All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Coincidence Or What?



I received an email this morning from a jewelry store selling it's wares.

The two bracelets pictured on the advertisement (ignore the top one with the heart and stars) immediately caught my attention because they are Shira's names!

Believe it or not, my youngest daughter's name is "Shira Rivka".

The fact that these are two individual items pictured haphazardly together (unless there are a lot of Shira Rivka's out there)and the advertsisers have chosen to use this name combination is quite extraordinary.

I can definitely hear The Twilight Zone music playing in the background...

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Funny.adj - file under "Serious"

You know how it is. There are some films that you really like and remember as being very funny. You don't see them for ages and then, you watch them again but before you start, worry if you are going to find them funny again.

Or is that just me?

I'll cut to the chase. Today I watched "Blazing Saddles" on DVD. I haven't seen the film for years and sat down thinking that I wouldn't find it that funny. I needn't have feared. I was in fits for much of the movie - and we're not just talking about the farting scene (which, if you haven't seen it in a while is still hysterical).

What I hadn't realised though is that the film has been re-edited for TV and isn't half as funny (i.e. they cut out most of the raunchy lines and substitute cut footage). Thankfully the DVD contains the original print and it's nearly a laugh-a-minute.

Why am I telling you this? Simply because if you're feeling down, please do yourself a favour and put it on. You will feel your sides aching after a while because in short, it is a really really funny movie. Incidentally, the same thing happened to me when I saw The Producers recently.

I guess Mel Brooks' earlier stuff needs some re-evaluating. I can personally vouch that there's no other films that gets me in fits of laughter, throughout the running time.

Who ever said comedy wasn't a serious matter? Go on, you know you feel like a laugh, get the DVD's out and chuckle the night away.

Monday, 27 June 2005

The First Day (Report from the Front!)

I know that I officially start in the new school on Thursday, but my new manager asked me to come in today and so I had the luxury of being able to observe his lessons before I embark on my own.

Once you are a teacher, you get precious little time to see how other people do the job. Observations are useful in picking up tips and thinking about how you, as the teacher, might handle a situation differently.

These students are not the easiest to teach, as I witnessed today, but once they settled down, they really got on with the work. Yes, I did have to pick a few of them up because they were either playing games (definite no-no) or surfing the web - but in the end, they did produce some work (which was actually not bad quality either).

The teaching staff are very friendly and welcoming and my manager seems like a really nice guy, which always helps. I can see that I've got my work cut out for me and that I will get a considerable amount of responsibility, which isn't a bad thing.

The nicest thing though, is that the school is a half-an-hour bus journey away. In less than 45 minutes, I can get from my front door to the school gates. After spending much of the last ten months commuting across London, this is not an insignificant issue. The school is close enough to allow me some time for a little read but not near enough to plonk the students virtually on my doorstep.

In short, I'm delighted to have the job.

...remind me of this in three months when I complain about how obnoxious some of the kids are!

Sunday, 26 June 2005

This Week's Music: Moonlight C

I thought it would be interesting to change the pace a little this week, after a some pretty punchy entries. This is "Moonlight C", a composition that I wrote back in 1989. It is a piece that I am particularly proud of.

Please click the "play" button on the music player in the left hand column to hear it.

Iranian Elections - Oy Vey!

I'm trying to think of something positive to say about the results in yesterday's Iranian elections. The problem is that I can't . It is absolute disaster for the Middle East and potentially the rest of the world.

Let's be honest here, you know you're in real trouble when even the criminally one-sided BBC can't say something nice about the new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I bet Hamas and Islamic Jihad are are rubbing their hands with glee as are Bin Laden and his cronies, the Syrians, Hizbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - this is indeed a worrying day for the rest of us.

The only question that's on my mind this morning is when, not if, Israel will be knocking out their nuclear reactor (assuming it's a feasible operation). This Meshuggenah (i.e. nutter) will no doubt be accellerating the building programme, which only makes things worse.

For the first time, the Europeans will see who they're actually dealing with. This guy is not going to negotiate with the West - and as a result, the bloody Europeans are waking up today, with egg on their faces. I'd love to gloat, but I'm too depressed.

There's not much I can add here, except that right now, the world needs another Purim miracle.

O Lord, you saved us in Persia the last time around. Will you please come to our aid again because we need your help ASAP. You're the only one who can make a difference - humanity is failing all of us yet again.

Friday, 24 June 2005

Bye Bye University

I can't quite believe it but today is in fact my last as a student. My course ends when I walk out of school at 13.15

I've now fulfilled the statutory days demanded of me as a student teacher. From Monday, I will be effectively unemployed - until Thursday, so I reckon we'll survive. That's it folks, my course is over.

