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Category: Smile (page 5 of 14)

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Americobsession – Part 3

As I’ve explained in the previous post, it is my aim to examine the “psyche” of Israeli culture in very broad (and no doubt very stereotypical) terms in order to get to the bottom of the “Americobsession” that has its shiny little hands in nearly every corner of Israeli life. This cultural “psyche”, I’ve explained, contains the same elements that Freud gave to the human psyche: the id, the ego, and the superego. All three, Freud made clear, need to be in reasonable balance for relative psychic stability. The id, the most primitive feature of the psychic structure, contains our primal wants and desires. It functions in that part of the mind that is irrational and emotional. The id of course, then, is equated with the newborn infant. It is the part of the mind that does not take “no” for an answer and its entire existence is based on immediate satisfaction. The ego responds to the id by rationalizing the primal wants and desires and by predicting the long-term consequences of the id’s rudimentary needs. The ego is considered our very consciousness. And finally, there is the superego, the last part of Freud’s structure of the mind to develop, and the part that is most affected by outside stimuli. The superego becomes a holding cell for parental and later societal rules and regulations.

I have denied Freud’s notions the ability to express themselves fully and hence justly, but if we can nonetheless play around with the idea for a moment, we will most definitely be entertained by what we’ll find out about Israelis and the “Americobsession”.

Americanization

Fucking Piece of Shit

I’m sure most of you have bought some kind of electronic gizmo for either your computer or home TV or sound system that is virtually impossible to figure our how to use – or appears to have no useful value whatsoever. Now, the SONY Corporation seems to be offering just that: an electronic thing-a-ma-jig that is so non-friendly, as well as non-useful, that it is being called by a very appropriate name, i.e. the Fucking Piece of Shit.

OK, many of you who may be known as electronic or computer geeks can surely find a use for this device which those who have bought it say has no useful function, other than to fuck up your existing system, or cause you to drink more beer (or harder stuff) on a weekend while trying to figure out the virtually impossible schematics. The device looks like some kind of a converter box, and it even comes with a remote control device (to fuck up your day or evening even more by pushing buttons on it).

So if this thing was as worthless as people claim it is, why the hell would you buy it in the first place? The answer is Why the hell not?

Everybody knows that a fancy Gizmo is bound to be obsolete the moment the store clerk swipes your VISA Card on the cash register. And once you get home with it, all you’ve really got is another electronic gizmo that will eventually be thrown out in the trash (to further pollute our already polluted environment) or “recycled” to make an even more frustrating electronic thing-a-ma-jigs.

But I’m sure this hunk of plastic, microchips and… other stuff… could be a big hit in a country like Israel, as people living in this country just love electronic gizmos of all kinds. This phenomenon is truly amazing in a country where there were no television stations for the first 19 years of the country’s existence and where people had to wait for as long as 7 years to have a telephone line installed. Now, virtually everyone above the age of 3 has at least one cellular phone and 60% percent of all households have one or more computers. As for other electronic stuff, such as DVD’s, iPOD’s, plasma TV’s, LCD’s, etc., the amount of that crap in most households is really mind boggling.

So adding the Fucking Piece of Shit to all the other stuff in our homes shouldn’t be a problem at all. It’d just be another thing to throw out every spring when people chunk out all that broken or worthless electronic stuff and sell it to the “alte-zachen” (rag pickers), who stack it on their trucks. Who knows? Maybe they can find some kind of use for this thing!

A Creative Strike

Many employees of the Israeli movie and television industry are opening a three-day strike tomorrow to object the fact that the major TV networks in Israel do not meet the minimum requirements of original Israeli productions. Money that should have been used to create Israeli drama and Israeli film, has been “illegally” diverted to other routes.

Well, no more. Scores of Israeli actors, producers, screenwriters and more are preparing a large happening that will take place in Rabin Square this Thursday. Come to support them. The happening will include a free screening of Waltz with Bashir, that unfortunately did not win Best Foreign Film at the Oscars last night.

Bar Refaeli Conquers America

The annual release of the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated is practically a national holiday in the States. Supermodels are defined by their appearance in the Swimsuit Issue. The entire media is abuzz with excitement and awe whenever a new Swimsuit issue comes out. And this year… our very own Bar Rafaeli has been chosen as the front cover girl!

This undated image released by Sports Illustrated/Raphael Mazzucco, shows model Bar Refaeli on the cover of the Feb. 14, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, on sale now.  (AP Photo/Sports Illustrated, Raphael Mazzucco)    **NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY FOR THREE WEEKS, ENDING MARCH 6, 2009. NO SALES. ONE TIME USE ONLY, NO ARCHIVES** **MANDATORY CREDIT: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, RAPHAEL MAZZUCCO**

This undated image released by Sports Illustrated/Raphael Mazzucco, shows model Bar Refaeli on the cover of the Feb. 14, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, on sale now. (AP Photo/Sports Illustrated, Raphael Mazzucco) **NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY FOR THREE WEEKS, ENDING MARCH 6, 2009. NO SALES. ONE TIME USE ONLY, NO ARCHIVES** **MANDATORY CREDIT: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, RAPHAEL MAZZUCCO**

She is only 23, but Bar Refaeli is already an international sensation. She grew up in Hod HaSharon, a suburban city southeast of Tel Aviv, and has been modeling her entire life. For the past 3 years, she’s been dating the “Titanic” Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mind you, Bar already made an appearance in the 2007 Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated on the inset page. However, this year she is spread over the front cover itself. A gigantic copy of the cover page has been plastered in Times Square, New York, causing serious traffic jams.

