Thursday, August 30, 2007

english words of hebrew origin

ok so i am not in bed yet. thinking about ba'al-z'vuv led me to wondering about other words in english that have their origins in hebrew. best i can do in the middle of the night is a wiki page here. some samples:

Amen - from אמן (="so be it; truly")
Armageddon - from הר מגידו "har megido" (="megido mountain"), the biblical location of an apocalyptic battle
Behemoth - from בהמות behemot (="beasts" or "cattle")
Cane - from קָנֶה "qāneh" (="reed")
Carob - from חרוב "charuv"
Cherub, cherubim - from כרוב kerubh, כרובים kerubim
Hallelujah - from הללויה halleluyah (="(let us) praise God")
Jubilee - from יובל yovel (Jubilee year)
Leviathan - from לויתן livyatan (="whale, sea monster")
Satan - from שטן satan (="adversary")

Cinnamon - akin to קינמון kinamon
Camel - akin to גמל gamal

not too many everyday words there but still interesting to me. you may also wish to browse the wiki page of yiddish words in american english. it should be here.

pre-birthday mini-thoughts

did i spell her name right?

o how i hate birthdays and how i love them. i am too old to get excited and yet on the day itself i want everyone to be nice to me because it is my birthday. the way i deal with this is that the week right before the day i mostly actually manage to forget about it, and if it comes to mind i quickly change the subject of my thoughts. so i just had a look at my friend geoff's blog about jewish mysticism (link on the right in the second group). it is really interesting. from that my thoughts turned to gematria and thence came the idea to check out the gematria for my new age. nu - i managed almost 5 minutes of other thoughts. i'm sure i'll get better with practice :-)

anyway, according to the mysticalnet web gematria server, one of the words i get is באלזבב. hmmmmm. time to go to bed i think!

nb bet, aleph, lamed, zayin, bet, bet spell the hebrew word 'ba'al-z'vuv' aka lord of the fly, or beelzebub

and again!

big papi flies out

more joy. must be because i am not watching the games even though they are on local tv. big decision to make - do i listen on the car radio as i drive down to nyc tomorrow? if i do, does that mean we shall lose? yes, each and every fan in every sport has this power over her/his adored team. and we spend many minutes worrying about the cosmic effect of our actions with regard to said teams. this illustrates the ultimate paradox of humanity: to have absolute power and at the very same moment to be utterly powerless. meanwhile wang is pitching tomorrow, against schilling. best wishes to wang!

another save from mo

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ray jones obit by benjie goodhart


from today's grauniad:

Yesterday should have been a great day in the life of Ray Jones, QPR's extravagantly gifted young striker. When you're earning good money for doing something you love, have the adulation of thousands, are hugely popular with team-mates and management, and have a glittering future ahead of you, every day should be a great day. But yesterday would have been Ray Jones's 19th birthday.

It is sickening to write that 'would have been', particularly with regard to a teenager. Ray Jones died in the early hours of Saturday morning in a car accident. His friends Idris Olasupo and Jess Basilva were also killed, with the former dying hours before a letter arrived at his home, offering him a place at Fulham's youth academy. All three were teenagers, and each death is a tragedy, but I concentrate here on Jones simply because he was a QPR footballer of immense promise who provided thousands with great pleasure and excitement.

I was chatting to a friend in front of the telly on Saturday, half-watching as Soccer Saturday started. It was midday exactly. I noted absently that Jeff Stelling looked unusually sombre as he opened the show, but it didn't really register until the photo came up. Being a QPR fan, I don't get to see my team featured on TV very much, so when I recognised the strip out of the corner of my eye, I was immediately intrigued. Paying attention now, I recognised Ray Jones - the club's brightest young prospect, our own Wayne Rooney, the prodigy, all precocious talent and burgeoning potential. Then I looked at the caption, and was genuinely confused.

There was his name and, underneath, the dates: 1988-2007. It made no sense. That was how people book-ended lives, with the date of birth and of death. But that couldn't be the case here, surely? My confusion was all too short-lived. I don't know whether I turned up the volume or just tuned in to what was being said, but the words were clear enough: "... killed in a car crash in the early hours of the morning."

For those who never saw him, and you will be in the vast majority, let me tell you that Ray Jones was the real deal. You would have seen him in the future. He was that good, you knew he'd make the big time. He'd burst into the QPR side at the age of 17, and almost immediately had attracted the attention of a number of Premiership clubs. He turned them down, mindful that his chances would come sooner at QPR, where he could continue to develop in the first team.