I have yet to hear whether or not I've passed, although between you and me (shhhh don't tell anyone) I am now a newly qualified teacher in everything but name. The exam board meets Mid-July to make those all important decisions and that's when I expect to get my congratulatory letter through the post.

It's been an interesting year, to say the least. There have been ups and downs although the positive has vastly outweighed the negative. I find standing in a classroom less daunting and if anything, I now have the confidence to teach, which I didn't have when I started.

I know I've only been doing this lark since September (and teaching since November) but it really does seem as though the "year" has zipped past. I was quite apprehensive when I embarked. People had told me how demanding the PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education)was and so I wasn't sure what to expect. I think it helped immeasurably that I am, by nature, pretty organised and so I didn't get into a rut sorting out my folders.

I worked steadily throughout the year, building up my portfolio, which meant that I was pretty relaxed by the end - as opposed to some of my fellow students who ended up working around the clock to sort out their folders in on time. The hand-in date was Friday, yet quite few students were given extensions and needed the weekend to finish off. I'm not gloating, but I have to say I was glad that I got it out of the way on time.

So there we are. Ten months on and it's over. Don't worry though, The Teacher's Scribbles have only just started. The difference is that now, I'm scribbling with a better quality pen.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported me through the course.

So, people.... let the adventures begin!

Thursday, 23 June 2005

I'm 12A, What Are You?

I found a nice bit of code which I've added to the left hand column (just below the Archives), where you can rate your life, were it to be made into a movie.

The ratings are based on the British system and are:

U: suitable for kids
PG: Parental Guidance
12 AND 12A: No under 12s
15 & 18: Pretty self explanatory.

I took the "test" and apparently, The CW Story would get a 12A certification, which is rather pathetic (although saying that, Batman Begins is 12A, so there is a little hope).
Why don't you click on the "12A" and see how your biopic would be rated by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)?

Rather worringly, the person whom I got the link from, received an 18 certificate.
Hah!I bet she was lying....

Back to Skool

I've been contacted by new manager-to-be, asking me to come in from next Monday. I was hoping to have a few days break, but I really shouldn't be complaining as I get six weeks off in about a month.

The weather is going through a rather glorious patch. Who wants to work in this heat? And why are schools NEVER air-conditioned. What kind of primitive country do I live in?

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

The Catcher In The Rye

Thanks to Rachael for providing a link to the full text of The Catcher In The Rye
by JD Salinger.

This is one of my all time favourite books. If you haven't read it (or even if you have), please use the link!

The Re-Engagement of Israel.

It's going to be a long, unpleasant summer in Israel and I certainly wouldn't want to be in Gaza right now.

I really do feel for the Jews living there. They are, without a doubt, the wronged party and it must be an absolute nightmare, thinking that in a few weeks, everything around you will be destroyed - your home, way of life and community.

Do I think the disengagement is wrong? No. I believe that Israel has no choice. Will the move help to foster peace? No. I don't trust the Palestinians further than I can throw them, but what else can we do? Do we let the Jews stay and continue to be butchered whilst an apathetic Israel (we're not even talking about the rest of the world either) looks on? Or do we move them, give the Palestinians Gaza and let them seethe in their own filth?

All of these are unanswerable questions because no-one really knows what will happen after Israel moves out. Rightists shriek that there will be a bloodbath while leftists holler that Abbas will sort things out. Personally, I don't think either will happen. The terrorists will still thrive and within six months (if not earlier), Israel will be back, sans Settlers.

It is a bleak situation whichever way you look at it. Saying that, I feel very strongly that this should be the last time that Jews are forced out of their homes. I fully back the rights of all the Jews living in Hebron and the rest of the Territories. But I don't think that Jews should ever have settled in Gaza. A cursory look at history shows us that it was always a hotspot (Samson and the Philistines anyone?) and definitely a no-go area for us.

However, we must be extremely sympathetic and understanding to our Jewish brethren living there right now. They must be going through Hell and none of us should ever face the kind of summer that is upon them. They are, after all, our flesh and blood and we are all they have.

Am Yisrael Chai.
The people of Israel live (but not in Gaza).

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Stop Messing About CW.

It was bound to happen sometime. I keep on messing about with my template, trying new things out. Today, I decided to add some more graphics and change the image used on my profile.

I found this nice little animation (which looks nothing like me) and linked to it. I subsequently re-saved the template and....uh oh....!

It appears that I'd wiped out all the additions I'd made to the template (e.g. the music player, links to blogs etc). This was problematic in that it's taken me about a month to work out how to add all those HTML codes. I'm not saying I'm particularly stupid, but HTML is pretty new to me.

I sat down this evening, fearing the worst and thinking about how I could re-configure the site....and I'm delighted to say that the codes all came back to me. In fact, I think that this site is clearer than the previous effort.

