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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I submitted code to the Mozilla project. It is very simple, but important. Apparently there were no Firefox search plugins for Arabic dictionaries. So i made one - for the online Sakhr Arabic-English-French dictionary. If you have Firefox, get Sakhr Arabic Dictionary search plugin here! If you still don't have Firefox, Get Firefox here first.

Monday, January 30, 2006

People Speaking - 10 Years

— "Mazal Tov ... Even though I don't understand why would you choose to marry when you can choose not to marry. Just kidding - there's nothing like waking up after ten years with your woman and two children."

I am Not an Early Adopter

I finally started reading "Speaker for the Dead". The first few pages seem very boring, but then it picks up and becomes a wild pageturner. I'm just at the third chapter and it is getting more and more awesome. That Card guy has some very challenging thoughts about nature, life, death, mind and all that. Recommended.

Still Not Sorry

A year since i quit my previous job and sent a lot of CV's and half a year since i started working here i'm still getting job offers about once a week.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Vegetarian Spam 5

I totally love this kind of spam, but i think that it would be the last time that i post it here like this. Enough is enough.

young similar or out purpose human? force love happened yours.
out edge fly the supposedto immediate. studied profession prison filled you? raise pretty studied.
different side wife beautiful explain tying. development yours letters wife raise. gym am reference allow mentioned fly.
goes mentioned the evening not prison?
anybody bought he sandwich make benefit. pretty very taught drew,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Vegetarian Spam 4

edge or not yours fly. respect social added. benefit corner he?
here commit bad. human speaking he somewhere.
corner slow the shining, back fire letters. friends sandwich anybody we?
respect young filled? off steps side social end commit,
development fascinate she you whom mentioned. thus reference carefully.

Fabio, part 2

The professor loved that paper about Italian syntax.

As the italians say - "Ah, ah, ah."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In the Flesh?

Quick - what's gonna be the best gig in Israel in 5756? dEUS, Mercury Rev, John Cage Cale? Maybe Depeche Mode? Don't make me laugh.

Bow down to the pumpking of pumpkings.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I'm writing a paper about syntax usage in an Italian book - Fabio Volo's "È una vita che ti aspetto". A day will come and this book with my numerous margin notes will be put in a library, and professors will recommend it to their students - "This was Amir Aharoni's book, you should really check it out and learn from his margin notes how to write bullshit papers without any scientific value."

Vegetarian Spam 3

Is spam dying? Messages of this kind are arriving often lately: They have some ridiculous text, which is probably computer-generated, and an attachment, which probably offers me the best and cheapest generic impotence remedy. Of course i'm not opening the attachment, so i'll never know. But the text is so funnily weird. I think it can be used for divination. Tarot reading is so 90's.

bad the sandwich. young suddenly carefully not sandwich raise? purpose friends fascinate we embarrass.
servants different reading, mentioned reply carefully not. prison companion fascinate news.
pride commit different fire?
nothing carefully use here. studied force raise bought is, mischievous next again motor similar wanted.
similar similar window already leader. love leader principle light. next night social beautiful allow bad.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Guess which company will find it really hard to break into the Japanese market? This one.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I conducted a thorough research about Bob Marley's compilations. Conclusion no. 1: There are a lot of them. Conclusion no. 2: Most of them are crap and music business is weird. Conclusion no. 3: The best one is "Gold", released by Island in 1995. Except the horrible title, it's the closest thing to perfection - i'll have to admit that i care mostly for Nesta's pop hits and for some reasons most compilation miss out on some of them, while "Gold" has all the greatest - "Iron Lion Zion", "Buffalo Soldier", "One Love", "Get Up Stand Up", "Is This Love", "Redemption Song", "Exodus", "No Woman" etc. and also a collection of his earlier less-known Jamaican work, with which i am not familiar at all, but willing to try (there's only one problem - no "Three Little Birds", known for its "Ev'ry little thing's gonna be alright" chorus, but that's business).

So yesterday i went to a record store to buy it. And it wasn't there. So i got Prince's Purple Rain instead.

