Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Rainbows in the breeze

July 3, 2015

Well, it has been an eventful week.  Things crowding on the heels of what went before!

Last Friday was the Pride march in Haifa.  Not nearly as grand as the big march in Tel Aviv earlier in the month, which is on an international scale with well over 100K participants, but nothing to sneeze at either.

The Hebrew text says:

We march to fight for the right to live the lives we want! To love whom we want!  To dress as we wish to!  We march for equality and against discrimination.  We march in solidarity and for the struggles we face around us.  Because a society that respects and values us – gays, lesbians, bi and trans – is a society that is better for everyone.

As an aside, I was glad to note that the American ambassador and his family marched in Tel Aviv with the staff of the Embassy (which flew a giant rainbow flag in support).

Haifa had many local leaders and representatives – including all the liberal political parties and many local businesses – accompanying the 5-10K folks who marched and celebrated.

I missed the gathering at the first meeting point, with the initial speeches, because I can’t really march.  (So sadly I have no pictures of the actual march.)  I went directly to the final destination (carrying my rainbow flag, of course), where there were more speeches and lots of entertainment.

My friend Marina marched with the Progressive Judaism contingent.

(stolen from Marina's facebook wall...sorry M)

(stolen from Marina’s facebook wall…sorry M)

Lots of lovely speakers and MCs




Some folks with very special outfits for the occasion


Love those eyelashes…but that ballgown seemed a wee bit…warm for the Haifa heat?

The singer and personality Margalit Tzan’ani (Margol) joined us with music that had everyone singing and dancing and cheering

Booths with drinks, with bubbles, with rainbow products.


High energy, smiles and laughter, I didn’t see any negativity there at all.  Well done, Haifa!


My only real regret?  It wasn’t until a little later in the afternoon, after everyone had dispersed and gone home, that the SCOTUS ruling was announced.  It would have been nice to have heard it from the stage when we were all together and could celebrate even more for our US friends!  But that’s a subject for the next post…


How to reward a knitter…

August 29, 2014

I neglected to show the prize I won for the double-knitted baby blanket at the Yarn & Falafel Annual Fiber Fest this year.  I must remedy this oversight.

knitting prize - blanket

Knitting needles, stitch markers, 3in1 needle gauge tool, Knitscene Summer 2014, and yarn!  Lots of yarn…

Alize Superwash, a whole pile of Soul Wool Safari (cotton/viscose), and two skeins of Valley Yarns Huntington.

I have been spoiled.


And as we move into the Sabbath:

Shabbat Shalom.

O Mio Babbino Caro

November 3, 2013

That’s the aria from Puccini’s opera “Gianni Schicchi” that blew me – and evidently quite a few others -away this week,

There are many reality music/talent shows these days.  Too many.  The “idol” shows, which started in Britain and then spread worldwide to umpteen countries – known in Israel as “A Star is Born” – has been around for more than a decade,  This year Israel changed the format entirely and it’s known as “The Next Star”, complete with interactive home audience real-time  participation.  “The Voice” began in Holland, and quickly spread as well.  We’ve had two local seasons of that so far.  The new show around here is the Israeli “X-Factor”.  More of the same, but we keep watching it, because there’s a lot of raw talent out there and we love to discover it.

One show that hasn’t yet made it to Israel is the “__’s Got Talent”  (another show born in Britain, but this one is for all kinds of entertainment, not just singing.  Although singing is certainly there.)

This week on “Holland’s Got Talent” a young girl named Amira Willighagen stepped onto the stage.  She’s 9 years old.  As reported in the Huff Post:

It’s hard to believe how young Amira is, but even more surprising to learn that she is completely self-taught, and used only YouTube tutorials to learn how to sing.

She told the judges, “My brother Vincent plays violin, and I also wanted to do something…  So I thought, I’m going to sing… and then I heard opera songs, which I found very beautiful and that’s when I started singing,” HLNBE reports.

And this is what happened.

I don’t know if the judges’ reactions were real or staged.  Truthfully, I don’t care.

Remember this child’s name.  She is going to be very famous.   And rightfully so.

Red Light. Green Light. Red Light. Green Light.