What do YOU think? (you probably think I should stop messing about and get a life, dont you?)

The Morning Light

I've discovered a new joy.

It happens to me, every morning at around six o' clock when Michal comes down, doe eyed, having just woken up, and gives me one of her amazing smiles, followed by a gorgeous hug.

How could a day start any better?

Addendum to the Saddam Rap

I saw this article on the Times of London website, describing Saddam's current lifestyle in prison. It's called The Secret Life of Saddam, Nachos, Cigars and dreams of ruling again and definitely worth looking at.

Monday, 20 June 2005

The Cheek Of It

We are currently in dispute with a garage (an authorized dealer who is very well known) regarding work carried out (or not, for that matter) on our previous car. The staff at the garage parked the vehicle in a supermarket car park, opposite the dealership and there it has been sitting/dumped for over a month.

A few days ago, we received a letter from the garage, informing us that we would be charged over £700 for "rental space" in the car park.

Something smelled fishy. How could they charge us for using a public car park?

I have been in touch with the supermarket and established that there is no such agreement in place. In other words, the dealership is trying to rip us off big time. I am now getting the car removed and sold off ASAP.

What is even more galling is the fact that they printed a clause on their invoice, stating that customers are charged "£20 a day for storage". I really feel like writing to Trading Standards to report the company, as I wonder how many poor people have been stung by this blatant lie.

This whole episode truly nauseates me and just helps to confirm in my mind that the lowest entities on this earth are either car salesmen or estate agents - and right now, the former is definitely leading the latter.

Sunday, 19 June 2005

Good Joke

A pious Jew dies and goes to heaven. G-d greets him at the Pearly Gates.

"Are you hungry, Moishe?" says G-d.
"I could eat," Moishe replies.

So G-d opens a can of tuna and reaches for a chunk of rye bread and they share it.

While eating this humble meal, Moishe looks down into Hell and sees the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, lobsters, pheasants, pastries and wines. Curious, but deeply trusting, he remains quiet. The next day G-d again invites him to join Him for a meal, herring and rye bread.

Once again, Moishe can see the denizens of Hell enjoying caviar, champagne, lamb, truffles and chocolates. Still he says nothing. The following day, mealtime arrives and a can of sardines is opened.

He can't contain himself any longer. Meekly, he says: "G-d, I am grateful to be in heaven with You as a reward for the pious, obedient life I have always led. But here in heaven all I get to eat is canned tuna, sardines, pickled herring and a piece of rye bread, and in the "other place" they eat like emperors and kings! I just don't understand."

G-d sighs. "Let's be honest, Moishe...," He says. "For just two people, does it really pay to cook?"

This Week's Song: The Saddam Rap

A school friend and I wrote this during the first Gulf War in 1991. I remember my inspiration being Mel Brooks' Hitler Rap, but I wish I could be that funny!

It's strange to think that fourteen years later, Saddam is up for trial, his successor is hinting at establishing relations with Israel... and we have seven kids between us.

Who would've imagined?

The Saddam Rap

Hi there people, my name's Saddam,
And I've been told "I'm a really bad man".
The people hate me,
They want my guts,
I tell them "Man, you gotta be nuts!"

A few years ago
I started a war,
The reasons was because
When I looked out my door...

Hey man,
there ain't enough room,
We've gotta blow Iran
As far as the moon.

So I got out my tanks
And I started to fight,
Eight years later,
I finally saw the light.

We were getting nowhere
Incredibly fast,
I was gonna make sure
That Iraq would be the last

To be beat.

Chorus
I'm Saddam
Saddam the maaaaaaan,
Madass
That's what I am.

I'm Saddam
Thank you Ma'am,
Saddam is cool,
Cos he breaks the rules.

Six months ago,
I walked into Kuwait,
And I kicked that Emir
Right outta the state.

"This place is Mine"
I shouted out loud,
"To be my people
You oughta be proud"

"But we don't want you here,
Said the dudes around
You better get your big ass
-Right outta town".

So the U.N. said
"Hey man you ain't cool
We ain't gonna stand
And watch you breaking the rules."

"You better get out
Or your trade will cease
Cos with you in Kuwait,
There'll never be peace."

"You've gotta quit the place
Before January 15,
Cos if you refuse,
We'll send in the Marines."


Chorus

Well I didn't do nothing,
I dug in my troops,
Six months later
Uh oh whoops!

The bombs came flying,
Landed in my house
My air force was useless,
As scared as a mouse.

So I chucked some Scuds
At Israel.
I thought I'd give them,
A taste of Hell.

But the R A F
and the U S A
Blew all my
Bloody scuds away.

I poured some oil
Into the sea,
And now they're really
After me.

The fish and the birds
Want me out,
I s'pose they think
I'm an environmental lout.

