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

Saturday, 31 December 2005

The Last Post of 2005

Well, we’re about to bid farewell to 2005. The main thing is that if you’re reading this, you’ve made it through to the end of the year and like me, you’ve managed to hang on to dear life, unlike those who have sadly left their mortal coil behind within the last 364 days.

It’s been an interesting year for Yours Truly. On a professional basis, I’ve think I’ve had a truly staggering year. Last December 31st, I was still a student, earning bupkes and hoping that I’d make it through to the end of the course. Twelve months later, I’m still earning virtually bupkes (come to think of it, I was better off as a student) and hoping that I’ll make it through my first year of training. Maybe not that much has changed after all…

Family-wise, over the last twelve months, we’ve seen the emergence of Shira as a force to be reckoned with. Now she talks, charms her (and our) socks off and very much holds her own, despite the presence of three sisters who are very opinionated, possessed of strong minds and sometimes quite over-powering. In other words, she’s the one I’m least concerned about.

Dana has made amazing strides since January of this year, not least with the amount of weight she managed to shed. I should be so fortunate. She looks fantastic and I’d like to think that we are closer now than we were a year ago. I’m probably wrong, but hey, it’s my blog…

This last year has seen me introduce my blog onto this site. I’ve had to dig out my old HTML skills to bring you what you see today and although there are many of you who are presenting a far more polished and sophisticated site, I’m quite happy with my little contribution to the www.

We’ve had some significant additions since last December, not least the presence of not one, but two new cars (when I write ‘new’, I’m referring to the fact that they are new to us, as opposed to spanking 2005 editions) and I’m now driving around listening to an Australian/American/Brit telling me where to go (I recently splashed out on a Satellite Navigations system – my little end of year extravagance) and how to avoid getting lost.

We also possess a new fish, although no-one’s noticed since it looks identical to the last one.

So 2005 hasn’t treated us too badly. Thank G-d our parents are still healthy and with us and our kids are growing up into very special people.

I want to conclude by wishish each and every one of you a very happy and successful 2006 and thank you for still dropping by to say hello.

We bloggers are, without a doubt the vanguard of a new generation. Let’s continue to enlarge the blogging pool in the next twelve months and get more and more people taking up this wonderful habit.

Happy 2006 dear friends and family.
The last year wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Our Girls - Mid December 2005

Thank You

About two weeks ago, I posted a blog bemoaning the atrocious comments uttered by the Iranian President, when he called the Holocaust "a myth". You can read that post here.

I asked you to click on the link to the Simon Wiesenthal site and add your name to the petitions demanding that Iran be censured. The petitions were to be given to the President of the U.N's General Assembly.

I have just received an email from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre containing this text:

"Only days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest antisemitic tirade where he labeled the Holocaust a “myth” that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world, 35,000 petitions were sent to Jan Eliasson, President of the United Nation’s General Assembly, demanding that action be taken to censure Iran. Your protests and each and every petition were hand delivered to Tobias Lindstrom in the Office of the General Assembly’s President at UN headquarters in New York by Mark Weitzman, the Center’s International Task Force Against Hate Director and NGO Representative to the UN .

May I say a very heartfelt thank you to any of you who signed the petition as a result of reading my post. I strongly believe that this blog should much more than just a collection of my rantings and complaints.

Together, we can do something to effect change.

Thank you so very much.

The Giver

Dana is, without a doubt, one of the most generous people I’ve had the pleasure to know. This is great if you are on the receiving end of her generosity. The only problem is that I’ve always found it hard to reciprocate to the same degree.

Let me give you an example:

During Chanukah, we give presents to one another after we’ve lit the candles. This happens every night and is (typically) a tradition that has been introduced by Dana. She plans for the festival throughout the year, buying presents and storing them away like a squirrel gathering nuts - always manages to give the appropriate presents to each member of the family.

Then there’s me.

I never know what to get her and usually leave it to the last minute to go shopping. Inevitably, she’ll either end up with a DVD, or CD or some item of clothing, that occasionally fits. She smiles sweetly, but I know that she always hopes I’ll be more imaginative. When it comes to getting me presents, she has an uncanny understanding of what I need without me even realising that I want it!

