Archive for February, 2008

h1

§167 Latest news

February 28, 2008

-I got 89 on my statistics test
-Another wonderful Shabat is about to start
-We’re going to Haifa to visit my grandfather next shabat
-Life’s going on
-Rocket war going on around Sderot and Ashkelon – proving that the disengagement was a big mistake. I say we go back and rebuild the settlements.
-I was invited by Leah, the Jerusalem Wanderings blogger, to participate in a get-together with jews, christians and moslems. Dialouge about religion. Sounded really interesting, but unfortunatelly I couldn’t, it was just too last-minute. Think of me next time, please?
-I’m studying John Maynard Keynes’ theories. He is so much cooler than Adam Smith.

Over and out

Advertisements
h1

§166 Modern indulgence

February 23, 2008

Finally Shabat again. It’s Friday evening. The kids just went to sleep. So did my wife. On the couch. I’ll just blog this and then I’ll wake her up so we can have that wonderful time with each other that we look forward to every week.

Yesterday we were at Misrad haPnim – Ministry of the Interior. We gave them the documents and all they needed to request visa for another year. Within a month they’ll call us and invite us for another examination where they ask each some questions and compare the answers. They’ve done it every year since 2004, and we’re getting used to it. They already know us there by now, and with 3 kids they’re really nothing to suspect any longer. But it’s procedure. Anyway, as soon as she gets visa for another year she’s finally eligible to apply for a citizenship! The woman there already gave us the form and told us what we need to bring. She wanted us to do it on the spot as soon as the extra year is confirmed. No need to delay it. Yeay! My wife will finally be a citizen. I hope she’ll get it before we whack away Olmert, so she can be a part of voting him away.

I’m having a real problem how to write stuff here. Any other wordpress bloggers experiencing the same? The window they give you to write in is stupidly small (admitting, there’s an optin to enlargen it, I just haven’t done it), the letters always appear a second after you write them and sometimes it gets stuck altogether. Really anoying. I thought “never mind” and tried to blog in notepad ord Word and then just paste it. The blog shouted “HAHA!!!” in my face. First of all the format looks nowhere near the way it did in the word processor, and the space between paragraphs gets stupified also. I’m getting really annoyed by this. Any ideas?

About Darfur. I went to the homepage of my government http://www.gov.il and searched the term “Darfur” in Hebrew (Of course there’s a famous person with the last name “Gov” at the front – because of a lucky name, he gets to represent the government…). Anyway, I found a bunch of nice stuff said like “The people of Africa has just as the people of Israel been suffering from rasistic persecution. Israel can not stay indifferent to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Darfur that have become refugees in their own country. This is why Israel sends as much help as it can to the victims of the tragedy in Darfur and is trying to find alternative ways to help the inhabitants of that area”.
Please note that these are words from the government. Not to be taken seriously. Especially since it was said in May 29th 2007 and I haven’t seen any results. Also some published intelligence material about Israeli concerns of Irani forces in the area of Sudan and their possibilities to reach Israel through the Negev. What really annoyed me was this:
“Discussion of the Prime Minister on July 1st 2007 about the illegal immigrants arriving from the Egyptian border. All refugees will be sent back to Egypt as per the understanding between Olmert and Mubarak, and Egypt will ensure their safety. When this is not possible they will be sent to the immigration which will put them in custody until they’re sent back home. Israel will talk to the UN refugees department about the refugees that are already here, and will push to send them back to Egypt. The POSSIBILITY of letting PART of the Darfur refugees stay will be EXAMINED only after a full stop of the illegal immigration is ensured” (My capitalization).
Wow, that’s really generous. And what is you opinion Mr. Olmert about the fact that this is exactly the way every single European country and the USA acted towards the jews under WWII??

I know Darfur is not Europe and the africans are not jews. But it touches me personally when I know that this very situation is what my grandfather was in. I just don’t know how I would be able to help personally. Donating money is so… “paying money to help your personal conscience”-thing. I’d rather do something real. Like adopting an orphan from there. Maybe not a huge contribution, sure. Nothing but a fart in outer space. But still I’ll be able to help someone personally, and help someone to get a life s/he would never be able to get otherwise.