Chorus

I don't think I've got
A lot of hope,
Let's face it folks,
I'm even hated by the Pope.

They all want me dead,
My generals too,
I'm in a sticky situation,
Superglue!

I can't back down,
I've left it too late,
To see what I'll do next,
They'll just have to wait.

Baghdad is wrecked,
And so am I,
But I still think
That's a filthy lie!

They think they'll catch me
But they don't know,
I've got nine clones,
I'll never go!

I leave my bunker
By black limousine,
Followed by decoys,
Which one's me?

Chorus 2

I'm Saddam
Yes siree,
Saddam is cool,
Cos he breaks the rules.

I shoot my people,
When they say "no!"
If they resist me,
My fuse will blow.

I bombey Riyadh
And Darhan too,
But their Patriots
Cut my Scuds in two.

My army's starving,
My plane's desert,
I can't forgive them
and it bloody hurts.

My islands that I captured,
Are lost to me.
My navy's been blown
Right outta the sea.

My Revolutionary Guards
Are my men most loyal.
They're the only jerks
Who'll stay of Kuwaity soil.

I know I've lost
But I won't give in.
I took on the world,
How the Hell could I win?

Chorus

I'm Saddam,
Saddam Hussein.
Saddam's the best...

Saddam's insane!!!








Friday, 17 June 2005

They're In.

I'm happy, nay delighted to report that I've finally managed to get my teaching folders into Uni. I drove there for the first time (yes of course I got lost)and was, ahem, surprised to find that although they were due in on Wednesday, I was only the sixth out of seventeen students to add their files to the rather minimal collection.

They sat there, in the lecture theatre, near the middle of the ICT table. Vast empty space to the left, waiting, crying to be filled. And there they are now, in a darkened, locked room, feeling quite sorry for themselves.

The deadline for handing in, is one hour and twenty nine minutes away. There are going to be some awfully stressed individuals right now. But do I care? Well, sort of.

NO! I don't! I'm going to be a smug bastard about this, because I worked damn hard this year to get to where I am this afternoon. I submitted eight files, eight files of blood, sweat and tears (ok I'm exaggerating, humour me) so that I could look back and say "Hah! I've done it".

I've handed my files in and this is closure (assuming that I'm not called back in, to add more information) - my year as a student teacher is over. Bring on the kids, I'm ready.

(heeeellllllppppp!!!)

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Leonard's Webshots

I've added a new category to the left hand column, just below the links to the blogs. I thought I would share some of my favourite sites and do recommend that you have a look.

I have long been a fan of Leonard Maltin. For those who don't know, he is an eminent American Film buff who publishes an annual movie and video guide which I have been dutifully buying since 1986. My whole family sighs with dispair whenever I pick up the tome, because I invariably get lost in it, looking up reviews for movies. Anorak that I am, I know the ratings for most movies (sad isn't it?) which go from BOMB (Tarzan The Ape Man, anyone?) to **** (Schindler's List - what else could it get?) - ask me a movie and I will invariably be able to tell you the rating Len gives it (we're on first name terms you know).

A few years ago, I spotted a review for "One Day in September" where Mr Maltin and his review team (it's back to the formal name as this is the serious part) described the Black September group who carried out the Munich Attack as being "Palestinian Guerilla Commandos". I wrote to Mr M. pointing out that these were in fact terrorists as opposed to the more impressive sounding commandos (and as they weren't in an army, the term was misguided). He very kindly wrote back to me, agreeing with my assertion and to my delight, as promised, the amendment was visible in the next edition and has been there ever since (wayhay!) Needless to say, this only raised my impression of him even higher.

I do admit that my views of some movies are coloured by his opinion (OK...most movies, but we do disagree occasionally - very occasionally). So anyway, I've added a link to his movie review site.

The other link is one of my all time favourites. You get the Webshots spyware-free software from the site and are allowed to download up to five photos every day, which you can use for wallpapers and/or screensavers. To date, I have close to 2,500 images, 99% of which are stunning. You can also convert your own jpegs and bmps into webshot images and the images themselves are so compressed that they only take a minute or so to download on dial-up. I would really recommend a look.

If I come across any other sites that I really like, I'll add them too.

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

S.T.D

I'm afraid to report that in the last few days, I've have come into contact with an S.T.D. The condition really manifests itself whenever I go to the toilet to do my business. I don't know how to cure this and how long it will take to disappear. The S.T.D is extremely unpleasant and always self evident. What do I do?

Now you might be thinking that I'm confessing to being in possession of a sexually transmitted disease - aren't you? No dear friends, this is much worse.

I'm coming into daily contact with a Shira Trail of Destruction.

This is demonstrated by the soggy toilet rolls that have been rescued in the vain hope they might be salvagable. Forget it. They go straight into the bin. The toilet paper that manages to survives, is really not worth keeping. I won't even tell you where I've found the toilet brush last week.