He had all the attributes a striker needs: strength, pace, a great touch, good in the air and on the ground, intelligence, agility and, perhaps most significantly, swagger. He knew he was good, and had the self-confidence required to succeed among older, more experienced players. Yet, away from the pitch, he was known to be humble, generous and popular. He would often amble along to get the Tube home after games, happily chatting to fans and posing for photos en route.

The fans loved Ray for that, but also because he represented rich promise for the future. At QPR, we'd been floundering both on and off the pitch for a decade, sporadically haunted by the twin spectres of relegation and administration. In recent weeks, we'd had cause for optimism. Flavio Briatore was rumoured to be mounting a takeover, while John Gregory had assembled a team who actually took pride in wearing the hoops. A mixture of dedicated pros and talented local youngsters with the world at their feet was going to haul us out of the mire. Nobody epitomised this sense of optimism among the fans more than 'Ray Jay', our star of the future.

Ray hadn't played yet this season, thanks to a foot injury, but last season he played 35 times. Certain memories persist, and from now on, will have to suffice: Ray Jones coming on against Leeds in the first game of last season and terrifying their defence, inspiring QPR to an injury-time equaliser, and almost getting the winner. His extraordinary goal against Southampton; the perfect combination of determination, speed and skill. His winner against table-topping Cardiff at Ninian Park. Or, more personally, the moment when I realised how good he was - a dazzling step-over and cross, from 10 feet in front of me in an otherwise abject game at Selhurst Park. As a supremely gifted teenager, he was doing things for real that his peers acted out on their games consoles.

And so, for the second time in 15 months, QPR buries one of its youngest stars. Last year, Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death trying to break up a fight outside his school. He was 15. The memory of the tributes outside Loftus Road is all too fresh: The poignancy of the shirt with his name on it, the scarves, cards, flowers and flags. And now, unbelievably, there's another shrine, a different name on the shirt, the same tragedy of a teenager, full of promise, lost before he's barely begun along the road of life.

You can bet that football will pay its respects in a moving, heartfelt, powerful way, as football always does. The shirts, scarves, flags and flowers, the minute of silence or applause that makes your hair stand on end and your eyes sting with tears. It will be done particularly beautifully at QPR because, heartbreakingly, we're getting rather good at it.

breaking the language barrier

at last! the times of london publishes a vocabulary list to help brits and americans to speak english to each other. here are some important examples:

British — North American:

articulated lorry — tractor-trailer
blanket bath — sponge bath
bumbag — fanny pack
central reservation — median strip
cut-throat razor — straight razor
double cream — heavy cream
dummy — pacifier
dustbin — trash/garbage can
fringe — bangs
green fingers — green thumb
hundreds and thousands — sprinkles
indicator (on car) — turn signal
ladybird — ladybug
mangetout — snow peas
maths — math
number plate — license plate
off-licence — liquor store
press-up — pushup
queue — line
recorded delivery — certified mail
roundabout (in road) — traffic circle
trainers — sneakers
transport café — truck stop
vest — undershirt
waistcoat — vest
zebra crossing — crosswalk

the rest of the list is here, in the entertainment section!

they left out the pants/underpants/trousers example though ... make of that what you may ...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

o yes!

damon homers

it has been an horrific week in the news that i have read, and i've had little desire to post. a young boy in liverpool was gunned down in a car park. he was eleven, and the shooter probably not much older. many tributes to ray jones, the qpr lad who died in a car crash along with two friends. much talk about youth violence in britain and who is to blame. there are of course still soldiers in iraq & afghanistan, acute hunger and poverty across the world, disease and violence and misery and cetera. yet the story of one young person's life being cut off so brutally, so wastefully, this is what actually touches us.

so what on earth am i doing posting this under a picture of johnny damon scoring the runs that beat the red sox and stopped the recent yankees slide? i'm not sure. it certainly gave me a great moment of joy. tribute was paid to little rhys jones both by his beloved everton players, and last night at the liverpool match. on saturday all the qpr players will wear ray jones' name on their shirts, and his number 31 has been retired. nothing is fixed by such actions. yet for many people, there is something about sport, and about being a fan, that makes a safe place to express our feelings. so go yankees, and a curtain call for johnny damon:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

the burqini


if you are a woman who wishes to swim, but religious obligations regarding modesty mean that regular swimwear is inappropriate, this may no longer be a problem. via jewcy i found this website.

tragic news from qpr

#31 ray jones r.i.p.

from the bbc:

"QPR's Ray Jones dies in car crash

QPR are mourning the loss of Ray Jones. QPR's teenage striker Ray Jones has died in a car accident. The Championship club postponed Saturday's match at Burnley following the death of the young forward. A statement said: "QPR is in mourning following the tragic news that striker Ray Jones died in a motor accident in the early hours of Saturday morning." The 18-year-old England youth international was involved in an accident in East Ham and was pronounced dead at the scene. The club said the collision occurred at about 0020 BST on Saturday in High Street South, East Ham. Police confirmed Jones was one of three people to have been killed in the collision between a black Volkswagen Golf and a double-decker bus. One of the two other fatalities was also pronounced dead at the scene, while the third was taken to hospital in a critical condition, where he later died. The car's two remaining occupants were also taken to hospital and one is in a serious condition and the other is described as walking wounded. Everyone at Queens Park Rangers extends their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ray at this sad time Police are awaiting details on whether anyone on the bus was injured and are appealing for any witnesses. QPR's statement continued: "Everyone at Queens Park Rangers extends their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ray at this sad time. "The club will be making no further comment at this stage and we ask you to respect our wishes as we grieve for our young striker."

Jones, who last season earned a call-up to the England Under-19 squad, was set to miss the match against Burnley because of a foot injury. He joined the club at the age of 15 and made his professional debut against Watford in April 2006. Jones went on to make 35 appearances in all competitions last term - scoring six goals. QPR rejected a £200,000 bid from Colchester for Jones at the end of last season. He had yet to feature this season but was highly rated by QPR and had also attracted interest from Premier League clubs. But Jones, who would have been 19 on Tuesday, signed a three-and-a-half year deal with QPR in January. Last year QPR were struck by tragedy when youth team player Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death outside his school at the age of 15."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

again, priorities

just read this on the huc alumnae list:

"NASA found that it was impossible to use a ballpoint pen in space because the ink would not flow freely, so they spent $1.2 billion dollars developing a pen that was functional under -330 F degrees to +471 F. conditions.

Very proud of his achievement, the chief project engineer boasted of his success to one of his Israeli peers, who replied, "in our experiments we found the same thing, so we decided to use pencils"."

mmmmm

christiane amanpour

or perhaps that should be a-mmmmm-ahhhhh-npour? most of all i have loved her voice. it reminds me also of another heroine of mine - laura flanders.

a quote i appreciate from a ny times article cited by wiki:

"Her emotional delivery from Sarajevo during the Siege of Sarajevo led some viewers and critics to question her professional objectivity, to which she replied, "There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn't mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing."

this news is pants! *

"Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta's indecency laws. The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an "epidemic" that is becoming a "major concern" around the country. that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future."

The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. The proposed ordinance states that "the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments" would be unlawful in a public place. It would go in the same portion of the city code that outlaws sex in public and the exposure or fondling of genitals."

o puh-leez! how many dead are there now in iraq? afghanistan? why is putin sending up fighter jets? darfur? poverty? child abuse? hunger? and baggy trousers ?????

here is where i found this.

* fyi 'pants' in england refers to underwear and is also used as a derogatory term, i.e., that something is a load of rubbish

grace paley r.i.p.


grace paley didn't publish all that many books. yet vermont still named her its state poet laureate. my friend emily from kibbutz introduced me to paley's work. i loved emily, and wanted to love what she loved :-) despite that, i still enjoyed the short stories. they seemed to be written about the family i would have had if my relatives had emigrated to the usa instead of germany and then england. i continue to wonder, however, whether i like things because they are familiar and thus i connect to them. surely that is different from appreciating skill and art? with grace paley i am certain there is a little of both.

the ny times obit
ap obit, which quotes grace paley's comment on her stories:

"None of it happened, and yet every word of it is true,"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

greer bashes diana


so aussie academic germaine greer has shocked a few people up at the edinburgh book festival by saying negative things about the people's princess. the telegraph mentions this at the beginning of a positive report about the festival:

"At the end of a meet the author session at the Edinburgh Books Festival this weekend, she lobbed a hand-grenade of a remark her audience's way: she'd been thinking about Princess Diana, she revealed - and 'I’ve come to the conclusion that she was a devious moron.' Making a mess of being Princess of Wales was no big deal, she reasoned ('All but one of the Princesses of Wales have come to a sticky end') but to botch up her life afterwards took some doing. As always Greer, who’s been preparing a newspaper article on Diana, knows the kind of furore she’s bound to be stirring with this kind of talk - 'I’m going to have to invest in a bullet-proof vest,' she joked."

the rest of the article is here

other reports are a bit more sensationalist:

"GERMAINE Greer has launched a scathing attack on the late Princess Diana, labelling her a devious moron. The outspoken Australian academic said: "One of the things I have been puzzled by is why her whole life was such a mess. It still puzzles me that she does that no-no thing: she sleeps with married men . . . and this is the angel people want to crown.""

melbourne herald sun

"Germaine Greer's fellow Australians will be choking on their breakfast cereal this morning as they read her latest piece of invective: an excoriating attack on the late Diana, Princess of Wales, whom she describes as devious, neurotic and stupid. In an essay in today's Weekend Australian Magazine, the Melbourne-born author and academic claims that Diana was nicknamed Brian by her siblings after the slow-witted snail on The Magic Roundabout. She also dismisses the notion that Diana was a fashion icon. "She dressed to the same demotic standard of elegance as TV anchorwomen do." In the essay, written to coincide with the impending 10th anniversary of Diana's death, Ms Greer suggests she was partly responsible for her own untimely demise. "The saddest thought of all is that Diana's death may have resulted indirectly from another of her cack-handed manipulations; it is said that she only went to Paris with Dodi Fayed in order to make the heart surgeon Hasnat Khan jealous." Diana had a relationship with Dr Khan after her divorce from the Prince of Wales, and is said to have wanted to marry him."

the indy

hmmmmm ... this is where i know i am really an american because i have never had any interest in the british royal family beyond learning dates for history lessons. my mother is an englishwoman, so they belong to her. not to me. i was visiting in brooklyn when diana died and was back in toronto when she was buried so i have no idea what it felt like to be in london at that time. my main memory is talking to my sister on the phone when she said, "have to go now, the coffin is coming." our parents' flat was on the route from the palace to the cathedral.

if i were to be a bit cynical, i might think this was all a massive pr ploy for greer's latest work about anne hathaway :-)

photo day continues ...


another wonderful shot. this is of cohort 5 of the delet programme at their july graduation. it is also totally rebekah in just one still frame. love it!

the latest rookie ...

joba chamberlain

i love this picture. joba looks like his entire body is about to explode rather than just his fastball.

panda pix

ok - i managed to stop myself signing up for panda groups on facebook with names like "Every time I see a panda I have an asthma attack because they're SO CUTE!" but i did grab a couple of photographs on my travels. the first one is at the same time adorable and somewhat disturbing:


yes they are being bred in captivity and thus subject to the human way of doing things (which we hope will not hamper their efforts to live in the wild when they are eventually released). at the same time, here they look a bit like cuddly little almost human orphans. pandas, we now know, are able to be fun-loving social creatures. It is easy to forget that they are animals, not teddy bears. they are eating bears, not friend bears. they are magnificent, not cute. if you had a real panda over for a playdate s/he would probably give you a friendly cuff that would (accidentally) break your neck. enough ranting and here is the other shot i liked - a panda moment ...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

you know you've grown up in london when ...

(qpr lost to cardiff at home today so i am drowning my sorrows by joining facebook groups rather than eating. here are some posts from this new group of mine)

- You only know what’s going on in the world because of the slogans on the Evening Standard boards.
- Big Ben’s really not that big a deal.
- The rest of the world seems inexpensive.
- Your parents have complained about the congestion charge.
- “Mind the gap”.
- You’re furious that Ken Livingstone wants to do away with the double-decker.
- You know someone who survived the Blitz.
- Everyone has a story of how close they, or someone they know, were to taking the tube on 7/7.
- You’ve had the urge to hurt a pigeon.
- It’s probably raining right now.
- When you use the night bus to get home
- When you're shocked that both the Bank branch AND the Charing X branch of the Northern line are working...at the same time!

phil rizzuto r.i.p.

rizzuto and berra leave the field

earlier this week yankees legend phil rizzuto died. although he predates my yankees experience - in fact the first time i ever heard of him was on the meat loaf track 'paradise by the dashboard light' - i note his passing as a fan.

ny times obit

"The Yankees signed him in 1937 and sent him to their Class D minor league team in Bassett, Va. Stopping for a meal in Richmond, Rizzuto was served grits for the first time. “I didn’t know what to do with them, so I put them in my pocket,” he said."

wiki

"Most baseball observers, including Rizzuto himself, came to believe that Derek Jeter had surpassed him as the greatest shortstop in Yankees history. The Scooter paid tribute to his heir apparent during the 2001 postseason at Yankee Stadium; jogging back to the Yankee dugout, he flipped the ceremonial baseball backhand, imitating Jeter's celebrated game-saving throw to home plate that had just occurred during the Yankees' 2001 American League Division Series triumph. ESPN reported that the photo of Jeter and Rizzuto taken that evening is one of Jeter's most prized possessions."

