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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

People Speaking - Customer

Someone called my cellphone from the 04 area code, which is Northern Israel. An elderly-sounding man spoke:

— "Hello! Are you Amir?"

— "Yes."

— "Hello! This is Moshe! Do you know Moshe?"

— "No, i don't think so..."

— "I am Moshe!"

— "I see ..."

— "I am Moshe! I am Moshe, G.'s father."

OK, i now G., whose name will remain private.

— "Oh, hello. It's good to talk to you."

— "How are you?"

— "I'm fine, thanks."

— "Can you help me?"

— "Ehh ... I hope that i can. How can i help you?"

— "The remotes ... they don't work. We need to change them. Can you change them?"

— "What??"

— "The remotes, they don't work."

— "The TV remote controls??"

— "Yes, remotes for TV. They don't work. They told us that we have to change them in the post office, but we have to pay 35 shekels. I want you to change them."

— "But ..."

— "... And also, we weren't at home for two months, when the war was going on, and we didn't watch TV, so we don't want to pay for that time."

— "Eh ... you are talking about cable or satellite TV, right?"

— "What? We need to change the remote controls, they don't work, can you change them?"

— "OK, let me understand - you have a problem with the remote controls for your satellite TV?"

— "What satellite? I don't have satellite, i have YES."

YES is the only satellite TV company in Israel. This conversation shows that they have a very strong brand - people know that they have YES, and some of them don't even realize that it has something to do with satellites and dishes and all that. YES also do business with the company in which i work. I guess that's the reason G. or his father Moshe made some connection between me and the problems with their satellite TV. Or maybe not ...

— "Sorry, Moshe, i think you are confused - you see, i work in a company that is related to the television business, but i can't help you with the problems that you have with YES. You need to talk to YES."

— "But my remotes ... they don't work ... I need to replace them. Can't you replace them?"

It nearly made me cry.

— "No, i don't have anything to do with it. You need to talk to the customer service of the company called YES."

— "But didn't you sell us YES?"

— "No."

— "Didn't you come to our house and make us sign the contract with YES?"

— "No. I didn't do that. I don't work for YES."

— "But you worked for YES once, didn't you?"

— "No, i never worked for YES. Sorry. You'll have to talk to them. I wish i could help you."

I really wish i could help him. Poor guy. But he doesn't give up easily.

— "You see, i need to replace the remotes for my TV, they don't work and they told us to go to the post office to replace them."

— "OK, so you probably should do that or maybe talk to YES one more time if there is some problem. I can't help you."

— "And you don't work for YES?"

— "No."

— "Really? Aren't you Yaniv's brother?"


— "No, i am not Yaniv's brother."

— "And you don't work in YES?"

— "No."

— "Are you sure that you are not Yaniv's brother?"

— "Yes, i am definitely not Yaniv's brother."

— "And can you give me Yaniv's phone number?"

— "No. Sorry. I don't know Yaniv."

— "Oh, i see."

— "Sorry i couldn't help you. Say hello to G. from me."

— "OK. Thank you."

Hadar told me that it was very nice on my behalf to talk to him at all.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Sorry about the rare and the disappointing updates. I'm off the hook. No more internet connection at home at least for a few more weeks. A change will do me good.

I'm planning a huge pics upload some time soon, and it's not just the wedding.

In the meantime, enjoy some vegetarian spam:

crash-land lady beetle
mole-blindedly Konia-ladik
mis-space frame worker
quasi-living quasi-living
bang beggar monitory letter
gas-lampy quasi-living

Also, since i'm off the hook, i re-discovered books that are printed on paper. Recommendation: Try the short story "Pecheneg" by A. P. Checkhov. It's rather pointless yet very enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Slower than a motivated cheetah

In July of 2005, one citizen of the fine city of Sderot spoke to Maariv after a Kassam rocket landed near his house. This is what he said: "Carrying out the disengagement will nullify the motivation to fire Kassam rockets."

His name is Amir Peretz and today he is the minister of defense. Israel is supposed to be a democracy, and therefore i am supposed to be his boss. I would like to fire him, but i can't. That's why i think that Israel is not really a democracy.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I received a message on MySpace (spelling mistakes kept, names abbreviated with '):

this may sound a bit strange, but I was wondering if you are related to A' Aharoni from Natanya? If you are, I have been trying to find he and his wife as my husband passed from this life owing them money, and I am trying to settle the debt. It has been troubling me for several years now. They would have known me by S' P', my husbands name was D. A. was a musician and his wife was studying to be a teacher I believe I think the spelling of her name is R'. If you could be of any assistance, I would greatly appreciate it.

I wonder whether it is a true story of sadness and honesty or an Israeli version of Nigerian spam.

People Speaking - Documentary

— "Do you have a secure room in your house?"

— "No, i don't think so."

— "It's the room with the window that can be shut with a metal door."

— "No, i don't have it."

— "Because I heard that it is very dangerous to use it as a living or sleeping room."

— "OK, mama, i don't have such a room, so i probably won't use it like that."

— "Do you know why? I saw a documentary about it on the television. It is because these rooms are built with a kind of concrete that emits toxic gases and it suffocates you if you are there for more than a few hours. It is fine to sit there and do some homework for a couple of hours, but not any more ..."

— "But why are you telling all that? I don't have such a room, so it is completely irrelevant."

— "... and it is especially dangerous in Jerusalem, because the soil in Jerusalem emits other gases which mix with the ones from the concrete and are even more dangerous."

— "So what?"

— "What so what? It is very dangerous and I am telling you that, because you live in Jerusalem. There was also a high school there and they had to rebuild it ..."

— "But mama, i finished high school nine years ago and i don't have a secure room in my house."

— "OK. What else can you tell me? Do you still do music?"

— "Yes."

— "How do you do music?"

— "I go to a rehearsal room with my friends and play."

— "And what kind of songs?"

— "All kinds."

— "Oh, OK. And do you sing?"

— "No, not really, i can't sing at all."

— "Why do you say that? You sing very well, better than anyone in the world. You must sing."

— "If you say so, mama."

— "That's right, you sing better than anyone-anyone-anyone in the world."

Oh mama.

People Speaking - Fairy

— "Sorry, I couldn't call you back after one minute as I promised, because I went up to the office and that M. was sitting there talking on the phone for a really long time, and talking and talking and talking and yawning all the time as if someone was telling him a children's fairy tale. Stupid asshole."


This semester i finally started studying two very important languages. No, not Armenian and Irish - i'm talking about Spanish and Arabic.

Spanish is in huge demand. In fact, i'm still not officially signed up for the course. It is given in five different groups, each with its own days and hours, there's only one that fits me and technically it is full, but the teacher agreed to accept me. This group has sixty students and it is only one of five. I'll have to go through some more bureaucratic hoops to get an official grade too.

Our Spanish teacher gave us homework for yesterday. I didn't do it, of course. No-one was really sure whether to hand it in. At the end of the lesson one female student asked loudly: "Do we have to hand in the homework?", to which i immediately replied: "Shhhhhh!" Then someone told me quietly: "You should forgive her, she is an atudait."

If you are not Israeli, this requires an explanation. Atudai (f. -it, pl. -im) is someone who is allowed to complete an academic degree before he is drafted to IDF service. So it means that she a). is a geek and b). hasn't been in the army yet and hence she doesn't know what a "kit bag question" is. In IDF slang, a "kit bag question" is a question better not asked, because the reply can be positive. It originates at a very common story - the commander tells the unit to run and some stupid soldier asks - "With the kit bag or without the kit bag?" The reply is obvious. This story is very famous, but when i was at tironut (boot camp) someone actually asked this exact question.

Another Hebrew saying goes: "Suckers never die."

Friday, November 03, 2006

People Speaking - Spoon

— "In Ethiopia it is considered polite to feed your guest."

— "What, to actually put the spoon in his mouth??"

— "No, no. In Ethiopia they eat with their hands."

Thursday, November 02, 2006


OK, i'm taking this risk and changing the template to some Blogger-beta pre-designed Web 2.0-AJAX-dynamagic thing. All the fun links and gif's on the sidebar around will be updated some time soon. Here we go.

One man come

What do i have to write about the pride parade in Jerusalem?

Nothing much.

I think that those parades are kinda pointless, especially in Israel, because in practice gay rights in Israel are in a pretty good shape compared to the rest of the world. And so is the general public tolerance. It's legal to have sex with anyone you want and same-sex civil unions are not defined in law, but they are defined well enough in court precedents, and that's what counts. On the Hebrew Wikipedia they pretty much rule. Those who think that they don't yet rule in Jerusalem are quite wrong.

But i don't mind. Let them march if they think that it's fun. I pity those who violently oppose it - they should find something better to do.