The Shira Trail of Destruction is slowly wreaking havoc in this household. I really don't know how much longer I can cope with it. We've tried putting a latch on the door, but it is not at all Shira-proof.

Does anyone have an idea of how to deal with this ailment? If only it were as easy as administering a shot of penicillin!

Shavuot - The Festival Of Weaks

It all started off well enough. My parents and In-laws came over for the annual pre-shavuot meal. Dana made her incredible cold strawberry soup (with a topping of sour cream...yummy) followed by salmon en-croute. This special meal has happily become a family tradition and one that I always really look forward to, with great anticipation.

First day Shavuot we were invited out and it was great fun. We sat in the garden as watched the children playing. Yes, I was tired and went inside when my hayfever started playing up. I sat in the lounge and rather rudely dozed off. When I woke up, I hoped that no-one might have noticed, but they all knew. Fortunately, the host was also asleep in the garden!

So far so good. Tuesday morning, I woke up with terrible heartburn and the constant need to sleep. In fact, I spent most of the day sleeping. In 24 hours, I ate virtually nothing(which is most unlike me) and although we had guests coming over, I couldn't stop myself from dozing off.

I woke up, after the festival had gone out and forced myself to finish off my university work, with the intention of going in today, to submit my files. I woke up this morning feeling pretty groggy and fully aware that there was no way I was going to make it in. I spoke to my lecturer and he said he was OK about me bringing my files in on Friday, the actual final date of submission.

The bug hasn't only affected me. Both Tali and Shira are also down with it and as result have been unable to go with Dana, Hadassah, Michal and my in-laws to Chessington World of Adventures - which is a real shame because Tali was really looking forward to it.

So here I am, at home, nurofened and feeling slightly better, if still quite weak and headachey. The only good news though is that my voice has come back (I reckon that might have been a pre-cursor to my bug). It's also raining, so at least my hayfever isn't too bad.

I worked my backside off to get everything ready for taking in today. I guess its a question of "the best laid plans" not always working out. When I think how Shavuot could have been wonderful, it seems such a shame that my body picked these two days to play up.

Sunday, 12 June 2005

The Sick House

A fine lot we make! Dassi and Tali are down with a stomach bug and I've lost my voice (I hasten to add that this is due to Hayfever, not excessive shouting).

The interesting thing is that nobody here seems too bothered that I can't speak. Should I be reading something into this?

Hopefully the girls will get better really soon. As for my voice, well, it won't stop me writing and I've done all my teaching for the while, thank G-d.

This Week's Song: Shooby

I've always been quite a fan of 1950's music and decided to write my own doo-wop composition. The result was "Shooby", which I quite like. There's no deep meaning, just the usual chord structure one would expect in such a song.

My inspiration came straight out of the classic"Great Balls of Fire", as you will no doubt hear from the chorus (I wanted to throw in some good old piano bashing, for effect) along with a little pastiche, to remind you that I wasn't taking myself too seriously.

The lyrics are:

Doop Doop,
Shooby doobee doobee doop doop
Shooby doobee doobee doop doop
Shababadowaa

I love my baby,
So I think maybe,
I'll be so crazy
Tonight.

I'll take her shopping,
I'll take her bopping,
I'll take her rocking,
At the ball tonight.

Chorus:
And when I think of what I've got,
She thinks I must be grand!
And when she looks at what she's got
I think she'll underst-aaa-and!


Doop Doop...

She'll be my darling,
she is so charming,
she'll be my baby tonight.

And when she calls me,
My little baby,
Oh I think maybe it will be tonight!

Chorus

I love my baby...

Once again, this is a home recording, so the quality is not exactly 100%, however I have remastered it somewhat and taken out the noise, so it is pretty clear.

I'd love to hear what you think about it.

Saturday, 11 June 2005

The Meal

I'm happy to report that it was an unqualified success. I sat there, an inane smile on my face as my chicken got cold, looking at the entire family, seated around the table - my face glowing with pride.

In the end, the seating worked out in a way that Shira didn't sit on the booster seat ("the young one has spirit") and that was left to Michal but no matter, for five entire minutes, we were all seated there, as a unit, eating the same meal.

These were five wonderful and totally unfogettable minutes.

Friday, 10 June 2005

The Special Friday Night

This is a momentous occasion in our family's history. Tonight, for the very first time, all six of us will be seated around the table.

Earlier this week, Shira decided that she's had enough of her high chair and wanted to sit at the table. After an exhaustive search of our attic, (and I emphasise the word "exhaustive". It's literally a jungle up there) I located the booster seat.

