Scribe, ut possis cum voles dicere: dices cum velle debebis (Pl. Ep. 6.29)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Talk Back - ʿOskar

רק שידאו אתם עוסקר היה זמר גדול

אני מעוד האהבתי אותו בגלל הוא שר שירים.
ועני מעוד עוהב שירים
ונתנו לו פרס בגלל הוא זמר תוב וקרעו לפרס הזה עוסקר מאז קורעים לפרס הזותי עוסקר

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Freedom - Wolność

Dear readers (all three of you), let me transport you again to Belarus. I'm becoming an obsessed fan of this country and of at least one of its self-proclaimed representatives, who calls himself rydel23.

He tells us today about a Polish political action of protest against the censorship in Belarus. It's nice, you should really take a look at it. You know that i love freedom of speech/press.

I don't have many comments about it. The slogan in the bottom says: "Tak wygląda wolność slowa na Białorusi" - "That's how freedom of speech looks in Belarus".

But i love conspiracies, you know? So i've gotta tell that there are three possibilities:

  1. Poles are longing for the good old days of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where Warsaw and Wilno/Vilnius were the political centers and Belarus was ... er ... that big land in the middle with a lot of forests and good quiet people who considered themselves Russian, but didn't mind paying their taxes to the Great Polish/Lithuanian Duke, even though actually they really wanted to be under the rule of the one true Tsar in Moscow. So now Poles are trying to bring down the current pro-Russian government and make Belarus its vassal. And even Belarus is just a little pawn in Poland's bid to destroy all of Russia and make everyone catholic. Because, hey - they always hated Russians.
  2. Same as above, but with Jews. Because, hey - the Jews always hated Russians and helped Poles to hate Russians. Here, look - i'm helping them right now1.
  3. Poland is the original European democracy and they are fighting the good fight for democracy in Belarus. I don't rule this out.

1 And didn't you know that it was the Jews that together with the Poles taught Russians to drink vodka in order to hurt the strength of Russian men and destroy their families?


I love BBC News. They are quite like the Encyclopedia Britannica - as unbiased as one can find.

This article tells about millions of Russians left in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Information about them is surprisingly hard to find, considering their huge numbers; nearly nil compared to the wealth of data about less than half-a-million Israelis in the West Bank Judea and Samaria. They are quiet and non-violent, stuck in a weird situation - their language remains dominant in business, politics and education, despite the local politicians' efforts to eradicate it; the style of government that came with them, the Soviet one, is almost unchanged, except now it's artificially anti-Russian (very artificially). And their life is not horribly bad, but kinda illogical. Russia, the successor state or USSR that sent them there for work and development does nothing in particular to bring them back, even now that Moscow doesn't (seem to) have any special plans for these lands. That's a lesson in demography. I wonder what it's like to actually live there. It's hard to write complete truth about this; indeed this article does little more than reminding the indifferent world that they exist.

But here's the really interesting part: there is one sentence towards the end, which is not so encyclopedic:

"The presence of a European and Christian population is a factor that encourages secular government. It's a valuable yeast now in these countries," Mr Starr said.

I don't know exactly what this organization, "Central Asia Caucasus Institute", that the said Mr Starr represents, is. But these are the curious points to note here:

  1. He calls Russians "Europeans". Whatever.
  2. He calls Russians "Christian". Almost all of them are atheists. If there would be a notable wave of Orthodox resurrection, i would hear about it. True, they are not Muslim, but that doesn't exactly make you Christian. And the locals are not so Muslim either.
  3. He calls Russians "population". On the behalf of Russians, i dare to proclaim myself offended.
  4. The most contradictive part, if you haven't noticed it yet: Mr Starr says that Christian population encourages secular government.

And this is the New World Order for you: Christianity doesn't mean Christianity anymore. It just means belonging to an amorphic, declining and suicidal pseudo-European civilization, whose relation to actual Christianity is - you guessed it - artificial.

It's evolution, baby.