Plus, it was on the previous pride parade in Jerusalem that Hadar finally decided to go veg after i talked about it with her for years, so something good came out of it for me.

Tea Packs

Throughout the whole day i'm having an urge to drink a bottle of correction fluid that stands on my table.

I hid it in a drawer, but the thought just wouldn't go away.

A sip of Jack Daniels helped.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Made Me Cry - Matt

I am a basket case Internet junkie, but more often than not it takes a while until email fads reach me.

This one finally did.

I mean OK - i cry at greatness. And i love his dance (i should have been more prudent at filming myself jumping on beds in hotels.)

But the music! The music! Reminded me of the best moments of Go Home Productions. And Dancer in the Dark too.

Just made me cry.

Oh (edit): Stupid, stupid - i know what it really reminded me of. Cocteau Twins' "Lorelei". The song to which Hadar and me walked to the hupa. Videos will be uploaded Real Soon Now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

People Speaking - Spelling

— "Amir!"

— "What?"

— "How do you spell gibberish?"

— "Ehh ... Brdhklgvdnbrdrbnbnba! Urlelueuleuleula! Bagvnkagadvrbakglbdvdrkgbdruvbla!"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Miron's Space

I made a very simple page for Miron Tzabari's band at MySpace:

It's not so good. It should be in Hebrew, but MySpace doesn't accept Hebrew. It shouldn't have so much ugly advertising. It shouldn't use Flash. But for starters, it's a good way to spread the word.

Next in line - and will be a bit more complicated but with God's help will appear one day. Any other suggestions are most welcome.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Coffee in Tel Aviv

Hadar and me drinking ice coffee
אייס קפה עם קש מרפא זוועות (עמיר לב)

That's Hadar and me at Rothschild street in Tel Aviv. Our first date, not including a couple of gigs we seen beforehand, was in a coffee shop nearby.

Cool waves wash over me

Wedding pictures are coming - as soon as i receive them from the photographer. Stories will come as soon as i write them.

In the meantime life goes on and the breaking and wonderful news are that there's heavy rain in the mountains of Jerusalem. I love rain and i love Israeli winter. I just need to drive really carefully.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Funny Love

I thought that Pucca is Japanese and is mostly a character on notebooks, pens and purses for impressionable teen age girls. Apparently she is Korean - she really looks unusual compared to most Manga. And she has movies too, and they are actually quite good. Look here for some Flesh (sic) animations: Pucca Club (click on "Amusement").

It's not the first time that i notice that Koreans are better than Japanese at least at some things. It's like Avis - they try harder.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lord of the Rings

Aharoni is still in Unicode and still alive.

Aharoni is also married and one day soon he will write something more here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Time to get Biblical again. Jonah 1:

4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

I forgive everyone everything. I don't hold grudges and i don't worry about trouble. Either i can do something about it or i can go to sleep.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Please could you ...

... tell me why i had the urge to cut down a light post with an axe a few days ago?

I know the answer, do you?

You laugh -
Take quickly,
Return slowly.

It's late you say,
We both stand up,
An Arab doctor, a Jewish singer,
Hug and go.

From the direction of the mountain
All is normal,
Good October
Is about to begin.

(Amir Lev)

אתה צוחק -
בתי המשפט
לוקחים מהר,
מחזירים לאט.

מאוחר אתה אומר,
שנינו קמים,
רופא ערבי, זמר יהודי,
מתחבקים והולכים.

מכיוון ההר
הכל רגיל,
אוקטובר הטוב
עומד להתחיל

(עמיר לב)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Visit to Gaza

boys and girls


This is a picture from a children's story at a website called Al-Fateh, which, despite its name, is actually operated by Hamas. OK, let's see - a boy in short pants is riding a rocket painted with Amiga colors. A happy-looking girl is chasing him; she's not dressed too modestly and could be Swedish for all i care. There are two boys on the ground holding the PA flag, one of them wears religious clothes. In the background there's a bustling city and the title of the story is "A Visit to Gaza". And by a total coincidence there's also a crescent in the sky.

Brotherhood of boys and girls, and religious and secular (and maybe also Christian) Arabs. The picture of a city doesn't look quite like the usual pictures of Gaza.

I am not making any claims - these are just thoughts.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Made Me Cry - Russian Hero

A Russian man died in Utah, trying to save the life of a girl falling from a cliff: in English, по-Русски.

"Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him."

May God have mercy on his soul and reward his selfless courage.

Monday, September 25, 2006

People Speaking - Mmm ...

— "Did I lock?"

— "Yes."

— "Really?"

— "Mmm ... No."

People Speaking - Pick

— "Why are you turning right? You should go on straight ahead."

— "Oh, i though that the gas station is to the right. But hey, there are girls to the right."

— "Oh yeah! Hot teen age hitchhikers! It's great that they are hitchhiking in the middle of the night - we can pick them up, rape them and through them away in a ditch by the road. Why not?"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

People Speaking - Box

— "There is a difference between me and you."

— "What is it?"

— "I would have never done that."

— "What?"

— "You touched the rag. Then you touched the food and put it in the fridge."

— "I didn't touch the food. I only touched the box it was in."

— "You touched the food."

— "Do you still love me?"

— "It's hard, it's hard ... I'm thinking about all the times you did it and I didn't know ..."

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Some time ago i used to follow a blog by a Belarusian guy who called himself rydel23. I mentioned him here a few times too. Then his blog wasn't updated for a long time. Then it went offline. And then i removed him from my RSS. I still left the link to him, but struck it out. I considered the possibility that this rather well-known dissident was vaporized by Lukashenko's KGB or maybe died.

So out of boredom i took a look at it today. Unfortunately my second hypothesis was closer to the truth - he was hit by a fire truck and is slowly recovering from coma. I can only hope that he'll do better than Ariel Sharon did until now.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

People Speaking - Not Me

— "Why aren't you speaking? What do you think of this food?"

— "I am immobile. I can't do anything, I can't speak and I can't move, because it's too hot. It's too hot, because the air conditioning isn't working. Actually I dreamt a few days ago - such things actually happen sometimes! - I dreamt that I was tasting this food and it was too hot and the air conditioning didn't work and I couldn't move. In sleep I really can't move, so I guess that it makes sense."

I couldn't believe that it wasn't me saying it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

People Speaking - Let

— "Did you go to sleep?"

— "No. Let me sleep."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This one drops the payload

I gave blood every six months for almost eight years. It gave me a warm feeling of saving people's lives and an insurance that would entitle me to have free blood transfusion in case i would, God forbid, need one.

Last time i gave blood, a year ago, i received a letter from the Israeli Blood Bank director, Dr. Eilat Shen'ar. The letter said that a test had shown that i was found positive for Hepatitis C, but then they re-tested it and found that it was a false positive. Nevertheless, she wrote, i am kindly asked not to donate again.

My physician confirmed that i'm negative and healthy.

It pissed me off, so i called them and asked for an explanation, mentioning that i have the O-negative blood type, which is in high demand. They told me that it is Standard Procedure and advised to wait one year and call again.

I won't tell the long story of the bureaucracy and the misunderstandings on the way, but after a year i did that test and today i got the results. False positive again. They don't want my blood, even though they know that i'm healthy and that it can save someones life in case the bank runs out of O-negative, which often happens, especially in Israel, with all the explosions and the wars, not to mention the numerous car accidents. Standard Procedure, they say.

I am not a doctor, but even they admit that it's not a matter of science but rather of bureaucracy. Here's a proof that bureaucracy kills. Now i feel really bad, even though i probably did my best here. The best you can is good enough, you say? I am not convinced.


I saw an advertisement for an accredited university in which you can earn a masters degree (M.A.) in wonderful subjects, such as Holistic Health and Women Studies.

I wonder what are they learning about for M.A. in Women Studies. I suppose that Color Matching, Inexistent Odor Recognition and Wrapping Sandwiches in Cellophane are done at the B.A. level. Maybe fo M.A. they are offering seminars on Obscuring Desires and Fighting Over Imaginary Relationship Problems.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Keep it Gangsta!!

From an email from Larry Wall to the Perl 6 mailing list:

Reduce operators only turn infix into list operators. What you really want here is a hyper-fatarrow:

   my %h = @k »=>« @v;

Aharoni with Larry Wall
I want to be like Larry. A. E. Aharoni and L. Wall, OSDC 2006, Netanya

No, i'm not going to post every single Larry Wall quote from his every email.

I just like the word "hyper-fatarrow", which refers to the fat arrow (=>) inside those angle quotes (»«), which you probably don't have on your keyboard. Larry is quite brave to introduce Unicode characters as operators in a general purpose programming language. So he's allowed to give them funny names too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

People Speaking - Two Kinds

— "Is this thing made in China?"