I used to have it on vinyl when i was about ten years old. Just a few years after it was released. So it's powerful nostalgia. It was the second pop album i listened to - the first was John Lennon's "Imagine". "Imagine" is impossible to beat of course, but "Purple Rain" had done something subconscious to me. It has amazing moments - the ultra-stupid opener "Let's Go Crazy" has this mighty mood-setting "Dearly beloved" monologue, the "Oh no, let's go" line before the chorus and the funniest coda in the form of a ridiculous metal solo, which becomes a bluesy ending, which then becomes a very "Run Like Hell" stadium rock drum solo and finally ends with Prince's scream. Then comes "Take Me With U", which has superb keyboards and a repeating strings riff starting in the second verse - Ta-Ba-Da-Ba-Bam-Pa-Pam! Then there's a song which says "Baby, baby, baby, I want you, do you want me?" The "baby, baby" line is repeated many times. That's where i learned the English word "baby". That's where i also learned the words "crazy" and "dove". Oh - "When Doves Cry"; for some reason i used to skip it all the time, preferring the throwaway "I Would Die 4 U". I was ten years old, mind you.

So yesterday i listened to it in the car. And it is still good. "Take Me With You" is genius - as good as a pop song can be. I discovered that the anthemic and magnificent title track is criminally edited for the radio, excising the beautiful orchestral coda. Yes, orchestral codas are not made for radio singles. But it's still criminal.

And it costs just 20 NIS.

Vegetarian Spam 2

drew wanted human taught anybody. motor am why happened somewhere,
make motor music. miserable wife fire letters fly whom.
teach whom fly? least taught again a reply gym? letters sandwich motor development.
a he anything teach. light reading window taught. black purpose yours leader thats beautiful.
happened embarrass promised window, filled make hard bought off hard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Competition - Nafiza

There's someone who can compete with me in Loving the Webster's Dectionary.

Intellectual Property - Don't Read This Entry, Please

Don't read this. I mean it. I hate it when bloggers just post a song they like and nothing else and then expect that it will feel as if they wrote it themselves, or maybe expect that readers will understand their mood through it.

I just had the urge to put this Tom Waits' masterpiece here. It doesn't mean anything, it's not related to my mood, i don't pretend that i wrote it and i don't want you to read it. I'm doing it 'cuz i can. Just had the urge.

Outside another yellow moon
Punched a hole in the nighttime, yes,
I climb through the window and down the street,
Shining like a new dime,
The downtown trains are full
With all those Brooklyn girls,
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds,

You wave your hand and they scatter like crows,
They have nothing that will ever capture your heart,
They're just thorns without the rose,
Be careful of them in the dark,
Oh if I was the one
You chose to be your only one,
Oh baby can't you hear me now,

Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train,
Every night its just the same,
You leave me lonely, now,

I know your window and I know its late,
I know your stairs and your doorway,
I walk down your street and past your gate,
I stand by the light at the four way,
You watch them as they fall,
They stay at the carnival,
But they'll never win you back,

Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train,
Where every night its just the same,
You leave me lonely,
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train,
All of my dreams just fall like rain,
All upon a downtown train.

That's it. If you did read it and it sounded familiar, maybe it's because you heard it on VH1 promos. It was also covered by dozens of other singers, including Rod Stewart.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

People Speaking - Foundation

— "... The important thing about you, Aharoni, is that your foundation is that of righteousness."

(Actually it's a very old one.)

Vegetarian Spam 1

human off studied suddenly principle least, light across letters?
tying evening suddenly or. the is profession? taught music music allow filled night.
pretty pretty companion suddenly corner, force here filled evening prison. purpose anything pride evening end?
turning why anything commit. window immediate similar,
reading you parents, companion fascinate drew?

Gathering Moss 17 - Severance and Justice

The radio reported today that Knesset members who will not be reelected, will receive severance pay of at least one salary multiplied by ten, even if they served only one term (the last term was three years). Regular Israeli employees receive severance pay of one salary multiplied by the number of years they worked at the place. Explanation: It's hard for Knesset members to adjust to regular civilian life. Holy bullshit.

And if that's not enough, for the rest of their life they are entitled to a free phone line, free public transportation and some more things i can't remember now. Yes - it includes the drug dealer Gonen Segev, the tax evader Plato Sharon, and the millionaire Pnina Rosenblum, who served in the Knesset for about three days. Apparently it doesn't include Omri Sharon, Ariel's son, who resigned before the end of the term. That's the closest thing to justice that happened in Israel for a long time.

(Daniel, i bet you want to shoot every one of them now.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

I've Got Cows

Bialetti Mukka Express is sweet.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Not-So-Fat Lady

The Opera browser sucks.

It's supposed to be the fastest browser (that's what some independent benchmarks say). It's supposed to have the best support for latest standard HTML and CSS. Still - a lot of sites, which are supposed to be quite standards-compliant and are rendered well in both Firefox and IE, are broken in Opera. But i didn't check it that deeply.

