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

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Hava Nagila On Piccadilly

I've just come back from the first ever Parade for Israel, through the streets of London. This took place to mark the 60th anniversary of our beloved country and no words I write can really describe how I feel right now. However, maybe, if I describe some highlights, you might get a taste of what I'm talking about.

Dassi and I were parading along with other representives of our Synagogue (a consituant member of the Orthodox United Synagogue movement). We lined up behind the Christian Friends of Israel (which we were very honoured joining us), across the road from the Ritz Hotel in Green Park.

These are photographic snippets I'll remember:

1) Seeing the crowds cheering us on as we walked around the corner into Piccadilly. We were following our organisation's float.

2) Singing Hava Nagilla at full blast, whilst walking down the centre of Piccadilly and waving my Israeli flags. We had total ownership of the road.

3) Reaching Piccadilly Circus and seeing the throngs of people awaiting us. It was quite overwhelming.

4) Looking out for friends and seeing them virtually everywhere I looked, on both sides of the road.

5) In Trafalgar Square, looking at the sea of blue and white flags and realising that although a Palestinian demonstration outside South Africa House was trying to do it's best to spoil our fun, there were more of us and we were louder. They didn't have a chance of taking the moment away from us. Additionally, we had Ed Balls, the Minister for education, Nick Ferrari, the broadcaster, The Chief Rabbi etc - talking to us, NOT them.

G-d THAT felt sooooooooooooooo good.

If you were there, you know exactly what I am referring to. If you weren't, I don't think this description can fully describe what it felt like.

In short - today, on the streets of London, I was a Jew and a Zionist and I could wave my Israeli flag to my heart's content - because no one would dare to stop me.

To sum up ladies and gentlemen - Today, London was mine.

The Path To The Final Solution

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Israel's Misfortune

First it was Tony Blair who nearly got blown out of the skies by the Israel Air Force and yesterday, Nicholas Sarkozy was but metres away from a trigger-loose Israeli border policeman. I don't even want to think about what the next Head of a friendly state will think as his or her plane ferries them to our wonderful country.

Would you want to be the "third time lucky" victim?

Jokes aside, this is a terrible story for every conceivable reason.

Firstly, a life has been lost, even though it has been confirmed that this was in incident of suicide. Another son or father has left the world's stage.

Secondly, what must the French, who for the first time in forty years have actually been our friends, be thinking? You know that I have no great love for that nation (I really don't), but I wish this incident, if it had to happen, hadn't done so when Sarkozy - someone whom I happen to like - was in town. Had this been Chirac, I wouldn't have minded so much.

That Carla Bruni ran for her life without a second thought about her husband is another matter. We're not exactly talking Jackie O here!

Finally, Israel needs as much as good press as she can get. If this policeman had a psychologically unstable history, why wasn't this examined? Am I asking too much? In a climate as volatile as Israel, people live on their nerves (well, most do). Surely, there must be some sort of character profiling that goes on? The fact that this sort of incident may not have happened before could be given as a mitigating reason, but had the policeman been an assassin instead, what would we all be thinking now? Then again, I've read some rather cruel comments on the Jerusalem Post website about whom he should have bumped off instead (and it wasn't Sarkozy).

I so want Israel to be portrayed in a positive light. Having visited the country once or twice (or fifty) times, I don't recognise it from the kind of reports you see on CNN. I won't even talk about the BBC's reporting. They seem to be spending their time in another country that they think is Israel. Having a shooter at the farewell ceremony for the President of France does nothing for Israel's image at home or abroad.

The security services acted in an admirable manner when faced with the situation - but wouldn't it have been great if it hadn't taken place at all?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

BUI

I now find myself BUI. I guess it happens sometimes, though not that often. It definitely has an effect on me, one that I can't tangibly explain away.

Yes folks, I'm blogging under the influence.

So, has the teaching toll finally got to me? Am I shooting up or drinking down? Am I developing a tobacco habit?

None of the above.

I'm listening to The Eagles "Long Road Out Of Eden" and it's doing some very weird things to my mind. If you know the album, I'm listening to the second CD, last good time in town. No reason other than that.

I've got my lessons prepared for tomorrow and I really can't be bothered to start thinking about Tuesday yet. New song: I love to watch a woman dance.

Anyway, where was I. Oh yes. Lessons. Damn lessons. Love them really. The kids are bored shitless, which is a shame because I have fun delivering them. I guess that's the fun bit of being in school.

The wife and kids are upstairs and the girls seem to have settled down, having realised that they are too tired to inflict any more pain on each other. I mean, how many times can you get a thrill out of bending your sister's fingers back to the point just before they break? It gets boring, even when you are aged seven.

Poor Dana is as sick as a dog. She's spluttering all over the place and I don't know what I can do to make her feel better. I've offered her the usual drugs (no, not those kind!) and occasionally, she humours me and agrees to take them. Poor girl.