— "Yes. That's the problem. There were two kinds of those and I wanted to pick the one that isn't made in China, but there was none."

Made Me Cry - Firefox Again

And more about Firefox - i keep reading about it and i can't stop getting fascinated by it. It's a proof that free software works and that it can be used by regular people. It's a proof of Microsoft's lies, dirty tricks and incompetence.

There are many astonishing things about Firefox. The dedication of the programmers who developed Firefox to do The Right Thing - to write a free browser which will support the best technical standards and will be not just usable, but cool too. The dedication of the user community, of which i am proud to be a part to using and promoting, even with the worthy alternatives around (Safari, Opera, Konqueror and well, IE). Even it's logo makes me shed tears. Free software done right changes the world. It actually does.

Firefox has been downloaded 200 million times. This number probably includes previous versions. It means little about actual market share. But why not celebrate?

My older Firefox-related entries:

Firefox Fun

Firefox fun:

Lifesize Firefox
אווי, חמווווווווווווד!!!!1

More at Firefox tales.

I though about it - i see people promoting Firefox out of sheer love for it, which is well-deserved. Would there be anyone to love Internet Explorer so much? Probably not, 'cuz unlike Firefox, IE is just there. But if someone would really want to show his admiration, what would they do?

The only thing i could come up with was calling one's child Internet Explorer. I hope no-one does it though.

Oh Boy Oh Boy

Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous Person,

I appreciate your valuable comments with links to material about Lithuanian and Polish.

Can you please tell me who you are? I'm very very curious. If it's a secret, you can send me a private email to amir dоt aharoni аt gmail dоt com.

Labas ačiū.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Made Me Cry - Leaving on a jet plane

Fucking Armageddon is on loop in the labs here.

Buscemi in a space suit. Affleck and Buscemi in a space suit singing "leaving on a jet plane." Owen Wilson complaining about people who think that Jethro Tull is a person in a band.

Liv talking Japanese (i heard that she had trouble with Quenya, and Japanese is harder as far as i know. Whatever.) Liv making Aharoni cry:

— "Promise me you'll come back!

— "OK."

— "Say it!"

— "I promise."


The President of the United States of America making Aharoni cry:

— "I address you tonight not as the President of the United States, not as a leader of a country, but as a citizen of humanity. ... And yet, for the first time in the history of the planet, a species has the technology to prevent its own extinction."

Yeah, now that Aharoni is submitting patches to Perl 6, it should better have. Ya mama.

— "Ahh! Ahh! The door's gonna blow!"


Monday, August 21, 2006

The Cages and the Cages

I submitted a patch for Parrot and it was even accepted.

Parrot is the codename for the central part of the next version of the Perl language, Perl 6 (it's a dynamic registered-based virtual machine, if you're technically inclined). Because it is called Parrot, there's a role in the development team called "cage cleaners" - the people who do all the little work without diving deeply into the magick algorithms. So i am one of them.

This patch doesn't do much except aligning some spacing and indentation in a Perl file. But i'm still insanely excited. It is not functional for Parrot, but it helps developers write code without bugs.

More to come ... i hope.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bargain buildings, part 1

There seem to be some strange problems since i moved to the new and "improved" beta Blogger platform.

We apologise for the inconvenience.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not the Same

Ceasefire. At first i didn't buy it, but now i see photos of the official Lebanese army entering villages in the South, so it's probably good. I still think that it must be some trick, but i hope that i'm wrong.

Refugees from Galilee are returning back to their homes (my parents never left). Hotels in the North are reporting that the tourists are coming back. So what, is it like ... Peace?

Still, it's not the same country. Nasrallah is still alive, and as long as he is, he'll say that he won and a lot of people will believe him; Ironically, Israelis are the first to believe him - i don't think that any of us actually has a feeling of victory. And as long there's no victory, the war is not really over and can come back any minute.

Moreover, well over one hundred Israelis and much more Lebanese were killed in this pointless bloodshed. Questions are being asked. Was the army ready to this war? Why did the chief of staff reassigned senior commanding officers in the middle of fighting? Did we have to kill so much civilians to reach almost nothing?

Most importantly - i hear the Israeli journalists, "the keepers of the etrog", carefully asking the greatest questions of them all: Those people that we supported so strongly before the elections - Prime Minister Olmert and Defence Minister Peretz - are they capable of doing another war? Didn't they lie to us about the Disengagement? Why did we mock Effie Eitam when he said that after the Disengagement Kassam rockets will fall on Ashkelon? Why didn't we even try to listen to him? (They know the answer - because he has a beard and wears a kipa, but they are still afraid to admit it.)

No, it's not the same country as it was a year ago. And it's for the good. It's always for the good.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

People Speaking - Tired

— "Why aren't you going to sleep?"

— "Because I'm tired."

Monday, August 14, 2006


"I decided to visit it and was reading all the nasty stuff he said about Jews and Booze. Then I found out I was on Mel Gibson's blog by mistake."

(A comment on a Slashdot post about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new blog. Thanks to L. Roz Hubbard for the link.)

Sunday, August 13, 2006


This is the "Contact us" page of the website of the Israeli Testing Certification Board (ITCB is the Israeli branch of ISTQB; see here).

Can you see any problem with it? Hint: You don't need to know Hebrew to find it. Remember that this is no less than the Testing Certification Board.

Although it is unlikely that they will ever fix it, i made a screenshot - just in case. Click to enlarge.

ITCB Contact


I studied a new English word! Ya mama!

The word is "fob". Definition in Merriam-Webster:

2 : a short strap, ribbon, or chain attached especially to a pocket watch
3 : an ornament attached to a fob chain

I learnt it from UK's new airport security measures. It allows "keys (but no electrical key fobs)". Among other things it means that you can't take you disk-on-key a.k.a USB flash drive and probably any other USB gadget into the plane cabin.

Several strange things:

  1. In that sense, fob should have meant "key holder", but it doesn't - see above.
  2. The first two native English speakers that i asked about this whole thing didn't know what am i talking about. They heard the word "fob" from me for the first time. (They are both Americans, however.)
  3. The 1947 edition of the Oxford Pocket Dictionary marks this word as "historical", but the latest Merriam-Webster does not.
  4. Blogger's spelling checker recognizes "fob", but not "fobs".
  5. Most importantly: Are these security regulations written for Average Joe Tourist? Or are they intentionally obscure?


This is not for computer people only, although it might look like that in the beginning.

You try to install a program on a Windows PC. This application depends on functioning IIS - Microsoft HTTP server software.

When you try to start IIS, you get an error - "Unexpected error 0x8ffe2740". This is not very helpful (talk about Microsoft's user-friendliness...), so you search the web with this weird error message and you find that it means that some other application is occupying port 80. Port 80 is the standard HTTP port. But what is it?

Of course you can use cool command-line network monitoring tools and find the offending process. But for me a quick look on the PC screen was just enough: In the tray there was the familiar icon for Apache. I am saying "familiar", because Apache is the main competitor of Microsoft's IIS - it is the famous open-source HTTP server, on which most of the World Wide Web runs. So of course Apache was occupying port 80. The icon, appropriately for Apache is a feather:

Apache software foundation logo

Now why do i say "appropriately"? Because Apache is one of the Native American nations and Native Americans are known for putting feathers in their head. It makes sense to me and it makes it easy for me to remember that Apache's icon is a feather.

Apparently, despite the fact that Apache is a very popular web server software and despite the fact that it's quite easy to remember its icon, many people with whom i work didn't see it immediately. I swear that i am not bragging - but i am quite surprised.

That's how my mind works. I am not a genius, but i do try not to strain my head remembering things that make sense - if something makes sense, it just pops up by itself.

Friday, August 11, 2006



In all languages there's a difference of one letter. So why doesn't English have June and Jule or Juny and July?

Oh (edit): I totally forgot the original, which is very important:



Why the world hates the Jews by Michael Medved

It's long, indulgent, apologetical and somewhat one-sided, but largely right.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Made Me Cry Again - Indriķis XIII

I updated the entry about Indriķis XIII with pictures. Enjoy.

This entry will self destruct within some time.


Ya Mustafa!
Ya Mustafa!

Look: Arabic-Chinese calligraphy and more Arabic-Chinese calligraphy.

Arabic calligraphy is so much more interesting than Hebrew, or any other for that matter. To my taste, Japanese comes second and Chinese third.

There hardly is such a thing as Hebrew calligraphy - the script for hand-written Torah scrolls is the same all the time and all the other books are just printed and we are not really concerned with handwritten calligraphy, which is a pity.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Em B D->D9 A

Em B D->D9 A

Am Em->Em2 F# Am


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Creeping Closer

It is creeping closer to me.