There's another problem: If it would have perfect support for web standards and show some sites wrongly, i would still respect it; but its interface is not that good either. The only good things i found there are the ones which i find in Firefox too - tab-browsing in general and middle-click opening a link in a new tab; indeed these are my favourite features in Firefox (and everyone else's too). But except that there's nothing particularly good. Ctrl-T, instead of opening a new tab, shows the Add a bookmark dialog. When i wanted to open a new tab in Firefox for the first time, i figured out that Ctrl-T opens a new tab by myself - it was intuitive. God only knows how Ctrl-T is related to bookmarks. In the default skin it's hard to tell which tab is the current one, their colors are almost the same. All the fade effects add nothing; i'm not against them in principle, but here they are just superfluous.

Furthermore, it may have the fastest HTML rendering, but it feels non-responsive. When i type in a URL and press enter, i expect something to happen - in Firefox there are the dots moving in a circle, in IE there's the waving Windows logo, but in Opera there's nothing - it just looks as if it's stuck. No good.

Firefox rules.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You, part 2

Before the stupid accident i was in a nice Jerusalem coffee shop - small, warm, cozy, with strong smell of good fresh coffee. While i waited for my coffee, i noticed one of the coffee shop's employees, an assistant waiter or something, and a little - how do you call it in the politically correct language - mentally challenged? He was very nice, he offered me white chocolate chips to chew. There were also four tourists, English or maybe German, three guys and a lady. They were in a good mood. When one of the guys stood up to pay, the assistant waiter approached them and started a conversation, in ... English. He said, subtly pointing at the lady and one of the guys:

— "You ve-you, I-love-you?" ("Ve" means "and" in Hebrew.)

(Slight confusion.)

— "Ehh ... Friends."

— "Ve-you?" (pointing at the other guy.)

They kept talking for a few minutes. I didn't hear the rest of the conversation, but they were all amused - in a nice, friendly and understanding way.

When the tourists left, the lady gave the assistant waiter a peck.

Maybe humanity still has a chance.


I drived, then i wanted to park, but the car just went on. Boom. No-one was hurt, except the car. The 4x4 Volvo into which i crashed didn't get the smallest scratch, but my Focus is damaged badly. The leasing company temporarily gave me a Nissan Almera. It has a nice radio. I didn't drive it yet; Hadar drived drove home and she says that the Focus' breaks are better.


Portobello Hamburger

(Apparently all spellings are correct: portobello, portabella, and even portabello. Google has the most results with portabella, but the main entry in Merriam-Webster is portobello, so i'll stick to that.)

  • 6 portobello mushrooms (300gr?)
  • 1 pack of champignon (300gr?)
  • 1/2 glass oil (chefs say olive, but i prefer anything but)
  • 1 spoon ... of some spice you like. I put tabasco, but be wild.
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 glass breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 glass grated parmiggiano (i used pecorino and it's OK)
  • 1/2 glass california nuts, broken to pieces
  • 1/2 glass thinly cut parsley (looks like too much, but it's OK)
  • 1 egg (i used 2)
  • moscato, salt'n'pepa to taste

Cut the stipes from all the mushrooms, use them for something else later (i am frying them with potatoes). Cut to cubes, fry in smoking oil for a few minutes with a little salt, until champignons are a little brown. Take the mushrooms out, drain the fluids. Gently mix everything (except the breadcrumbs) together - don't mash the mushrooms. The eggs should hold the thing together. Make hamburger shapes any way that seems right to you. Breadcrumbs should help you shaping them, but be sure that it's not too easy, and they might fall apart. Fry the hamburgers in the oil and they will eventually stick. Try not to burn.

It's the tastiest vegetarian meal i ever made and the closest to the feel of meet - all without heavily processed substitutes (i never really got the hang of blackbean).

Steal This Idea

Edward Norton... For April Fools' or Hellowe'en - send to all drugstores Aquafresh toothpaste which is not red, white and blue, but red only!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Conspectus: I gave a ride to a Haredi man yesterday and he asked me where can i take him - "lean atem magiim?". He called me "atem" - "you" in plural - which is not the usual way in Hebrew (the usual way would be "lean ata magia`"). I asked him whether he speaks Yiddish and he said that indeed Yiddish is his mother tongue and that's the polite way to say it in Yiddish.

