Archive for January, 2008


§163 Crazy

January 31, 2008

This day has been craaaaaazy!

I’ll tell you all about it another time.

 Good night


§162 Beeeeep

January 27, 2008


This is Tobias’ blog.

Tobias can’t blog nowadays because he’s studying for a test on January 31st. Please leave your message after the beep.



§161 It’s dangerously boring to bottle feed

January 24, 2008

As I came home from work I put the two older kids to bed, and the wife was off to the grocery. It’s just me an Talitha awake now. She became hungry (as Elisheva warned me she would be) and I gave her the bottle. Man, it’s boring just to sit there and look into the precious baby’s beautiful eyes. It’s dangerously comfortable and cosy also. My point is that babies drifting off to sleep as they are bottle fed is totally normal. Parent drifting off falling asleep while feeding is NOT that recommended. Luckily I was aware enough not to let it go too far. When it did it was like “and so those green giraffes started chewing on the… hang on… what am I holding in my arms? Are my eyes open? NO!” and there I was again holding a baby.

Anyway, it’s a surprisingly small mountain of dishes to be made today, so I really have a good opportunity to get some study done. Test is next Thursday, so there’s no time to loose. Dishes, then something to eat, and then study while eating.

Of course, Talitha may turn those plans upside down at any time… but let’s just hope she won’t.

Oh, and look to the right. Added some stuff to the blogroll if you haven’t noticed. And a small box with me in a nutshell. Every time I hear that expression I always have to fight the urge to quote Austin Powers “No, this is me in a nutshell: Help! I’m in a nutshell! How the heck did I get in here??” (Probably not a very accurate quote, but you get it).

Hey, why is that camera taking my picture? *surprised look*


Half an hour later – poor little sick Emunah came up, crying. Hurts somewhere, but she cried so much she couldn’t tell me. She had no fever (yeterday she had 39.5 celsius, and Elisheva took her to the doctor today), nothing was good, nothing was ok. After a few minutes of hugging she went back to sleep. Poor little girl. It’s just so frustrating to see your kids in pain when you can’t do anything about it!

Now I’ve become so hungry my plans are revised. Some eating+studying first, and then the dishes, and then back to study. Now Talitha is drifting off here, I better put her in her cosy stroller before she falls asleep in the baby-sitter.

Oh, no! Now I hear Emunah cry again… Gotta go!

The italic comment has been absent due to illness but is now back


§160 Tu biShvat

January 23, 2008

I’m trying to change strategy – many short blog posts often instead of a few long posts rarely.

Happy Tu biShvat everyone!


§159 Shabat, Klezmer, Peter Englund and Alice Tegnér

January 20, 2008

It’s shabat and I finally have some time to blog. Been waiting for that. During the week the though has struck me thousands of times that “this I need to remember, I’m gonna blog about it” – well, there’s no chance I’ll remember it all, but I’ll give it a shot.
I’ll start with my current situation, go on to describe my week, then my expectations for the future weeks, and finally I’ll see if any of the topics I had in my mind comes back to me. There! I’ve already decided the structure. Good thing I wrote it down before I forgot.

It’s 16:15. It’s Shabat. It’s calm. It’s relaxing. I’m blogging at the computer, Elisheva (my wife) is bottle feeding Talitha behind me.
Emunah is running around playing with her doll (extremely happy to have her back – it’s her favourite doll and we took it away from her this morning at 5:00 AM when she had woken us up for the zillionth time because she “wanted it to be morning”).
Efraim is sitting at the table. Grounded after running up to the computer trying to help me to type too many times. He says he wants to eat, but it’s another 15 minutes left. In the kitchen the pile of dishes is smaller than it was earlier because I was able to steal some time and deal with it during the day.
If I deal with it now, it’ll be exterminated before the kids go to sleep, but then there’ll be no blog today. I prefer to blog as I haven’t done so in a week.

