Monday, December 24, 2007

Mine's Bigger!


I came across the following headline and nearly spontaneously combusted:

US report: Israel would weather nuclear war with Iran



Wait. Correction. It wasn't the headline that set my teeth ajar. It was the graph below it.

'Israel would win nuclear war' - Study compiled by U.S. Center for Strategic and Int'l Studies says nuclear war in region could lead to death of 16-28 million Iranians, 200-800 thousand Israelis. 'Iran would be completely obliterated,' researchers say.

Phew! Oh Happy Day and what a relief! They'll lose more than we will! I feel sooooooo much better knowing that only a fifth of Israel's population will be incinerated. Compared to millions upon millions of Iranians. Civilians. Women. Children. Obliterated! Mercy me.

WTF? Read the story here. Jeez. Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year, eh?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Up to Interpretation

This is for anyone who has struggled through it...And you know what I mean.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cubicle Hell

When I lived in San Francisco, I pulled a short stint as a "video coordinator" for Macromedia's advertising department. My job was to sit and watch CD-Rom's that had been Made With Macromedia. Adverts, mini-movies, cool music videos and the like from all over the world. I catalogued the video and picked out the best of the heap for the ad department to run in campaigns.

Until that point, I had never worked in a cubicle. And after that job, I swore never to do it again. Cubicles, I decided then, are modern day insanity-inducers robbing people of human contact and comraderie while also stealing privacy - you hear every phone conversation from the other side of that walled "rat maze".

Don't agree? Watch this video and see if you don't get caught between that sad/pitiful place of laughing out loud and wanting to cry.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Erykah & Tyrone

Just heard that Ms. Badu is headed to Israel. Yahoo. This has to be her best number.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rapping it Out

While living in San Fran, I tutored inner city kids in my spare time. I would go into the "rougher" neighborhoods and help kids hone literacy skills. Reading, comprehension, essay writing..

It was never daunting but the challenges were built-in. Their essays didn't cover "what I did during summer vacation"...their stories were about the homeless man lying in his own urine at the apartment building entrance, living on welfare, dreams of escaping the projects, crime scenes, shoot-outs, gang warfare. . .

"Reaching" a kid or passing on a love of literature was my reward.

I came across this series on VBS.TV. It reminded me of the kids.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wedding Blues



This is what happens when the mother-in-law issues the invite...Thanks to my friend "G" in Europe for this one...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taking a Smoke Break


Yesterday I rang up an old colleague to get some news industry information. In the throes of home renovation hell for over a year, my friend was "having a moment" when I called.

How's it going?

If one more contractor pulls a no show I'm going to kill myself! There are two, maybe three days left on this job and then we can FINALLY move into the house. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM???!!!

To top it off, my husband's way of dealing is to take off for hours without a trace, my father is having an old-age depression breakdown and our family has been living out of suitcases
in temporary homes for over a year. This should've been finished 6 months ago. Any day now the woman who has been kind enough to let us stay in her place is gonna tell us to hit the road. I'M GOING OUT OF MY MIND!!!!!!

Ummm...Well...Er....Do you smoke pot?

Are you kidding? Five minutes ago. Five times a day. All the time. I hate to think what state I'd be in if I didn't. . . Why? Do you?

Naah. If I did I'd never get anything done. I wouldn't leave the house. I'd sit around eating Dorito's all day.

Well what's wrong with that?

Think about it: All we have in this life is time. Just time. And the meter's running. But we get stressed about building houses and arguments with in-laws and messy divorces...all this CRAP! We're all gonna end up in the same place. So what are we running for and stressing about? Sitting around the house relaxing and eating Dorito's may not be such a bad thing!



Saturday, December 08, 2007

Queen of Mean

Jury for me is really really really out on this comedienne...Most of her stuff's way over the top and all racist, sexist, etc.

But this is a "tame" bit of her schtick..

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Paint Jam

Check it out. Thanks, Elif!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blind Via Facebook?


I found out this week I'm legally blind in one eye. But that's not the topic of this entry. Because the blindness is a "no big whoop" thing because the "legally" part means "according to the books". I see, read and all's good for the most part in that eye; I simply have (very) limited vision; it's not new so I'm already adjusted. Yay.

The cool part of the "blind" revelation is how I found out.

Messing around on Facebook I found an old high school mate/ex-neighbor. We exchanged greetings and caught up; I'll call him "George" (because that's his name). Turns out George graduated Harvard Med School and practices opthamology and specializes in glaucoma in San Francisco.

Hey! I lived in San Francisco! I wrote back. And I have advanced glaucoma!

George asked for details. And wondered why I haven't had surgery.

As luck would have it, I had an appointment with my glaucoma specialist the same week. So I posed George's question to him. And funny thing is, my doc knows George's name from the American Glaucoma Society. They're both members.

And so my doc explains that when I came in to see him the 1st time, I was legally blind then. And he and his glaucoma surgeon colleague (consulted on my case) chose not to operate because they fear a drop in pressure during surgery will kill off remaining live fiber optic nerves.

Mystery solved.

The breakdown:
By way of a childhood classmate from Cincinnati who now lives in San Francisco, a person in Israel who used to live in San Francisco discovered details of her medical condition through another specialist living in Israel who studied in Chicago (Northwestern).

All thanks to and via Facebook. Tres, tres cool. Welcome to the New World.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Candy Shop

Let's preface this next one by saying that while I do like some of 50 Cent's stuff - In Da Club, despite the gangster theme, reminds me of an old friend who lovingly addressed me with: Yo, Whassup shorty? - I don't necessarily agree with 50's themes. I certainly don't troll for his material.

This came to me sort of by accident. I was looking for a Bar Refaeli video to put up on another blogsite and came across a video with images of Bar and the music from this video as backdrop.

I listened to the lyrics and knew I had to take a peek.

Listen to the lyrics. 50 definitely has a sense of humor.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Viagra & the Black Market


If I open my Inbox and find Spam mail there, I am generally not amused.

But I have to hand it to the inexorable hawkers of black market Viagra: They DO NOT cease attempting to cajole into clicking on provided links.

On any given day I average 4-5 messages with eye catching, dramatic subject lines and garbled text containing glowing links which, if clicked, will undoubtedly cast me into Viagra hell and render my computer viral. I "Delete All" and don't give it much thought otherwise.