The son of someone who works in the office next to mine was killed in Bint Jbeil. He was supposed to get married next month.

May the true judge be blessed - ברוך דיין אמת.

People Speaking - Sixth

— "Can't you see it? We're in the last seven years before the coming of the Messiah. Now it's already the sixth, which according to the prophecy in the Talmud, is the year of the voices. Next year is the seventh, which is the year of the wars."

— "So you basically say that the wars has just begun and we ain't seen nothing yet?"

— "Oh, yes, of course. There's gonna be the war of Gog and Magog. The great nation of Gog from the north will come and fight us with many many soldiers. Read it, it's in Ezekiel. And in the end The Holy [G-d], Blessed Be His Name, will win. It is written that it will take six months just to bury them. Do you imagine that? You'll gonna go in a field and you'll see someone dead, you'll stop for a minute, bury him and then go on. And it's gonna be like that for six months straight. Next year."

Here's the relevant Ezekiel (38-39) - actually it says seven months. And if you read Hebrew, here's the relevant Talmud passage - Derech Eretz Zuta 10. After listing the seven years it goes on to this very convincing passage:

"R' Gamliel says: The generation in which the son of David [the Messiah] comes - the house of gathering will be that of prostitution, the Galilee will be destroyed, and the people of Galilee will go from town to town and won't find consolation, and the wisdom of the writers will stink, and those who fear sin will be loathed, the face of the generation as a face of a dog, and the truth is absent and he who avoids wickedness is going crazy."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Excruciatingly gray

Why i don't write in Russian much?

Because i type slowly in Russian.

If i'd write more, i'd type faster.

Парадокс, бля.

Zionist Propaganda

Israeli Arabs: Finish off Nasrallah (YNet)

So, is it Zionist propaganda or popular outcry?

To the Point

I heard this quote once, i don't remember who said it - Orwell maybe? "The simplest way to end a war is to lose it."

It's true, but not for Israel.

For Israel loss means death. It's not worth it.

So it only leaves one option - to win.

And there's only one way to win.

To kill Nasrallah.

Beirut will be destroyed and he'll say that he won. Two thirds of Lebanon's population will die and he'll say that he won. As long as he is alive, he'll say that he won. So he must die. He's asking for it. And this will be the victory.

We can, of course, capture him, try him and put him in jail. And then his cronies will capture a couple of our soldiers and then we'll have to release him in return for them, and then he'll shoot at us again, and then we'll have to kill him. So why waste time?

This is cruel and oversimplistic, but someone, please, convince me that i am wrong. Please. I'm sick of being right all the time.

And don't worry about the history. We'll go down as the good guys, because history is written by the winners. So only one thing is left - to win.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Your eyes make a circle

As promised, Hizballah bombed Hadera.

But i've got something much better to show you - a picture of a boy the size of a house. Enjoy:

Boy the size of a house
Boy. Actually it's an advertisement for a hotel.

Oh (edit): Hadar says that the quality of this picture is very high and she doesn't believe me that i took it with a 1 megapixel phone camera.

1337 h4X0r

Go to the American Bible Society - introduction page.

Watch it from the beginning to the end. Don't skip, otherwise it won't work.

In the end there's a very neat visual effect. The coolest thing about is that it was not made by a designer or a computer programmer, but by God Almighty (and maybe Holy Ghost too). I hope that you'll notice it and enjoy it as much as i did.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Beach party tonight (actually on 2006-07-29)

Miron and the band sitting

See, that's a band. Nothing special.

See that geek in a BitTorrent t-shirt playing piano on the right? That's Aharoni, ya mama.

The lighting died the moment we connected it. We asked our friends to bring any lamps they can find.

Miron standing with bandage

Miron celebrated his birthday and his second-birth-day - a year since he nearly died in a work related accident. On the morning of the show he had another work related accident - he cut his left hand and he needed stitches. He played guitar anyway. He said that the nurse told him not to remove the bandage if the hand is bleeding. It bled, but in the middle of the show he removed it anyway. Guitar hero.

Eli plays guitar

Eli, the new guitar player really tied the band together. He had some feedback problems, but handled it gracefully.

Playing on the sand was not that bad. It even didn't destroy the instruments too much.

Elad plays bass

Elad is a show man. This bass is actually black blue, but it looks blue black in some pictures.

My old cheap and cranky 700-channel mixer and a couple of brandless amplifiers actually worked as monitors.

Stupid geek in a BitTorrent t-shirt plays piano

And i played some piano. Miron was happy and didn't yell at me for playing too loud.

Miron and the band in action

This is Rock Action, ya mama.

I was there.

Pioneer of aerodynamics

This is for computer people only: Ever heard of the Eiffel programming language?

It's supposed to be an super-duper-ultra-elegant object-oriented development platform, and its proponents think that it is superior to Java and C++. But i haven't heard of anyone actually using it.

Apparently the canonical implementation of Eiffel, EiffelStudio is moving towards becoming fully Free Software. The IDE is released under a modified GPL, much like Qt. It runs on Windows, and is supposed to work on Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS, some other Unices and even VMS.

The IDE is very impressive in the sense that it has a lot of toolbars with colorful buttons. The terminology, however, is quite different from what you may be used to in NetBeans, MS Visual Studio or KDevelop. The words "retargeting", "pull up", "feature", "cluster", "contract" and even "text" don't mean what you think they mean, but once you do the guided tour in the Help system it becomes clearer. There are also very impressive Eiffel training presentations.

I have no idea what is it good for, but every day i dedicate a few minutes for studying this thing. Did i mention the colorful toolbar buttons already?

(Tip, if you are trying this: The guided tour mentions ACE files. Actually these are ECF files. The documentation wasn't completely updated for version 5.7.)

Monday, July 31, 2006

No Nukes, part 4

Iran is given a deadline to respond to UN demands about its nuclear program.

This is not fair. I don't remember Israel responding to any UN demands about its nuclear program.

That's right: I know that Iran is a theocratic dictatorship that shows clear intentions to destroy my country and a maybe a bunch of others, like the USA. And Israel is a (perceived) responsible democracy, that too often shows idiotic compassion towards its worst enemies; Israel also says in some way or another that it is "not going to be the first country in the Middle East to use nuclear weapons". None of it matters. Someone - please - break this vicious circle - now.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I guess we know the score

Miron scheduled a gig on Friday on a beach between Netanya and Hadera. Nasrallah said that his next bombing target is Netanya. We decided that the show must go on. I just hope that the crowd will come too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again

My parents left to a vacation in Karlovy Vary. It was planned before the war, so they are not "refugees". But before he left, my father said:

— "If they bomb our home in Nesher, call us. We'll fly to Moscow."

It was a joke, of course.

Still, i can't escape the thought that that's just what our enemy wants us to do - to go back to Moscow.

I was born in Moscow and lived there for eleven years. I love that city. I love the Russian language and the Russian culture. I have family and friends there. I can find a job there. But i just can't think of going to Moscow in terms of "going back", certainly not in the sense of "going back home". My home is here.

I had an email discussion about this war with Mira, my pen-pal from United Arab Emirates. She's a devout Muslim; she's also very intelligent, and quite modern and liberal and feminist too. She says that Arabs - including herself - support Nasrallah, because everything that he says becomes a fact, while the Israeli government lies all the time. While i can't accuse my governement of excessive honesty, i find it rather disappointing that there are people who openly support someone just because he's sincere about being a murderer of innocent civilians. The discussions with her put me back in proportion, though - i'm not talking about the numbers, the fact that we killed much more Lebanese than Hizballah killed Israelis, but the fact that something doesn't make sense in all this.

I mean, seriously - can't we end it in a few minutes? Don't we know where those Katyusha's are shot from? Can't we just destroy the launchers? Why do we bomb civilians so hardly? Did they really all have launchers in their backyards?

Trouble is, no-one will ever take responsibility. Even if a government commission will list every single failure and human rights violation in this war, the generals and the politicians will keep getting their fat salaries and they will have bodyguards that look like Armani models until the rest of their life. An international court won't help either - how can anyone trust them when they chase Serb criminals religiously, but don't dare to touch Saddam, the Assad family or Kim Jong Il?

Someone must be laughing at our naïveté here.

Monday, July 24, 2006


In a parallel universe i am an expat, a chemist and a father.

It’s getting harder and harder to tell what came first.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

No Nukes, part 3

In a bold marketing move Microsoft announced that it will release a portable digital music player called "Fucking".

That's right - the meaning of the word "Zune" (זיון) in Hebrew is "fucking". Imagine, if you will, this dialog:

— "Hello, i'd like to buy Microsoft Fucking for my grandson. How much is it?"