Friday, August 17, 2007

cannibals apologise

was on my way to the obituary page of the telegraph for fun bedtime reading and came across the following for your delectation if you will excuse the choice of words:

"A tribe in Papua New Guinea has apologised for killing and eating four 19th century missionaries under the command of a doughty British clergyman. The four Fijian missionaries were on a proselytising mission on the island of New Britain when they were massacred by Tolai tribesmen in 1878. They were murdered on the orders of a local warrior chief, Taleli, and were then cooked and eaten ... Thousands of villagers attended a reconciliation ceremony near Rabaul, the capital of East New Britain province, once notorious for the ferocity of its cannibals. Their leaders apologised for their forefather's taste for human flesh to Fiji's high commissioner to Papua New Guinea. "We at this juncture are deeply touched and wish you the greatest joy of forgiveness as we finally end this record disagreement," said Ratu Isoa Tikoca, the high commissioner."

the story is here

pyramids of mars (old doctor who ep)

while searching to see when the next sarah jane adventure may be available to watch, i came upon a mention of an enemy sj and the doctor fought in the ep pyramids of mars. it was called sutekh, described thus by wiki:

"Sutekh, a member of an alien race called the Osirans, was encountered by the Fourth Doctor in the 1975 story Pyramids of Mars by "Stephen Harris" (a pseudonym for Robert Holmes and Lewis Griefer). The Osirans were an ancient and highly powerful but now extinct race. The renegade Sutekh was a crazed super-being who feared all forms of life might one day challenge his hegemony and so became Sutekh the Destroyer, the destroyer of all living things. This included his home planet Phaester Osiris and ancient Mars. Sutekh's brother Horus and the remaining 740 Osirans tracked Sutekh down to Ancient Egypt and used their powers to restrain and imprison him in a pyramid on the planet Earth. He was placed in a remote location with the Eye of Horus beaming a signal from Mars to suppress Sutekh's powers and hold him an immovable prisoner. The tales of the Osirans were remembered in Egyptian mythology — Sutekh as the god Set, brother of Horus; and in the designations Sados and Satan."

while i am not such an old doctor who geek as to care too much about all these details, seeing the name brought back a wonderful memory from my childhood.

well, maybe more of a naughty memory. we had scripture lessons in the old days, especially at a church of england school. the old testament was ok, but jewish kids were allowed to skip nt if they wanted to. i wanted to, but my parents thought it would be interesting for me to learn about it.

anyway, at some point while this doctor who 4 week arc was playing, our class decided to start a new religion. we observed it only in scripture classes. we worshipped the god sutekh. we demonstrated our adherence to our god by sitting backwards on our chairs, doing the endless ommmmmmmmmm, and saying about anything we did not like, "can't do that - it's against my religion". the poor teacher was beside herself. the high mistress herself (the principal) spoke to our entire class. i think we may still hold the school record for the number of times the entire class had to be spoken too by the high mistress in one year. it was our very first year at the school.

i asked my father what he would have done if he had been the teacher. he said that he would have helped us to construct the religion. either we would then learn something, or we'd get bored and stop. rumour has it that shortly afterwards the teacher married a missionary and moved to bahrain.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

what about groucho?!


ok so there are vigils for the 30th anniversary of the death of elvis presley. it is hard for me to admit that i remember that week in 1977. of course i was practically an embryo in those days. i've been to graceland. i know the words to 'teddy bear'. but just three days after the unfortunate demise of the king, my absolute hero at that time also died.

WHERE ARE THE VIGILS FOR GROUCHO?!

if i could stay awake any longer, i'd light some candles (i have a few odd chanukah ones i've been saving for something), or at least recite some favourite lines.

here are the lyrics for "lydia the tattooed lady".

that's all i have to say. if you want to know more about him, google is the place to go.

ps one of the highlights of my recent visit to times square was finding a cd i've been seeking for many years - the music of 'a day in hollywood/a night in the ukraine'. i mentioned it some time ago upon the death of dick vosburgh. anyway, thank you to the man in the marriott who sent me to the colony music shop. the second half of the show is a musical version of 'the bear' by anton chekhov as sung by the marx brothers. am listening to it right now - "i'm samovar the lawyer!" :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

labels

of course this is a massive subject, and also a bit complicated ... the last few days i've had a running conversation with various people about labels in general and lesbian identities in particular.

i've noticed that it is extremely important for my latina friends to know if someone is butch or femme. m. keeps telling me i am confusing because i will wear a femmy blouse and butch shoes and i really have to make up my mind. why do i have to make up my mind?

