Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Happy Halloween!! What I wouldn't give to usher young Rapha around from house to house for trick or treating and then steal goodies from his bag after he's in bed. *sigh*

Forgetting that this was the day is definitely indicative of....OY VEY!!

We Have Arrived!!

Rapha & I are fully moved into our new place/out of the old. Spent yesterday relocating and today cleaning/painting the old place. Hectic, it was. But now we can settle in, unpack, get acquainted with our new neighborhood and la-dee-da. A good sign: Two neighbors in the new digs introduced themselves in the hallway. Offered help if we need anything.

The sheer number of people who helped us get here - from my lawyer cousin Peggy who advised when trouble started with the ex-landlord (which is how this mess began) to lawyer friends Revital, Eli and Maital who looked over potential apartment contracts so's I wouldn't get myself into another contractual mess to countless others who listened, offered leads & soup (you know who you are, Big D), to my parents and siblings to the friendly people in blogoland who supported via the comments section when the doo doo was really hitting the fan...It definitely takes a village and anyone who says different is neglecting his/her village.

A wee share before I run out to scout refrigerators and coffee machines: My friend R who shall remain anonymous called to ask if I think she should attend the Chicago University MBA Meet & Greet Night in Tel Aviv. This was very surprising to moi.

"You're thinking of getting an MBA in the States?"I asked.

Of course not, darling. I want to pull men.

Ahhh...life back to normal...

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Today, my dear friends, I internally discovered the driving force behind addiction. I've known on an intellectual level for years what the outward symptoms are and I studied the mechanics behind the "Big A" in a theory course. However, today the floodlight switched on in one of those "A-Ha" insightful moments.

Reading an anticipated e-mail, I learned that work I had counted on/really hoped for fell through.

At the instant of realization, I found myself simultaneously doing and feeling an assortment of things. I couldn't sit still. I went to the kitchen for a glass of tea. Made coffee while sipping tea. Looked at the fridge contents to discern if there might be something I could either consume or prepare. Closed the fridge door. Frustration.

I wanted to cry. I panicked. "Who can I call? Mom? A friend? A cousin?" They've had their fill. No burdening.

I polarized to the opposite end of the spectrum. Lethargy. Craving the warmth of bed, burrowing & blocking it all out beneath blankets. But the house move is tomorrow. No such luxury possible (it never is). Return to mania. Get out of the house. Maybe do laundry. Take a walk. Ride the bike.

As I stood, paced and went through the emotional range, I watched myself from a detached somewhere else. And the knowledge that I've visited this funky fear place in the past slowly dawned as did the reckoning: "Look Ma. I'm still in one piece!"

And so it was that I came to understand - but REALLY understand beyond the conceptual - what Ms. Genevieve Howe, therapist, professor and director of a therapeutic institute in San Francisco, described as "Standing on the Edge of the Unknown" in a course she taught on Anger & Conflict/Love, Passion & Obsession.

Genevieve lectured on the human potential for building thresholds that render us capable of staying with and riding through uncomfortable and stressful feelings instead of turning to addiction or blocking. According to Ms. Howe, the more frequently we sit there, the better at sitting we become. And IF we learn to direct the distraction towards creative passion or endeavor, we reach an ever higher level still. Sort of like Beethoven or Picasso or Thomas Edison.

I don't paint or compose or invent scientific "stuff"...But I make a very good Thai Coconut-Lemon Grass soup.

That's Philosophy Sunday for you...Amen.

Friday, October 27, 2006

No Need for Cars Here!

Compliments of my U.S. based cousin David: Images from Vietnam.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Fear of Doing Business

People who live in Holy Land Central are going to relate to this next one:

There's a healthy dose of mistrust in these parts surrounding money/business matters for very legitimate reasons. It may be holy terrain but corruption-free it ain't. Ask the politicians - they'll vouch (off the record only, of course).

Imagine my alarm yesterday when trying to withdraw funds from an ATM machine only to be repeatedly denied with a flashing warning message that I had exceeded my daily limit. Yet I hadn't taken any cash out that day. The card, incidentally, is linked to a foreign account.

So I get home and gingerly ring up the bank linked to the card to ascertain the reason for denial. And find out that the first ATM machine which denied my attempt also registered the try as the Real McCoy. In other words, the Israeli bank is saying I received cash when I didn't.