Business as Usual. Now, there's a meaningful song. Then again, maybe I'm missing the point of the song.

I'm an only child. The only fingers I broke (I didn't restrain myself) were those of my Action Man dolls. It's a shame because they couldn't hold their WW2 Webley pistols after that. British Army standard issue I believe.

Centre of the universe. I can't say I feel like that, right now. It's amazing that I'm listening to an Eagles album from 2007. Who'd have guessed?

It was hard being an only child. I suppose I've got used to it by now. Hell, I've had 40 years practice. Every now and then, I find it hard to cope with the kind of noise that comes as a result of having more than one child in the house. I like my own space. You get very protective of that when you're growing up as an O.C.

That's the way it was meant to be.

I like this song: It's your world now. Reminiscent of Tequila Sunrise.
2007 eh?

So I took the girls to see a cousin who is over here from Israel. We walked to Buckingham Palace. I couldn't believe it was the first time they'd been there (or maybe, the first time with me). We wanted to go and say hello to Lizzie, but she didn't invite us in. The flag was flying, so she really had no excuse. I'm definitely returning my MBE, if I ever get one.

I worked out that I've got a full four weeks left of school (it was a quiet moment). I'm glad that we're finally hitting the end of the year, because I've had enough....and we're into the last song: Hole in the world.

I can hear the last chords and so this stream of consciousness entry must come to it's logical close. It's a good album.

It's an even better album if you get a blog out of listening to it.

Here's to the next Eagles effort. My blog needs some more postings like this (doesn't it?).

End of song.
End of post.

Fade out............................

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Friday, 20 June 2008

Addendum to the last posting

I sometimes tag my posts, so that if you wish to only see my movie reviews, click on the movies tag (or label) which is sited underneath the entry. This will bring up all of the reviews I've posted over the last few years.

Movie Reviews

I have seen a number of films recently that I didn't get the chance to review, so here goes...


The first off the block is Iron Man. To be honest, I wasn't as familiar with this comic book character as say, Spider-Man but this didn't stop me spending an entertaining evening in his delectable company (yes, I jest).

As comic-book movies go, this wasn't bad. I received a genuine shock within the first few moments of the film, but I suppose I should have been expecting this. All in all, this is good, solid entertainment. I wouldn't peg it at the same quality level as say Batman Begins, or the masterpiece that is Spider-Man 2 (which unfortunately set an impossibly high standard for other similar moves to attain) - that said, it did keep my attention throughout and Robert Downey Jr was very engaging in the title role.

Recommended if you like this sort of thing.

*** (out of 5)



I suppose that like most people on this planet we call earth, I was pretty excited about this film coming out. I mean, who couldn't be. We're talking Indiana Jones here!

I knew that there was no way it would be anything as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which had been proven with the diminishing quality of the sequels (although I thought The Lost Crusade wasn't bad) but I viewed the film with an open mind, with the intention of leaving all preconceptions in the rain that engulfed the cinema car park (now, who is the one getting cinematic?!).

Firstly the good news - this is an fun movie. Steven Spielberg has fun with his character, as well as the history he's built up through the four movies. I won't say anymore about this. Harrison Ford is nothing short of remarkable in the title role and the return of Karen Allen is most welcome. There is also a feelgood factor throughout (well, I felt there was).

The special effects are pretty cool, especially the bit with the ants (have I said too much) and you do end up cheering on Indy, which I would imagine is the general idea.

That said, I felt really let down by the denouement, which I believe sunk the movie. I think it was an unwise movie to take Indy down that particular path and I wasn't impressed with the way the story panned out. That is my personal opinion, others will of course disagree.

You have to see this movie in a cinema and when you do, don't try to examine the plot too closely!

Recommended (and who knows, maybe you'll like the ending!)

****



In a similar vein to Iron Man, I've never been a great fan of the Hulk (although the character was more familiar to me). I am however ancient enough to remember the Bill Bixby series in the 1970's and know exactly what Lou Ferringo looks like in green.

Maybe I identify a little too much with Hulk to really appreciate the character, in that I too have a temper, but I don't recall the last time I threw a truck at someone in anger.

I wasn't much interested in seeing the last movie) and from what I hear, neither were a lot of other people), so I didn't rush to see this version, although strangely enough, I have seen it in its first week of release - an anomaly based around the fact that I had an evening to myself and there wasn't anything else that took my fancy.

The good news is that this is apparently a much better movie that its predecessor (I bet Ang Lee who directed the first one is having a few stiff drinks these days) and I have to say that it was a very well made, engaging attempt. Casting Edward Norton was a great idea because he took the character seriously and chewed the scenery whilst destroying everything (and everyone) else in sight.

I would also add that the strong storyline which threw you into the action from the minute the credits started appearing really helped to drive the movie. I didn't look at my watch once throughout!