We've tried getting her to sit on it, but without much luck. I hope that this evening, once we are all sat down, Shira will see that she has no option but to sit on the empty seat. Alternatively, she'll try and sit on one of our laps. If however, we do get her sitting in the seat, it will be a historic event.

In the next blog, I hope to able to report a positive result...

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Sodding June

This f******* hay fever is driving me mad. Today it's really bad and although I've taken my meds, I'm ready to kill someone, in fact anyone who comes within a 10 feet of me. I screamed at the kids, felt terrible about it afterwards and apologised, but knew that I'm so irritable, I could very easily scream at them again for doing absolutely nothing.

If you're cursed with this allergy, you will know exactly where I'm coming from. My nose feels like it's breathing fire and every time I sneeze, I feel like ripping the guts out of everyone, but most of all myself.

It's going to be a horrible night and I can't wait for the middle of July when I can start enjoying the summer. The fact that the gardeners came and cut the grass, which I'm allergic to, doesn't help either.

Guest Appearance

The other day when I was at University, I was showing this site to a fellow student. Our lecturer glanced over to see what I was up to (it was after the lesson had finished) and started looking rather quizzically at the entry entitled Yeehah!!!. I saw, what I perceived to be an expression of horror mixed with fascination on his face and didn't quite know what to make of it.

When I spoke to him later, it turned out that he'd not so much been horrified (by my description of finishing the work off - which was less than complimentary..and he was marking it!) as more wondering whether he too could use a blog to good effect. He liked the layout and complimented me on the site. I hadn't expected that reaction.

Yesterday, I went into Uni and had a discussion with him about the work I am currently finishing off for submission next Wednesday. Along with the rest of our folders, we need to submit a subject audit folder demonstrating how, over this year, we have developed our subject knowledge. Since I'm teaching ICT, this includes everything we have learned (and taught) to improve our knowledge of using IT. To this end, we need to undertake some tasks to give evidence of our knowledge. So far I have compiled a spreadsheet, put together a database and answered two 'A' level papers. To my surprise (and delight), he suggested that I use this site as evidence of my website designing knowledge!

I hadn't really thought about it but I've really developed some good HTML skills in the process of getting this site together. Not only have I worked out how to upload my songs and link them through FTP and insert a player, I've also added animation, pictures etc (I know that to many of you experts, this is old hat, but I'm pretty pleased with myself for learning this "new" language)

Last night, I prepared a Word document, showing screenshots of how I had put together yesterday's entry (on Anne Bancroft), fully annotated.

This is a very long way of telling you that, totally unexpectedly, this site is guest starring in one of my teaching folders and will therefore help in getting me my qualification. The Teacher's Scribbles are yielding wonderful results.

Go on, start your own blog, because you never know where it may lead you!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Heaven Holds A Place



I was very sorry to hear of Anne Bancroft's passing and at a relatively early age too. As you will note from my profile, two of my favourite movies are The Graduate and The Producers respectively. I imagine that 1967-'68 must have been been a pretty wonderful year for Mr and Mrs Mel Brooks,considering the success of both of their movies.

It's scary to think that when Anne Bancroft played Mrs Robinson, she was younger than I am now! I wouldn't say I'm exactly old, but it does seem a little bizarre - movies aside, she was only six years older than Dustin Hoffman and eleven years older than Katherine Ross, who played her daughter!

No matter. Anne Bancroft was more than Mrs Robinson and it's a shame that she effectively tied a golden chain around her neck by taking on the role. Ironically, she had already won an Oscar for the Miracle Worker, five years previously. However, it was the infamous mother-in-law who seduced poor Benjamin who is transfixed in our minds all these years later. I guess it must be a lesson for any actor/actress when taking on a role - think very carefully about the part you play in a movie, as people might never accept you in another role.

It's true that certain actors will always carry the baggage of being identified as playing a single role in a movie, for the rest of the their lives.

When I mention Anthony Hopkins, whom do you think of? Or Ralph Fiennes who played the Nazi in Schindler's List? Or Vivian Leigh? These roles overshadow the rest of their careers (although I suppose you could argue that Vivian Leigh is also equally memorable as Blanche Dubois).

Anne Bancroft fortunately or unfortunately, will always be remembered for that one part, which is a crying shame, because although she was superb in the role, she was also a very fine actress who really deserves more than being thought of, as the woman who seduced her daughter's boyfriend (in a movie, not in real life!!!)

Simon and Garfunkel wrote "Heaven holds a place for those who pray".
I pray that in time, Anne Bancroft will get her due respect as one helluva fine actress.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Extraordinary Recording

I have been sent a link to this site. There you will find the transcript to a recording made by a reporter who entered Jerusalem on June 7th 1967 with the troops and was present at the liberation of the Western Wall (the Kotel).

I have just heard it (in the top left hand corner, click on Listen) and it is absolutely incredible. Please press the link and if you need to, follow the English translation - You will think you are there with them on that G-d given day.