Bar is a Hebrew adjective which means “Wild and Raw”.

Bar Refaeli - Behind the Scenes

Do We Really Need These Cars?

Recent TV and other advertisements portraying a new line of luxury sport vehicles being introduced into Israel makes one wonder if people are really aware of the economic and environmental crises that both Israel and the world is going through now. Although luxury cars are nothing new to Israel, where cars like BMW and Mercedes Benz have been around for years, why would automobile importers want to try to introduce another high-line brand of car here, when the emphasis should be on downsizing to smaller, more economical and eco-friendly vehicles?

Toyota and Nissan’s top of the line Lexus and Infiniti models have been cruising around most major Western countries for years, but were not being marketed in Israel, until recently when Toyota’s Lexus line finally began to be imported into the country under its own brand name. Now Nissan, Japan’s number two or three automobile manufacturer (depending on how they finish in competition with Honda each year) is bringing in its luxury version to satisfy the vanity of those wealthy Israelis who want to be the first in their apartment block or “Cottage” neighborhood to own one.

Photo by MotorPix.com

Photo by MotorPix.com

Nissan’s Israel representative, Carasso Auto Distributers Ltd, under their subsidiary, Pacific Auto Importers Ltd, are currently importing the Infiniti G37 and EX 37 line of “midrange” Infiniti models which also include a super revved up EX Sports SUV. Prices of these “glitz-mobiles” are sure to be through the roof when all the customs duties and purchase taxes are added on, including VAT. After all, luxury cars with engines over 2,000 CC are penalized with much higher duties than lower priced and more economical vehicles with smaller engines. For example, if a standard Infiniti G37 Saloon with a 3.7 Litre V-6 engine sells for 42,500 Euro (US 54,500) in European Union markets, then the price here in Israel will surely be in excess of N.S. 380,000, or US $95,000 at current exchange rates.

So taking all of this into account, and in light of the current economic calamity Israel is involved in, with increasing mass layoffs of workers in even prestigious high tech industries; and with the results of global warming causing a water shortage crises almost unparalleled in the history of Israel, just why do we need another super luxury car to add to the already clogged motorways of this country? Unless some of these cars are hybrids (combination gasoline and electric motor driven vehicles), and then only well-to-do people will be able to purchase them; all these new luxury models will do will be to add more exhaust emission pollution to an already over-polluted environment, especially in Israel’s major cities.

Looking back a bit nostalgically into America’s worst economic historical era, the Great Depression, some of the auto industry’s most sporty and luxurious models were produced and marketed during this ten year period when a small segment of Americans were among the privileged elite while millions of their countrymen were standing in soup kitchen lines and living in “Hooverville” shanty towns. Models such as the Duisenberg, Studebaker and Packard, Mercedes Benz Excalibur, and a host of other long gone automobile greats plied America’s motorways and stood outside the luxurious houses of popular Hollywood movie stars.

Be that as it may, it does seem that in these troubled times, we can do without another line of luxury cars being sold and driven in this country.

Survival

The Israeli reality “Survivor 2″ is picking up the pace. Although it is lacking the hype that the first season had, it is slowly becoming Channel 10’s strongest card — and frankly, probably the only card it has in the moment.

The challenges are more extreme this season, and the social atmosphere more intense. One contestant has had to leave the game after an unfortunate injury, and according to the promos, come Wednesday we shall see another contestant prematurely leaving the game, due to inappropriate behavior.

This brings me to my other point. The long promos have been phenomenal this year. Much better than the episodes themselves. They generate interest in the characters, and that’s exactly what needs to be done, because the characters are the show.

During the war in Gaza, Channel 10 featured a musical promo that asks us “What are they doing in the meanwhile on the island?”. And in the past few days we’ve been exposed to a promo that reveals the forging relationships between the various characters.

While the castaways are doing their bit of survival on the island, Channel 10 is the one truly fighting for survival at the moment.

Hello President Obama

It starts at 18:30 Israel time. The inauguration ceremony. If you live in Israel and don’t have a TV set (or still at work), you can watch the whole event LIVE here at the Channel 10 website.

According to Ha’Aretz, the Israeli branch of the DNC (the Democratic Party) is holding a festive dinner in “Zulis” this evening. The Zulis pub is located at 5 Rivlin Street, Jerusalem. All American citizens in Israel are invited.