She craftily drops clues as to what she would like, but being the lummox that I am, I rarely pick them up and by the time I do, she’ll have gone out and bought the item herself.

I just wanted to mention all of this because I rarely tell her how much she is appreciated, loved and respected.

She’s a very special and unique person and I’m the luckiest guy in the world.
Thank you Dana, you are a true giver.

Monday, 26 December 2005

The Real Meaning Of Chanukah

The picture I'm using over this Chanukah festival is that of a Menorah, incised on the plaster of a house wall, found in Jerusalem, dating from the time of King Herod. It is very possible that the actual Menorah involved in the story of Chanukah would have resembled this closely.

When many of us celebrate Chanukah, we don't realise the significance of the festival. Whereas other nations have tried to destroy us physically (like the Nazis and the Romans), the Greeks were much more subtle in their approach, attacking our spirituality by trying to prohibit us from keeping the laws of the Torah - the same Divine commandments that have guaranteed our survival for over five thousand years.

These days, (like many of the Jews at the times of the Maccabees)a significant number of our brethren are foresaking their heritage to assimilate with the rest of the world. Hence the reason why Chanukah as a festival is so important. It reminds us that, despite the will of so many out there who try to convince us to give up our religious belief and way of life to "join them", we resolutely refuse to do so.

People mistakenly think that the Star of David is an ancient Jewish symbol. In fact, the real moniker that we carry is the Menorah. It is therefore no coincidence that the City of Jerusalem, our eternal capital, displays a Menorah as it's official emblem.

Long live the Jewish Nation and our stubborn but unbreakable adherence to the Torah. G-d commanded Moses all those years ago to build a Menorah in the desert - and every night, when we light our Menorahs, we should remind ourselves of role this incredible object plays, both in our history and our future.

Happy Chanukah dear friends.

Sunday, 25 December 2005

Season's Greetings

I’d like to wish Season’s Greetings to all those who are celebrating.
Have a great day!

Friday, 23 December 2005

Movie Review: King Kong

Let's start by taking the assumption that this is the first remake of one of the greatest films ever made. I know that there was the other version back in 1976, but I think we'll all do better to try and pretend it doesn't exist - or never did.

So here, in all it's glory is a full blooded remake of the 1933 Classic - but how does it fare?

Kong '05 is in some ways absolutely breathtaking. The special effects are second to none and the relationship between the Beast and his Beauty is just as touching as it was 72 years ago. The scenes with the dinosaurs and the creepy crawlies in particular, send shivers down your spine. The action scenes are, in short, amazing. I was very much reminded of the Indiana Jones movies.

This is a long film (over three hours) but you don't feel it, which is surely a good sign. The acting is Ok, although Kong definitely steals the honours with his bravado performance. It's a shame that he doesn't qualify for the best Male Gorilla Oscar, because I think he'd be a very strong contender and probable winner.

My main gripe with the movie is the under-developed role played by Naomi Watts. In my mind, her character just doesn't make any sense. One minute she's the quivering damsel in distress, caught in Kong's clutches, whilst within an instant, she becomes a clown, trying to please Kong. This tactic might have made sense in the screenplay, but in the film itself, her acting in the "comic" scenes comes over as clumsy and out of place. For example, in one scene, Kong is sitting there looking at an incredible sunset awed by the beauty of what he's witnessing, whilst there she is - trying to make him smile by performing a juggling act. Am I missing something here?

The final scene on top of the Empire State Building lives up to expectations and I for one, felt quite dizzy as those bi-planes made towards our hapless and quite vulnerable hero (I'm talking about the Gorilla, not Naomi the juggler).

The operatic finale works well and this movie definitely marks its place as the definitive remake of King Kong. However, despite the extra character and story layering as well as the cliff-hanging action scenes, the original still retains it's crown of glory. It may be over 70 years old, creaky and made in black and white but something special was created back in them thar days that could never be repeated or topped.

Fay Wray needn't be turning in her grave right now and Willis O'Brian, who created the original monster is still up there on top of the mountain. This is a good movie, worth seeing in the cinema - just don't go expecting it to change movie history, in the same way as it predecessor.