I defy anyone to listen to that recording and not realise the Divine significance of our being given Jerusalem once again, after a wait of 2000 years.

You are literally hearing Jewish history in the making.

Pssst Wanna Trade Me?

Thanks Kiki for alerting me to this...

I really don't know why or how or what, but according to this
site, you can buy virtual shares in The Teacher's Scribbles and as of May 21, this site is valued at B$2,849.35 which I assume must refer to Blogging Dollars. The outgoing link value is $B737.34 which I find a little disappointing. I thought this site would be worth more.

Some guy called Mike Keith has very kindly been trading my shares, so I am quite grateful to him (I think) and he had a 95.15& growth in May (sounds rather alarming to me - hope he's seen a doctor about that).

I really don't know what I'm talking about (as you've no doubt realised) but the fact that this site is worth nearly 3000 units in any currency, virtual or real does excite me somewhat (unless $1 = 1 million B$ which would mean that this site was involved in Italian style inflation, which is something that I want to have no part of).


p.s. I registered with the site to "claim" my blog. You will no doubt note an addition to the left hand column stating that this site is indeed being listed on the Blogshares sites.

If there are any hot brokers out there, here's a chance to get a piece of the action without losing your shirt (although I still don't quite see the point of the exercise).

Monday, 6 June 2005

Paris Oui, Londres Non

Call me a killjoy, but I'm hoping that when the IOC announces it's result, London isn't their choice.

It's not that I'm unpatriotic or anything like that, I just don't feel like being forced to pay yet more on top of my already extortionate council tax bill. I honestly don't see the benefit of hosting the event here.

I might change my mind if:

a) The Tube is significantly improved as a result of preparations
b) I actually develop an interest in the Olympic Games
c) The Olympic Committee actually apologises for the disgraceful way in which they've virtually ignored the relatives of the poor Israelis killed in Munich in 1972.

Since I don't think any of these scenarios will happen, I have no interest whatsoever in the Games being held here. Let the French waste, I mean, use their dosh to reach the stringent requirements demanded by the IOC.

On this occasion - Vive la France!!!

Ten Days

Ten days from now will see me handing in my PGCE files for marking. This is it, folks - I'm into the final stretch.

Today, I was back at uni. We shared our teaching experiences and braced ourselves for the next few days. On Friday, we all will have to give a ten minute presentation to the others in the group, about a subject that we were either very weak in, at the start, or developed skills to teach. It will be filmed (because presenting to your peers isn't nail-biting enough) although only I will see my "performance".

I really can't believe how quickly the time has flown. I know I wrote about this last week, but it still hasn't really hit me. In July, I will find out whether or not I've passed (but I don't think I'm being presumptuous in assuming that I wouldn't have got this far if I was going to fail) and then, I/we will be NQT's.

From next Thursday, I will no longer be a student...I'll be unemployed (for 2 weeks) and thoroughly enjoying my time off. Saying that, on the following Monday, I'll be back at the school, making up the days I missed last Rosh Hashanah etc.
I'll go in for the week and the following Thursday will see me being employed, for the first time in nearly a year - my that does sound good!

But this is all to come. Meanwhile, I have to concentrate on getting my subject file sorted out. It's certainly going to be a busy week.

Sunday, 5 June 2005

Yeehah!!!

It is now thirteen minutes past four o'clock on Sunday afternoon and I have just finished my assignment. It comes in at 23 pages, 3,855 words (including appendices and bibliography) and the due date is tomorrow when I will proudly hand it in.

Believe it or not, I have another one to do for next week but I will be damned if I'm going to look at it today.

Dana took the girls out for the day. I really don't know how I would have done this without your help. Thank you sweetheart - you're the absolute best.

This Week's Song: Togetherness

I don't remember what inspired me to start composing music. I know that I had a lot of my mind (some things never change) but I still can't remember what go me going.

I had been playing the piano since I was six years old and I used to lose myself for hours, playing song after song, knowing full well that I should have been doing some studying instead. This was a better world for me to be in, as my school records were not, how shall we put it, too encouraging.

Anyway, it was January 1985 and I sat down at the piano. A song had been buzzing around in my head and I knew I hadn't heard it before. Could it be an original piece of music? (if there is such a thing). I started tinkling and after a while, I had the music in place. I then worked a little on the lyrics and "Togetherness" was born.

It was no great shakes back then and it isn't exactly "Bohemian Rhapsody" now, but I felt that I had something. I was seventeen years old and my first composition couldn't be anything but a love song (despite the fact that I had never been in love, but that didn't seem too important at the time).

"The world was made for us together....
Night by night,
I see you in my dre-ee-eams
But you know now that we're toge-e-ther
That smile on your face always beams"

I can't remember the lyrics for the second verse, but the chorus went like this:

You and me
Me and you
They and us
You and them....