I don't really want to turn this blog into a political news blog in which i fake being a professional journalist topping it with my uneducated reactionist opinion. I've got better things to do. I thought about that and then realized that there are no significant political blogs in Israel. In the USA they are a big deal, a real player in the political media scene. Many of them are famous in their own right and are read daily by thousands (i would name some, but i don't know any myself, because i don't actually care about American politics). But in Israel there are none. They exist - on Tapuz, Israblog and maybe even here on Blogger, but i have never heard about any of them; they are not mentioned in other news outlets and don't come up high on search engines, like their American peers. Israelis - including myself, i admit - like to sound their opinions on talkbacks on the major news sites, of which there are only about five and on discussion forums, which i used to frequent once, but that's a habit that i kicked, luckily, long ago. Almost all of it is unreadable crap, of course. And that makes me think - here, i have an opportunity to be the true voice of Israel. To be read by CNN and BBC reporters and political analyzers. To provide a balanced (yeah, right) view to the foreign public. I just need to dedicate some time to it, write well, etc. In English and Hebrew. I can speak for Israelis like me - Israelis that love their country and are proud of it, without too much religious bigotry; who also happen to be young and not too full of shit. A little like rydel, who speaks for Belarus. He promotes himself well and without too much effort on Wikipedia. I could do the same. Or i could put my time to better use. Better? Or more individualistic?

Really, could i do that?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Most Precious Thing in the World

It's official. Proved by an independent body. Empiric. Scientific. Israel is ranked number one in Middle East at political freedom. Our freedom index is 8.20 out of 10. Expectedly, Lebanon and Morocco are numbers two and three but the following is a surprise: Iraq and Palestine are tied with an index of 5.05.

They could not take our pride.

Dictatorship Rulez

If you want to connect to the internet in North Korea, this is the only website you can read. But it is not really that bad, because it is the best website on the internet.

Tolstoy wouldn't write a Russian sentence which is as beautiful as this:

Великий руководитель товарищ Ким Чен Ир подарил юбилейный стол Ли Ген Чхану, непереметнувшемуся узнику долгосрочного отбывания

Which means:

The great leader comrade Kim Jong Il have given a jubilee table to Li Gen Chan, a non-line-crossing prisoner of long-time serving

In my English translation it sounds just as beautiful as it does in Russian, i assure you.

Under the Influence

A strong smell is in the air - the stench of elections.

I must meditate. I must convince myself. I need to use auto-suggestion of all possible kinds to tell myself this: my life won't change fot the better if i will learn about Arik Sharon's, Amir Peretz's or Yisrael Katz's latest trick right now instead of learning about it a few hours later. It can and it will change for the worse. I must not care ... too much. It is important, but not that important.

Oh (edit): In addition to "Made Me Cry" and "People Speaking", i'm starting a new series, dedicated to those elections. I shall call it "Gathering Moss 17", because it will be the 17'th time that Israelis elect a new Knesset, Knesset means "gathering" in Hebrew, most of the MK's aren't worth much more than moss, and "Gathering Moss" is a pretty good Super Furry Animals song.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sorry About Being Anal

From now on, only registered users are allowed to comment.

It's not a spam problem. I would just like to make sure that i know who writes this brilliant prose.

I tried this system and it seems that those who don't have an account can get one rather easily and i hope it won't scare future commenters (is that a word?).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


There's NOTHING like Hummus with Mushrooms in Pam Pam.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Made Me Cry - Which One's Pink?

I finally saw the Pink Floyd reunion at Live 8, that my parents taped for me.

I weeped from the second i saw and heard Dave playing the perfect slides with the pedal steel on Breathe until the very last drum hit of Comfortably Numb.

Perfect sound forever.

Now i want the DVD.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

As Mama Would Say

I have more than four hundred CD's. I should collect them all in one big pile and burn them.

If i wouldn't have bought them, i would be more than five thousand US dollars richer.

Sometimes i hate myself and i want to die.