נסעתי אתמול לבד ואספתי טרמפיסט חרדי. הוא שאל אותי לאן אני מגיע. ניחשתי שהוא צריך להגיע לתחנה מרכזית; אמרתי לו שאני מגיע לאיזור וממשיך לגבעת-רם. הוא כמובן לא ידע איפה זה גבעת-רם - חרדים בדרך כלל לא יודעים. אז הוא שאל אותי: "לאן אתם מגיעים? אתם ממשיכים לרחוב הרצל? תוכלו להוריד אותי שם?" אמרתי לו "כן". אז הוא אמר לי: "אתם עזרתם לי מאד. תודה רבה לכם." התחלתי להבין.

— "אפשר ... שאלה? אתה מדבר יידיש, נכון?"

— "כן, אני מדבר יידיש."

— "כי קראת לי 'אתם' ... זו פניה מנומסת ביידיש, נכון?"

— "כן ... אני נולדתי בחו"ל ושפת האם שלי זה יידיש. כשרוצים ביידיש לדבר בנימוס, אומרים בלשון רבים."

"בלשון רבים"! איזה יופי - שפתם של רש"י, ברטנורא ושאר הכותבים הגדולים בעברית שלפני העברית הישראלית העכשווית שורדת אצל החרדים. זה הגיוני - הוא למד את העברית שלו מרש"י, אז למה שידבר אחרת? ואצל רש"י אין דיאלוגים, אז הוא מיישם את מה שלמד ביידיש על העברית.

לפני שירד, אמר לי שוב "תודה רבה לכם, עזרתם לי מאד."

Monday, January 09, 2006

People Speaking - Secretary

— "I was working with a Nigerian company for some time, and then suddenly they stopped returning phonecalls. After a few days i managed to reach their secretary. She said that they were all in prison."

Sunday, January 08, 2006


So she wrote.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Talk Back - Healing

How to help Sharon

Every one of us can help Sharon recover. What's needed is to send him positive energies.

To do this, I offer to take five minutes, to sit in a quiet corner, shut your eyes and imagine Sharon. Now imagine that rays of light, heat and love reach him and heal him. Imagine him wake up slowly, standing up on his feet and getting back to full functioning, happy and fresh like we know him.

Remote healing was proven in scientific research. Even those who don't believe should try - the cost is just five minutes. The force of healing by thoughts of a whole nation can cause a miracle.

What you offer now we do everyday in the toilet.

And the world is still full of shit.

(Translated from talkbacks at nrg.)

Conspiracy, Conspiracy

I don't want to write about politics. I don't really enjoy it. I have opinions etc., but i don't really like to write about it. Certainly not on a day like this. Of course there are already rumors that Sharon is dead. Of course there are already conspiracy theories - why was he taken to a hospital so far away from his home? Why did it happen one day before a planned operation? Why did they give this or that medication? What should i know.

I have no desire to write about any of it. What interests me the most is the media - afterall, everything we do know, we know from the media itself; the media is most of the reality. And media is language. So, seriously - what interests me the most is the linguistic research opportunity (purely linguistic, sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic). Politics? I have opinions. I don't pretend to succeed in this sisyphean strife to balance between opinion and objectiveness; i shouldn't even try.

I Wish Sharon Well


Really, really.

I don't have anything smarter to write.

He's supposed to be still alive and i wish him well.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

People Speaking - Not Good

— "Wai-wai-wai. They say that what Sharon has this time is worse than than the previous."

— "Why wai-wai-wai?"

— "A sick prime-minister is not a good thing."

— "Why not good?"

— "What do you say, that a sick prime-minister is a good thing?"

(It's not cynicism, it's linguistics.)

Gathering Moss 17 - Aharoni

I decided that i shall run for Knesset. Here's my jingle:


אם נדליק את האור,
זה יכול לעזור,
אם נדליק את האור בליבנו,

רק ביחד נוכל
למען הכלל
להביא לשינוי בתוכנו,

נצביע ביחד למען התקווה,
נצביע ביחד למען אהבה,
לילדינו ולנו המחר יאיר -
הצבע אהרוני אמיר!

In the meantime it was reported, that Sharon is again on his way to the hospital. He was supposed to go into a Coronary catheterization, but the current event is allegedly not related to it. I wish him well.

If you are using Internet Explorer and this entry looks fucked up, it's your fault. Get Firefox already. As a technical side note: This entry uses very simple, logical and standard-compliant table layout. I don't mean to screw it up just to make it look better in Internet Explorer.