May 1, 2013

“Red Light / Green Light” was the version of the game that we used to play as kids.  It’s “Statues” in other countries like Australia, Sweden, and Finland.  In England it’s known as  “Grandmother’s Footsteps”.  Most countries count to three and throw in a word to make  everyone freeze.   In the Netherlands it’s  “één, twee, drie, piano” (one, two, three, piano), in Mexico  “1, 2, 3, calabaza” (one, two, three, pumpkin), in France “1, 2, 3, soleil” (one, two, three, sun), in Spain  “1, 2, 3, escondite inglés” (one, two, three, English hideaway), and in Portugal  “Um, dois, três, macaquinho do chinês” (one, two, three, Chinese little monkey).    The Greeks count three “immobile little soldiers”, in Italy they count three stars.  Here in Israel it’s “1, 2, 3, herring” (or “salty fish”).

Whatever you call it, all the versions of the game involve some sort of running forward as fast as you can and then freezing in place on cue, holding perfectly still untill released according to the rules of the version you’re playing.  And then again.   And again.

That was my day today.

‘Twas a day of rushing around and waiting a lot.  Picking up and installing new software on the computer, as well as having the lab make some changes, which took an amazingly long time.  Waiting in line forever to get a modem so that I don’t have to rely solely on wifi, after hurrying to get to the place on time.  Efficiently shopping and then standing in the slowest ever checkout line at the supermarket.


stop go

I knitted as much as I could.   That’s definitely what saved my sanity.  What’s left of it.

Accio Pottering !

April 23, 2013

Have you “pottered” yet?

Pottering is one of the newer memes floating around the net, especially on facebook, but also on other social sites as well.

pottering 2

Based on Quiddich, of course.  To perform pottering, get someone to snap your picture as you jump up in the air or off of something while straddling a broom, hoping to get a good photograph that looks like you’re playing in a Quiddich game, or just having a wizardly zoom around on your broom….

pottering 3

Good fun with friends.

pottering 5

Or solo efforts

pottering 6

Some have obviously been photoshopped to add to the effect,  some are questionable.

pottering 4

(I love that one…)

Some get cropped for better effect.

cropped pottering

(And here’s the whole shot…)

longshot pottering

(Which also looks like fun…)

I haven’t yet joined in the pottering craze, but I’m considering it.  Maybe figure out a way to have my knitting with me on the broom?   Hm.

Have fun with another collection of pottering peeps:


Want to try?

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

April 5, 2013

Spring is being its usual muddled self around here.  Mucky hazy weather, then a heat wave, last night it poured rain and today has been chilly and overcast.  But Spring it is, nevertheless.  I caught this intrepid bud poking its way high into the air yesterday.

tall bud

Soon it will bloom, as so many flowers are doing, to the sound of the sneezes of hay fever sufferers.  Partner never does well during April.  It used to be that we couldn’t go out into nature for the month because of her hay fever…now it’s that plus my hip.  And I seem to be sneezing lately, too – either I have the seasonal-change sniffles or I am developing a late-blooming allergy. (Pun intended.  So sorry.)


Oh, I checked out the word “freshet”.  You knew I couldn’t let that slide, right?  Seems it means a small flood as a result of heavy rains or spring thaw.  More often spring thaw.  Which makes it appropriate for this time of year.  (Round these parts, that means the run-off of our often lone snow covered Mount Hermon into the Jordan River.)  And the word has actually been used, too, at least in this New Hampshire county in the 19th century:


 So.  Flowers are blooming, and my vocabulary has been enriched.  I wonder if “freshet” is acceptable in Words with Friends, our current scrabble substitute. 


Who’s up for a game?

Perspective, Pain relief, Parenting, and Potluck Pasta

February 21, 2012

I was late to work today. I overslept. Never heard the alarms. (Yes, I set two alarms, in case I drift off again after the first…) I slept through both today. So I missed my ride, had to take the car. (Which is actually more convenient since I had to race around a lot today. Also more expensive. There is always a flip side.) Then once I was on my way, I discovered that in my haste I had left my cell phone at home. Normally I would say Fug It, I refuse to be a slave to technology, and keep on going, but there were too many destinations with too many arrangements to be made en route today. So I had to go back and get it. Didn’t help that when I realised it was missing I was stuck at a long traffic light with no option but to wait, then go past and find a different way to turn around… Got it, hindered by a possessed catbeast who was zooming around trying her best to trip me. I got stuck at the same traffic light the second time around too, which added to the aggravation. Those few minutes of backtracking made the difference between fairly empty streets and streets beginning to fill with erratic drivers, arrogant road-hogging truckers, and one terrified learner who got in the way of all the others. (Come on, seriously, who the hell takes a driving lesson in morning rush hour???) I was developing a nice case of road rage, and when the tissue holder on the visor suddenly fell on my head then bounced off into the farthest corner of the car, I knew I had to do something to ensure that it was not going to be one of those days. I pushed in a John Lennon CD, cranked up the music, and it put everything into a different perspective.