— "Let's see ... 689.95 NIS for the Fucking Device ... 59.95 NIS for a monthly subscription to Microsoft® Fucking Music Service™ - it's pretty good, you can listen to Weezer, Beck and David Byrne ... and you also need to sign an agreement stating that you know that if your grandson tries to crack Microsoft® Fucking Crap™, you will be automatically fucked - i mean, sued."

— "Fuck."

Oh (edit): Did anyone get the Weezer, Beck and David Byrne joke?

Haifa: 2 killed in rocket attacks - News from Israel, Ynetnews

A Katyusha rocket just hit a house one block away from my parents.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Amir E. Aharoni vs. Shalom Gad

He buys a seven hundred channels mixer,
Connects the microphones,
Connects left to left,
Connects right to right,
Connects to electricity,
Finds the red button
And presses

May the temple be built.

(from "Alcohol and Cigarettes" by Shalom Gad)

הוא קונה מיקסר שבע מאות ערוצים
מחבר מיקרופונים
מחבר לפט ללפט
מחבר רייט לרייט
מחבר לחשמל
מוצא את הכפתור האדום

ייבנה המקדש.

(מתוך "אלכוהול וסיגריות" מאת שלום גד)


This just in: Vodka goes very well with ice cream. Makes sense - it's like a five dollar milkshake.

I'm writing a paper about languages of three peoples that have a long historical argument about the very hard question, "Who invented vodka?" I'm talking about Russian, Belarusian and Lithuanian. I may throw Polish in at some stage, too.

Vegan Spam

Here you go:

X-Gmail-Received: af5da61812e6f0b5e7f7133d607317213a97b783
Received: by with SMTP id a15cs102679qbs;
        Mon, 17 Jul 2006 22:42:20 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with SMTP id t18mr336896nfj;
        Mon, 17 Jul 2006 22:42:20 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <?WORD??WORD?@?mail_domain?>
Received: from F246A7D4ECFC4A2 ([])
        by with ESMTP id r33si415786nfc.2006.;
        Mon, 17 Jul 2006 22:42:20 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: fail
Message-ID: <36781866608732.A3D0FB1D07@5MVMO>
To: <>
Subject: {}NEW} {STOCK_2}
Date: {DATE}
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook, Build 11.0.5510
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1106
Thread-Index: {ALNUM[36-36]}
Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit


It gives a peek into the spammers' inner systems. {}NEW} {STOCK_2}, {BODY}, {_WORD){WORD)@{MAIL_DOMAIN} are probably templates, placeholders for actual values and something went wrong in their processing. The actual message that i received was blank.

Also, it was sent by Microsoft Office Outlook. Is Outlook efficient enough to process spam? Or is it fake?

Made Me Cry - Bianca (UPDATED LINK)

Bianca Ryan

This is the cheesiest entry ever. You've been warned.

I hope that it's natural too.

Oh (edit): I suddenly realized that Bianca is the Italian word for "white". Coincidence?

Oh (edit) 2: The previous link died due to copyright restrictions. If you haven't seen it yet, see it now, before this one dies too.

R.I.P. Robert H. Brooks

World Wide Wing Commander
"Being female is reasonably necessary". Brooks

A lifelong fighter for women's rights, Robert H. Brooks died at a very good age.

I salute him, even though he sold meat (hey, i even bought some).

As a vegetarian, i should frown at his title "World Wide Wing Commander", but i suck.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


BBC finally noticed that Israeli civilians die in this war too.

My father works right there in the chemical factories at the Haifa Bay. I couldn't talk to him, but mama said that they are busy transporting dangerous chemicals to a safer place or something. Maybe she's making it up.

I wonder: Nasrallah must know that we can wipe him and most of his army off the face of the Earth minutes after our government decides about it. Well, i think we can. Anyway, he must also know that he can't destroy Israel with Katyusha's only. Then why does he do it? Does he feel that we'll be too nice and won't have the guts to destroy him?

My religious friends say that it's very simple - it's the war between good and evil that must go on because that's how the world works and the Torah says it.

Just yesterday i heard a Joan Baez bootleg that was recorded in Israel in the eighties. Joan is a well known pacifist and adherent of non-violence. At the recording she says just that - humanity doesn't have to accept the idea that bullets solve everything. I believe that it's true, it just has to happen.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hizballah Kills Israeli Civilians

This is the BBC News RSS feed. Can anyone try to find in this picture:

  1. Did the Hizballah kill anyone lately?
  2. Were any Israeli houses hit by rockets lately?
BBC-Israel kills Lebanese civilians


  1. Hizballah killed Israeli citizens - i counted at least five. It's less than the number of the Lebanese we killed, but they are people too. I couldn't find them mentioned anywhere at BBC news. Searching for Naharia yields very old results and Tzfat or Safed yield nothing. They are not mentioned in the timeline of the conflict either.
  2. Yes, but why should the BBC care.

It's the BBC, my friends, the beacon of unbiased truth.

There's a songbird who sings

I dreamt that a friend of mine took a piece of cake i was eating and threw it to the trash. I got unbelievably mad and tried to explain to him that let alone the robbery, i totally hate throwing food to the trash. He was quite indifferent and said that the cake was disgusting. I had to make a point, though, so i spilled a little water on his head. The funny thing is that a similar thing actually happened once - i spilled a little beer on a friend who was pissing me off (no, i didn't drink any beforehand).

When that didn't help, i turned to the Internet. The Internet always helps, doesn't it? I'll show you how bad it is to throw food away, i thought! So i started using a very old version of Netscape Navigator on a Mac. It was very annoying, not because the version was so old, but because it was configured in such a way that with every key i pressed, the computer played an annoying sound. I tried to turn it off, but couldn't find where. Then i found out that it's not even Netscape Navigator, but Konqueror. After a couple of minutes i started realizing that even when i don't press any keys the annoying sound goes on. It was a nasty fucking bird outside the window.


You probably know this lovely little poem:

I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still
When suddenly a tiny bird
Perch on my window sill,

He sang a song so lovely
So carefree and so gay,
That slowly all my troubles
Began to slip away.

He sang of far off places
Of laughter and of fun,
It seemed his very trilling,
brought up the morning sun.

I stirred beneath the covers
Crept slowly out of bed,
And gently lowered the window
And crushed its fucking head.

I'm not a morning person.


Well, i tried to take a picture of it instead, but it flew away, so i took a picture of another one, who looks quite the same, but not as annoying. Exhausted, i lay on the grass and took a picture of my cat Hantouli, which is the last thing that this blog was really missing.

P.S.: Blogger's spell checker doesn't recognize the words "fucking" and "blog".

Friday, July 14, 2006

Eldad Regev

I wrote:
> > But don't expect any significant changes as long as Hamas and
> > Hizballah and PLO exist.

MeahevServi wrote:
> Are you saying the peace in Israel is in hands of Palestinian extremists
> who have to cease to exist in order to make place for those [Palestinians]
> who are ready for compromise?

I didn't say peace, i said "significant change".

> That sounds sound, to some extent, but how to achieve that?
> Because, if IDF tries to simply distroy them :
> a) they would have to do a lot of killing, which would seriously pissed
> of half of the world, especially the Arab world

We piss off the whole world with the fact the we exist. You'd be hard-pressed to find any other nation except the Jews that was hated by so much people for so much time. If we want to be independent, we should stop thinking who are we pissing off. USA bombed Belgrade and Kandahar and Baghdad, did they care who are they pissing off?

Now don't get me wrong - killing anyone is bad. Putting the lives of Israeli soldiers in danger is also bad. (I'm against capital punishment, too). But nobody even considered making peace with Hitler, for example. In the Second World War there was one goal - victory. And victory, in case of Arab terrorists, means total destruction. Arabs never give up. I strongly respect it, but when it's either them or me, i must fight and win.

> b) how much would be enough? I think that attempt would just make
> them stronger, resulting in more and more moderate Palestinians
> joining Hamas and other extremists groups. And thay can't just
> kill them all.

Yes, to some point, but it's not infinite. Killing more and more SS officers didn't make more and more Germans join the Nazi party. A day will come and the simple good people on the street of Gaza, Jenin and Beirut will understand that they must stop supporting this leadership.

> Wouldn't it be better to search for a way to put them in the position
> from which they just wouldn't be able to do a lot of harm to Israel,
> while, on the other side, try to make a deal with those Palestinians who
> are closer to recognition of Israel's right to exist?

That would be perfect, and it is easier than it seems, once we get over the psychological barrier of recognizing that the PLO/Fatah is just as bad as Hamas.

But even in that case i would oppose dismantling of Israeli settlements. The settlements are not the problem - the violence is the problem. I'm not saying "Arab violence" - Israel acts violently too. But once there's no more violence, it doesn't matter where do people live.

Of course it's all theoretical and over-optimistic, but that's the principle.