However the film was let down by second rate special effects. Every time I saw the Hulk (and the first scene where he appears, the Director very cleverly keeps him rooted to the shadows), I felt like I was watching a huge video game projected on a cinema screen. He just didn't look real. Whether this was intentional or not, I cannot say, but I would have preferred him to look a smidgen like a real (green) human being. This is a shame, because his non-green alter-ego was so well played. Don't let this stop you from seeing the movie, because it is a very entertaining way to spend an evening.

It's also becoming fun to see if you can spot Stan Lee in his usual cameo role!

Recommended

****

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

How To Save The Airline Industry

Dump the male flight attendants. No one wanted them in the first place.

Replace all the female flight attendants with good-looking strippers! What the hell -- they don't serve food anymore, so what's the loss?

The strippers would at least triple the alcohol sales and get a 'party atmosphere' going in the cabin. And, of course, every businessman in this country would start flying again, hoping to see naked women.

Because of the tips, female flight attendants wouldn't need a salary, thus saving even more money. I suspect tips would be so good that we could charge the women for working the plane and have them kick back 20% of the tips, with the lap dances and other 'special services'.

Muslims would be afraid to get on the planes for fear of seeing naked women. Hijackings would come to a screeching halt, and the airline industry would see record revenues.

This is definitely a win-win situation if we handle it right -- a golden opportunity to turn a liability into an asset.

Why didn't Bush think of this? Why do I still have to do everything myself?

Sincerely

Bill Clinton

Sunday, 15 June 2008

BG

Hello friends.

I'm writing to you as I am currently suffering from a rare condition, known only as BG.

You will no doubt be trying to work out what BG could possibly stand for.

The Zionists amongst you, will of course jump to the conclusion that I am referring to my admiration for the great David Ben Gurion and my longing for his return to sort out the problems in Israel. Although a worthy idea, you're totally wrong.

Others might think that my BG condition stems from the lack of recordings I have that were made by the wonderful Brothers Gibb. Again, you are mistaken.

Finally, you might think that this condition is linked in some way to a recent bill that I might have received from British Gas. Sadly, you're barking up the wrong central heating vent, because I'm not even one of their customers.

No dear, friends, my BG condition is much more serious than any of the above. I have been self-diagnosed as suffering from what can only be described as an acute case of Blogger's Guilt.

This rare condition is brought on by the simple question posed to me by numerous friends as to why I haven't updated my blog recently. I've tried to think of the usual pat answers like:
"I've been very busy recently with school work" or "I haven't found anything interesting to write about", but in all honesty, these are just lies, fabricated on the spot to disguise the real truth - I haven't been inspired enough to add a blog and the longer I stay away, the worse my guilt, as I become frightened of noting the date of my last entry.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am really touched that people still care enough to pop by and see what I've been up to. Additionally, their heartfelt inquiries only serve to give me a well deserved kick up the proverbial and egg me on to add some newer posts to the roster. That said, I suppose the only way to rid myself of my BG is to make that effort to update the site - something that I will endeavour to do on a more frequent basis.

Yes, I have been busy with school work to the extent that I've had precious little time to read my emails, let alone add some posts, but that really shouldn't be an excuse for people to feel disappointed when they go to this site and see some date in "May" as being the last time I felt I had something interesting to write.

So here goes, a blog to beat all blogs - I'm on a roll now!

My family
I still love them all. we drive each other crazy, but have some incredible times.

Obama
I don't trust the man and I really don't like his pro-Palestinian advisers. Nothing he has said or done convinces me that he would be anything but a disaster for America, Israel and the Jewish world. He says he wants to talk to Iran.
Nuff said.

Petrol Prices
I don't know what's going on, but I don't like it. It used to cost me £27 to fill up my Fiesta. Now it costs me nearly £40. The Government needs to cut taxes if they want to have a chance of ever seeing their Prime Minister running the UK for the next five years.

Violence on the streets of London
This is sickening. Every time I hear about another teenager being stabbed or shot, my heart sinks. How long will it be until one of the kids I teach ends up being a victim (Heaven forbid)? Mayor Boris (whom I voted for, I don't mind adding) needs to do something about this. NOW.

The price of food
See Petrol Prices above.

School
I'm counting down the days until the end of term. My Year 10 reports are done, so that's a weight off my shoulders. We're into the last half of June - classrooms are hot, the kids are disinterested as they can smell Summer and we're just carrying on, hoping to teach them something - anything(!) before they leave the school gates on the last day of term.

My Hay Fever
This has returned with a vengeance, but I'm anti-histamined up and ready to roll. I can't wait though for mid-July when I can truly enjoy the summer.

So there you have it, an update of what's going on in my mind (well, as least the bits I'm willing to share). My Blogger's Guilt has been assuaged for now and I hope I've managed to keep my friends happy at the same time.

Please keep coming back, I will try to write ASAP.

Adieu.