This week, however, I received a message that made me cluck my tongue and nod appreciatively.

"Even James Bond uses Viagra"

Well done, underworld marketeers. I'll drink a martini to that.

I'm still not clicking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rapper's Delight

Living in Holy Land Central (HLC), you get some way out there Hebrew to English translations sometimes. On menus. Public signs. Or the web. And it can be really really funny. Or unfortunate. I guess it depends upon where you're sitting while taking in the view.

One Tel Aviv wedding/bar mitzvah rapper put up a website, for instance, in an attempt to advertise his wares.

He should have had someone help him choose his URL. Big time.

Click and read the URL.

See what I mean? No wonder Google traffic's a problem.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Revenge

You know how I'm going through the change and how I wake up every night at all hours?
Well I decided that if I'm awake, he's darned well going to be awake too. I call him at 2 a.m., 4 a.m. - whenever I get up. And then I hang up.

But doesn't he have caller i.d.?

Who cares? Let him know it's me! It makes me feel great!


Menopausal friend sharing her method of revenge against an ex-lover who scammed and then jilted her.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The U.S. in Iraq


I'm not one of those who supports a U.S. military presence in Iraq.

& IF I had doubts (which I don't), these Reuters pictures further bolstered my stance.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Toilet Treasures

My friend Jellyfish SMS'd the other day.

The Hotzaah La'Poel people were just here. They say I owe NIS 18,000 ($4500) in taxes. If I don't pay within 48 hours, they say they'll come back and cart me off to jail.

For the non-Holy Land Central (Israel) dwellers, Hotzaah La'Poel is the equivalent of the "Repo Man". They take away your stuff should you fall behind in tax payments, alimony, child support, mortgage payments, etc. No"stuff" to seize? No problem. They'll throw you, the person, in jail instead until a friend or family member pays up on your behalf.

Sh*t man! I SMS'd back. You must be freaking!

My accountant is checking it out. He messages back.

Very calm, I think. Wow. I'd be pretty darned frightened.

A few hours later, Jelly calls.

Guess what, he poses. I'm afraid to guess.

I went to the bank to ask for a loan just in case I really do owe the government the money. And I'm talking to the bank manager. And he says to me: I understand your predicament but why do you think you might need a loan?

To cover the tax debt, I tell him.

But why a loan? he asks me over and over again.

I'm like: He's the bank manager. Is he that thick?

Then he swings the computer monitor around to face me. And I see my bank balance. I have five times the amount I thought I had in my savings account.

DUDE! What's wrong with you? I ask.

How in the hell could you have that much $ in your account and not know about it. Would you PLEASE, for the love of God, invest it or something? Sheesh!

And he tells me it's all because this morning, when he was on cup #4 of coffee, he thought he saw the Virgin Mary's reflection in the toilet bowl. I told him it was too much caffeine. He insists it was an omen.

Damn. I either need to up my caffeine intake or start looking for omens. Damn.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Doubled Over

For 18 years this is what I've done. I've been Ella* - ABC News producer. I'm not sure what it's going to be like without all this.

On the other hand, my kids are growing up and this is it. You get one shot with them. Pretty soon they won't want me around. So I want to be with them and not have to run off to London or Turkey or a suicide bombing or war.

And let me tell you: things got so bad during the early 2000's that I woke up literally doubled over with stomach pain every morning. I went to specialists and had X-Rays and blood work done. Nada.

Then I visited a gastroenterologist and we got to chatting. And we started talking about my work.
I mentioned to him that there wasn't one suicide bombing outside Jerusalem I didn't cover throughout the years. Not one!

I'd get the page or call and have to pry my 6-year-old daughter off me to run to the scene. At bombings I was literally walking through a sea of dead bodies and body parts.


Then I'd get home and all I wanted to do was shower. And my daughter would run and cling to me because she wanted to be with me. And I'd dream about the bombings. Then wake up doubled over.

The doc closed my file and told me: Your problem isn't here in the charts. It's your work. You need to see a psychiatrist.

So I did. And the pain stopped.

Maybe not being a news producer will be a good thing.
**********
Conversation with a recently laid off former colleague

Monday, October 01, 2007

Freak Show

Clearly someone who has too much time on his hands

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Anorexia Campaign

This is a controversial new ad campaign aimed at stirring awareness around anorexia. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Atone for Misrepresentation

I'm put off.

I was primed for a new snazzy cellphone upgrade to my outdated model via a promo deal I had worked out with a mobile phone company rep on the phone. We verbally agreed to the terms and the cost, I wrote it all down and even asked: Now, there's nothing hidden here? No fees I'm gonna get hit with later? Naturally, she reassured that there weren't.

So the cellphone company rep showed up this evening and pulled out the new model and displayed its bells and whistles. While I'm playing with the functions and he's preparing to box my older model he pulls out the paperwork. And the grand total shown on their typed up invoice is double the amount I had agreed to less than twenty-four hours prior. I protested.

"Oh this happens about 70-80% of the time," chuckles the delivery person. "But if you sign here and here, it says in the small print you have 48 hours to think things over. Don't worry. The company will come around to the price you agreed on."

And I'm thinking: Do you live on 'Asinine Alley'? Surely you don't expect me to sign the inflated priced contract and then just hop on down to the Cellcom store to spend hours of my time and pounds of frustration and stress on getting my $ back. Nossiree Bob.

I sent Mr. Cellcom a'packin'. Take it and leave. You're wasting my time. When you can show me paperwork that reflects what I agreed to, I'll sign.

This style of "doing business" (sic) is not new in these parts nor is the mentality. And it is trying, wearing and probably THE least attractive aspect of living in this country. The "I'll try and get one over on you and see if you notice" attitude.

The problem is that yes, people notice. They notice when Israelis travel and try this stuff out on foreign terraine, they notice when they come to the country to visit as tourists and get ripped off by the locals and they notice when they live here and haven't grown up with this kind of outright misrepresentation and scandal on a broad and blatant scale.

But as the Cellcom people are banking on, probably 30-40% don't balk. And that's a whole 'lotta profit to be made. Yessiree Bob.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Israel Underwear


A family member recently underwent some pretty serious surgery that involved a pretty serious incision through her abdominal wall.