Recommended, but beware of some pretty gross bug scenes!

The Teacher's Rating

4 (out of 5)

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Look Who's Talking

Apparently, President Bush has told Ariel Sharon to watch his diet, following his health scare on Sunday.

Whereas I echo the sentiments and wholeheartedly agree with his concern, I would also like to remind Dubbya that he's really the last one to lecture people on eating. After all, Sharon's not the who who nearly choked to death on a pretzel whilst sitting on a sofa watching a ball game, is he?

Theatre Review: The Producers

I don't often get the chance to go into town, so you can imagine my delight when Dana offered me a day out in the West End...on my own! Needless to say, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands!

I decided that I was going to make the most of my day, so I went to Leicester Square, visited one of the many half-price ticket booths and got a ticket for the matinee of The Producers - a show that I've been itching to see ever since it opened here three years ago. I also wanted to see it on stage before the movie version hits the cinemas on 26th December.

To my delight, I managed to secure a seat in the stalls, only four rows from the stage - sometimes, you just strike lucky. The auditorium was pretty full, not least because quite a few people were on holiday and of course there was the usual gaggle of tourists visiting London for Xmas.

The show?
What can I say?

In short, I absolutely loved every second of it. It was extremely funny, beautifully staged, very very Mel Brooks' and wonderfully choreographed. The songs were a delight and the cast, whom I didn't know (aside from John Gordon Sinclair of Gregory's Girl fame) were outstanding. Aside from the clever staging, the highlight was without a doubt the raucous Springtime For Hitler number whom only a nice Jewish boy like Mel Brooks could have had the chutzpah to write.

The show was peppered with Jewish jokes, which only a few of us in the audience got (I could tell because on one occasion, I found myself being virtually the only one to laugh at a line about a Rabbi and his shul) but no matter.

Mel Brooks has had his ups and downs moviewise but this show is a bone-fide classic and having now experienced it on stage, I can hardly wait to see the new movie. If you read my profile, you will know that I list the original as being one of my all-time favourites. The 1968 movie won an Oscar for Best Screenplay, so let's hope Mel gets another one in 2006!

The Teacher's Rating

5 out of 5! Fabulous!

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

The Honest Fool

I will be the first to admit that I am far from perfect. I have a vile, volcanic temper which lands me frequently in trouble with my family. I also often engage my mouth before my brain, spouting thoughts that I immediately regret verbalising.

One of the traits however that I am most proud of, is the fact that I am honest and when I say “honest”, I mean to the stupidest degree. At times, I have landed myself in hot water because I will refuse to lie - and to make things worse, I will also never assume that anyone else could be dishonest in their dealings with me.

I don’t know what happened to that damn car, but I am now kicking myself as to why I trusted the garage to dispose of my car. After all, they’d tried to cheat me over the car park and since I had caught them lying before, alarm bells should have rung, back in June. I can only surmise that my stupid attitude led to the events that unfolded yesterday.

I am slowly and painfully learning the unpalatable truth that quite a number of people out there are absolute shits who put their greed for money ahead of any consideration towards other human beings. Someone I spoke to yesterday lied to me, of that I am sure, because there’s no way a thief would have taken my car in the state that it was in. The question is who?

My innate integrity dictates that I am a lousy businessman and probably suited to doing the kind of job that I find myself in. Teaching may be hard and frustrating but the one thing I do know (or would like to believe) is that the people I work with actually care about other human beings.

Tragically, you can’t say that about most jobs (or people) these days.

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

The Case Of The Disappearing Car

Exactly six months ago to the day, I wrote a post entitled The Cheek Of It which I would ask you to refer to before reading on, otherwise the following probably won't make a lot of sense.

At the end of June, I paid the garages' final invoice and I didn't end up being charged for the parking space. I had no need for a pretty incapacitated automobile, so I asked the manager to either try and sell the car off or scrap it. We left things at that.

Over the ensuing months, I heard not a peep from the garage. In all honesty, I was too preoccupied with my job to find the time to get in touch. I was however getting increasingly concerned about the status of the car, not least because according to the Drive and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), I am still the car's legal owner.