Now it's up to the other side to investigate and I can just imagine the scenario: "She got it. We are sure. No doubt. We saw her. I personally saw her. I happened to be watching the ATM machine through the window just then. Promise. Really." Mama mia.

When I went into a different bank today and offered the story in passing, the listening clerk smiled knowingly. Christ! (no offense to Christian contingencies. But wait one minute. Didn't JC go after the money changers?)

I need this right now like I need ...*sigh*

Just another calm day in HLC. Peace Out.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Signed, Sealed, AHHHH!!!

We have officially signed on the non-dotted line for our new apartment.

One FINAL share - something I forgot to offer up prior: Going to see a place, the building elevator suddenly jolted to a halt between floors. (Luckily, young Rapha wasn't with me) I was terrified. Oh my god I'm stuck in an elevator and it's going to fall! This is how I'm going to die!! I rang the alarm. Nada. An excruciating half minute later, the lift began moving again.

Upon sharing the info with the current tenant: Oh yeah he says in blase mode. I should've said something about that. If you get too close to the door it stops and won't move again unless you move away from the sensors.


Anyhow... Rapha approves of the new place and favors his new downsized room. He had to contain his joy upon seeing the adjacent park.

Now up to eyeballs in boxes and deciding what goes with and what gets sold. Anyone need a bright blue, child's clothing cabinet? My stuff simply won't fit into the new place. I'm very much a non-chatchke person so minimalism here we come.

To the supporters and bearers of kind wishes: Mucho gracias

To the Tel Aviv housing market: Le'Azazel!!

To onward and upward: I'll drink to that

Cheers & beers. Moving day is on the horizon

Extra Tidbit

Friend: When I met with AP's (Associated Press) bureau chief he just seemed distracted and not as friendly as he'd been in the past. But that could be because one of his photographers was kidnapped in Gaza.

Naaah...Ya think?

Conversation with a friend

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I'm calling about the refrigerator you advertised. Can you tell me what it looks like?
Uh...a box?

You know what happens to you after you get married? You die.
5-year-old Raphael to his female friend Max

I have a really hard time with Israelis. I can barely tolerate them
Excuse my asking but aren't YOU Israeli?
Yeah but that's different

Monday, October 23, 2006

In Summary...

Barring any unforeseen disaster, I will be signing the contract on my new apartment tomorrow morning.

It's over-priced and much smaller than I prefer but it is well taken care of, gets lots of light, is an upgrade neighborhood-wise - near Tel Aviv's Opera House overlooking a sprawling park as opposed to our current heavily trafficked main thoroughfare - and ... we were running out of time, weren't we?

I am exhausted, spent and over-baked. To describe the past month's search mission as unpleasant is like saying emphysema is just a wee cough.

I still don't get it. This is not Manhattan. Or Paris. Or London. So WTF? And I don't buy the whole "the French moved in and snapped up all the property creating huge demand" blather, either.

I must've seen at least 50 apartments. I regret not grabbing one in particular but I wasn't savvy enough or ready.

The others? Well it has been an experience in learning to negotiate and let go, knowing when to bend and when to hang up the phone, when I should plead my case, change my visions and ideas and mostly about learning to compromise. It has also been a window into a nasty market filled with some pretty skanky, unpleasant characters. Others are gracious, forthcoming and surprisingly pleasant - but they are the minority.

A few precious tidbits which, when I've simmered down, will make for humorous dinner table shares:

Current tenant showing apartment: You know that part of the deal is buying the air conditioning unit from me for $800.
Moi: But I don't need it. And I don't want it. And I don't have the cash flow to tie up in an air conditioner. But I definitely want the apartment. It isn't new. $800? How'd you come up with that price?
Tenant: It's what I want for it and that's the deal. Take it or you don't get the landlord's number. It's all about cash flow. You should remember that.
**it took every iota of self control not to ring up this guy and tell him I was rooting for the ass wallopers who will inevitably trounce him in London when he relocates there next month.

Landlord over the phone: Who's the place for?
Moi: Myself and my son
Landlord: Oh no. Too big. I mean what are you going to do with all that space? A bigger family with more kids should live in the unit.
Moi: How many kids does it take to fill up a 2-bedroom apartment? Wait. I can't believe I'm having this conversation. What do you care what my space preferences are?

Owner: We want an $8000 U.S. cash deposit plus 2 guarantors plus a bank guarantee plus one year's rent in advance

Owner: We'll fix the holes in the ceiling. The broken window? No worries. Taken care of. Sure sure sure. Just sign here.