This morning Elisheva was exhausted after Emunah’s nightly behaviour. It’s the third night in a row she does that. We decided Elisheva needs some time away from the children so she left to the congregation with Talitha only and I stayed home to play with the kids. First we made our own home congregation (Efraim had his toy guitar).
Then I gave them a lesson about the parting of the Red Sea (This weeks parasha) and gave them coloring pages with a dancing Miriam. Then we watched Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine on Youtube. After that I brought out their train toys and let them play while I started with the dishes.
When they were fed up with the train I put on some kletzmer music. They haven’t heard that type of music before, and also I got a chance to tell them about the language of Yiddish. I’ve taught them before about different languages. They speak Swedish and Hebrew and they know how to recognize English (we usually use English when we want to talk over their heads). I’ve also explained to them about different languages in the world.
After dancing to a few songs Efraim asked me to turn it off and to put on the Swedish children song tape. (It’s “Sjung med oss mamma” Where all the REAL songs are – written by Alice Tegnér, illustrated by Elsa Beskow and sung by Alice Babs).

Time to get the kids something to eat. Be right back.

Ok, they’re eating. I’ll start to collect the pile of toys spread around the house and organize them neatly in their toy shelves so they have something to throw around tomorrow also. By the time I’m finished it’s probably time to pyjamafy them and throw them into bed. I guess I’ll continue blog after that.

Ok, found some spare time. Toys in order and Efraim still eating. Emunah sitting on the potty. (It’s the wrong season to potty train her, but when she asks to, we let her. This summer she will be diaper free).

So… where were I? Right, then Elisheva came home, we ate, sat around, drank coffee, kids played more with the trains, I made some more dishes and then I started to blog. And we’re at present time, described in the beginning. Only now Talitha is sitting next to me smiling and “talking”. Elisheva has brought out her books and continues her studies. It’s about medevial feodalism and capitalism.

Ok, Emunah is calling…

I’m back. Not much production, but it’s still too exciting to sit there I think. Anyway, asking to sit there is a progress, and we’re taking it slowly. It’s 17:25 now, and the kids are both pyjamafied and tooth brushed, so we’re just waiting for the time to be 18:00 so they can go to sleep. They’re playing with Talitha now. Patting her on the head, shaking her rattle in front of her, etc. Elisheva is on the phone with her mother.

According to the above, I’m supposed to write about my week now. It’s been a bit hectic with two papers in statistics to hand in. But now it’s done. All the papers are done, and I can focus on studying for the tests. I will focus on the introduction to macro-economy at the moment, the test is on January 31st. Then the statistics is on February 11th. After that I’m free… well, actually, I’ll probably start my next courses that officially start in the beginning of March. I’ve already received the material for one of them by mail – Macro economy A. The other two – “Differential and integral mathematics” and “Economy of the industry”, is on their way.

About my expectations for future weeks – I already mentioned my tests. Besides that I’ve actually given myself an evening off from studies this evening. I need to focus on our private issues. I haven’t looked through our bills and credit card charges for months. And by January 31st I have tons of things to do. Efraim and Emunah need to be registered for kinder garten for the next year 5769, we need to apply to enlength Elisheva’s visa (when it’s approved we can finally apply for a citizenship). I need to apply for a scholarship for the study year of 5769 and also we need to apply for reduced municipitality taxes. Lots of headache.

Time to throw the kids in bed. I’ll be back

It’s 18:30. Kids in bed since 18:00 (Not asleep yet, though… they’re still talking with each other in there). The pasta is on the stove, the wife is making a salad, and Talitha’s bottles have been washed and are now being sterilized on the stove together with the pasta (no, I’m not using the same pan).

One of the things I wanted to bring up is Peter Englund! I have lately started to follow his blog more frequently (link on my blog roll – in Swedish) and send in comments once in a while.
To have something to read on the bus I lately started to re-read his book “Tystnadens historia” (“History of Silence”) (2004). It’s a collection of essays with focus on the “small history”. The background and history of all the small things we take for granted. Like the history of the screw, the tooth brush, the glasses, the shop window, etc.

I will continue to write about this later. The pasta is ready and it’s time to eat it with the salad Elisheva made and a cold chicken leg (leftover from yesterday’s shabat meal). Quality time with the wife. We’ll see a couple of episodes from “Friends”.

It’s 20:40. After the quality time my parents called from Sweden and we talked for an hour. Now I really need to wrap this blog post up so I can finish the dishes and start to go through all bills and applications and other annoying stuff.

Now Efraim woke up. He has fever poor little guy. 38.5 degrees Celsius. We gave him some ibuprofen, hope it will help.