We'll be alright!

Side by side,
We will conquer,
The whole together
All through the night!

You and me,
Me and you,
You and me,
Me and you...

We'll be-ee alright
As long as the sun will keep
We'll be shining bright!"


And so on.

Ok, it wasn't exactly going to set the musical world alight, but it didn't make too embarrassing an entry to my canon (I'm still quite partial to it today). I recorded it on the piano and left it at that.

For my birthday that year, I was given a synthesiser and I immediately set to playing and recording the songs, using the integrated drum machine. In those days, I wasn't particularly keen on my singing voice (not that I'm so hot on it now, but I'm less self conscious...ah age!), so my first songs were all recorded on the synth and this is the version you have here.

I thought it would be nice to change the pace a little, as the first few songs I've uploaded have been pretty serious and heavy. So here, you have my first song, unashamedly pop and pretty simple....enjoy!

Friday, 3 June 2005

The Signs Of A Stroke

A cousin sent me this and I'd like to share it with you.
______________________________________
A true story

Susie is recouping at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke all because Sherry saw Susie stumble - -that is the key that isn't mentioned below - and then she asked Susie the 3 questions. So simple - - this literally saved Susie's life - - Suzie failed all three so 911 was
called. Even though she had normal blood pressure readings and did not appear to be a stroke victim as she could converse to some extent with the Paramedics, they took her to the hospital right away. Thank God for the sense to remember the 3 steps!

Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

Ask the individual to SMILE.

Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today)


If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call the emergency number (e.g 999 or 911) immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

Thursday, 2 June 2005

The Promise

I'm glad to report that this afternoon, I finally fulfilled a long standing promise I had made to Dana about two-and-a-half years ago.

Cette apr├Ęs-midi, we dined in Kaifeng - the swankiest, priciest and arguably finest Kosher restaurant in the country. The Chinese food really is out of this world, particularly when comparing much of the dross you get in other Kosher restaurants, and it is, I suppose the Jewish equivalent to Hakkasan(a very expensive and highly rated restaurant in London).

My wife's palate knows quality and she made me (or rather, pursuaded me to) promise her, back in the early years of this century, that once I landed a "proper" job, I would take her out to this very eaterie for a meal.

Being a man of my word, I was able to oblige shortly after one o'clock this afternoon. And it was worth the wait too. Shira joined us for good measure, even though she'd been on the "inside" when I had given my word. I won't bore you with the menu except to say one word about the delicacies we ate.....

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

The service was exemplary and it was an absolute pleasure to be waited on hand and foot.

When my first paycheck arrives, I will be able to pay the bill off (only kidding, it wasn't that expensive).

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

The Underachiever

Another month and yet another assignment. I know I've been here before, but I definitely think that fatigue is setting in.

The subject today: "Discuss the reasons why pupils may underachieve in ICT within the secondary schools environment. With reference to your reading and your school experience, outline how these issues can be monitored and addressed in ICT".

3000 words.

Are you still awake?

Getting this essay together is the human equivalent of treading through 1000 miles of treacle. I've got some of the reasons down, but there are lots more to go and I fear I am losing the will to live. I had planned to have it done and dusted by dusk today, but after two hours (plus) of writing a literature review, I felt some suicidal tendencies emanating in the base of my cranium, so I thought it best to set it aside for a while.

Chatting with some fellow students (I told you I am coming to worship MSN Messenger in a dangerously cultish manner), I was reassured to find out that I'm the only one of the four who's actually started to write something down. Considering that hand-in date is Monday, I don't think I'm doing too badly.

I have sensibly decided to put the metaphorical pen down (read "keyboard") and concentrate on some mindless entertainment (aka surfing the internet, chatting with non-students on MSN and basically finding anything to pass the time except for writing the damn paper.) However, I do intend to get this pinned down by midday tomorrow, although I wouldn't put money on that happening.

In the past, writing about how I'm not getting anywhere has spurred me on to do it, but this time, it's gone 8 pm and I really can't be bothered for now. Knowing the way I work, I'll look at it tomorrow, with fresh(ish) eyes and get on a roll as the colloqualism goes.

See, I'm even showing off my command of English, as a ruse to spend less time thinking about what I should be doing. I find it highly ironic that I am underachieving so successfully in the writing of this topical Paper.

Shame, shame, shame on me. I should be an example to all of my students, instead of aping some of their rather suspect studying skills!

The Merry Month of June

By a quirky twist of fate, my daughters will not only be celebrating the birthdays of three of their grandparents (my dad being the notable exception) within the next thirty days, their cousin will also hit her 366th day on this planet in twenty three days time.

Roll on the merry month of June!