The American Embassy and the City of Tel Aviv are sponsoring a musical event at the “Club Hed” music club. The venue is owned by the “Hed Musical College”, located at 3 Y.L. Perets Street in South Tel Aviv. At 20:30 the Ethiopian dance troupe “Bal’Chan” will open the evening, followed by the “Hed Big Bang Orchestra” playing American Jazz. Roy Yang and friends will sing along. 100 Shekels is what it all costs, and tickets are available at 1-800-38-30-30.

Photo taken by marcn via Flickr

Photo taken by marcn via Flickr

Tel Aviv’s Obsessed with Sushi

As the thunders of war echo from the South, residents of Tel Aviv continue their daily routine.

Two unrelated anecdotes:

  1. I happened to hear a 90 y/o woman speaks a week ago. She currently lives in Tel Aviv, and still volunteers in the Civil Guard. She had experienced the horrors of war in Poland back in 1939, and then lived to see all of Israel’s wars throughout its 60 years of existence. During this fascinating story of hers, she was telling us how she had escaped with her family to Tel Aviv during the War of Independence in 1948. They had been coming from some other town (I don’t recall which one) and when they arrived at Tel Aviv, they were surprised to see people singing and dancing in coffee shops. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?”, they has asked people around them. Well, apparently not much has changed in this context in the past 60 years. Dear Tel Aviv residents, you’re in good company.
  2. Israeli far-right-wing politician Avigdor Lieberman was caught saying last week Do to Hamas what the US did to Japan. I believe he was talking about a nuclear holocaust, but let’s not forget yet another serious effect the American involvement in Japan has caused. I’m talking about Sushi of course. Thanks to America’s warm embrace of the Japanese cuisine, this seaweed/rice/salmon delicacy has spread the world. As a resident of Tel-Aviv myself, there isn’t a single day that goes by without my mailbox being infiltrated by a colorful throwaway that notifies me of — yet another — Sushi restaurant that opens in town.

What happens when a fly falls into a coffee cup?

This was sent in by a reader and we couldn’t resist…

What happens when a fly falls into a coffee cup?

The Italian – throws the cup and walks away in a fit of rage.

The Frenchman – takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.

The Chinese – eats the fly and throws away the coffee.

The Russian – drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.

The Israeli – sells the coffee to the Frenchman, the fly to the Chinese, Buys himself a new cup of coffee and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.

The Palestinian – blames the Israeli for the fly falling in his coffee, protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, and the Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give away his cup of coffee to the Palestinian.

Coming to Israel? Want to experience the land? Excavate!

There are many exciting Archeological excavations across Israel that are scheduled for 2009.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is inviting volunteers from around the world to join these exciting expeditions.

The work is physical, and it is done mostly outdoors in locations in the desert or near the sea. The nearest excavation is set to begin next week in Ein Gedi, and all other planned excavations will take place in the Spring and Summer of 2009.

For more information, visit this website.
Notice the page says the following: Some expeditions offer credit courses from sponsoring institutions.

Ein Gedi

Qassam Rockets — Until When?

These numbers don’t include statistics from December 2008 (this month).

Can you imagine the US, France, or India being hit by several hundred rockets a year? Can you imagine them being hit by even a single one?!

I’m not saying I have a solution for this situation. I’m just saying it’s unthinkable.

Funny Polls

I’m confused. Last time I looked at the polls, the Likud was far ahead of Kadima.

But today I read an article that says Kadima has a slight margin over Bibi’s party. It doesn’t make sense. Either poll makers are distorting the picture, or the Israeli public is more confused than I am.

Hanukkah is the kids’ holiday

Ahh, it’s so much fun to be a kid in Hanukkah. You get a lengthy vacation from school. Your parents actually encourage you to eat doughnuts and chocolate coins. And there’s plenty of shows to drag mommy and daddy to.

This year 3 different “singing competitions” compete for the kids’ attention. The traditional “Festigal”, a newer “Festival” that aims to restore past glory, and another show by the cables’ “Hop” channel.

Here’s a teaser for the Festival:

Reality Tuesday

This coming Tuesday the hit reality show Big Brother will end its first Israeli season in a climatic live broadcast. Who will be crowned winner? Yossi Booblil? Shefra? Leon?

If you’re an addict of the show, like hundreds of thousands in Israel, then this question probably bothers you all day long and throughout the night as well.

But if you think that the “reality show culture” has gone too far, and is taking the place of quality content, then it’s about time you take a stand.

Instead of glaring at the TV screen this coming Tuesday, come out and express your disapproval of the reality monster. A demonstration will be held at the square outside of the Tel Aviv Museum of Arts, during the final episode. Many known actors and musicians are planned to speak in this unique gathering, and the event is likely to drawn very large crowds.

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Rabin Square

  1. For the past 2 years, every Tuesday evening, a bunch of young folks stand outside city hall and offer Free Hugs.
  2. Once every month or so, several astronomy enthusiasts place their professional telescopes in the center of the Square and allow any passerby to have a free glimpse at the Moon’s craters.
  3. The loony Scientologists erected an encampment inside the Square this past weekend. Their yellow ‘n black tents appeared Thursday afternoon, and were gone by Saturday evening. In the middle, they offered free consultation to some poor souls. What’s up with that?

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