I decided to go over to the garage this morning to get an update. The manager told me that about ten days after they had received payment (i.e. around the 9th July), the car "disappeared" from the supermarket parking lot and the manager (a.k.a. the crook) had assumed that I had taken it away. Forget the fact that this might not be the case...why hadn't I been I contacted?

I went to the Police who suggested I find out if the supermarket had arranged for it to be removed and taken to a breakers' yard. After all, it was parked in one of their spaces.

Surprise surprise,The manager of the store didn't know anything about it, but told me that they hired a firm to remove cars they couldn't account for. It would therefore be a good idea to go to the breakers' yard to see if it had ended up there. Surely, they would have a record.

Of course, the said breakers' yard not only had no knowledge of my car but denied having any contacts whatsoever with the Supermarket! Things were starting to look pretty Kafkaesque.

I called up the Local Authority who also had no record of removing my car.
Somebody was lying. Let's be honest here, would thieves really drive off with a half broken 8-seater people mover? I think not. No-one's that desperate.

I made my way back to the police station, waited nearly two hours to see an officer and subsequently filed a stolen car report. The policeman suggested that the garage may have initially sold the car on. Now, why wouldn't that surprise me?

The good news is that I have now covered myself legally, by reporting the car as being stolen, which means the DVLA (hopefully) won't be chasing me to renew my road tax. The bad news is that I spent about six hours of my holiday time, driving around looking for clues as to the whereabouts of a car that might not exist any more....or if it does is probably being used as a getaway car somewhere in the north of the country.

I did NOT need this today.

Monday, 19 December 2005

America Offline

We’ve been with America Online (AOL) since we entered the weird and wonderful world of the Internet back in the spring of 2001.

The company has been very good to me over the years. When times were tough, they waived their monthly rate, without making a fuss and often didn’t bill me when I complained about this and that.

Aside from very minor issues, I have nothing but praise for the corporation and for the service it provides.

Four years on and times they are a-changin’. Dana has finally decided (Praise the Lord) that our dial-up is too slow and now she wants to get onto Broadband (ADSL). Did I complain? Hell no! I immediately contacted BT (British Telecom) and booked an engineer for the first week of January. Without going into detail, he’s going to be installing a new line and as a result, we are changing providers.

Why?

Because as wonderful as AOL is, the package it offers really doesn’t match up to others thrown at the public by the ever-growing competition. I don’t see why I should pay £17.99 a month for AOL’s 512kb service when I can get 2mb download speeds from numerous other companies for at least £2 less.

I’m not saying that I want to go for a cheapie provider, but fishing around and asking people, I’ve been recommend another ISP who seems to be doing as good a job as good ole AO’.

So, pretty soon, I hope to be zooming along the internet highway.
Kindly step aside if I burn my way past you.
We Two-Meg bandidos are taking no prisoners!

On a separate note, I thought it time to change the title of the blog.
I feel that I’m working too damn hard to be scribbling. I’m a teacher dammit. Let some other blogger ‘scribble’.

The (soon to be) Two Meg Teacher is in town and he’s kicking ass.

Sunday, 18 December 2005

Classic

Saturday, 17 December 2005

One Term Down, Two To Go.

Well, I’ve made it through my first full term. I’m still alive and relatively sane. This last week has been hard, not least because the kids have been hyper and the lessons I’ve taught haven’t had that much educational content in them.

To be fair, the kids were in no state to learn and although I tried my best to advance their IT skills, I could probably put money on the fact that anything I have attempted to teach them hasn’t even made it through one ear, let alone the other. The kids’ minds are on Christmas and Santa Claus and holidays etc. I don’t blame them for feeling schooled out.

Anyway, it’s sixteen days away from the school that I crave. I’ve got a ton of homework to get through but I don’t mind. I don’t want to get too relaxed, lest I suffer when I get back in January.

I am but seven months away from hopefully qualifying as a full blown teacher. I still have a number of observations to pass and so it’s not exactly plain sailing. I will certainly breathe a sigh of relief in July when I (G-d willing) pass the crucial milestone of completing my training year. If all goes well, I will then be able to enter the new term in September as a “proper” teacher, ready to advance up the career ladder. July, though seems a very long time away.