Another reason that prime minister discussion annoys me is because what I read in this article from December 25th
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/937514.html

Regarding adoption – is it selfish to want a Darfur baby? There are tons of children out there without parents. I wouldn’t matter “which” I got, it would be an equally great contribution to mankind in any way (that fart in outer space). So why dafka a Darfur child? Because I personally want the feeling that I’ve done something about Darfur?
Anyway if and when we decide to adopt I’ll not insist on a Darfur baby… besides, Israel and Sudan are officially “not-very-good-friends” countries if I’m not mistaken… and the refugees… I’m guessing it would be hard for a baby to jump the fence on its own.

*Trying to get out a horribly politically incorrect mental image*

Regarding donating money. The other day when I was doing shopping. As I stood with two big packs of diapers paying, the lady said:
-“Do you wish to contribute 3 shekels for children in need?”.
-“Exactly in what need are they? Can’t I go and help them personally instead of donating a mere 3 shekels? Are there any orphans? I’ll adopt them!”
-“Are you interested in any of our other special offers?”
So basically it’s just a new version of an Indulgence.
“You’re a westerner, and that means you’re living on the back of the people of the third world. People work long and hard hours for less than a penny an hour in order for you to be able to buy your coffee at this cheap price. But you can feel less guilty if you only pay us a mere dollar a week. We promise that all will go to help these poor people in need!
Of course, that is after we’ve taken the taxes, our own salaries, our costs of cars to reach them, etc. We promise that we will give the money directly to the blood thirsty dictator leader of the third world country who has promised he will make sure the money reaches the poor workers that he has enslaved in order to sell us cheap coffee”.

Its Saturday evening now. This long stuff I wrote above took a while. I stopped and saved it and had that wonderful magical time with my wife. Watching Friends. The Marathon’s over. We started this summer from the first episode of season one, and yesterday we saw the final episode of season 10. Then I went to congregation. Kids had been sick so there were too tired to go, so Elisheva stayed home with them. There was a beautiful testimony of a woman whose house burned down a few weeks ago. On the floor of the burned living room they found a burned piece of paper, and the only visible word on it were “The Lord will bless you and keep you”. They framed it and brought it to show us. I missed the sermon because I was teaching the kids today (that’s why I went without the rest of the family). As soon as I came home we left for a small gathering of our neighbours. Celebrating the baptism of their son (it’s a 30-year old son) which was one week ago. We ate and had a great time, talking to people, bonding. Emunah, our two-year old loved their two dogs. She actually ran after them to hug them. The dogs were about the same size as she… Efraim was a bit scared of them at first but came around after a while.

After that we’ve had my sister and her fiancé here. They’ve decided to get married within 2 months instead of August. Yeay! And we’ve also decided to go to Haifa together next weekend or the weekend after that to visit our grand father. He is in an old age home up there and we’re his only family in Israel. We don’t visit him often enough, but it’s very far, and I have a large family, no car, and work 6 days a week. You do the math. But now we’re finally going. Just gotta synchronise it with my wife’s parents and make sure they can babysit our kids. We’ll only bring Talitha, the 4-month old baby.

Now it’s eleven o’clock. Tomorrow a new week starts. I’m gonna take a shower and then go to sleep. Goodnight!

Annoying thing of the day: People keep saying Christopher Columbus, when his real name was Cristobal Colón! And they also claim he discovered America.
Word of the day: Halleluyah – it’s a good word to shout out spontaneously once in a while
Paradox of the day: “You can reduce the risk by taking many risks”
Question of the day: “Why is it so hard and expensive to adopt and so easy and cheap to make your own?”

Du tror inte på det här eller hur, men visan handlar om okända djur…

h1

§165 I’m back, and I’m free!

February 17, 2008

I’m back again! Came home from work. Wife went shopping. Talitha, our 4-months old got a vaccination today and has been cranky all day. I fed her just as Elisheva (wife) left and then I’ve been trying to calm her down. She was ok sitting up in the babysitter as long as entertained her, but I noticed she was too tired. In the end I put her to sleep in her stroller. She cried and cried, but finally fell asleep as I rocked the stroller back and forth, back and forth. 

I’m free! 