About Peter Englund. The History of Silence is incredible. It really made me look at the things around me differently. It’s not only knowing the background of the things, but also of the thoughts of today. From where the ideas and values of today are taken. And not only the historic background, but the process, the ideas, the inventions, the technology… everything that has led us to where we are today. One really gets the feeling of the impossibility of living in the present, since we are so totally dependent on the past. Right now Im reading the essay about the history of the shop window which I think must be my favourite. It’s about how the entire commercial consumerism we see around us today started. This whole idea of today – manufacturers creating solutions for non-existing problems, and then use the commercials in order to persuade people that they have those problems. Of course the solution can never be a true solution. Because then the consumer would cease to consume! Highly recommended for those who speak Swedish. I don’t know if it has been translated.
The story of how I bought the first book of his and started to discover him as an author is a story on itself, and we’ll take that some other day. One more note – I just learned that during June 2007 he and Fredrik Lindström made a serie of TV programs on national Swedish television about the Swedish mentality. If there were only a way to get hold of those programs. Sooo interesting.

And now Elisheva is kicking me away from here, because she needs the computer for study reasons which have higher priority than blogging. I’m still quite happy, I was able to write a pretty long blog today. It only took me… 5 hours!

Bye for now, and don’t forget to change the world!

(Added – couldn’t edit it until she has finished so it’s published after midnight. Oh, well…)


§158 Bush, Darfur and future history

January 12, 2008

So Thursday morning I’m in the bus minding my own business on my way to work. Then there’s a crazy traffic jam for some reason. Bush? But he wasn’t supposed to be around this area. (Turns out later that the weather conditions had forced him to take the limo instead of the helicopter).

The bus takes a wrong turn and I’m asking what’s going on. “They’ve closed down the main road because of Bush” the driver explains. “So I’ll reach the central bus station through Ramot instead” Bus Station? Ramot? Nono, that’s not even close to my job. I’d be closer to leave the bus right now and walk. I explained to him where my job was and asked where he could drop me off as close as possible.

So in the end I find myself in front of the main road. Further down that road, on the other side of the street is my job. The guard tells me “I’m not allowed to let you pass. Continue down the road, maybe there’s an opening over there, I don’t know”. I walk until I can see my work place on the other side of the street. “No, the convoy’s supposed to pass here, you’ll have to wait”. When? “Any minute now – not more than an hour”

Then a bunch of police cars pass by. Followed by a few black cars. Then two limos, and some more black cars. And then an ambulance, and a few more police cars.

I think Bush was on the floor in the ambulance, or maybe he was one of the cops on motor cycle. To distract attention.

So I was One and a half hour late to work and missed my breakfast. That morning I was hungry and it was Bush’s fault. But I guess there are a few million people in the world who always can say that they’re hungry and it’s Bush’s fault.

Anyway, making people come late to work is unfortunately not the only trouble that man is causing.

On another note, I heard Swedish and Norwegians lately have been accused of being Mossad and CIA agents. Haha! They wish. Anyway, the Sudani regime needed an excuse, and it’s much more internationally acceptable to hate Israel and USA than to hate Sweden and Norway.

So, what is going on in Darfur and why don’t people do anything about it? USA overthrew Saddam for being evil to his people. Why don’t they do the same in Sudan? You don’t think… *gasp* that USA attacked Iraq because of economic and political interests? Nooooo, that can’t be… The Darfur genocide can’t be as bad as they say. If it was, then the entire world would have screamed and made it stop, right…? They did so 70 years ago, right….?

Anyway, consider above my personal scream about the genocide.

Here’s a thought – horses have been people’s main way of going places for thousands of years, and only a hundred years ago we switched to cars. What’s in the future? I like the idea that we will eventually go back to horses. Maybe when all fossil fuel are finished. The book of revelation does speak of four horse riders, not cars… 😉

I think when future generations read about us in their history books it will go something like this

“We usually mark the beginning of the third world war with the attack on September 11th 2001. Others tend to place it a few decades later when the war was global. However, there is no real point where you can say “here it started”, because during the first few years after that attack people in the “western world” as they referred to it, continued their lives as if nothing, without realising their civilisation was already doomed. It seems no one was aware that the ongoing third world war was an actual war until it was too late.”