She's now recovering, thanks for asking. During the recent Rosh Ha'Shana (Jewish New Year) family get-together, I sat next to her during the festive meal.

She wasn't eating very much and she didn't seem to be able to assume a comfortable position. Not surprising. Abdominal surgery is a very painful way of finding out how much you actually use the muscles in that area.

We chatted about her procedure and recovery and between "Pass the baked chicken with tzimmes" and "Allow me to get that for you" my cousin - an Israeli who falls into the "hottie" category - remarked:

I hate having to wear this Golda Underwear.

This was a new one for me. But I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about and snorted so loudly my relatives at the other end of the expansive table urged: "Drink something and it'll go down!"

I know you know the style of undies too if you know who Golda was.

I guess that over here in Mid-East land, that kind of HUGE underwear like Pee Wee used to keep around the playhouse for laughs is termed Golda Underwear after the former Prime Minister.

I'm pretty sure Golda didn't go around flaunting her underthings. But isn't it, like, obvious she wore that style?

I could write that she's turning in her grave just about now but somehow I doubt it. She'd probably remark: "So? What of it?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm The Mom

My five year old stuck his tongue out and loudly uttered noises of great disgust after viewing this one over my shoulder.

THANK YOU! to my cousin Peggy...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

On Returning & Holidays

I stopped blogging on a regular basis over the summer because a "lurker" on the site was causing some concern and I just didn't want to be bothered (with the lurker). If you're a blogger, you know what that means. Or maybe not.

Lurker aka someone who loiters on your site - i.e. following what you're writing, commenting regularly, even blogging on THEIR blog about you and creating a general pain in the toochas presence. It's the modern day equivalent of a stalker. Sorta.

"My lurker" is still around but sometimes you just gotta say: W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R.

W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R.

In the interim, here in Holy Land Central (HLC) we're smack dab midway through celebratin' the Jewish calendar New Year. Which means a lot of visiting with relatives, lavish gifts (think Christmas without the eggnog or blinking lights), vacation travel, long days that sometimes include afternoon naps - mercy! - praying for those inclined to pray and the general feel of new beginnings.

I don't pray and I'm not religious. At all. Ironic since here I am in Holy Land Central - er, Israel for those not familiar with the HLC term.

I prefer to think of my being here as calculated. I'm here in HLC because I'm not religious. I like my heritage and the customs that go along with it but I'm not motivated in the "go to synagogue" or perform routine rituals sorta way.

So in floods the logic: If I live here in HLC, I don't have to do anything and... Voila! I still get my heritage thing on because there's no way a person can AVOID the holidays when the entire country shuts down to celebrate them. Pretty darned clever, eh?

Religious minded folk out there might beg to differ but that's exactly why they're going to the house of worship and I'm not. (While you're there, mind putting in a few good words for my heathen soul? Much obliged. Thanks).

NEXT!

See ya soon. Time for a nap.

Monday, August 27, 2007

a**hole kids

This posting ran years ago on Craigslist. Recently a friend e-mailed it to me so I'm sharing it here. Although it's ranty, frothing at the mouth and a lot of it's garbage, some of it's sorta funny.
_____________

asshole kids.


Date: 2007-07-20, 2:01PM EDT

Kids-
I dont have kids. My friends dont have kids. My experience with little kids is fairly limited. However, i have fairly extensive experience with junior high and high school kids. And y'know what? They're spoiled, arrogant little assholes.

When I see some kid at the restaurant that wont take off his headphones or put away his PSP to eat dinner, I want to slap his parents in the face. When I watch Nanny 911 or Supernanny and I hear some beanbag housewife whining that she cant control her 3 year old, I want to kick my television set to the floor. When I hear some little crotchfruit at Meijers throwing a tantrum because he cant have a video game/candy bar/toy, I want to go up to him and scream at him as loudly as i possibly can, until my throat is raw and bleeding and i'm screaming a fine red mist all over this little shit's face.

What the fuck ever happened to discipline? NO MEANS NO. It doesnt even have to involve spankings, I was spanked maybe 3 times when I was a kid. Those 3 times were enough. YOU'RE the parent, YOU'RE the adult, YOU ARE IN CONTROL. I'm sorry, but if you're 30 and cant control a 3 year old you belong in a home with someone spooning applesauce into your stupid piehole. If you dont want to take the time to be a parent, dont have kids. It IS a choice, if abortion is against your beliefs then give the baby up to one of the thousands of couples who cant have kids but desperatly want them. (unless their gay, because we all know gay people cant raise babies. two people who love eachother are only allowed children if the peepees dont match.)

Parenting takes time and effort, I'm pretty sure on that one, and by time and effort I do NOT mean plunking them down in front of the television for 5 hours. It does not mean buying a 4 year old an X-BOX 360 so "he wont get bored." HE'S 4. A four year old can play with a box and some lawn chairs for hours on end, and be perfectly happy. However, when the kid is stacking the lawnchairs on the box and then trying to stand on top of it and falls, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SUE THE LAWN CHAIR COMPANY. You were supposed to be watching him, hell, maybe helping him build his fort, not sitting on your ass in the other room talking on the phone, painting your nails, and watching Dr. Phil. You are not entitled to monetary damages because you're an idiot. I wish I was a judge, I'd be like Judge Judy except with more profanity.

People, the world has been dumbed down enough. Stop freaking out and whining about television/music/games/movies and fucking it up for adults. You dont like the vulgar music your kids listen to? I agree, it's a little disturbing to have a 10 year old walking around singing "my humps" or "crazy bitch", so maybe dont buy them the cd's? I like the cd's and I'm 26 years old, but because of your bitching certain stores wont carry the cds I might enjoy.

You dont like violent video games? Quit waiting in line for 234231 hours the day after Thanksgiving to buy them x-box nine billion.

Does your 8 year old really need a shirt that says TEASE and itty bitty shorts that say JUICY on the butt? You want to paint her a big red sandwich board that says "PEDOPHILES PLEASE LOOK AT ME" while you're at it?