I did my last test this Thursday. Statistics. Went pretty well, I noticed allt the types of hypothesis testing they wanted me to do, I was able to calculate the t-test or z-test and compare it to the critical value. I think I did pretty good, but I don’t have any results yet.Come to think of it… they must’ve put out the right answers on the website by now. I’ll check! 

Yes! Of the four questions only one paragraph of one of the questions was wrong. I remember I reached the right calculations there but I wasn’t sure how to imply the results, and I drew the wrong conclusion. No big deal. I’ll probably get part of the points for that. 

Now Talitha woke up screaming. Poor baby probably hurts somewhere. I’m rocking the stroller as I blog. Wife called a few minutes ago. She’s on her way home. Talitha is getting calmer… fall asleep, little baby, fall asleep… Sssscccchhhh…… 

She’s asleep. 

Now, this last test was February 14th. I haven’t told you about January 31st. That day that was craaaaazy and I promised I would tell you another time.  Well now’s another time.  Here we go.

On January 31st it was snowing in Jerusalem. It almost never happens, and everything stands still. We’re preparing for a similar scenario tomorrow. Anyway, I got to work late because of the snow, because no buses were going in the morning. Now my boss was not there, she was abroad at some international fair. Now, it’s usually works that way that she gets the reservations to her email, confirmes them and sends me a cc. I enter the reservation in the hotel system, print it and then my coworker, we can call her “I.S.”, files it. When the boss is abroad she’s at the exhibition during the day, and sends the emails in the evening. So when we arrive in the morning we expect a full mailbox with today’s work.

This day there was no email.

Apparently my boss was too tired yesterday evening and decided to take care of it today. Well, there’s never any lack of work, so we went on until I had to go at 14:00 to go to my test. At that precise minute my boss decides to start working! Well, there was nothing to do. I left IS in the office and went to do  the test in Macroeconomy. The test starts at 16:00 but it was in the other side of the city, and I didn’t know how often and slow the buses would go with all the snow. I did the test. Stupid trick questions. Of course I passed, but I only got 72% on the test. Luckily I had above 90% on almost all my papers during the semester, which helped me to reach a final grade of 77%. Not very good, but at least it’s no failure. I passed and can go on. 

After the test I took the bus back to work. It was 19:00. I had 70 new emails. Great! After one and a half hour I had finished it all and went home. So I went to the bus stop and waited for the bus. And waited. And waited. And waited. After half an hour I was almost frozen to the seat, so I got up and took a walk around to keep myself warm. Don’t you think I was stupid enough to cross to the other side of the street, and don’t you think the bus decides to come EXACTLY then?? After another half hour I finally got on a bus and got home. The perfect end of a perfect day… that day was craaaaaazy! 

Now, I also wrote that I should mention Darfur and what I found out about my government, but I think I’ll wait with that. It’ll take too much time. Also indulging in politics and all is no use now. Well maybe that stupid idea I got – what’s the problem erasing the palestinian authority and giving all palestinians israeli citizenship? Demographic problem? Well, why don’t we just force all American jews to move to Israel? If we can do it with Gaza why not with the US? *giggle* Seriously, childish comments aside. A massive jewish immigration and a one-state solution would be the best for us all I think. One country for us all where we can live in eternal peace and harmony with nature and each other. 

No, wait, I forgot. There’s no chance that’ll ever happen. 

My new university courses. I just finished two, now I’m starting three. Below I will indulge in exactly what and how they are. Feel free to skip. 

1 – Differential and integral mathematics for economic students. This is basically the math I learned at high school. Maybe a bit more intensive and detailed, and a bit more directed at economy. Doesn’t seem too hard. Of all 7 chapters, I’ve already finished the first two. Just read it though, I’ll still need to review it to really learn it. 

2 – Macroeconomy A. This is the second course. The one I got 77 in was “Introduction to macroeconomy”. This is the continuation. It’s a tiny course. Only 2 points, when most courses are 6 (and they all cost equally…). However, it’s obvious that it was once the first macroeconomy course ever. It has 5 equally long chapters, but they expect us to finish the first three during the first 3 weeks, and then spend the rest of the semester on the 2 remaining chapters. Apparently the first 3 is nothing but repetition of the course I’ve already taken. So it’s just reading reading reading. This is where I have my first paper to hand in also. By March 9th. Still have a few weeks. 