§157 ISRAEL and what’s happening around here

January 9, 2008

Okay, so I’m picturing president Bush thinking to himself “Hmm… my time is almost over. One year left. Now how will I be remembered? The first president who won the elections on a technicality because of a 100 year old unchanged constitution, even if most people voted for his opponent? Or the son who tried to do better than his dad but instead got the US stuck in Iraq for 30 years and then the US left unconditionally, so that a leader 10 times worse than Saddam could rise to power and arm himself with nuclear bombs that no american would believe anymore because of past experience until he bombed New York? No, I need to do something significant during 2008. Something people will remember me by. Something that will give me a name in the history books. Lets see, making US a super power is already done… getting caught with an intern is also already done… Hey, what if I wave my magic wand and within one year create that palestinian state that no one has succeeded in creating despite trying for the last 60 years? I mean a half jewish state should be enough, the arabs need 23 states. 22 is simply not enough. Ok, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll start by actually for once visiting that country. Now I’ll better get to some bible reading and praying. Hmm.. let’s see Joel chapter 3… ‘For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.’ I wonder who he is talking about? Who is parting whose land? Oh, well, it’s political issues from thousands of years ago, it doesnt really concern me…”

Very well. Bush is coming here to divide our land. Will we let him? Apparently. Let’s think back. In 1999 Barak was elected as prime minister. His actions led Israel down the toilet and made him so impopular, his party has never won another election since then. What did he do? He caused the intifada. By being willing to give away too much in Camp David he showed weakness. When he was not willing to divide Jerusalem totally, but only partly, Arafat launched the intifada, with Sharon’s visit to the temple mount as an excuse. Note that during Barak’s election campaign he was seen on the walls of Jerusalem proclaiming it as the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people. So that traitor was elected away. One of his opponents, someone who supported Sharon of the Likud party, was the mayor of Jerusalem. Ehud Olmert. He accused Barak of being willing to divide Jerusalem. Something likud would never ever do. When Olmert was asked if Barak consulted him about the division of Jerusalem he responded reluctantly that “We may have peaked at some maps” (not to be quoted as a source, this is an uncertain memory of something I think I overheard on the radio 7 years ago).

Well, here we are again. Now Olmert is prime minister, and Barak is security minister. But they’re still the same people. The same people who 7 years ago were willing to divide our country and our capital.

We, the people, are just waiting for the next elections, so we can throw them out. Latest poll shows Olmert has no chance whatsoever to be reelected. And why would he? He is trying to throw me out of my home.

We left Lebanon – we got rockets, war and killed people. We left Gaza, we got Kassam rockets, war and killed people. What will happen if we leave the West Bank and divide Jerusalem? Please, people! Learn from history! Look back! What good has any of these peace efforts done but intensifying the war?

I thank God that I believe in him and can put my trust in him. I thank him for all his promises about Israel. Without that, we’re doomed.

So, anyway, after rambling on about politics… tomorrow Bush is coming to Jerusalem. I can just hope that all the mess will be in west Jerusalem and not around my work.

Some unconfirmed gossip from the hotel business: American security has demanded from the hotel where Bush is staying that they give all their arab workers a week off. American security demands. Hm.. and then Bush goes to… Ramallah…

Took some time to learn more about the situation in Darfur. I can only say that if Israel can’t do anything about it, or at least help the refugees that come from there… well then stop complaining about how the world closed their eyes to the holocaust! Shame on you, government! But I suppose you have more important issues to deal with. Which dessert president Bush will be given, for instance.

Last but not least. I love this song. The refrain is:

האמיני יום יבוא
טוב יהיה מבטיח לך
לחבק אותך אבוא
והכל אשיח לך

An ugly translation to English “Believe me, the Day will come. It will be good, I promise you. I will come to hug you, and I will tell you everything”. It is written as a song from the soldier in the War of Independence in 1948 to his girlfriend at home. My favourite part is

וכשנובחים פיות הסטנים
המרגמות נאנחות
אז מחשבתי תעבירני
אלייך רעה ואחות
ואז אדע
לקרב יש טעם
אף כי המחיר יקר מאוד
כדי שיום יבוא אי פעם
נוכל לנשום פה ולחיות

In English “And when the stan guns’ mouthes are barking, and the bombs are sighing. Then my thoughts bring me to you, my friend and sister. And then I know, the battle has a meaning. Even if the price is very high. So that the Day one day will come, when we can breathe and live here”.