Thursday, 15 December 2005

Significant Hot Air

Reading through my last post, I can see I am falling into the trap of branding the President of Iran as just another crazy Anti-Semite. The problem is that most other people will be thinking the same thing and as a result, not taking him seriously.

Our history has shown us the dangers of getting into this mindset. After all, wasn't Hitler thought of in the same way at first? Similarly, people ignored Saddam's rhetoric and then he sent 39 Scuds into Israel. The fact that they (miraculously) killed all but one person (who's death was attributed to a heart attack) is neither here nor there.

What Mr Ahmadinejad (there, I've bothered to write his name) is saying is in fact extraodinarily important. It is the first time that a Head of State has publicly pronounced the unbelievable claim that the Holocaust never happened.

Goebbels expounded his famous 'big lie' theory, saying: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

Remember that Goebbels was one of the major architects of the Holocaust.

Iran is about to go Nuclear and it's Chief of Staff has
a)called for the destruction of the State of Israel and
b) desecrated the name and memory of every Jew who was murdered in the Holocaust.

I take back everything I wrote in the last posting. I've realised how my apathy has cushioned the effect of what is going on. My only worry now is whether anyone else in power (aside from Israel) realises how dangerous the man actually is.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is looking for signatories to sign a petition to the President of the UN General Assembly demanding that action be taken against Iran. Please please please add your name to the petition. Show that you too realise how dangerous this man is.

I beg you, for all our sakes, please don't fall into the trap.

Time is running out.

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Insignificant Hot Air

The President of Iran, whose name I’m not even going to bother to write, is doing what he can to get himself onto the world’s stage.

In October, he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Last week, he suggested the country be dismantled and reconstructed in Europe whilst today, his latest ‘intelligent’ remark was to claim the Jews had “created a myth today that they call the massacre of Jews (i.e. The Holocaust) and they consider it a principle above God, religions and the prophets”.

My grandmother virtually lost her whole family as a result of this ‘myth’.  I won’t however give him the pleasure of thinking that he’s upsetting me by coming out with his silly little rantings. I’m just sitting back and biding my time, waiting for some country, to blow the crap out of his nuclear reactors.

In 1991, Saddam Hussein announced that he would "burn half of Israel with Scud missiles, laden with deadly chemical gas.”

Need I say more?

Blogging Teachers Unite!

Like other bloggers, I get a real buzz knowing that people are reading my postings. As this is a site written by a teacher about teaching, it thrills me even more when fellow teachers drop by and leave comments.

Without offending you non-teachers out there, I feel that only fellow professionals can really understand where I’m coming from when I describe my school experiences. You can therefore appreciate how great it felt receiving a comment (from another teacher) to my last posting. I looked at her blog (also about our blessed profession) and found a link to this site!

It’s nice to know that we teachers are reaching out to one another across the universe (who knows, maybe they are also Beatles fans!) and meeting up in cyberspace. Reassuringly, there are other bloggers out there who also spend their days in the classroom trying to pass over their skills and knowledge to the next generations.

We teachers need to stick together!

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Give Me Sunshine (and no school)

The cloud of smoke that has been hanging over London since Sunday morning’s explosions has all but obliterated any chance of seeing the sun. I suppose I would notice it more, were this June, but still, the continually overcast sky hasn’t exactly helped to (literally) brighten up my days.

We are speeding towards the end of term and the kids are of course playing up. Just another two-and-a-half days to go and then seventeen– yes seventeen (I counted) days away from the school. People say that teachers get too many holidays, but now that I’m a part of that profession, I can honestly tell you that we need ‘em. We are all exhausted, each and every one of us.

Who knows, we may even see the sun during the holiday.

Monday, 12 December 2005

We've Given In.

Without going into the why’s and wherefore’s, Dana and I have decided to make the plunge from Dial Up to Broadband Internet. We could have done this before, but due to the set-up in our house (we have cable), we have resisted the temptation.

Until now.