Exercise a little discipline and maybe some personal self-control. You dont have to buy them everything they ask for. Or, if some analogies might help you out here, quit digging your own grave, quit making the bed that you will sleep in, quit shooting yourself in the foot. Do not buy a video game and then freak out and attempt to sue video game companies because it "made" your kid attempt to torch your neighbors cat. Do some research. Wait, that might take up some of your Days of our Lives programming time, maybe try it at night, after you shoot your husband down for sex because you've been too tired "watching the kids" all day. He can sneak off to his laptop to look at porn, you can sit in the living room and actually try making yourself a better parent. It's so much easier to do that without those pesky kids around.

Fuck you and your whiny, spoiled, irritating, pussy kids.
(and before you email me saying YOU'RE NOT A MOTHER SO YOU DONT KNOW, realize that I dont care. Whether or not I'm a mother has nothing to do with how crappy you are as a parent. When I see your child, it's in public, where they should be on their best behavior. If this is how they act in public, good fucking luck with them at home.)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The IQ Challenge

My thanks, again, to my friend Jellyfish for the tip-off:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Death of a Socialite


Brooke Astor, New York socialite, died today.

She was 105.

This image was taken of her when she was closing in on 100.

We should all look this fantastic. Or have such marvelous plastic surgeons.

Image compliments of Reuters.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vacuum

Mucho thanks to my pal Jellyfish for sharing...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Michael Kors


I am oh-so-lucky to have an "insider" who lets fly on what's slated to appear in the latest Details Magazines because as it turns out, the edition hitting NY and L.A. newsstands tomorrow has something from designer Michael Kors.

And I like his stuff. I have one of his shirts, in fact. Simple, understated, sophisticated. Not me. The shirt. I've tried on but not purchased (Sorry, MK) his pants and summer linen shorts and...Yeah. Good stuff.

His bit in Details is a 10-point list of tips for men on fashion, being hip and looking good. A few of the choicer bits:

- If you want to pile on fashion, you have to be lean. I’m not skinny, so I can’t wear fashion with a capital F. You’ve got to be honest about your body. Anyway, unless they’re groupies, girls like guys who look like they have more substance than style.

- You should have a wardrobe of jeans in different washes and fits—from the pair that’s so comfortable you could work out in them to the pair that you can wear with a tie and a sports jacket to dinner.

- Cheesy music makes a party. Donna Summer or Madonna—that stuff gets people on the dance floor. Then you have to have junk food, done well, because that’s what everyone really wants.


- Women love men in color. Olive green and orange are the chicest colors in the world. Lavender and purple look great with gray and black. I hate Brady Bunch colors like teal and cranberry.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Grizzle


Last week I listened to a Terry Gross interview with acclaimed director Werner Herzog who spoke about his just-released film Rescue Dawn.

I haven't yet picked myself up to get to the cinema to see it. But I will. Because, as Gross put it, "it's a Werner Herzog film" and also because the synopsis sounds good.

Instead, I went to the video store and rented Grizzly Man, Herzog's 2005 award winning documentary chronicling activities of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. Herzog talked about the documentary during his Rescue Dawn interview and I felt compelled to see it.

I read about Timothy Treadwell's tragic death in Newsweek years ago and was under the impression that he was an educated scientist who chose to live among Alaska's grizzly population for study purposes.

How wrong I was. Herzog's documentary incorporates interviews conducted with friends and family and Treadwell's self-shot video. The viewer gets quite a bit of exposure to Treadwell who often speaks directly to his camera; Shots of Alaskan forest, foxes and bears in the wild abound.

But much of the film is Treadwell. Treadwell talking to the camera, talking to the animals, shooting sequences of himself talking about the animals for a potential future film, Treadwell sermonizing or going on tangential, paranoid rants as he hides in the bush from 'human enemies hunting him down'.

My first thought in seeing Treadwell's on-camera opening sequence was: Oh my god, he reminds me of San Francisco's homeless drug addicts.

And as it turns out, Treadwell had addiction issues and was delusional. Not that anyone in the film uses the term "delusional" but 1) he was out in the wild encroaching on bear territory without arms, protection or an electric fence surrounding his camp 2) he deemed himself a "protector" of bears and got close enough to them to pet them 3) he was self-alienated from society

I was disgusted with Treadwell. And bothered by the fact that his then-girlfriend perished alongside him in 2003. I was also reminded of California and new age concepts of "brotherhood and equality" that all-too-often don't account for the natural order of things or life's imbalances. I slept fitfully after viewing the film.

Kudos, however, to Herzog's treatment of the subject and footage. He didn't condemn or judge and although Herzog listened (on camera) to the audio tape of Treadwell and his girlfriend being killed - their camcorder was running at the time - he chose not to share it with viewers. A very powerful decision that worked very well.

Treadwell was misguided. But as Herzog narrates in the film, he gave the world some very good footage of wild animals. Perhaps that was his calling.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Omni Alps


Over the weekend I had the fab fab fab experience of touring the Swiss Alps compliments of an OmniMax Theatre.

There were breathtaking views of impossibly cozy villages & the Swiss countryside, heart stopping pans over peaks and faces of 13,000 foot high elevations and sudden camera drops into miles long vastness ending in jagged snow covered rock.

But the story behind the documentary The Alps was awe instilling.

It was about John Harlin III's ascent up the North Face of the Eiger in 2005. Editor of American Alpine Journal, Harlin was nine-years-old when his father John Harlin II fell to his death climbing the same path in 1966.

The Eiger's North Face is treacherous because of its crumbly, limestone face & unpredictable rockfall. More than fifty climbers have died attempting to climb it and accordingly, the Germans have nicknamed it Murder Face.

In any event, no spoilers. The North Face no longer translates to retail for me and I clearly walked away with enthusiasm. If you live near an IMAX theater showing this film, get ye to the cinema!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Professional Life

Thanks, Noorster, for this humorous take on not toiling unnecessarily...


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Future


This is my nephew's view of my future senior citizen life. I'm flattered.

Fun with Science

This fab cartoon thanks to xkcd web comics...
And this funny/condescending/still very funny map thanks to my teenage nephew...


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Romeo & Juliet

A few days ago the southern Israel town of Kiryat Gat held an emergency city conference urging young Israeli girls NOT to date Bedouin boys living in nearby villages.