i spoke with d's g/f who is a therapist. she pointed out a need to define what it is one is describing. is it how a person looks physically, e.g. clothing, makeup, etc ... or is it to do with female conditioning, i.e., how women are traditionally expected to behave ... or is it to do with roles played during sex ...?

i really do not like having to be fixed within the boundaries of one particular label, and certainly not within those of any of the above descriptions. first of all i think fluidity and flexibility are mentally, emotionally and physically healthy attributes. secondly, i think such boundaries can stifle a relationship. where is the space to explore and to grow?

as usual, i am being idealistic and probably rather naive. it is so hard to be true to oneself in the face of those who are scared by someone who doesn't want to fit into the box. who wants to be dodging the slings and arrows of the outraged?

meanwhile, my eyebrows are unplucked and my toenails are painted (a lovely reddish purply colour chosen for me a while ago by avi and the queen of jerusalem drag queens) and what is in-between has a mind of its own. :-)

got melky?

dj singles to bring in melky for the winning run in the bottom of the 9th against the orioles

yahoo doesn't have a pic of melky crossing the plate, just jeter hitting the single. that's ok because i was watching in a japanese restaurant in great neck. we were just walking past the tv set on our way out when i said that i had to watch this one at-bat and it was a winning one. again, the joy of a moment such as this is indescribable. so i will not try! suffice it to say that those who know, know.

Monday, August 13, 2007

xanadu, the musical

the evil women

last thursday for the first time i stood in the queue at the half-price ticket booth by times square. arriving about an hour before it opened, there were only a couple of hundred people ahead of me. we all checked with those around us which shows we were hoping for, and heard reviews from each other about shows already seen. by the time i reached the booth the choice i had that fit what was left of the choice we wanted was 'curtains', the spelling bee one, and 'xanadu'. there were seats for 'curtains', but they were rubbish, and there were really good seats for 'xanadu' but i was afraid it was rubbish. o the pressure at the ticket window with people all around utterly anxious and pushing and the booth man merciless tell me now which one where is your cash what is your choice make up your mind (chorus of people behind you yes make up your mind NOW) so i went for 'xanadu' because i loved the music and hoped for the best.

i was v. worried d. would not be happy about my choice.

d. did not stop laughing the whole way through. we were two rows from the stage right by the left-hand wall and could see the sweat but were just out of spitting range. it was excellent! well done ravaj. if i say so myself. go. see it. fun. funny. funnier if you remember roller discos and olivia newton-john.

most happy picture

parents

noam has this photograph. i think i took it in the eighties, but i don't seem to have a copy. maybe noam took it. anyway, it is one of my favourite pictures of our parents. never fails to cheer me up. enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

bristol city 2-2 qpr

dexter loves the 'r's

and we love you too, mr. blackstock. the first game of the new season, the first goal of the new season, the sun is still shining, and we haven't lost yet! rangers' run of bad luck continues as the tummy upset ben sahar had this week turns out to be appendicitis and he will be out for 5 weeks. nevertheless, even though we went down 1-2 in the 90th minute (for non-footie fans, the game lasts 90 minutes), damion stewart equalised almost immediately. uuuuu rrrrr's!

and the yankees have the best record since the all-star break, and i found a parking space in brooklyn yesterday right next to the building i was going to enter, and poo poo poo/toi toi toi the sun is shining today as well.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

teacher in spaaaaace!

the space shuttle endeavour (hey, note the spelling. they did it the english way!)took off today for the international space station, and a teacher is finally in space. hurrah!

barbara morgan was the back-up for the late christa mcauliffe on the doomed challenger expedition.

"More than half of NASA's 114 Teacher-in-Space nominees in 1985 gathered at the launch site, along with hundreds of other educators.

Also on hand was the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee. She said earlier in the day that she would be praying and pacing at liftoff and would not relax until Morgan was safely back on Earth in two weeks.

The Challenger crew "would be so happy with Barbara Morgan," June Scobee Rodgers said. "It's important that the lessons will be taught because there's a nation of people waiting, still, who remember where they were when we lost the Challenger and they remember a teacher was aboard."

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin met Tuesday night with several members of the Challenger astronaut families who were in town for the launch — although not with the McAuliffe family.

After liftoff, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings sent congratulations from Washington and called Morgan "an inspiring example for our next generation of teachers, scientists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs."