*sigh* I'm glad it's (almost) over.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Night Off

Friday evening was a night off from apartment searching. Raph & I ate home roasted rosemary-lemon chicken and watched movies we rented earlier in the day. Tom & Jerry for young boy and Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows) for me.

The latter, a Japanese docu-drama by director Hirokazu Kore-eda, re-tells the true tale that shocked Japan some years back of four siblings hiding out from the welfare system in a Tokyo apartment. There's much more to it but I don't want to give anything away. Kore-eda also directed After Life (Wandafuru Raifu) which, if you haven't seen, RUN! to the video store to rent. Its fresh & unique perspective will stay with you for years.

Perhaps, considering the intense stress of racing against the clock lately to find a new home, I should've chosen a different film. Because Nobody Knows resonated so strongly on levels of basic survival and protecting loved ones at any cost, that by the film's end I'd gone through half a box of tissues. It was a welcome release, however.

The movie won awards in Cannes and Chicago when it was released in 2004 and it's definitely worth a look-see, if for nothing else than to take in the characteristically Japanese self restraint and subtlety beautifully conveyed in the film.

Cross fingers. Hopefully signing a contract within days. (!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Artist's Friday

See what I get up to in my spare time?
Cool, no?
I am such a huge liar, tra la la la la...
My cousin David in upstate NY
e-mailed these. What would you call this type of art? It's not origami but it's not Miss Daisy's school of paper cut-outs either.
Happy Friday regardless. May we all cut out our designs on the paper of life....ooooohhh now that was downright inspirational. Okay. I'm going.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

...& Thank You, Mr. Spielberg!

This article claims Steven Spielberg is sniffing around to buy a penthouse in Tel Aviv's Florentine neighborhood, i.e. the city's "Soho" (so says the article. PULLLEEEEEZE, say I. Has the writer ever been to Soho?)

Allow me to be the first to welcome Mr. Spielberg to the Tel Aviv housing market. The same shark pit I have been slogging through for the past 2.5 weeks.

Of course, Steve (do you mind if I call you Steve?) , you won't have to deal. The sharks will bring the pit to you.

So on that note, allow me to be the first to thank the Big S for further increasing property values in an already inflated market. The so-called Soho - more like Queens on a sunny day - will get the boost of its lifetime. And we mere clownfish will be left facing ever more sharks.

(Yes, it IS all about me)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Measure Sticks

Now in the delirium of apartment hunting in shark central aka Tel Aviv, I've noticed a few things. Well a lot of things really but I'll pick out one to share.

We people are peculiar. And our peculiarities are based, to a great degree, upon fear.

Holy Land Central (HLC) being much much (much much much much) less politically correct than the U.S. of A., people will actually list what they don't want in tenants. When you ask for explainers on the specifications, the roots of prejudice are quickly revealed.

- Couples only/No roommates. Reason: Roommates split, one is left holding up both ends, floundering follows and vacating ensues. Has this landlord heard of divorce?

- Married Couples Only - Reason: More stable. Has this landlord heard of divorce? Or heated arguments at 3 a.m.?

- No Children - Reason: Too messy, too loud, will wreak havoc. And what of the twin, toy terriers running amok, spraying urine and eating the walls?

- Families Only - Reason: More stable. Heard of the family that moved into a flat, changed the locks and flaked on rent for two years because the law allows parents with children to stay put?

- Guarantors Must Show Pay Stubs - Reason: Proves a steady, reliable income. Ever hear of offshore accounts, offshore investments and foreign income?

Wish me luck as I forge. Time is running out. AHHHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Down to the Wire

I've been apartment hunting for a few weeks now and the bitter end is approaching. And I'm feeling it, yessiree Bob. Two weeks left and I'm nervous as hell about finding something decent and signing.

I'm sleeping in patches; To bed at around 9-10 p.m., awake at 2 a.m., back to sleep at 6 awake at 7. Psychosis induced.

Were it a dwelling for myself alone..but alas, I'm on my own these days as a single mom and I've a child to consider. I'll blog it some other time. Too tired for that type of "true confession" right now.

HOWEVER, today was a day of hope. Not because a deluxe penthouse apartment overlooking the Mediterranean glimmers on the horizon.

Because I spent the day with someone I'm writing an article about who instills Hope. Tons of it.