Reason being, according to the original story gleaned here, that girls have the habit of falling in love with the boys and then they leave home to co-habitate with their new beaus in their villages. No problem until the relationship goes south and then the boys won't let go. LITERALLY "until death do we part".
"One of the reasons for the conference was the 2006 murder of 16-year-old Mika Dabab, whose body was found burned near the Bedouin community of Rahat. An investigation revealed that Dabab was romantically involved with a young Rahat resident, and tried to break up with him several days before she was murdered. The young man refused, kidnapped her from a discotheque and murdered her."
Conference organizers showed attendees a film titled Sleeping with the Enemy and presented quotes they say appear in the Koran. Like: "a woman can be beaten as long as her bones are not broken and no blood is spilled."

The Bedouin response...
"'We in the Bedouin sector do not encourage romantic relations between Bedouins and Jews as well. It hurts our families just like it hurts the Jews. It causes a lot of difficult problems and internal conflicts which often end in violence,'" Rahat Mayor Talal al-Krenawi said in response to the Kiryat Gat conference."
I don't know what to think of the story or that conference. On the one hand, the conference smacks of blatant racism or prejudice or whatever you'd call it.

On the other, if this is a phenomenon, as the information disseminated at the conference suggests, how do you go about spreading the word and 'protecting' children?


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Literary Corner and Stuff


While recently on holiday in the U.S., I made certain to stop by the local library and check out a book I had put on reserve from afar thanks to the handy dandy world wide web..

It was Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone, and it's currently #5 on The NY Times' Nonfiction Bestseller list; Next up I'll be reading Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great, #2 on "The List", but that's for another entry.

I won't give too much away about Beah's book save to say that it's the 26-year-old's memoirs of serving as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. Revelatory, painful and a window into northwest African warfare, culture and the world of recruiting children to fight battles while robbing them of their youth. Difficult to read. More difficult to put down.

LATER: Here's a clip from The Hour - an interview with the book's author Ishmael Beah...

Speaking of youth or ...well I don't know exactly what category this next bit falls into.. this type family conversation is straight up Emily from SNL:

Do you remember years ago in Chicago when the eggheads were causing a lot of trouble? They were desecrating Jewish landmarks and creating a public nuisance? Well there was this one boy--

Ma. Ma. Are you sure you don't mean 'skinheads'?

Right. Skinheads. Anyway, there was this one boy....

*sigh*

Friday, July 13, 2007

High Tide Heels

This image snapped "somewhere in Europe"....

GET OUT!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Race Card


I'm currently spending time in the U.S. Midwest and as is always the case when traveling between two diverse societies - like Israel and Ohio - cultural differences are initially glaring.

There are the obvious ones like the abundance of "stuff" in America - stores, products, restaurants, houses, space, libraries. People are pleasant and in good moods and why not? The economy's good and the war is "over there".

There's the convenience of shopping and just plain simple convenience. A phone call solves most problems and gets most everything taken care of. Or a mouse click. No schlepping to 5 different government bureaucracies lugging a file the size of Manhattan to tend to this or that.

And of course, it wouldn't be the U.S. if things weren't sized so very grandly. A "small" soda is massive. Ditto "small" anything. Take my advice if traveling to this region: Order the kid meal or be prepared to bag it.

Because, as was the case in Starbuck's yesterday with the well-intentioned fellow who upgraded my small frozen coffee to medium - "I needed to finish up that container," he winked - your dinner plans may go south. Mine did and my dinner companions sat insulted as a full-stomached me refrained at the restaurant they had been touting all week long. "The coffee was too much for me" I claimed in my defense. They were unimpressed.

Other differences are more subtle. They're like undercurrents. The lack of social contact on a routine basis. The lack of underlying stress. And notes of racial tension.

I hear it in comments, see it in the looks when I'm in culturally diverse neighborhoods and notice it because in the "burbs" where my parents live, people of color seem for the most part to have gone missing. I actually noticed that I noticed an Asian guy this morning.

The racial thing occurred to me also this morning after reading Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.'s editorial on Isaiah Washington's troubles with Grey's Anatomy execs. Apparently Washington has now pulled out the race card.

What grabbed my attention was Pitts Jr.'s statement: There is epidemic racism in this country.

I know it's here and I know there's been tension in this city for years leading up to and following the 2001 race riots. It's still palpable.

Merely an observation: CLEARLY, the Mid-East doesn't have the corner on the unresolved conflict market.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Life as Cliche


I've been through a few rough weeks...Stuff that's private and personal in a very dirty laundry kind of way. Eventually I'll write it, blog it, etc. because it's the kind of stuff that other people can benefit from. My mistakes for the greater good of others. Schoingemacht. Mother Theresa.

The bottom line:
Call me cynical but we North Americans grow up with messages of fairy tale couplings, love at first sight, romantic partnerships formed in an instant based upon "chemistry" and "fate" and a whole lot of other stuff we see in movies and read in books, starting with Cinderella, you girls out there.

None of that is a stand-in for the basics of knowing how to choose a partner and doing a good job of it. Knowing what qualities characterize healthy versus unhealthy partnerships. Recognizing a harmful or wholly unwholesome liaison and bowing out. Bowing out before lasting damage has been done.


There are intelligent and very responsible people out there who know how to build careers, create lasting friendships, make homes, raise children and live life fully but who at the same time are utterly clueless when it comes to choosing intimate partners. And they pay for those mistakes dearly.
I'm one of them.

My message for the moment: If it doesn't feel good, it isn't. When you FIRST know it isn't right, pay attention. Ignore advice of "well wishers" suggesting you stay in and make it work. Trust your instincts the same way you would in other endeavors. If you notice an unhealthy pattern in the types of couplings you habitually find yourself in, get educated on choosing healthy alternatives...

As my cousin reminds: Sometimes it doesn't matter what you know or learn or who advises you. You have to make the mistake/s. She's right. But if my advice helps someone out there then I've done a good deed.


Amen. Pass the collection plate.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vanished

A friend and I were talking about the agony of parenting. The hell of worrying when uncertainty is at the fore.

Think of Gilad Shalit's parents. Or Alan Johnston's, I remarked.

Israeli soldier Shalit was taken captive a year ago by a Hamas-linked faction and BBC correspondent Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza in the Spring. Earlier in the week, audio and video tapes of both were released by their captors.

How do their parents endure the sustained agony of uncertainty? How do they bear that unresolved tension? I asked my friend.

I don't know, she answered. How did my mother do it? How did my grandparents endure?