I called up the telephone company this afternoon and arranged for a guy to come around and install a new line. He’s due to come out on 4th January. Then, if all goes to plan, we will have a 512k connection two weeks later. I could go for a faster speed, but to be honest, I don’t need it that much. I don’t download movies nor have the time to play online games, so why shell out more than I need to?

The way I see it, with this obsession on upping the speed, within a year or two, the minimum offered will be a megabyte. I mean, weren’t we happy with 256k a year or so ago? The biggest joke though is that ISP’s are offering ridiculous connections, even though there is no way the telephone lines can take them. I mean, what’s the point?!

Enough moaning. I look forward to enjoying a richer surfing experience in a month’s time. Who knows, maybe by then, I will be upgraded to 1mb (if they can get man on the moon….anything’s possible!).

Sunday, 11 December 2005

1st December Babies

The 1st December babies (we’re a special lot) are starting to kick the bucket.

First of all, we lost Christopher Reeve and now it’s Richard Pryor’s turn to shake off his mortal (drug soaked) coil.

Should Woody Allen, Bette Midler and Charlene Tilton also start panicking?

Saturday, 10 December 2005

Movie Review: Flight Plan

In short, this is a cracking thriller that had me guessing nearly till the end. The least I say about it, the better. Jodie Foster gives yet another sterling performance and at times, this is really edge of the seat stuff.

If you are looking for a superb thriller to get your teeth into, this is the film for you.

First Rate.

The Teacher's Rating

4 1/2 (out of 5)

Thursday, 8 December 2005

John.

Why?

What Was I Thinking?

I knew that I shouldn’t have posted the last entry. What the hell was I thinking? Today, I endured my worst lesson to date and I’m still smarting about it seven hours later.

I was teaching another Year 9 class. They came in and I had their attention for once. I started another lesson on databases (we are a week ahead of the other class) but there was one girl who was continually turning her screen on, despite my requests that all attention be focussed on the board – and VDU’s be switched off.

I told her to turn it off. Once. Twice. Three times. I even turned it off, but she kept on switching it on, thereby distracting others who were looking at her and the screen, as opposed to me. In the end, I’d had enough of being ignored, so I got her to stand outside the door, whilst I sent a student to get another teacher to remove her from the lesson.

The girl decided that she was going to do her best to screw up the lesson for everyone else and stood in the doorway, ceaselessly switching the classroom light on and off. She refused to move, to the extent that she wouldn’t even remove her hand from the panel and allowing me access to the switches. I had no choice but to leave the class and get help – which is not something I wanted to do.

I returned with another member of staff and she was removed, but by that time, the class was disrupted so severely that I spent the next hour trying to regain order. It was a bloody nightmare. The difficult students took advantage of the situation and acted even more obnoxiously than usual, resulting in my throwing some out. In short, that bitch – and I use the term deliberately – selfishly f****** up the lesson for every other student, so that she could get herself sent out.

I have rarely experienced such selfishness in my life and I’m furious because I know that next week, I’ll have to take her back. My mistake was that I sent her out in the first place. What I should have done was to get a teacher to remove her before she got anywhere near the door. I guess that’s what teaching experience is all about.

I’ve come home in a foul mood. To be honest, if I didn’t see another child for the next ten years, I wouldn’t mind. My poor girls have been shuffled off to bed having endured my shouting and short-temperedness. I feel bad but this evening, I am definitely anti anyone who is younger than 25.

Tomorrow, I’ll be the same old teacher – I’ll get over it. But tonight, it’s definitely a different matter.

Grrrr.

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

The 'Fun' Lesson

Wednesdays Period 3 sees me teaching one of my Year 9 classes. They’re a pretty good bunch, even though there are always the “characters” there to spoil the party. Today, a few of those were off on a trip and I managed to get the best performance to date from the rest.

Wait! It gets better….

At the end of the class, one of the kids passed me and said “this was a fun lesson, for once!”

Fun? Fun?!!! Gee, I never thought I’d hear one of my students referring to any of my lessons as being “fun”. The ironic part was that I was teaching them Databases, which was far harder than the Excel lessons I taught them for half a term (which they positively despised).

