common way of training.
But Yoda Jeremy says the research is doubtful that it’s very effective. It could just undermine Petey’s trust in me and not much else. Jer said while it might be hard for me, it’s better to just pick him up/stop him from peeing on the carpet and put him in his crate and that’s that. Or – even better would be to leash him up and run right downstairs and back outside and plop him down to continue the pee, but outside. This might help to reinforce the concept – Oh! Leash + outside = Pee Party.