I had forgotten that my friend is the daughter of a "Desaparecido". Los Desaparecidos - The Disappearing Ones - is the name given to people who disappeared in Argentina during the country's Dirty War in the 70's & 80's. People who were deemed a threat to the military government simply went missing. 9,000 of them. Her father, a professor, vanished one day. She was an infant when he was taken.

My mother said the toughest part was not having closure, my friend shared. No grave. No sign of life or death. No final word. My father's parents refused to move house for NINETEEN years because they held onto hope. They were afraid that IF one day he tried to come home, he wouldn't know where to find them.

Lord have mercy. I hope Gilad and Alan come home to their families soon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Still Shocking

In September it'll be 2 years since I made my way back to Israel to live. We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. No sireee.

This is quite a ways from San Francisco, in fact, when it comes to "PC". So while I've acclimated on many levels to living in these parts, I still get an occasional jolt when I hear someone say something "off-color" or I meet up with behavior generally construed in Western circles as rude.

Heck, why don't I just share?

That's what you call throwing? That's a girl throw! Show us what you've really got....Party entertainer engaging 5-year-old birthday boy during his routine

I need you to check the text and make sure it's not in Palestinian English. (Excuse me? I don't understand what you mean) You know. Put it into proper English without mistakes....1st time dialogue with client needing website editing

My God you've gained weight. Your vote could count twice!... Mayoral candidate speaking to an old girlfriend he hadn't seen in years

Let me see this for a minute... Stranger in line at Sushi Express Tel Aviv grabbing menu from hands

Will you switch places with me? I want my son to have a better view of the performance. Mother sitting one row behind at children's opera program

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What Next?

It's impossible to ignore the current Palestinian situation. What's happening in Gaza - and its potential spillover into the West Bank- is gripping and frightening. And I don't even live down there.

What's troubling me, however, are reactions to the violence on the Anglo-average-citizen-living-in-Israel-with-a-computer side of the fence i.e. the number of glib posts popping up in the blogosphere.

The "I told you so'ers", The "see how these people are" illustrators, the "serves them right after all we've been through" justifiers...

And frankly, that shit ain't right, as my friend R.C. used to say.

Because, yeah, sure, hating the Palestinians en masse when suicide bombings or kidnappings or lynchings have gone down is natural as reactions go.

But asserting that an armed band of thugs is characteristic of the whole...well that's like saying the weapon-heavy rebels of Sudan or Sierra Leone or anywhere are characteristic of the nation they are holding at bay with terrorist tactics. Or like saying that Baruch Goldstein speaks for us all.

He doesn't and the nutter Hamas don't and there is nothing here to gloat about or feel righteous indignation over.

Years ago I worked for a tyrant boss. You name it and he was guilty: verbal abuse, threats, cheating and lying to gain an upper hand and abusing his position to make overt sexual advances..My colleagues and I hated him. And we hoped for his demise.

Eventually our wish was realized and he was fired. It was a tremendous blow because he held a senior position within a very respected company.

You'd think we'd have been delighted. But we weren't. Because he had a family to support and at the end of the day, we had compassion for his downfall.

Revenge and out of place holier than thou preachings are not a virtue.

The everyday Joe-Citizens of Gaza are terrified and in trouble and they need help and compassion - not the kumbaya type but real time solutions brought about by governments rallying behind the moderates.

We had all better hope for the best for the people down there and in the West Bank because their future is intrinsically tied in with mine. And yours.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

No Pyramid, Please

Dear Well-Intentioned Friends:

Please don't misunderstand; This next bit is meant in the most loving and affectionate tone I can muster:

Stop with the agel.

Because when you call me and say: "I have a great line of business I've gotten into and I think you'd be perfect for it!"

And I ask: "Really? What's that?"

And you reply: "I'm having a meeting at my house on Wednesday and I'll tell you about it then..."

You lost me.

Yes I freelance from home; but that doesn't mean I've got spare time on my hands for "wonderful new products" that you claim have changed your lives. If it changed your life then you don't need me involved, now do you?

And by the way? if you're not willing to brief me about the deal first I don't have time to come by on Wednesday evening. I'm hecka busy. Way too busy for secretive generalization.

And as a reminder: I write and produce television for a living. I don't sell a gel or any gel. Especially if it involves pressuring my other friends into getting involved so that I can make a buck.

Kiddos: I'm American. We INVENTED pyramid schemes. Sheeyit.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A New Era

Every day my son & I walk to his kindergarten. It's good exercise and it gives us time to walk and talk - you know, that quality time thing.

Our route takes us past Tel Aviv's main Sourasky Medical Center, more commonly referred to as Ichilov Hospital. It's a beautiful, modern facility mostly thanks to the Arison Family - they own The Carnival Corporation and have poured mucho shekels into the hospital's slick departments, transplant units and research facilities.

Today as we passed Ichilov, there were about half a dozen busy bees working outside the front gates erecting what you see here.

I knew right away what they were but nervously joked with one of the men: "They're for washing sand off from the beach on the way home, right?"

He grinned.

"Are you doing this for the summer?" I asked with probably a wee hint of anxiety in my voice.

"No, no," he shook his head. But I'm not convinced.

They're chemical showers. So that in case Tel Aviv gets hit with a missile carrying a chemical warhead this scrubbing station will be put into action for affected victims prior to their hospitalization (should hospitalization be necessary, ahem)

"It doesn't matter, we'll die before we ever get close to the showers because there aren't enough gas masks to go around," my cousin Peggy joked when I relayed the news over the phone.

Ach. Garcon! A dirty Grey Goose martini straight up with olives please. Make it a double!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Movie Viewing & Conflict


Things stay on low to medium simmer in these parts on what seems to be a constant basis. For months now the local press has been predicting an impending summertime conflict starring Israel and co-starring Syria.

Ach, ignore it I say. Ignore something long enough and maybe it'll disappear. But it won't. But I try anyway.

Trying involves opting for late night escapism via movie or television series viewing. The Sopranos or Grey's Anatomy or last night, a jump into non-escapism i.e. watching the movie Blood Diamond.

For those who haven't seen it, it's a depiction of Sierra Leone's 1990's conflict: government forces versus rebels to the tune of the diamond industry fanning the flames on both sides.