People Speaking - Trust

— "I don't trust him. I tell him: 'If you say that the sun shines outside, I'll go outside and check if the sun is really there'."

Give it to the Man

You've gotta give it to Shimon Peres - one of the symbols of Israel's so-called democracy, the man is chronically, pathologically incapable of winning an election and still going strong after more than three hundred and fifty years of constant losing.

Now we in Israel might have our own Chavez! There is never a shortage of reasons to say Ima shelkha zona.

Kiss You!!!

My name is Babam. Welcome to my home page. Kiss You!!!

But seriously: I stumbled upon this blog by some Turkish guy and he has some beautiful photos there.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005

Next Blog

At the top of this page, there's a link that says "Next Blog". It leads to another random blog on I sometimes click it. More often than not, the target is not in English. The absolute leader is Portuguese. Next come Malay or Indonesian (they're pretty much the same language that no-one actually speaks but a lof people write). Spanish and Japanese are quite common too. And that sorta makes sense, 'cuz a lot of people speak those languages (although the absence of French and German is rather obscure).

But all too often i come upon Icelandic, a language spoken by less than half a million people.


People Speaking - Fear 2

— "So, are you and Hadar eating meat again? ... Why not? You're breaking my heart. One day you'll have to buy a house; Men will build it - you think that they'd have enough power to build it if they wouldn't eat meat? Or maybe you don't want a house, a family? But you really won't have a family, you won't have children at all! ... And fish - everyone has to eat fish. Twice a week. Everyone! Every doctor will tell you that. What doctor told you that you don't need meat?? Tell me his name and i'll kill him, i'll choke him. He's not a doctor, he's a murderer."

(I sense a recurring theme ...)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tafus/Sleep Oh! it is sweet, B

Damn it, i missed the 300'th entry.


I've seen a part from some Korean movie - there were very nice young girls chatting on the phone about something that made them distressful, and there were crates in the room that had 잠앗달고나 written on them. If anyone can tell me what that means and what movie it is, i'll be very thankful.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Freshly converted vegetarians are supposed to have problems with vitamin B12. Many are compensating the lack of it by eating pills. I hate pills. Two hundred years ago there were vegetarians too, and there were no pharmaceutical corporations that produced pills. If there's no other choice than to eat pills, i'd rather eat meat.

I was eating noodles and thought: If we substitute an essential part of our diet for pills, why not just make pills that includes the necessary daily dosage of proteins, carbs, vitamins etc. and eat that instead of wasting time on cooking and dining? "Well, there must be something to make us feel sated", Hadar said. "It all ends up as chemicals", i replied. "No, it must be the quantity, too", she argued. Then i thought - do we really need all that quantity? Is that whole plate of noodles made up of necessary minerals that we need? The answer came quickly - shit.

Shit is all the food that we don't digest. Mama told me that, so it must be right. If we don't digest it, than we probably don't need it anyway. So if we make such pills and stop eating food, it will keep us alive, give us more time for work and leisure and most importantly - there'll be no more shit in the world!

Maybe pills are not such a bad idea.


I'm having a new round of former Soviet Union obsession. This time it is taking the form of fascination with the greatest dictatorships there - Belarus and Turkmenistan. All the rest are dictatorships too, but these two provide the most interesting stories. It's quite startling how those two guys, Türkmenbaşy and Lukashenko keep ruling. It's a depressing proof - yet another - that the hope doesn't lie in the proles.

The Belarus obsession, unlike the Turkmen one, may have practical value for me, as i started a Balto-Slavic Studies course this year. Reading the texts will probably be a very easy part and i even feel a little like cheating, but the more i read about the subject the more i understand that serious linguistic work will not be easy at all. First, because the patterns of Russian are thouroughly stuck in my head and it makes me look at every Slavic language in comparison to Russian, which is obviously wrong. Moreover, virtually anything written on the subject of Baltic and Slavic languages is so soaked with politics, that trusting anyone on giving solid facts is impossible. But then again - languages are defined by politicians who tell linguists what to write in their "research". Particularly in Eastern Europe.