She's a powerhouse: millionaire business tycoon, celebrity both in Israel and abroad, chairwoman of numerous international charitable organizations, hostess of a popular prime time television show..And yet she lacks ego (for the most part). I mean, she bloody offered to share her salad with me. And get me something to drink. Not send her assistant. As in: "I'll go get you a soda"...

Amazing. And get this: She worried that she's not doing enough to make the world a better place. Sheesh. I shoulda told her: You're right. But find me an apartment and you will be redeemed!

Now THERE's ego. wink wink

Monday, October 16, 2006

Therapy Blues..

Sitting with a dear friend over coffee today, she mentioned therapy. And the reason she opted out of her Jerusalem treatment.

During one of her sessions the therapist actually answered the cellphone(s). She had not one cellphone but two. Which rang not once but twice.

Call #1: "Yes dear, I'll be home in an hour. Stop hitting your brother."
Call #2: "No, I said the frozen x-tra cheese pizza. Not the hot dogs. It's back behind the ice cream"

My friend chose not to return.

The socialized medicine system then referred her to someone else.

Who was deaf.

But he could lip read bilingually in English and Hebrew.

And at least he didn't answer cellphones.

And I'M the crazy one??? my friend mused.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fall From Grace

It was inevitable that at some point along the voyage of returning to Holy Land Central (HLC) I'd meet up with The Fall. The dimming of the lights. The blinking away of fairy dust coating my perceptions.

It has been a gradual descent but one felt more acutely lately. The hardening, the sharpening awareness, the returned, haunting grievances - the same ones that drove me away a decade ago.

It's all normal, of course. How could a person expect NOT to, at some point along the way, meet up with old unaddressed issues? And were I to remain in Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm "everything here is wonderful and perfect!" mode, well we all know how far that would take me..

What are the grievances? you ask. Aha. The usual suspects: arrogance, the service industry (oxymoron), apathy, the constant uphill battle, a lack of finesse. Much more. I am loathe to share all in a public forum. But weren't these the things that brought me back? Isn't it all about perspective?

Arrogance can be construed as confidence, apathy as relaxed attitudes, uphill battles as the spark of challenge and lacking polish as down to earth. See how it works? Clever, clever. Perspective perspective.

Bottom line: It's about the internal adjustment regardless of external. The reflection bounced back from society's mirror. Alcoholics Anonymous knew what was up when coining the phrase: Pulling a geographic.
It's a lesson. Everything's a lesson. Sometimes nauseatingly so.
Happy happy! Joy joy!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Leisure Time

Are you identifying with that old summer camp song again? You know the one:

Life is a bucket full of sh*t; Duck your head or you'll get hit. Fa la la la la la la la la la.


(Had my parents known what we were REALLY learning in summer camp each season...)

If so, then it's time for some good old fashioned leisure. Follow this link and give it a whirl. You'll be addicted in no time t'all..

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rent Control Now!!

As I venture into the Tel Aviv jungle each day on an apartment hunt quest I'm realizing that the British law governing home ownership and rental in Holy Land Central (HLC) is outdated, sad and sorry. Israel is in need of an urgent housing law upgrade to benefit both tenant and landlord.

Take squatting, for instance. No such thing in HLC as the U.S. "Pay Rent or Quit" giving a tenant three days to cough it up or get out. And by get out, I DO mean EVICTION. No mucking around in Yankee-ville. Padlocked front door, all things inside are lost to the landlord and if you have kids, well ya shoulda thought of that sooner, hmmm? On the street. Harsh as hell but..well it's the American way.

Here the tenant can refuse to pay rent and squat. For an eternity. Because the law states that if children live on the property, the landlord CANNOT forcefully evict. True to life nightmare scenario: Tenant (with Mafia ties) moved into deluxe apartment with his family. He promptly changed the locks and halted rent checks. He and his family (read: KIDS) lived rent-free for two years. One day the owner goes berserk and takes a hammer to the electricity box and to the front door. She is arrested for breaching the law.

Flip side: There is no such thing as rent control. The sky's the limit on rent increase as is the interpretation of the law when it comes to who fixes what in an apartment gone amok. Landlords will demand the renter insure property or pay for major repairs not linked to normal wear and tear. Exploded water pipe? "Your problem," sayeth evil owner.
And let's just say you're negotiating a new contract agreement with the landlord and the give & take goes awry. "Get out. Your contract is up in a week. Leave." No thirty days for you, sorry to say. Never mind that the talks broke down and said landlord is unwilling to budge. You leave. Refer back to the bit on squatting for a quick solution to this problem.