Good timing on my part what with accused Liberian war criminal extraordinaire Charles Taylor (am I the only one who thinks "Chuck" and high tops when I hear his name?) boycotting his own trial this week.

Back to Blood Diamond. Whew. It went flat in some places and there were slight Hollywood bits that make you go "Aw c'mon..".

But as Leonardo DiCaprio's character spouted isms like "Howzit China?" or "Yah, Brew" I was reminded of colleagues hailing from Zimbabwe, Lesotho, South Africa & Kenya. They all hold key positions within their news organizations and have all seen or covered conflict on home turf or in a neighboring country.

In the 90's, one Reuters friend used to boastfully point out that the company's top producers, bureau chiefs and cameramen covering the hottest stories worldwide were all from Africa. He was one of them.

I also connected the dots implicating De Beers and the dirty diamond trade before running a reference check. Gee... I think that was the point.

The movie's worth a look-see even if it's not exactly escapist material.

Now I need to work on getting moi-self to Africa. And not on a UN mission or Safari, thanks much.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

When the Heat's On

Living 'oer here yonder i.e. the Middle East i.e. Israel "takes it out of you". You really don't have to read the newspapers all that much or watch the news. The political and religious aura is pretty powerful and it doesn't make for light n' easy living.

The current heat wave we're experiencing - temps in the 90's, thanks much - also weighs matters down. Meteorologists are predicting a dangerously hot summer - the kind my friend Jeff refers to as "wading through chicken soup" whenever he has to venture from the comfort of air con into the thick humid heat of Tel Aviv outdoors in the summer.

Living in this heated climate definitely changes perspective. On many levels. But let's keep it basic. My 5-year-old, for example, has taken to carrying bottled water wherever he goes and lately he's been briefing me on the signs of/how to avoid sun stroke. He's learning this stuff in kindergarten.

Could be things are heavy in these parts because it's the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. Israel got sooooooo much more than bargained for with that one. And forty years later solutions to the ongoing problematic result of that "conquest" are still beyond reach. Fun fun fun.

On a personal note I am missing home and family. The less-cumbersome-on-a-daily-basis-lifestyle of the U.S. sometimes seems soooooo appealing from over here. I look forward to vacationing with family and allowing the seemingly frivolous to take over: which mall to shop in? what film to see? how many books to check out at the library? where to get decent sushi? Large sigh of relief.

Until I get there for vacation, however, watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy -
I've become a Grey's junkie along with the masses worldwide, apparently - impacts my family-missing quotient significantly.

The doctor talk reminds me of my parents, the tragic bits evoke guilt for being sooooo far away and specifically, when George was trying to gross out Cristina by letting food fall out of his mouth during lunch in one episode, fond childhood memories of my brother drooling on purpose at the dinner table (when my mother was in the kitchen) to make me gag came rushing back.

I finished my windsurfing course and during the final lesson was able to "do the impossible and balance on the board" which is how the club manager described my graceful style. I managed to stay up on the board for very large chunks of time, actually. I'm still recommending the sport. Even for a trial lesson. It's "refreshing".

That's all for now. Over & Out.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Leveling


I recently took up windsurfing off of Tel Aviv's coast.

It's challenging. Learning to balance on the board while hoisting the sail, accounting for wind direction and wind speed, shifting direction and turning or jibing takes practice, quite a bit of falling into the sea, swallowing a very unwelcome quantity of seawater and bruising legs and feet when falls aren't graceful.

Aside from the physical aspects, twice during lessons I have been very pleasantly surprised to see religious Jewish men surfing.

I know they're religious because I see them before they put on their wet suits: yarmulkes (male head covering), tzitzit and the standard issue black pants and white button down shirts.

Today's encounter was a bit awkward - in the club changing room, odd as that may sound. But it's not, really, because most of the surf and SCUBA clubs I've seen in Tel Aviv are unisex. One or two showers for all and a non-gender-specific lock-with-key changing room if a person wants privacy.

Locker areas - generally the place people put on or take off wet suits and boots and change into or out of seaware if they're not bothered about privacy (which I've found is often the case) - are mixed.

So as I stood in my wet bathing suit and boots in the locker area waiting for a lock-key room to change into street-wear, across from me stood a religious guy removing his tzitzit and other articles of clothing. He didn't strip to bare skin. That would've been awkward. He found an empty shower stall and locked himself in for the final swap from pants and shirt to wet suit.

Once in his sea togs, you'd have never known his religious preference save a few locks tucked behind his ears.

I hear he's a yeshiva student from Jerusalem who can't resist the sea; he comes down to Tel Aviv when the wind is good or "surf's up".

Leveling the playing field. It's a wonderful thing.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Say Cheese!!


Here in Holy Land Central, we celebrated Shavuot yesterday. Biblically it marks the time when Charleston Heston aka Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. It also is a time to celebrate fruits reaped from the 1st harvest.

In these here parts, however, somebody got his/her food chart confused. Because people gather together on this holiday and indulge in copious amounts of brie, Gruyere, neufchatel, creamy blintzes, and assorted varieties of cheesecake - all clearly not listed in the fresh fruit column of Miss Sally's 1st grade inverted pyramid.

I was invited to a rather nice brunch sorta thing yesterday with the type of fare described above and then some.

You
MUST try my signature gnocchi. The secret ingredient is the truffle oil a friend urged in whisper tones. It was good. Very good.

But I was holding out for the cheesecake. Holding out all week, in fact. I hadn't had any sweets AT ALL because I was saving up for a nice, thick slice of homemade no-bake cheesecake. I assumed there would be some and I wasn't disappointed.

HOWEVER, as fate would play out I had to split the gathering after an hour and a half. And dessert had not yet been "busted out". I lamented to a few friends on the balcony.

Tell (the hostess) you're leaving and to bring out dessert for heavens sake! an unknown confidante suggested. It's Israel! You can do that here!

Yes, but I'm still who I am regardless of where I am. And I couldn't bring myself to impose in that manner.

Bummer. I had to go. All of the anticipation and I didn't "get my cheesecake on". My waistline (and toochas and thighs) will thank me.