Midway through the flight, Morgan will speak with students in Idaho, where she taught elementary classes before moving to Houston in 1998 to train as a full-fledged astronaut, the first teacher to do so. If the mission is extended from 11 days to 14 days as planned, she will have a chance to answer questions from students in two other states."

one of my dreams as a child, and maybe even still a little bit, was to go to the moon. however, my ears hurt when the l.i.r.r. train goes into the tunnel just before penn station so i don't think i'd ever make it into a rocket. on the other hand, i may not become an astronaut, but i am a teacher :-)


the full story is here.

barry bonds and the (asterisked) record

hank aaron

bonds just hit 756 on tuesday so he now owns the record outright. the other day i was thinking, wouldn't it be utterly classy if he stayed on 755? why could he not retire at that point? it is highly unlikely anyone else will ever get there, and since there are so many people who question bonds, could he not shut them all up by doing something like that? share the record with aaron. but he didn't. and i have no interest in any of the reports and pictures. as we americans like to say: whatever!

Monday, August 06, 2007

bloggers' dialogue

a rare but exciting occurence for me - my recent comment on ken levine's blog listing his favourite screenplays was replied to. here's what d. mcewan said:

"Oh Ravaj, you have so much more courage than I. You mentioned CARRY ON SCREAMING. 12 CARRY ON movies sit on my DVD shelves, includng SCREAMING (God, how I LOVE it's silly title song: "Carry on Screaming! AAAAAAAH! Carry on Screaming! Aaaaaaah! 'Cause when you're screaming, I know that you're dreaming of me." There's a lyricist with no self-esteem.) I love the Carry Ons, but they are such an indefensible guilty pleasure. Kenneth Williams sneering at everything and everyone. Wonderful Charles Hawtry saying, "Have at thee, varlet!" during bayonet practice in CARRY ON SERGEANT (Where the titular sergeant is the first Doctor Who, William Hartnell.) Barbara Windsor always sticking her ginormous boobs in everyones's faces with utter innocence. Great screenplays? No. But I love them for their wonderful repertory company, and their unpretentious fun."

another bit of nananeenee novel thing

way way back many moons ago cba got me involved in the national novel-writing month exercise of trying to write 50k words. i managed 14k, then had other stuff i had to do. later on, i joined a writing group in london for a month, and they encouraged me to continue working on the project. what with owls of learning and packing up and moving not to mention trying to pass a maths exam, i haven't had much time to think or dream or write. nu - i thought i might try a bit while i have this holiday. here is a bit of a bit. it is a bit long, but i wouldn't mind knowing if you think it is readable.

rafi is in the cemetery in berlin when this strange young man appears and they begin to talk. he reveals to her that his name is paul bendix, and rafi remembers that her mother had an uncle paul who died in a camp. but that was more than 60 years ago ...

"Paul said nothing. He closed his eyes. Rafi thought
his skin had turned grey. Was he about to faint?
Where was her water bottle? What should she do? As
she reached for her cell-phone, Paul looked at her,
shook his head gently, and began to speak. Each
sentence caused him pain as it escaped from his mouth.

“I was living in the south of France. It was near
Marseilles, near the ocean. I lived with two old
ladies. They were sisters. They liked me. I told
them stories about my adventures, and they cooked my
dinner. They took good care of me. There was a
nephew. He was afraid. He thought they would give me
their house when they died. He was jealous, and he
called the police. He told them I was a Jew, and they
put me on the train to Drancy. It was not long before
I came to the camp at Auschwitz.”

Paul closed his eyes again. “You have read the books.
You have seen the documentaries. You have heard the
testimonies. That is how it was. How it felt, I
cannot say. I know that I was hungry, and in terror
of each new minute. I know that I was cold. When a
friend stopped breathing, I raced the others to take
his bowl, his spoon, his shoes, his bread. When
another was too weak to work, and dragged to the gas
chambers, I was glad it was not me. I do not feel it
now. I have only the memory that these things
occurred. To survive it must be so.”

Rafi knew a lot about the Shoah. When she was seven,
she loved to play World War Two with her plastic
soldiers. The olive soldiers with sensible hats were
the British Army. They built great tanks of Lego and
captured the grey soldiers with round helmets who were
Germans. She yearned for Airfix kits to build
Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers. She did not know the
word ‘Nazi’. Her parents were distressed by this
situation, and decided to do something about it. They
pointed to books on the shelves in the dining-room,
remarking casually that the contents were probably a
bit too difficult for Rafi to understand. When they
were not looking, she began to read. She read
everything she could find on the shelves. She read
everything in the synagogue library. She read when
she came home from school. She read at night, when
her family was sleeping. Then, when she finally fell
asleep, she dreamt. She dreamt that there was fire
everywhere she could see, and faceless silhouettes of
men wearing round helmets blocked her way in all
directions. Sometimes they had come to take her, and
sometimes they had taken everyone else, leaving her
alone in the fire. Now and then, she still had such
dreams, interspersed with the hostage versions that
began in 1972 after the Munich Olympics. These were
very simple - either she stood up bravely and took the
bullets to save her family, or she hid and survived
and felt guilty. Over the years, Rafi had joined
Second Generation groups, written intense poetry, and
talked to many therapists. Listening to Paul, she
realised that she was still playing games.

