Tuesday, March 14, 2006


There is no moral equivalency between suicide bombings and bulldozers, between killing innocent people and building houses.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her memoirs Madam Secretary

Education shmeducation. As long as the teachers aren't abusing the kids and the kids aren't beating each other up I'm happy.
Mother discussing her son's academic future, Tel Aviv

I'm calling to get a fax of my son's hospital report
We can't fax it; Mail only. But anyway your report isn't ready
I phoned last night and was told it IS ready and to phone this morning to have it faxed over
Sorry. Call back later this afternoon. It might be ready then
Can't you just make a note in the computer to mail it to me when it's ready? This calling is getting old
If I make a note someone will throw it in the garbage or it'll get lost. Call back later
Conversation with hospital administration, Tel Aviv

Honey, you can't hit me in the bottom with a stick. It hurts. If I hit you with a stick in your toochas, don't you think it would hurt?
..But yours is big
Conversation with 4-year-old Raphael

You have to come check out my new health club. It's fantastic
What...? State of the art? Great teachers? Swimming pool?
I dunno. But there's an on-call physician and it's right next door to a hospital
Conversation with pal Jeff

Honey, don't wave the sword in my face. Samurais don't hurt their mommies
(after a moment's thought) I'm a bad Samurai
Conversation with 4-year-old Raphael

Oh what a beautiful drawing!
Look! This is me on my bicycle, this is our house and this is the airport and here's Abba Tonny
Am I in the picture too?
Sure. You're inside the house
Conversation with Raphael

The boys are catatonic...Half of Washington is in a state of shock
Madeleine Albright, quoting Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, on the day of her appointment as U.S. Secretary of State...Madam Secretary

Look! (Pulling down pants in kitchen) I have those things on my sides like sharks for breathing
You mean gills?
Yeah. Gills. They're for breathing
No, sweetheart, people don't have gills
I do. I'm not just a regular person. I'm a different person
Conversation with 4-year-old Raphael

Excuse me, can you tell me where the smoking lounge is?
It's all around you, mate
Exchange between visiting NBC (then) correspondent Brian Williams and former, NBC Israel producer Jeff at Tel Aviv studios

Oh sh*t! I forgot to put in my (glaucoma)drops
I don't have to put in eye drops
No you don't, honey
That's because I'm not so, so old like you
Conversation with 4-year-old Raphael

Are you happy with this kindergarten? Do your kids like it?
Very happy. It's wonderful. The teacher is very hard on the kids but aside from that...
Conversation with a parent during kindergarten & preschool open house day, Tel Aviv

Let me think..Should I cancel my dinner date with the queen to come over and wash the pile of dishes stacked in your sink? Now that's a tough one..
Either way you look at it, you'll still be having a date with a queen
Telephone conversation with an androgynous, male friend

So how are things?
Okay really. Fine.
Yeah, just great. I mean, I'd rather blow up my apartment than clean it and I want to disappear to an Ashram in India for a few years but otherwise, things are great.
Conversation with a stressed friend

I'm looking for the black gun that was on this shelf yesterday. It was long, black, cost 20 shekels and was right here with the other guns..?
I have no idea which one you're talking about.
Okay. It looks like an M-16
Oh, that one! Follow me.
Conversation with female toy store employee, Tel Aviv

That Sharon fellow isn't doing too well. I guess that Yoo-Hoo guy will take over
90-year-old Grandpa Benny, discussing Israel's politics with my mother

You see! It starts with plastic. Then the next thing you know, it's real weapons, violence and someone ends up dead
(Retort following a few minutes' pause) Excuse me, but the little boy wants to know if you'd mind giving him your home address...?
Exchange with an elderly woman put off by Raphael's plastic, Ninja sword, on a Tel Aviv bus

(Emily Cohen)...loved bargains so much that she would even buy the wrong size bra if it were marked down
Madeleine Albright, referring to a lifelong, Jewish friend in her memoirs Madam Secretary

Thanks to your blogsite, I'm now running to my doctor for tests, completely paranoid about my health
Longtime friend Jeff, during a chance meeting in Tel Aviv

Here, Raphael honey: Put the thing on the counter thing up here
Nice English: The "thing" on the "thing"?
I didn't want to say "Ninja knife"; I thought we'd get in trouble
But it's made of plastic
Conversation with security guard at metal detector entrance to train station