Who asked them?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Living the Matrix

I'm generally skeptical of the facts and figures rattled off in these type compilations. But if they pan then it makes for interesting food for thought. For a few minutes, at least.


tia Gehirn Waschsalon

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Eco-Children

This is dated footage but compelling nonetheless...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Conclusion


A few notes on this Saturday eve as the sun sinks behind the Mediterranean in my 'lil city of Tel Aviv:

1) The neighbor saga. Not good. Guess who read my blog and is NOT amused by my quirky (a friend terms it "cheeky") sense of humor? Despite attempts at remedying the situation, methinks no amount of patching will stymie the hole in this blown tire. shit. shit. shit.

However, it is time to stop blogging about it. Enough already.

2) Israeli lifeguards. You could write a book. They sit in a wooden tower facing the sea watching people frolic day in and out. You don't even know they're up there on calm sea days. But get an undertow or high tide going and oops! There they are! Barking non-stop at swimmers through their megaphones.

"Move away from the breakers!" "Hey you in the white swimsuit, did you hear me?" "Okay that's it. All three of you come over here to the lifeguard tower right now".

Standard stuff. Except when it's not standard. Which is the constant stream in-between the standard stream. Because...gee i dunno. It's Israel and the rules don't apply? Or they know they won't get sued for poking fun or being rude? Or because it keeps boredom at bay?

"Hey parents! Where are you? This is not your bathtub. I am not your babysitter. Does that kid in the blue even have a parent here?" or "All of you move away from the breakers. That goes for you, too, Mahatma Gandhi" or "Gina! Where have you been all morning? Come over to the tower and we'll have coffee! I dreamed about you last night."

(i swear)

3) I was going to write about how nuts I find the situation in Sderot & Gaza to be and how upsetting it is to see front page images of children terrorized by or glazed over from exposure to constant air raid sirens and rocket hits. But I don't have the energy for it. And quite frankly, it seems every other person in these parts has something to say about "the situation". So I'll let the others do the saying.

Over & out

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

True Confessions


It's time to do some soul cleansing.

& not because Big J has gone to The Eternal Tent Revival in the sky.

It's because last night I was found out. And I wish to warn others of my trespasses. Call this penance. Hail Mary. Let's eat.

But seriously. Last night during a meeting of Tel Aviv freelance writers - I organize monthly get-togethers - I casually mentioned to a friend: That's my neighbor and motioned towards the woman across the table who is, indeed, my neighbor.

Someone seated beside my neighbor who reads this blog overheard and loudly asked: Is this the neighbor you wrote about in your blog?!

Deafening Silence.

And as a matter of fact it was and as a matter of fact I countered the extreme awkwardness of the moment with a casual brush-off: Yeah, I wrote about the worms, hahahaha! I said turning to my neighbor as if we shared some secret pact. (I also wrote about the cockroach but kept it mum).

What did you write? I want to see it!
pressed my very embarrassed neighbor who was aware she was in the company of strangers who knew about her life.

Oh I'll tell you on the way home,
I remarked casually (bluff bluff bluff).

And en route home, I fudged a little and softened here and there and promised to send her a copy of the copy. I didn't tell her it was on my blog because I don't think she's familiar with blogs. Or at least not mine. Yet.

The crux: I messed up. Because I like my neighbor but I wrote about her and embarrassed her. Yeah she's a touch hysterical; she'll readily admit to that. But she's kind. She let me borrow her chairs when I had guests for dinner, she offered to care for my cat whenever I go away and she came to last night's meeting to support me although she's not a writer.

The lesson: DON'T write potentially hurtful material about someone you care about unless you can disguise their persona. I got out unscathed this time but next time...??

Jerry, you taking notes and putting in a good word on my behalf?

Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary...pass the peas, please.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Moral Check-In

Last week, press and bloggers in Israel and internationally were buzzing over the story of a motorcyclist who attempted to pass between a cement truck and moving traffic and was killed when he went under the truck wheels and for very long moments, it appeared no one stopped to help him. He died of his wounds and the incident was captured on a traffic camera.

The uproar has been over the apparent moral decadence of society because people didn't appear to stop & help. Drivers swerved around the victim. He lay there on the pavement and NO ONE STOPPED!

However... when cousins were visiting this weekend we debated the issue and my cousin Doron brought up several very salient points:

1) At the moment of the incident, people were stunned and pulled over out of "eyeshot" of the camera and then ran back to help the man. That takes a minute in traffic.

2) NOT EVERYONE is meant to get out and help. He illustrated by asking us all: You know (nameless person we all know)...Can you imagine her being able to get out of the car and administer 1st aid? Come on! She would need 1st Aid. He has a point. Not everyone can handle an emergency...

3) And that leads to the point of the function of those who don't function well in emergencies. They did what they could by calling the Israel equivalent of 9-1-1. I would be interested in knowing how many calls came in to 101 about the man during that scene.

It's horrendous. No doubt. The video is here. I'd rather not post it out of respect for the victim.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Closet Method


Years ago I wrote an article titled The Joys of Limited Motherhood about putting off child-rearing for fear of royally messing up the job. The story started out like this:

“My kid stays in the hallway closet until age thirty,” my ex-husband was fond of proclaiming. “I’ll throw in some sandwiches, a VCR, movies.... So it’ll be a little dark..But at least I won’t have to worry. The closet’s safe.”..He was joking, of course.

And ya know, that was kinda funny. But here in the not-joking-real-world when that kind of thing happens, it's not funny at all.

Several months ago my mother relayed news of a Cincinnati woman facing life in prison after habitually locking her 5-year-old and 20-month-old in a closet so that she could go to work. Neighbors summoned police when they heard the older child's screams.

In last week's Hebrew press, a similar case: a mother locked her 9-year-old in the house to clock in at her hotel job each day. The mother, a new immigrant from Guatemala, claims she didn't have time to sign her daughter up for school and daycare was prohibitively expensive. Police were called in when the girl - frightened and tired of being a prisoner in her own home - began screaming "Fire!" from a window.

In both cases, the mothers were single and out there working to support the children ultimately taken away from them. Issues at hand obviously include judgment and education. But I question the financial difficulty of juggling job and childcare costs for single mothers within society at large. And not just for blue collar workers.

This Boston Globe article focuses on a single mom earning over $50K per year and struggling to keep up with day care payments while this Telegraph story chalks up benefits for British single moms of staying on government support rather than getting into the workforce.

Either way, the closet is not an option and daycare needs to be affordable. Period.

Happy mother's day to those celebrating.