“One evening in the winter, we were standing to
attention in the courtyard. They would make us do it
for sport,” said Paul, shivering. “The guards would
take bets on who would fall. Sometimes they would
command us to do exercises. They told us to jump, to
roll over, to lie down, to get up. As a boy I had a
Schaeferhund I did this with. The dogs in the camp
had better than we did. They had real meat. We tried
to obey the commands. The guards had sticks and
whips. They would hit us with no reason. That
evening, though, we were only standing. We were all
very weak and tired from hard work in the day. It was
snowing. The man next to me was falling, and I put my
shoulder under his arm so he could rest. Another man
collapsed. A guard was angry because he bet on the
man I was helping, and I was beaten. They put me in
the punishment block. In the morning they took me to
the place of execution. There was a wall where you
were shot. There was a gallows where they hanged
you. You did not get to choose which one.”

Rafi’s mouth was dry and her hands were wet. Her skin
was grey like Paul’s, and her breathing was shallow.
Her mind was a blank, her heart was racing. She knew
only that she wanted to hear what happened next, and
yet she did not.

“The guard led me up onto a scaffold. The camp was
assembled before me. They were looking at me. They
had to look up or they would be punished. I stood
below a noose and it was placed around my neck. No
announcement was made. A guard examined the number
tattooed on my arm. He made a note in a book. The
floor fell from beneath my feet. The noose tightened.
Blackness.” He looked again at Rafi. “My name is
Paul Bendix. I was hanged at Auschwitz in 1945. I
felt the rough cord pulling, closing my throat. I
could no longer breathe. I lost consciousness.” He
paused, “and then again I was awake.” He looked
around at the stones, and up to the canopy of leaves
above. “I find I am in a cemetery. I read the names
and see it is a Jewish cemetery. I read the dates of
birth and death and see it is many years later. The
leaves tell me it is autumn. I walk in the cemetery.
I see a young woman, and feel I must talk with her.
That feeling is not a new one.” He smiled, sadly.
“The rest, you know.”"

Saturday, August 04, 2007

qpr 2-1 phlegm

sahar dons the hoops

it was only a pre-season friendly, and lee cook wasn't fit enough to scare us on his return to loftus road, but still we beat a premiership club and ben sahar scored both of the goals! the season starts for real next weekend but fear not, pessimism still rules, for one new signing has already been stretchered off with a suspected broken leg, and our esteemed chairman continues to spout porkies.

o what the heck i don't care it was still a win and it makes me happy :-)

you go a-rod!

alex rodriguez rounds 3rd base for his 500th home run

the yankees have been hitting homers almost at will for the past few days, well, all except for a-rod. he was a jolly good sport, talking about how it is most important that the team wins, etc. he was also rather happy to reach his milestone, and become the youngest player to reach 500. let's go yankees!

new york new york


a scene from avenue q

despite the driving for several hours in 93 degree heat with no air-conditioning in the car, it is still exciting to catch that first sight of manhattan from the throg's neck bridge through the haze and the smog!

yes, we are on holiday, and our first holiday event was a broadway show. d. thought 'avenue q' was hysterical. i enjoyed it, but also found it a bit depressing. what is our purpose in life ... i suck, no i suck more ... homeless and unemployed ... gary coleman ... internet porn ... we are all a little bit racist ... hey, let's turn this all into a musical! cute songs and muppets having sex. a pleasant couple of hours. no audra mcdonald or kristin chenowith or patti lupone to take a song and reach right into your kishkes and rip them out. on the other hand, there are few greater feelings than standing in times square in the early evening about to see a broadway show :-)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

whatever happened to floella benjamin?

floella benjamin and colin salmon

listening to vanessa feltz on bbc radio london this morning talking about black role models in england, she mentioned that she had been in a lift or something with floella benjamin and found out she was the chancellor of the university of exeter. so i looked for a website, and found out what an amazing life she has been leading.

for those of you wondering who on earth this woman is, she was a children's tv heroine on the bbc in two shows called play school, and play away. If you grew up with her, you couldn't forget her. I am a little older than her "playschool babies", but i had a younger sibling as my excuse to watch the shows :-)