I gleamed with pride. That one comment helped to restore some confidence in my beliefs about my own teaching abilities. Most of the time, I feel that I’m not doing as good a job as I should and I wonder whether or not I’m a satisfactory teacher.

I don’t know how much of the lesson they’ll remember by next week, but right now, I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, today I gave Year 9 a “fun” lesson.

Now, I am definitely ready for the Winter break.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

The Difference Between Us And Them








The above cartoon encapsulates the key difference between the soldiers in the Israel Defence Forces and the Palestinian terrorists. Whereas our boys risk their lives to protect the young and vulnerable, their side sacrifice their youth to score P.R. "points".

In all our struggles, throughout the Millenia, have we ever sent children on missions to intentionally kill and maim innocent women and children?

What do you think?

Monday, 5 December 2005

I'm A Graduate And I'm Proud


There can't be too many graduates who are blessed enough to have their wonderful wife and gorgeous child by their side.

I'm proud, but much more than just about being a graduate.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Movie Review: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

I am going to start this review with a warning: This is not a kid's movie, rather, it is not the kind of movie you would take young children to. My girls loved the first three films, but they are going to have to wait quite a while until I let them see this one, as it contains the stuff of nightmares. In short, this is a very dark film indeed, with very little light relief.

On the plus side, you have a meaty story, excellent characterisation, genuine thrills and pretty gloomy photography (no doubt keeping in with the spirit of the film).

Daniel Radcliffe positively shines as Harry although I wonder if he's ever going to get past the stereotyping. The others are in fine form too, particularly the guy with the huge eye (see the movie and you'll understand) even if he does come over as a little too over-stated at times. The special effects are amazing as ever and the story never lets up - quite a feat for a movie that runs for over two-and-a-half hours.

I can't say how true it is to the book as I haven't read it (gasp!), but in terms of cinematic storytelling, it is captivating.

Definitely recommended, although you probably need to have seen the previous movies to fully understand the plot.

The Teacher's Rating

4/5

Friday, 2 December 2005

Birthday Boy (3rd Time Lucky)

I was born on Friday night, December 1st 1967, which corresponded with the 29th day of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan.

This year is only the third time in my life when both my Hebrew and English birthdays have coincided. Not only that,they are but a day before the actual day of the week on which I was born. The last occasion was back in 1986, when both birthdays fell on a Monday. I therefore view this birthday as being something special...and on Shabbat, we will of course be reading my Bar Mitzvah parsha, Toledot.

I've had both a wonderful and not so great day. First the wonderful part - my family and friends.

Dana has been amazing. She bought me an incredible present - a DVD player for our bedroom TV, so that we can now snuggle up and watch movies in bed, a luxury if ever there was one. She also crowned the day by turning up with a delicious pizza, my favourite meal.....and she bought me one of my all time favourite movies on DVD (Harold and Maude). Yes, I was spoiled and Dana, you're a star.

From my parents, I'm going to be getting an iPod, as well as some birthday money.

Dassi bought me (with her own money I may add) a gorgeous Snoopy model, replete with chef's hat, which is now sitting next to my computer in school (I hope it doesn't get stolen).

Tali gave me Michael Palin's book on his Sahara trip - containing wonderful photographs and Michal/Shira gave me some pretty delicious chocolate. Can birthday presents get any better than that?

My friends brightened up my day no end. I received texts and emailed cards containing cute pictures and lovely messages. It really made me feel special and very loved.

That was the great part....

The not so hot part was my having to go to school, deal with overly hyperactive kids (who were worse than usual) and stay in the building until 7.30 p.m for a Year 13 parents evening. Talk about bad timing.

One bright moment though, was the first visit by my parents to my school which took place between the end of the school day and the parents evening. They sat in my classroom as I showed them some new animated slide shows that I'm using with my classes. My parents loved the shows, it's just the kids who they don't seem to be interested.

So there you have it, a double birthday and getting spoiled by everyone. Maybe, getting older, at least on one day of the year, isn't so bad after all!

If you participated in my birthday, either as a relative or friend, please know that you literally made my day. Thank you so much - you don't know how great you've made me feel.