I heard earlier about the history of the west of Eastern Europe - this gray zone formed by eastern Poland, Baltic states, Belarus and Ukraine. Names like Galichyna, Ruthenia, Bukovina, Prussia, which are long gorgotten - or rather erased from history books by force - keep springing up. And of course the GDL - The Grand Duchy of Lithuania. I don't remember learning about it at history lessons in USSR - there i lived under the impression that Ukraine and Belarus (called Byelorussia, of course) were almost always quiet vassals of Russia, although Kievan Rus' was briefly mentioned. But the reading texts in the Lithuanian grammar book which i used at my Lithuanian courses in the University talked a lot about it, painting a colourful picture of a big peaceful union, where Belorusians and Ukrainians, who considered their land Rus' were the majority of population and the Lithuanians and the Poles were the nice rulers who did not loot the villages, rape the women and make everyone pay terrible taxes. And they all coexisted nicely. But of course that was a Lithuanian book, written by mostly Lithuanian authors at the time of Russian/Soviet occupation. Even this Russian nationalistic "Encyclopedia" admits that Rus' is the western land and doesn't include Moscow - but it does say that Ukrainians ("little Russians") and Byelorussians are just branches of one Russian nation, the center of which is, of course, in Moscow.

I grew up in Moscow, so the impression i got when i read Ukrainian and Byelorussian/Belarusian texts was that those languages are the little sisters of Russian. Although the visit to Ukraine at the age of five made me want to study linguistics (really!), i always found those two languages more amusing than interesting. It was like this even when i grew up and started learning linguistics, which was supposed to thoroughly teach that all languages are equal.

So in the last weeks i started to take a serious look at Belarusian, which until now mostly made me laugh, because in written form it looked like a homework of a Russian kid in the first grade who didn't yet master the spelling rules. In the last few days i read the Wikipedia article and some related sites and it was eye-opening. Yes, Wikipedia is not 100% reliable and Belarusian sites are bound to have an anti-Moscow or even pro-Lithuanian/Polish bias, but it made me realize that Rus' and Russia are quite different things; that what i always called Russian, was once called Moscovite and only later began to be called Russian. How - i don't yet exactly understand and probably never will. I also understood that the demand of Belarusians to spell the name of their language Belarusian and not Byelorussian is not a mere secessionist whim, it has historical grounds (and i never liked the expression "White Russia").

Now i just hope that it will help me in my studies.

Friday, November 04, 2005


If you are seeing question marks in the title, you don't have a Unicode font.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

People Speaking - NN

— "Oh, she was American, but she still wrote her last name with double-n: Fleishmann. Good for her. She's already dead."

Hoşgün, Sanjar 02, 2005

Let the Golden Age Begin

I met Saparmyrat Nyýazow on a boat. I couldn't believe my luck - just a few days ago an idea came to me that, if properly implemented, will assist the great Turkmen people grow, prosper and find spiritual truth in this Golden Age of Turkmenistan. The idea is to drop the Russian ending -ow (or -ov) from Turkmen last names. And of course, no-one can understand and implement this as well as the great leader of independent and neutral Turkmenistan. But of course, i had to start with a proper and polite greeting - after all, he is not just some head of state, he's the great Serdar - Türkmenbaşy, the head of all Turkmen and the inspired author of the book of Turkmen soul - Ruhnama. Even though such traits can be expected to be found in a great leader, i was still delightfully surprised to find out how modest and nice he was - truly a sign of his unique abilities as a wise and humane person and a teacher admired by his people. Unfortunately, i woke up before i actually got to the part of proposing my idea to him and lost my chance to have a month - or at least a cotton field - named after me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

You Gotta Catch Your Dreams Before They Run Away

I dreamt that the first girl i dated in high-school is marrying her step-father.


— "You're wearing eyeglasses."

— "Cold."