> one killed Nasralla or Ismail would be easily replaced with
> another Nasralla or whoever.

Not forever.

It took Hamas some time to recuperate after the killing of Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi. The PLO hasn't yet recuperated from the death of Arafat - Abu-Mazen is nowhere near him in terms of leadership. When you think of it, Arafat was really an outstanding leader that was extremely successful in making the world - that includes many Israelis - believing his amazing lies. Actually Arabs themselves always hated him, because they knew that he steals their money and does nothing to bring actual peace, but everyone agrees that he was a wonderful diplomat.

> But, if Israeli government could somehow show to other Palestinians
> that extremists don't do any good to Palestinian people...

Israeli governments doesn't need to show them. They know it very well. They made a stupid mistake in the last elections and voted for Hamas. It's really ironic, by the way - it was probably the most democratic and clean election ever in the Arab world. Well, we made a mistake too, by voting for Sharon (not me).

> > The Knesset passes a law to rebuild Gush-Katif.

> Heh....
> I understand you completely, I mean, I understand your feelings.

It's not so much my own feelings, i didn't live there. I admit that the thing that hurt me personally the most in that ridiculous Disengagement a year ago was the destruction of the homes with bulldozers - i hate seeing a nice thing going to waste. And those homes were nice.

But even though i didn't live there, my heart is with the deported settlers. They really are the best and the most misunderstood people in Israel. They didn't deserve this sad fate.

> I was forced to leave my house once, and that was the worst time of
> my life - the experience that changed me as a person.

Did the Serbian government drive you away from your home? Or did you just have to leave it because of war? There's a difference. In case of Gush-Katif Israeli government made its own citizens leave their homes, which were (arguably) built lawfully, for a purely political reason.

> But, I would like you now, my dear Israeli correspondent, to ask
> yourself two questions:

> 1. Can you think of anyone, and I mean - anyone - amongst the Jews
> in Israel, who actually benefit, make profit - earn money - from the
> conflict with the Palestinians, and who would lose money if that
> conflict is terminated?

That's a very clever and important question. I try to think about it all the time. The answer is hard. I'm not sure. The easy answer would be - IDF officers and arms dealers. And land dealers too.

> 2. If you find that there are such people in Israel, what do you
> think - what kind of profit is that about, a big money, or small bucks?
> And what is the real power and influence of such people in Israel's
> society, big or small?

The families of high-ranking IDF officers are all interconnected with families of politicians and millionaires - the "elites". But being a general doesn't make you very big bucks by itself. It does boost your manliness, though.

Arms dealers - that's huge bucks. But they can - and they do - sell arms to other countries. I'm quite ashamed of the fact that we sell guns to dictators in Africa, Turkmenistan and other unfortunate places. If it depended on me, i would stop all guns exports from Israel and convert the gun factories to ... i don't know ... something else that doesn't kill so much.

Land dealers - yes, there are shady land deals in the occupied territories, but there are even shadier deals in the middle of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and no-one seems to care.

> You see, Aharoni-man, I don't think the Arabs are real problem
> in Israel, at least not the major problem in achieving peace.
> Sure, most of them hate Jews. Some of them will never recognize Israel,
> and there always will be groups who will chose violence to obtain
> their goals.

> So, what should Israeli Jews do in such horrible situation?

United we stand, divided we fall.

> They'll NEVER get sense. And does the life under those conditions for
> a long period of time - thru generations - make sense? Is it healthy
> for Jewish nation?

> I don't think so.

> I think Israeli Jews shouldn't wait for Palestinians to make peace
> with them, together. I think they should make peace for themselves,
> by themselves alone. And they should use what ever it takes.

That's the "ideology" of Sharon-Olmert-Kadima. I always said that it's wrong and the last few days prove me right. That's because it's not an ideology, but a marketing ploy. Seriously - the whole Kadima platform was drafted not by experts in Middle Eastern diplomacy, but by experts in advertising. That's a shame, but the Israelis are brainwashed by the TV.

> Some people in Israel, I call them "the Masters of Israel", or
> "the Owners of Israel" - and their partners in the United States -
> don't want the peace - because they're outta business than. Out
> of business, out of money, out of power, out of ownership of Israel.
> And they wouldn't like that.

> Trust me, Aharoni-man, if the mid-East conflict would be bad
> for business of Israel's big bosses, they would unplug it. Because,
> NOTHING must step in the way of PROFIT, anywhere in the world.

All of it is makes perfect sense, but unfortunately i don't have much to say about it, because i get my information from the same media outlets as you do, and they are controlled by the same billionaires who stay in the shadows.

> I know you won't like this opinion. Jews responsible for not stopping
> the war... (Actually, I like to say - Arabs are quilty, but Jews
> are responsible.)

No, i like it, because you think for yourself, and because you make sense.

> But, that's just my opinion. I don't pretend to be an expert on the
> middle East crisis. I've just done some thinking about it.... That's all.

I'm not an expert too. You don't need to be. You describe the situation better than me and better than any of our experts. I'd make you our prime minister. We need someone neutral (someone neutral who likes us, that is).

Thursday, July 13, 2006


A rocket killed two people in Haifa. It's the first time. It could have been my parents.

Oh (edit): I swear that the article said that two people were killed when i posted it. Thank God that it's wrong.

Ehud Goldwasser

(This was supposed to be a comment reply, but as usual, it grew too long and even acquired a quote from the Vulgate that i saw on a painting in my doctor's office).

Dear N.,

First of all, thanks for teaching me the word tightfisted. I wholeheartedly appreciate it.

The "Dear N." part was directed at you, of course, the rest was mostly a response to my new crazy fan MeahevServi. At first i thought that he is one of my linguist-friends playing a joke at me, but he convinced me that he really is a Serbian guy who learns Hebrew and listens to Esther Ofarim, Zehava Ben and Sarit Hadad for the fun of it. Weird, but true.

I liked the SPITE/DAVKA thing. Identified the SPITE immediately as a Seinfeld reference. I used to write a "Seinfeld dictionary" once, with words such as spongeworthy, ribbonbully, doubledipper etc...

Anyway, about ninety years ago a bunch of pioneers ("halutzim") learned Hebrew for the fun of it and came to live in this crazy Land of Israel in the midst of Arab population. (Were your grandparents among them, by any chance?) For them SPITE was a very good reason. We still live here - hardly 6 million Jews in the midst of 600 million Arabs. In spite. Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Iſta eſt Ieruſalem! In medio gentium poſui eam et in circuitu eius terras (Ezechielis V). I have a choice - i can go to the USA and be a VMS sysadmin there for a very good salary. But i don't. (It also proves that i am not tightfisted).

By the way, to the best of my knowledge, a significant part of E. Olmert's family made the other choice and lives abroad. I know that i sound like all those religious fanatics that call the radio to tell how they hate Olmert (Galey Tzahal - "Yesh im mi ledaber" etc.), but i just state a fact - there are a few differences between me and Olmert's children and this is one of those differences. I don't mind that his daughter is an outspoken lesbian radical left activist, but when a Prime Minister's sons live abroad, it's a bit too much. Which reminds me, that Y. Rabin's mamramnik son Yuval lives abroad too. And so does Y. Arafat's family. Hmmmm, i see a pattern here ...

Gush-Katif settlers were tightfisted? Too much taxes were spent on them? Maybe. But people who did buy land 20 km's to the north are now shelled with Kassams, so what's the difference? Should they move further to the North, to Tel Aviv? Or maybe back to Poland, Russia, France, Morocco, Argentina? That's what the terrorists want, and they are becoming better than ever at getting it.

Currently the most moral and reasonable and the least violent way to stop them and to make the world take us seriously is to rebuild Gush-Katif. The best argument that the supporters of the Disengagement kept repeating was that Israeli troops won't die in Gaza anymore. Then i would always respond - they won't die in Gaza, but they will die outside Gaza and then they will go back to Gaza too. I can't tell that i'm happy about it, but turns out that i was right. So why did we have to destroy 25 villages and deport 10000 people - our own people?

We can fix this damage by rebuilding Gush-Katif just as it was a year ago. Kfar Darom existed in the time of Mishna, and abandoned some time later; the land was bought from the Arabs in the first years of Zionism and resettled by Jews, until the Arabs drew them away by force in 1948; than it was rebuilt again in 1970 and destroyed in 2005. It can be rebuilt again.

Bring the boys back home? I feel very cruel to tell it, but the last time that we brought the boys back home by releasing hundreds of terrorists, everyone knew that it's a matter of time until Hizballah captures some more of our boys. Now they are rolling on the floor laughing at us. I'm terribly cynical here, but the way we're dealing with it now, there won't be a shortage of boys to bring back home any time soon.