What a f**k up! A complete loser and I wouldn't give him the time of day!
Dean of prominent, Israeli university talking on the phone to an unknown party, apparently forgetting/ignoring the journalist present in the room

Oh, I have a lovely kitten too! I named her after my daughter-in-law: "Jack*** Idiot!"
Potential babysitter during "get to know you" meeting

Bread with mustard on top
A favorite Tonny snack

McShwarma and McKabob
Menu items, McDonald's Tel Aviv

You know why I'm not coughing? Because my germs got tired and crawled outside to the grass to sleep with the worms and spiders
4-year-old Raphael's Theory of Cough-Free Living

Leave her alone while she's eating! You can do that after she finishes her sandwich!
Random, elderly gentleman admonishing Tonny for hugging me during breakfast

I was thinking maybe I should get a CT
Do you have any idea how long a CT stays in your body? Chernobyl! Now stop making problems for yourself and go home!
Receptionist/patient conversation, Physician's office, Tel Aviv

Hello? (tap, tap, tap) I'm here to pick up a package. I have this notice
We're closed for two days to upgrade computers
But what about my package?
(shoulder shrug & door slam)
Conversation with Tel Aviv, postal clerk

The theory of interdependence allows us to develop a wider persepective. With wider mind, less attachment to destructive emotions like anger, therefore more forgiveness. In today's world, every nation heavily interdependent, interconnected. Under these circumstances, destroying your enemy - your neighbor - means destroying yourself in the long run. You need your neighbor. More prosperity in your neighbor, you'll get benefit
The Dalai Lama from the book The Wisdom of Forgiveness

Don't worry. This isn't America. No one will take him
Supermarket manager sensing the dilemma of leaving 4-year-old Raphael seated at the store entrance while buying groceries

I'll wake people up
4-year-old Raphael's response when asked what he thinks will happen if he eventually reaches China during telephone, button-pushing sessions


Hebrew slang for "sex buddy" or "booty call"

Hello??? Can I get a different question over here, please?
Gay, San Francisco friend Antonio, answering an e-mail, questionaire query: Name a way in which you are typical of your gender

The person who wrote it was probably ugly as hell
Passers-by commenting on scrawled graffiti: You're beautiful just the way you are

What goes around comes around, my dear
Jeff, a pal of 15 years, lending insight into child-rearing challenges

The cost of an olive tree, a large clay pot and a 10-pound bag of soil at a Tel Aviv nursery

I'll tell him you're free on Tuesdays and Thursdays
No, no, NO!! .....Sundays
Cousin Orna referring to my husband, Tonny

There is no "Rehov Dargot" here. Turn around and go
Taxi driver in the West Bank city of Kalkilya, directing a lost tourist driving an Israel-plated car

It seems like the younger generation is mellower, somehow. Less yelling, arguing and fighting. Do you think it's a "new generation" thing?
No. We just smoke a lot of pot.

Conversation with a 20-something, Israeli friend

Does screaming help in getting things done?
Not really. But try crying

Two male immigrants from England waiting in line at Tel Aviv's Interior Ministry

Is the copy machine working?
I don't know. It's not my department. Is it working?
I'm a customer. That's why I'm asking you.
It's broken.
But you just said you don't know if it works...
I don't know
Conversation with a postal clerk, Tel Aviv

Mommie, you've got boobies!
Preschooler seated on his mother's lap at a trendy, Tel Aviv cafe

Well they completely demoralize their writers and nobody's been paid for months. But that shouldn't stop you from filing stories
Editor of one of Israel's well-known, English language newspapers addressing freelance writers

Would you look at this, Menachem? They even have a hand-rinsing station!
Ikea Israel customer commenting on the restaurant area catering to Orthodox Jews' pre-meal ritual

But Stephanie, don't you need Sperm Protection?
Tonny, asking about my anti-virus software bundle

My daughter lives in a neighborhood where all the buildings have marble exteriors, doormen and swimming pools... Just like in America
Tel Aviv playground, proud grandmother out for the day with her grandchildren

Doesn't your daughter care about her son?
My mother's U.S. colleague upon learning I had moved back to Israel with my family


MCAryeh said...

The editor to freelancers one hit a little too close to home (been there before...), but these are very funny. Look forward to reading more....

Anonymous said...

very funny.
love the slice of life bits.

danny reed

Swollen said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it up! Thanks


Stephanie said...


Jeru Guru said...

I love your blog Stef.

Fresh and always provides food for thought.


Stephanie said...

Alright I'm blushing already