Oh (edit): I did improve it - dumped the table and put a floating <div> instead. It's better anyway. If you don't know what the hell am i talking about, it's OK. But get Firefox anyway. You'll thank me. It's just better than Internet Explorer by most parameters. Any problems that might arise from the switch are solvable - just ask me.

Just Noticed

Why am i so negative today?

Mr. Mister

I don't like cheesy manners. In negative circumstances it's always bad, and then in neutral or positive circumstances it reminds me of the negative cases. Example: My math teacher in highscool failed me in a final exam for purely bureaucratic reasons - i solved more than enough problems to pass, but didn't fill out a form correctly. When i tried to object, she called me Adon (Mr.) Alex in Hebrew. (It's so weird to recall that that was my name once.) Amir G. called me just Aharoni most of the time and "Adon Aharoni" every time he said how much he hates me.

Then there's the "Dear Amir" opening. I received an email opening with "Dear Amir" from my Latin teacher when she decided to fail me (by the way, i fought it and eventually passed). Now every time i see an email opening with "Dear Amir" i get the feeling that the sender hates me.

And now Google. They decided that i'm not good enough to carry their ads. And they ended their email with "Sincerely, Google AdSense team". While it's certainly better than "Dear Amir, You'll hear from our lawyers soon", it kinda brought me down. Now i'm gonna hate "Sincerely" forever.

With Attitude

People often ask me: "Don't you have anything better to do? Anything better to do than studying Linguistics? Can you find a job with it? Any better language to learn than Amharic, Latin or Lithuanian? Is Lithuanian even a language? Don't you have anything better to do than to study the Mishnah or read Agnon, Tolstoy, Bashevis-Singer? Anything better to do than to write a blog, to read Slashdot, to read and write Wikipedia articles? Anything better to do than to spend hours cooking pasta sauces instead of microwaving a TV dinner?"

Well, no. I like those things, these are good things to do. I sometimes have a problem of properly prioritizing between them, but all of them are good. And i don't like to be asked this question; not that i'm offended, i just sometimes get sick of giving the same answers all the time.

And i don't like to ask this question either. Come GNAA - the Gay Nigger Association of America. (Be careful - the home page is harmless, but some parts of the site, such as "members", opens a bunch of popups with shocking and disgusting images. You can read a more civilized description on Wikipedia.) Of course, they are not really gay niggers. They are a group of proud self-proclaimed Internet trolls. They don't hack sites - they disrupt public forums, such as the aforementioned Wikipedia and Slashdot and others. And i just don't get it: They have a very well-designed website, they are apparently knowledgeable with computers, they are quite sophisticated and elaborate - don't they have anything better to do then to tell scathing jokes about websites and write stupid things in newsgroups and think that pictures of feces and ugly naked people are funny? I would understand it if they were fourteen years old, but they seem to be grown-ups. I found out about them yesterday, and for some reason it didn't make me curious and it didn't make me laugh. It actually depressed me - which is quite rare.

no love. no justice. just shoot me

Super Furry Animals




in London

on my fucking birthday!!!

Chew Compassion

I don't get enthusiastic when i receive emails with pictures or movies of airplanes, helicopters, guns or soldiers in action. Plane crashes, aircraft interceptions, dismembered terrorists - what's the deal with you, people? It's not that exciting, people (good and bad) die there, unbelievably huge money is spent on those things. And it's not even pretty - the fake explosions and crashes in Hollywood movies look far better, and they don't get me that excited either.

In principle, there's just nothing particularly good about army, any army - army is nothing more that an unfortunate necessity sometimes, so why make so much fuss about it? I consider it idolatry.

No Logo

For some reason or another, Google don't want to pay me for the ads i carried for the last few months. It was a misunderstanding. No hard feelings. I still firmly believe that Google are not evil.

So no more ads on this blog. Can't say i'm sorry.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

All th' Long Red Lines

It takes one minute and fifteen seconds to fill a 1.5 litre bottle with cold water from a Tami-Bar water cooler.

Monday, January 02, 2006

People Speaking - Black Dog

— "The mother had to decide for her daughter about the groom! You heard that?! The mother! Decided! For her daughter! About the groom!! If she's so dependent on her parents, she had faulty education. From the age of six or so. It's not the groom's problem, it's their problem. The groom - that's what he is, that's how he was born; it's not exactly the same, but it's similar to a dog that's born black - he'll remain black. OK, I don't want to write this document, my head aches."

People Speaking - Crates

— "I looked at some dating sites. There are pictures. It's so ugly! Terrible, impossible to look. People in undershirts ... women photographed posing against grocery store crates..."