I wish women ruled the world. Or at least more women than today. If i could, i would reserve 60 seats in the Knesset for women. Seriously. (But not Kipi Livni or Limor Livnat, please - they make me sick.) There's a nice song that goes:

Women of the world,
Take over,
'Cause if you don't, the world
Will come to an end,
It won't take long.

P.S. Did you read Allen Ginsberg's Howl? It's a little hard to understand at first, but when you just ignore the intentional grammar errors and let it flow, it's quite powerful. My favorite part:

we hug and kiss the United States under
     our bedsheets the United States that coughs all
     night and won't let us sleep

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit!

Haled Mashal!



Ehud Olmert!



Moloch whose mind is pure machinery!

Moloch whose blood is running money!

Moloch whose fingers are ten armies!

Now seriously:

If you know me, you know that i don't like to repeat other people's opinions and news commentary. That's why i didn't want to write anything about these current events in Gaza - no-one needs me when there are more than enough Gush-Katif deportees and their supporters to tell everyone how precise were their predictions about the consequences of the destruction of their homes. Well, they were precise, any way you put it. My dear N., we gave it a try. I still hope that you are disappointed. Just read the news - BBC, CNN and YNet look just the same in my browser. Better yet, read Allen Ginsberg's Howl. My only pledge is: When you are reading the news, or anything else, just think for yourself. Don't think according to the opinion that you are supposed to have, don't think according to what your parents, teachers or news presenters told you to think. Deporting people from their homes for political reasons never made sense and never will.

But, if you still insist, a few points to think about:

  1. When a Kassam rocket hits "A Kibbutz in the North-Western Negev" - why is it always called "A Kibbutz in North-Western Negev" and not by its name? There are a lot of kibbutzim there, and believe it or not - they all have names! Just take a look at the map.
  2. Why is Gush-Katif called "a settlement bloc in Gaza strip", and Sderot is called "a development town"? It's much closer to Gaza than Gush-Katif. Just take a look at the map.
  3. Why are news reports from Gaza, always, always, look as they were shot with a home video camera? The place is chock-full of professional news reporters from all over the world, and they have very expensive and professional equipment. The cameras in Gaza are just as good as the Cameras in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Palm Springs. What you say - that the cameramen are in a hurry, that they need to shield their cameras from stones and bullets and it hurts the picture? Gimme a break, they had many, many years of experience to improve their filming techniques, despite those hardships. Yes, i think that it is a conspiracy. Somebody set up us the bomb.
  4. Why is one Israeli corporal getting much more news coverage than hundreds of people that are killed, detained or tortured in Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan?

If you think that any of the above is not in line with common sense - can i do anything to change it? Can You do anything to change it?

You can: Just start by thinking for yourself. Don't become an Israeli nationalist, don't support Israel, don't support the Arabs, don't change you political view: Just think for yourself. The gap between the words in the news and the things for which they stand is wider than you think.

Thanks for the attention.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rest in Peace, You Crazy Diamond

Syd Barrett passed away to other universes.

Just today i thought how cool it would be to see the the original four-piece perform the whole of Piper from start to finish.

Well, we're left with Rockfour now, they do Astronomy Domine and See Emily Play damn well.

Verbed! (UPDATED)

BBC verbed "fileshare".

It's not just someone - it's the BBC.

There are over 800,000 Google results for fileshare. I looked at 30 or so, and didn't find any that use it as a verb, but rather as a proper name or a technical term (often FileShare).

P.S.: The words verbed and fileshare are not recognized by the spellchecker.

P.S. II: The word spellchecker is recognized by Microsoft's spellchecker, but not by Blogger's spell checker.

Oh (edit): Here's a little song i wrote, influenced by these news and The Sex Pistols.

Is this the MPAA,
Or is this the RIAA,
Or is this the DMCA,
I though it was the UK.

Monday, July 10, 2006


There's a Canadian guy who traded a paperclip for a two-story house. It looks like a true story. All he needed was a blog and a crazy idea.

There's an Israeli law school graduate who writes a blog in Hebrew about law, free software and most of all leftist politics (he left Meretz, because Meretz wasn't left enough for him; pun intended). It's fine, but not much that you can't read in Haaretz or Guardian too. He rarely attempts to be funny, but when he does, he's not bad. He has many readers and is often quoted in Maariv.

There's an Israeli young lady who writes a blog about her life, her geek pride, software and music she likes. I keep seeing links to her blog everywhere.

There's an Israeli young man, who writes a blog about his life, his geek pride, software and music he likes and also about politics (a mix of Israeli nationalism, environmentalism and libertarianism) and linguistics. Sometimes he attempts to be funny and occasionally people tell him that he succeeds. And sometimes he has crazy ideas too. That's me and i have no more than ten readers. It's not whining and not jealousy; i must be doing something wrong.

Am i writing in the wrong language? Am i unfocused? Do i use the wrong blogging platform?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Applied Syntagmatics - Worth Nothing

Disclaimer: Unlike "People Speaking", "Applied Syntagmatics" entries are not supposed to be funny or enlightening in any way. They are supposed to be a deliberation on linguistics. If you don't care about linguistics, don't expect to find them interesting, but they may show a little of what scientific linguistics is about. It's not rocket science, it's the way we speak. But then, it may be even harder.

By the way - according to current count, this is the five hundredth entry of Aharoni in Unicode, ya mama.

פ': "מכונת הקפה הזו אצלנו בחדר-אוכל עולה ארבעים אלף שקל ולא שווה כלום."

א': "לא, היא שווה, אבל היא לא שווה ארבעים אלף שקל."

P.: "The coffee machine at our dining room costs forty thousand shekels and isn't worth anything."

A.: "No, it is worth(y), but it isn't worth forty thousand shekels."

Oh, the woes of poor Bible translators - they want to translate the holy scripture as closely as possible to the original and it's quite impossible. I really wanted to write about Hebrew without resorting to English translation, but the translation gave me some more ideas.

Now where do i start?

The English isn't worth anything is just not the same as the Hebrew לא שווה כלום. Worth vs. שווה deserves a separate discussion - see below, but the anything and כלום are quite different things. When i studied English as a child my Russian teachers had to explain many times that double negation in English is a no-no, and if there already is a no or a not in the sentence, then nothing is replaced by anything. (This whole last sentence was a big linguistic wordplay; i'm not sure that i would understand it myself had i not written it.) In Russian and Hebrew double negation is the norm. But we'll leave Russian for now.

After all that i wrote until now, it may seem ironic that by itself, the Hebrew word כלום actually means "anything" (according to Even-Shoshan's dictionary), but in practice it is used in this sense only in classical literature. According to the same dictionary, לא כלום and אין כלום mean "nothing". Nevertheless, modern Israelis consider the plain כלום to be the word for "nothing" and use it accordingly, often without לא; for example, כלום can be a one-word answer to the question "What did you do in your last miluim (reserve duty)" - "Nothing". Furthermore, the Hebrew לא שווה כלום is rather more nullifying than the neutral English isn't worth anything, although i say that as a fluent Hebrew speaker and not so much as an aspiring linguist, so i am careful not to claim that it is a consequence of my earlier statements.

Now, שווה. According to dictionaries, שווה is the Hebrew equivalent of the English preposition "worth". In modern usage, however, it is also the stand-alone adjective for "worthy"; a particular case of this last meaning is "sexy", and can be said about both males and females (pronounced shave and shava, spelled the same). But actually this last statement is wrong, because most probably it is not a particular case of the adjectival "worthy", but rather a euphemizing contraction of שווה זיון, "worth a fuck".

I am personally familiar with person P. and i know that he is particularly fond of the "sexy" meaning of שווה and often uses it in the more general and clean sense of "beautiful" about women (is that ... bidirectional euphemization?). And coffee-machine is female in Hebrew. But instead of making the research easier, these pieces of information actually become the point at which it becomes quite hard to decide which sense came first and which is derived, and by which way. But what is possible is to compare the syntactic structure of the utterances and to sort the usages. With such a small corpus it's rough and not too scientific, but it's an easy demonstration of the linguist's work.

Person P. said: "... costs (עולה‎) 40 kNIS and isn't worth (שווה) anything".

Person A. (alright, i) said: "... it is worth(y), but it isn't worth 40 kNIS".

"40 kNIS" is the complement of costs in P.'s sentence, and of worth in mine. P. used isn't worth anything in opposition to costs 40 kNIS; 40 kNIS parallels anything (actually nothing!). Furthermore: Is A.'s It is worth(y) not complemented by anything - or is "complemented" by a so-called zero element?