I love how music can do that. Thanks, Mr. L. Shine On.

After the usual insane day of work I headed for physiotherapy. I’m going twice a week now, they’re using short wave ultrasound to ease the hip pain. It’s actually helping a bit, there are brief periods where I can walk normally without limping.

After I left the clinic went to pick up partner and we headed for kidlet’s school. This school offers all kinds of wonderful things, not only for the kids but for the families. One thing they offer is a workshop for parents on how to work with teenagers during this volatile time. I’m always eager to learn, so we signed up for the weekly workshop. It was also a chance to meet other parents, which is hard to do with a regional school.

Teenagers. They’re moving from childhood to adulthood, way too quickly for us and way too slowly for them. A friend of mine once compared adolescence to our wonderful kids entering a long, dark, difficult tunnel where they forget all the lessons we’ve taught them and all we can do is wait until they come out the other end, hoping that those lessons have survived. I would compare it more to them going through one of those carnival “funhouses”, with dark mazes and things jumping out at you and all those mirrors that constantly distort everything you know, all making you freak out. Some kids navigate it easily. Most don’t.

So this workshop has been a real asset, team-led by two master teachers who gave us very little theory and a whole bagful of tips and tools to use with our little angels. It was a chance to bounce ideas off of each other, get advice and feedback from other parents in the same situations, share frustration and success. Sworn to silence, what was said in the workshop stayed in the workshop, not even our kids were told what we heard. They only got the benefit of our “homework” exercises as we tried out techniques. Many of the methods were not new to me, but the practice was invaluable. Tools to set boundaries, choose our battles wisely, even how to form statements and questions that promote communication instead of shutting it down. In the workshop we practiced on each other, everything from active listening to trying to describe ourselves through our kids’ eyes.

Partner and I missed a few sessions when kidlet was in the hospital, no way to both visit her and get to the school. But one of the teachers kept me updated with emails, and the other parents were happy to explain the tools. Tonight was our last meeting, so we planned a potluck party.

What do you make for a potluck when you have no time at home? (Well, other than bringing a bottle of wine or buying something ready made….) There are several dishes I like to make for potlucks, all easy. And any other quick-n-easy recipes are definitely welcome!! But I have a foolproof dish that I can throw together in no time, so little work it almost makes you feel guilty about cheating when folks tell you how yummy it is. My no-fuss pasta salad:

Cook one package of pasta. I like to use the tri-colour fusilli pasta, with egg, tomato and spinach noodles, just to make it interesting.

While that’s cooking, I cut up some bell peppers. Since the pasta is tri-colour, I cut up a red pepper, a green one, and a yellow one to match.

When the pasta is cooked, I drain it and let it cool a bit. Throw in the peppers. Then I toss in salad dressing. You can make your own, or use your favourite bottled dressing. I usually like to use honey and mustard, but citrus vinaigrette also works great. To finish off, I add some sliced black olives for zing, both in taste and visually.

And that’s it. (I told you it was easy.) Plop it into your Tupperware or equivalent, and you’re good to go. Tastes just as great if it’s in the fridge overnight, too, so you can make it well in advance.

Bon apetit. It was a hit at the potluck.

Since I started my day needing to chill with John Lennon, let’s end with him as well…

Thou pribbling clapper-clawed flap-dragon!

November 27, 2011

Thou fobbing tickle-brained moldwarp!

No, I haven’t lost it completely.  These are from a lesson planning resource called “Shakespeare Set Free” published by the Folger Library.    The series is based on two key beliefs. The first is that the best way for students to learn Shakespeare is by doing Shakespeare. The second is that Shakespeare is for everyone.  They publish guides and lesson plans for teaching seven of the bard’s plays, with strategies for immersing the students in the language of Shakespeare.

One tool is the Shakespeare Insult Kit:

No more need for boring insults, this list provides so many possibilities for being creative, in a tastefully offensive way, worthy of great literature.