3 – Industrial economy. I needed 3 courses to apply for scholarship, and I chose this as the third. It’s my first choice-course. It’s not a mandatory course to take to get the BA in economics. But all the mandatory courses I have left require that I have done the “Differential and integral mathematics” – course. So I chose this. It only requires microeconomy as previous knowledge, which I studied last year. When I look through it, it’s like my first encounter with real life economy. All the basic courses I’ve taken (and am taking) are theoretic. They teach the mathematic tools you need to analyse the economy, but this one explains about the reality. It comes with real figures and articles from the news and everything. It was a little frightening that the book in the introduction mentioned that I “probably already know how the price of the product is set” – referring to the three “price” courses that I will spend 3 future semesters studying. No I haven’t taken those yet. They require the math course first. Anyway, those courses were not listed, not even as recommended, so I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

Tomorrow I’m going to Tel Aviv. A day off from work. Stay home with the family till 11:00 and then sit long hours on the bus to Tel Aviv, and then long hours back. It’s wonderful to be free from work in the middle of the week when it happens. Not telling why I’m going there, and there’s no big deal either so leave it. 

Now, was there anything else I wanted to tell? Oh, yes of course! I’m a preacher! I had waaay to much though, so when I saw the time was up I rounded it up and said we’ll take the rest next time I preach. Had to cut it in half. There’s just too much exciting material in 1st Thessalonikians 5: 14-28. At a first glance it’s just a bunch of commands. How to be, what to do, what not to do, etc. But when I made some research. What is this letter? Why did Shaul write it? Who is it’s audience, and what was the purpose of the letter? Then it gets so much deeper. And I find myself finding these amazing connections between the commands that at a first glance just looked random. If I ever have time (yeah, right), I’ll translate my preaching notes, write it down as a sermon, and publish it right here. Anyone opposing the idea? 

By the way, Elisheva is already home and she’s cooking. And now it’s time to eat. While watching some “Friends” episodes! Yeay! 

—- 

It’s an hour later. We’ve been eating and drinking coffee while watching 2 episodes of “Friends”. I’m sort of taking this evening off. I might do some studies if I get some spare time. I might not. I love not having any heavy pressure on me. Tomorrow I will have lots of time to study on the bus. Time to do some dishes and then maybe I’ll study little. I’m gonna need to figure out a way to keep blogging. No way will I be able to write these long blog posts once my studies kick into gear. It’ll have to be short blogs from now on.

I’ll finish this with some words from a song in Swedish that is totally untranslatable. I challenge any Swedish speaker to translate this to any other language: 

Så far och flyg och ryk och ränn
och bom sicka bom vad det small i den
och spring och spring och kom igen
och bom sicka bom uti mässingen 

Och tjut och tjut och tjosan sen
och bom sicka bom är du med på den?
så far och flyg och ryk och ränn
och bom sicka bom är du med på den?
och bom sicka bom är du med på den? 
och bom sicka bom är du med på den? 

Tjohej! 

Question of the day: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Quote of the day: ”He’s pining for the fjords!”
Word of the day: “Video”. It means “I see” in latin. 

Now, don’t be silly, Mr. Smith. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation

h1

§164 Notes to self

February 8, 2008

Finally shabat again! 

To do the coming week:

-Prepare for the test on Thursday
-Prepare my sermon for next Shabat
-Prepare papers for wife’s visa extension
-Write blog. Do not forget to mention: 

1 – The crazy test-Thursday of January 31st when the boss was in Madrid and everything became chaos at work.
2 – More thoughts about Darfur and what I found about my government
3 – Some more political views regarding the peace process, Palestinians, etc (only if I’ve gathered enough courage)
4 – Some religious views to attack Ambefireinus’s religious views mentioned in her earlier blog post (maybe only in a comment to her post or in my own blog, not decided yet).
5 – The next courses that just started (Differential and Integral maths, MacroEconomy and Industry Economy) and how I’m dealing with them.
6 – Try to be a bit funny but do not let people take you unserious. Make up a funny thing for the stupid italic comment and add a question to encourage people to comment.