More stuff to think about - this list is not formulated very precisely and scientifically, but it is supposed to be thought-provoking:

  1. Try to describe the role of the repetition of "forty thousand shekels" as an element that creates opposition.
  2. Notice that the first sentence uses "and" to divide the opposing parts, and the second one uses "but".
  3. Notice the chiasmus - "forty thousand shekels" comes in the first part of P.'s sentence and in the second part of A.'s.
  4. Is worth really a preposition or a verb - in English and in Hebrew?
  5. שווה is used three times in the dialog - would it be proper to say that these are different usages of the same word, or are those different words altogether?

Actually none of these question has a decisive answer which is accepted by all linguists, especially the last one. In theory the science of Linguistics is supposed to be as precise as Mathematics, but in fact it is much harder. Furthermore, mathematics exists for thousands of years and it's really very hard to argue about the precision of 2 + 2 = 4, while modern linguistics exists in its present form for about hundred years, and the history of language study is so full of misconceptions, presuppositions and elitist bias (and violence, too) that even today the best scientists get tangled up in words that describe other words.

Well, that's enough. I hope that everyone understood at least something.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Soviet Antisemitism - a Joke

(I hope you get it.)

A Jew walks into the HR department of a factory in Soviet Union and asks:

— "Do you accept people whose last names have mann to the job?"

— "Ehh ... no."

— "And people whose last names have stein?"

— "No."

— "And people whose last names have fein?"

— "No."

— "And people whose last names have ko?"

— "Yes, why not."

— "Cohen! Come on in, I found you a job."

Friday, June 30, 2006

Fake-a-breakdown, part II

We kept arguing about places for the wedding and i was ready to give up when suddenly Hadar said that she agrees to go for place A, which is actually called Arca. But she made me promise that i won't say a word about make-up, DJ, food selection, dress, design, flowers etc.

So on the fourth of October i'm gonnnnnnnnnnnnnna get marrrrrrrrrrried.

A selection of other things, good and bad, that happened on the fourth of October, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • 1537 - The first complete English-language Bible (the Matthew Bible) is printed, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale. Later they are pronounced heretics and burned at stake.
  • 1582 - Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian Calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15. Russia was the last to implement this reform - in 1918.
  • 1957 - Launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. The Russians came first this time.
  • 1958 - Fifth Republic of France established. It is still antisemitic.
  • 1983 - Hooters restaurant first opened in Clearwater, Florida, United States. Scientology Spiritual Headquarters located in the area reports an unusual surge of positive life theta-energy of the second dynamic.
  • 1988 - U.S. televangelist Jim Bakker indicted for fraud. He got back to business a few years later.
  • 1992 - An El Al Boeing 747-200F crashes into two apartment buildings in Amsterdam, killing 43 including 38 on the ground. More people there kept dying for years from mysterious diseases. El Al was reluctant to disclose the kind of cargo that was on the plane. The black box records the pilot reciting Shma Yisrael moments before the crash.
  • 1993 - Doom press-release version is made available to journalists for review. The amount of time wasted on Doom since then amounts to millions of man-years.
  • 1993 - Russian constitutional crisis of 1993: Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders tanks to storm the Russian parliament building. He said that he was protecting the constitution, which he violated a day earlier.
  • 2001 - A Sibir Airlines Tupolev TU-154 crashes into the Black Sea after being struck by an errant Ukrainian S-200 missile. 78 people are killed, most of the Israelis. Ukrainian defence minister appears a little drunk on TV to explain what happened.
  • 2003 - Maxim restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa, Israel: 21 Israelis, Jews and Arabs, were killed, and 51 others were wounded.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


We're about to make the final decision about the wedding hall. There are two finalists now, let's call them A and O. The price is the same, and it's pretty high. A is better designed and maintained and offers a significantly larger selection of quality alcohol. O is closer to the seashore, but its level of design and maintenance resembles that of a fish restaurant in Eilat or Akko, which is not bad by itself, and fits the location, but it doesn't look like it provides the same bang for the buck as A does.

Obviously i prefer A. Hadar prefers O.

All the lovers have been tagged. I don't like it, but it really describes the situation quite well.

Friday, June 23, 2006

More Music Videos

First of all, "Sugarcube" is not really number two out of hundred. I suddenly got it - the videos are ordered alphabetically. Makes sense, with Yo La Tengo and ZZ-Top at the bottom.

I discovered another amazing video there at the the Pitchfork list - Pulp's "Bad Cover Version" on page 8. Try watching it alone and understanding it yourself and if - and only if - you get lost with all the faces there, take a peek here.

And two more, sent by friends:

  • Chacarron Macarron - Andy's Val Gourmet - thanks to Daniel.
  • "Finnish Folklore" - thanks to MeahevServi. It is actually a flash animation, but i laughed my pants out. The Russian at the bottom says: "That's it, this Finnish folklore got on my nerves" (but in Russian it's funnier). N.B.: Your workplace / firewall / proxy / censorship software may filter out this movie, because it's listed as an adult website, but there's no pornography there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Made Me Cry - The part of being tough

Pitchfork Media published a list of "100 Awesome Music Videos", with links to actual videos. It is not exactly numbered from 100 to 1, but Yo La Tengo's "Sugarcube" is the next to last on page 10, which makes it a virtual number two out of hundred, which is not bad. By the same count, number one is ZZ-Top's "Legs", which is rather good too.

The list has many masterpieces - The Jacksons' "Can You Feel It", Blur's "Coffee & TV", Toni Basil's "Mickey" etc. Interestingly, Björk is represented with a (good) video from her latter career and not with older favourites such as "Human Behaviour", "Army of Me" or "Venus as a Boy". But i really wanted to talk about "Sugarcube".

The song comes from Yo La Tengo's critical breakthrough I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One which came out in 1997. In 1997 i got online for the first time and immediately signed up to mailing lists about Sonic Youth, Tricky and dEUS, which were my favorites at the time. I kept seeing Yo La Tengo mentioned on all of them, but audio was very sparse on the web back in 1997 and i didn't have much money to buy their records, which weren't sold in Israel anyway. And then one day late at night i saw "Sugarcube" on MTV's Alternative Nation, which was still rather good at the time. I was rolling on the floor laughing at the video, and i enjoyed the song too, even though with all the action in the video it was barely audible. That's how my love story with Yo La Tengo got started. And today, when i watched it again, it made me cry yet again.

So, please enjoy the video. May you be successfull in learning where the hobbits dwell. And as a fun exercise - try to count the cultural references there. I may publish my count one day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Opera 9.0 is out and i decided to give it another chance, after i dismissed it earlier. In this new version Ctrl-T opens a new tab, which is nice. It also has hot drug-using chicks on the installer splashscreen.

It is still unlikely that i'll adopt it as my primary browser, as there is a good option which is free.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

People Speaking - Blood

— "There's a problem with this cooking show. They are breaking eggs straight into the casserole without checking them for blood. Is this program shot in the Land of Israel or in exile?"

— "In Israel."

— "How do you know?"

— "I know that girl on the right."

— "Send her an email. Tell her she needs to check the eggs for blood."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

People Speaking - Quote

— "They quote Rabbi Akiva? Do they know what Rabbi Akiva thinks about them?"


Religious advertising:

  1. A children's book: "A Tabernacle of Peace - the commandment of pilgrimage in Sukkot (Tabernacles). A family makes a pilgrimage in the time of the Third Temple (in a train that was scanned in advance for impurities), brings its offerings and participates in the feasts of Beit-Hashoeva."
  2. Health insurance: "Saying all of Book of Psalms all the day in your right. 'Forever shall a man put a prayer before a calamity' (Sanhedrin 44b)"

N.B.: Not all religious children read such books; Psalms are usually not the only thing that practicing Jews use as medicine.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

People Speaking - Grass

— "Tablehopping - like a grasshopper from table to table."

(Thanks to N.)

No Clipping

I'm trying to bring my nail-clipping routine to some kind of order. Once a week should be fine.

Now that i wrote that, there's only one thing that this blog is really missing.


I am a Wikipedia contributor. I do it very little compared to some others. Many contributors are doing in one day the amount of work that i've done in a year. I don't know what else they are doing in their life, but i respect their work. I may be naïve, but i really think that this project is doing something good for humanity. As for myself - i need a break from it. It can handle without me for some time while i catch up on my own matters - such as homework, wedding, cooking proper food again, studying Arabic and Yiddish (more on that later) and finally learning to play bass and harmonica. My life should not suck too.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My cheeks are turning yellow

A friend of mine, a student of criminology and psychology, emailed me a couple of questionnaires for a paper she's writing to my GMail address.

The email and the questionnaires were in Hebrew. GMail's advertising engine analyzed them and presented me with four commercial messages: Two about job seeking services, one about abstracts writing service, and one about immigration to Australia. The last one was in English.

Does it mean that many Israeli graduate students are interested in immigration to Australia?

There must be someone to blame.