It's time to form an action group, mes compadres. I've seen it voiced in public forums. Yallah. Let's go.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Socialized Despair

Yesterday while cruising the city, I saw a lanky, young-ish guy in his twenties trolling through a trash can. He wasn't typical homeless meaning he either hasn't been on the streets for a long time or he isn't full blown schizophrenic or psychotic. Yet.

Living in San Francisco one develops a keen understanding of these matters: differentiating between the street dwelling newbies, old hands and "this person doesn't belong here" types becomes second nature.

My heart screamed and I stifled a cry of despair as he continued to pick unaware of my presence.

In San Fran or New York or Paris, okay.

But in my idealized memory of Holy Land Central (HLC) and its social system to protect all, this image of a young man wearing high tops, Bermudas and a preppy short sleeved shirt while sifting through garbage didn't gel. He was indicative of a larger looming issue here in HLC.

I recently supped with an old friend who bemoaned the country's poverty levels. He cited demographics and figures shocking to a city dweller such as myself who rarely travels to the peripheries. 5-person families living on the equivalent of $900 U.S. per month. Soup Kitchens. Hunger.

I noticed the pre-holiday food drives were a bit more driven than last year.

What's up, war withstanding?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reading Pleasure...

When Atticus, my gorgeous companion of 13 years, moved into the netherworld two months ago, my friend Becca of San Fran - now of Boston and soon to be of Phoenix - recommended some reading.

One of the book titles she suggested was Life of Pi by Yann Martel; It won the Man Booker Prize in 2002.

Upon returning to Holy Land Central Noorster agreed to loan me her copy and I've been slogging through it since, waiting for its prose to earn the reputed acclaim. It's about a boy marooned at sea in a lifeboat with zoo animals for companions.

This week it became riveting - just as the ship wreck happened, surprise surprise - and despite busy doings, searching for an apartment, struggling to drum up work and on and on, I'm hooked in. I share a beautiful passage:

The worst pair of opposites is boredom and terror. Sometimes your life is a pendulum moving from one to the other. The sea is without a wrinkle. There is not a whisper of wind. The hours last forever. You are so bored you sink into a state of apathy close to a coma. Then the sea becomes rough and your emotions are whipped into a frenzy. Yet even these two opposites do not remain distinct. In your boredom there are elements of terror: you break down into tears; you are filled with dread; you scream; you deliberately hurt yourself. And in the grip of terror - the worst storm - you yet feel boredom, a deep weariness with it all.

I sense the ending will be tragic

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hugs Hugs Hugs

While one-stop shopping at the Israelity site I was genuinely touched and very taken aback while watching this video. (sorry can't put it up due to beta blogger issues. Clues, anyone?)

Coming from San Fran, the hugging concept isn't new. Anyone who has attended a single Cecil Williams' Glide Memorial Church Sunday session knows what I'm talking about right here. Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, homeless, Sharon Stone, Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton..."Turn to your neighbor and hug".. A tad twee for me but I digress.

Public hugging in Israel? In I-S-R-A-E-L? And over 200 John Q. Publics reciprocating? I must be uber out of touch with the 20's set.

If this is an indication of something larger then I say: Carry on with post-army travels to India and South America. Continue attending Rainbow Gatherings and bringing eco-awareness back home. Spread the love, mein kinderlach. It might help.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Joan & Lydia Save the Day

You know those household remedies we use for everyday hassles like pouring salt onto a soiled garment to remove the stain or stuffing eucalyptus leaves into sofa cushions to ward off fleas? Lydia and Joan of Household Magic sat around compiling all these fix-its for your reading plesasure and the result is...well check out this webpage to get a feel. A glimpse of their picture is worth the effort. OMG!!

Sample text:

The checkout person at the supermarket thinks we have a houseful of cats!
But the only cat sounds you'll hear at our house are purrs of joy—over all the things kitty litter does for us!
This absorbent, kiln-dried clay has many surprising uses, because it's a peerless sucker-upper of oil, grease and odors—and a powerhouse disinfectant. (It has to be to deal with kitty waste.)
That's why it's the cat's meow to...