Have fun with it.  I certainly plan to.

Thou mewling swag-bellied pumpion.

Thou beslubbering beef-witted barnacle.

Oh, yes.

Saturday matinee – The Ritz

November 26, 2011

The Ritz was a comedy made in 1976, long before gay rights had hit the mainstream.

On his deathbed Carmine Vespucci’s father tells him to “get Proclo” (his sister’s husband).   When he understands that a ” hit” has been put out on him,  Gaetano tells a cab driver to take him where Carmine can’t find him.   He arrives at the Ritz, a gay bathhouse… something he doesn’t realise at first.  There he is pursued amorously by “chubby chaser” Claude and by entertainer Googie Gomez who believes him to be a broadway producer. His guides through the Ritz are gatekeeper Abe, habitue Chris, and bellhop/go-go-boys Tiger and Duff.   Detective Michael Brick and his employer Carmine do locate Gateano at the Ritz, as does his wife Vivian.

Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, Kaye Ballard, Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham, Paul B. Price and others in the cast are great.  But it’s Rita Moreno (playing a bad  bathhouse singer who wants to make it into the big time) who steals the show, hands down.  The film is filled with one-liners and hysterical situations, making fun of stereotypes all across the board.  Some of them wouldn’t work today, this was made pre-AIDS, after all.

It was nominated for three Golden Globes, and other awards.

I first saw it at women’s night at a gay bathhouse in San Francisco in 1979.  Very appropriate!   We fell off the seats laughing.


Knitting 101 – How (Not) to Knit

November 16, 2011

Dan Bergstein – known as dantuty on twitter and youtube – is a free-lance writer.  He describes himself succinctly:

Writer. Astronaut. Liar.

Among other pursuits, he works for SparkNotes,  a site originally launched by some Harvard students that offers study guides and discussion forums offered on various academic subjects. The literature section includes brief analyses of characters, themes and plots.

SparkNotes also has a section called SparkLife, a social section focused on non-educational topics for teens and young adults. This section of the site includes blogs, advice columns, contributed posts, and Open Threads. One of the most popular features of SparkLife is Dan Bergstein’s Blogging Twilight, in which he chronicles his reactions to the books, chapter by chapter.  A couple of excerpts from his observations of the first book:

Why is attractiveness part of the vampire mythos? It seems unfair to say the least. There should be some overweight vampires or vampires with knobby knees and bad bangs. If only the gorgeous get bitten, it would be smarter to gain a lot of weight than to hang garlic in your room. Easier too. Perhaps later in the book, someone will explain why only attractive people get bitten by vampires.

A couple hundred pages into the book, there’s no villain to be found. The preface set up a life-and-death situation that Bella will encounter at some point. But since no bad guys have been introduced (except the thugs in Port Angeles), I’m left wondering if the hunter mentioned in the preface isn’t Eric gone berserk, wearing bright orange hunting gear. I hope the baddie shows up soon, because these chapters were a bit boring, repetitive, boring, and repetitive.

He is also working on Blogging Harry Potter, which he likes much more.

Even the first few pages of this book are better written than anything in the Twilight series. It’s so refreshing to read a novel filled with joy and fun. Of course, after finishing Twilight, I find myself marveling at the wit and creativity of a Burger King menu.

(And here’s his breakdown of the four Hogwarts houses:

Gryffindor = Matt Damon
Ravenclaw = Neil Gaiman/Amy Poehler
Hufflepuff = A sleepy Matt Damon after he ate a big sandwich
Slytherin = A cranky Kanye West in need of a nap  )

His own blog, Laser Farm, is what he calls his personal doodle pad.

I really do enjoy his work, but it wasn’t until SparkLife Academy that I laughed harder than I have in a long time.  I’ll let you see why.

When asked what topic I would like to teach at the famed SparkLife Academy, the answer was easy: Knitting. I’ve already taught you how to become hotshot writers, and knitting is my only other area of expertise. In this lesson, I will teach you how to knit. Grab a highlighter, because there will be a test.

Step One: Knit.

Step Two: Keep knitting.

Step Three: Finish knitting and open an Etsy shop to sell your wares.

The above instructions may be difficult to understand without visual aids. For that reason, I present the following tutorial video, the first part in my lecture series: Dan Teaches You Stuff.

(Pop quiz:  What is the most important thing you have learned in this lesson?)