Prevent mildew in bathrooms and elsewhere (Page 172).
Deodorize smelly shoes (132) or a smelly hamper (115).
Remove cigarette smells from furniture (27).
Give your car traction when it's stuck in snow (266).
Soak up oil and grease stains on driveways and garage floors (273).
De-ice sidewalks, patios and driveways. Better than rock salt (198)!
Remove moisture and musty smells from closets (191).

Friday, October 06, 2006

In the Closet

A four-year-old's idea of hiding ...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Roof Overhead

I'm currently on the flat hunt in Tel Aviv and amazingly, the market is tight. Not San Francisco dot-com era, "I'll give you stock options on top of the security deposit" tight. More like "We want three months rent up front, three guarantors, several thou in security deposits and nope, nothing we can do about the gaping ceiling hole."

I looked at four places yesterday. And four the day before. And four the day before that day. Street names, telephone numbers and contacts are beginning to melt together as I bike, run, walk and bus around the city like mad. Some places are hot. Others are over-priced dreck.

Wasn't there just a wee war here over the summer? And don't those types of events generally drive housing rates towards the lower end of the scale?

Oh right but also over the summer hordes of French Jewish nationals fled to Holy Land Central (HLC) looking to escape religious persecution (or so the rumor goes). They bought property with "kicks the shekel's derriere any day" Euros, drove availability into scarcity and sent market rates sailing.

During the dot-com boom we used to half-joke: Can't there be a small earthquake? No one gets hurt or killed but like maybe 4-5 on the Richter so that it does enough damage to scare away the opportunists ..??

You know where I'm going on this one. Wink wink.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


While waiting for the elevator in a large and fancy Tel Aviv office complex today, I muttered to myself - thinking no one was around - Man.. life sucks sometimes.

A heavily Russian accented voice from behind startled me out of my musings:
What can you do? You have to just keep on going ...

The building maintenance woman pushing a broom. Schoingemacht. So much for silent musings.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oh Hell

My friend Steve @ Giant Jellyfish sent this. The Guardian circa 1998. I believe in sharing.


Customer #1: This is not what I ordered. Where's the hamburger part of it, anyway? Or the extra piece of bread in the middle? There's nothing inside but pickles, lettuce and ketchup

Customer #2: We've been waiting a long time. What's going on back there?

Customer #3: Wow this place is filthy. Make ours to-go instead.

From the Kitchen (Hebrew) to Shift Manager: Dani, how do you make a Big Mac again? Can you come back here?

McDonald's, Tel Aviv

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Le Cool Craig

If you're like most of us, you have undoubtedly used the services of Craig Newmark at some point over the past years. But you may not be aware of the fact that you tapped into Mr. Newmark's "stuff" because he's the brain behind the biz. And the name.

Craig is ...well, Craig. The Craig. Wait. Maybe it'll help if I put it in lower case: craig. Aha...you know who I'm talkin' about now don'tcha? http://www.craigslist.org

He started it in San Francisco and as the list soared from local exchange board to international phenomenon on a tremendous scale, he remained a regular, unpretentious as hell guy who hangs out at a regular coffee shop in Cole Valley.

This article only adds to Craig's allure. He decided not to sell even tho the biz was estimated at $15 billion. Who needs the money? he said in an interview. If you're living comfortably, what's the point of having more?

Craig, you are IT. The bomb. What guts. Sheeee...it

The Bicycle Holiday

We're hours away from the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) here in Holy Land Central (HLC) and things are quieting down as millions ready for the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith. One of fasting and praying for forgiveness to atone for sins committed against god and humanity over the past 12 months.

Many of us in HLC are secular non-fasting, non-praying and non-synagogue going types. Particularly the younger among us - teens and on down the age scale. So what do they do to mark the day?

Take to the streets on bicycles and rollerblades, of course.

It sounds ludicrous but because the customary manner of marking the day's sanctity includes a ban on motorized traffic throughout the country - 24 hours without cars, buses, motorcycles, taxis, trains, the airport is shut down, etc. (okay, there's the stray ambulance or police car summoned in an emergency) - kids literally get out their wheels and take to the streets, highways and roadways starting at sundown. Everywhere. Kind of eerie when you think of it.

Like sci-fi flick meets ET and Rambunctious Kids Gone Amok

It's a sight to see and the kids are in heaven because they rule the roads for a day

I wish for all to be inscribed in the good book (it's part of the ritual, wink wink). Easy fasting to those who fast, good cycling for those who cycle and a wonderful year ahead to us all!