January 31, 2009

Rush Limbaugh: a sense of humor?

It's so unbelievable that I assume it's a joke: browsing through Rush Limbaugh's site I found out that he advertises for "Club G'itmo" (read: Guantanamo) and sells T-shirts "Club Gitmo - When America Was Safe":

Orange for "club members" (an allusion to the orange jumpsuits of the prisoners)...

and their friends ("My Mullah Went to Club Gitmo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt")...

But the worst is still to come: black T-Shirt for "Staff". If you want to identify with the "staff" at Guantanamo who used "aggressive interrogation methods", then you would wear this, with Rush Limbaugh's website address on the back:

And on the website precisely, advertisement for the club, its amenities and particularly its "spa" (see below). Very unfunny, ain't it?

I would have bought a T-shirt to have a proof of this some years down the road if I could bring myself to donating 20 bucks to this guy, but I could't, I really couldn't.

Psychology and electricity bill

In the NYTimes article Utilities Turn Their Customers Green, With Envy one can read:

The district had been trying for years to prod customers into using less energy with tactics like rebates for energy-saving appliances. But the traditional approaches were not meeting the energy reduction goals set by the nonprofit utility’s board.

So, in a move that has proved surprisingly effective, the district decided to tap into a time-honored American passion: keeping up with the neighbors.

They go on to explain that people really don't appreciate being badly rated and send angry letters when they are but:

The approach has now been picked up by utilities in 10 major metropolitan
areas eager to reap rewards through increased efficiencies, including Chicago
and Seattle, according to Positive Energy, the software company that conceived
of the reports and contracts to produce them. Following Sacramento’s lead, they
award smiley faces only.

Energy saving is the largest and most ignored ressource of energy, and they've just found a new way to extract it from where it lies!

January 30, 2009

Saying more than hi to my readers

Dear blog readers,

Books, movies, treks, work... There's a lot of exciting things going on these days so let's give a try at updating you.


I'm a Martin Winckler fan these days. I started with La maladie de Sachs (The Case of Dr Sachs) which I mentioned on this blog in my post entitled Secrets, went on to read his first novel La vacation, and most strikingly Les trois médecins, which is both a sequel and a prequel to Dr Sachs's story, and an tribute to Alexandre Dumas. (Should I mention that I read as a kid three times the 800 pages of The Three Musketeers and some of my favorite passages many more times?)

Next: Plumes d'Ange, the biography of his father, Ange Abraham Zafran. Not as exciting so far.

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman: fascinating; I plan to review it here as soon as I'm finished reading it.


Nina's Tragedies (האסונות של נינה) by Savi Gavison, who also directed Shuroo. What a movie! Incredibly moving and touching, it is about a twelve year-old boy, Nadav, who is in love with his aunt, Nina. Nadav's parents split recently and Nina's husband was killed in a terrorist attack. She is going through a lot and Nadav is encouraged to move in with her. He is watching all along and learning while she meets another man with whom nothing is simple: he has a girlfriend but falls deeply in love with Nina; she spends a night with him but her bad conscience dictates that she break up... I cried my eyes out.

Mon Oncle, by and with Jacques Tati, for the thirtieth time - at least.


In the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. What an experience! The silence, the beauty of the landscapes...

Warning: Dead Sea disappearing fast, almost no rain this year and whatever rain there is is tapped by agriculture, flush toilets and showers instead of flowing through the Jordan river and into the Dead Sea... Pssst, do something!

Friday: Ein Feshkha (known in Hebrew as Einot Tsukim), an amazing nature reserve...

and Qedem, sources of warm sulphur water:

Night: in Mitspeh Efes, which is as it name suggests, at see level i.e. 400 m above the Dead Sea, probably the most beautiful place I've seen in my life.

Saturday: Wadi Arugot

Sunday: starting from Masada early in the morning (lunar landscape)...

and into Nakhal Tse'elim to Ein Namer for a dip in 13 Celsius water which didn't last more than a couple of seconds


I have supported Obama from the moment he won the primaries and am very excited about him. I have great hopes for both renewable energies, environment protection and foreign policy, including this region.

I hosted a party in honor of his inauguration which I took great delight watching on Fox News, my favorite channel.

A war

The political situation here is never brilliant, it is sometimes even catastrophic. We had another war. Three colleagues from work were mobilized. A good friend of mine took part in the ground offensive. Several of my friends who live or work in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva experienced the alerts and the anguish of expecting the impact near them. On the other side, the situation was dire and the toll incredibly high. At first I was tuned to the Israeli radio channels and to the wide consensus in favor of the war. The casualties among the Israeli soldiers were high in the first two days. With the toll mounting on the other side, I couldn't understand anymore. עדיף שלום ממלחמה goodwill people say here but no one could offer an alternative to war.

I hope Obama will force us to make peace. In the meantime, all I can do is vote.

Personal Life

Indeed you ask, "All that's nice, but what about you? The man in the picture?" Well I'm doing well. Running almost every day to help keep mood and fitness up. Making progress in various fields like knowing myself, communicating with others, getting my projects going, etc. And the feeling of improvement by itself fills my life. But many challenges remain and it won't be easy.

Saying hi to my blog readers

Quote of the day:
Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.
-- Salvador Dalí
Idea of the day:
Run for twenty minutes, four times a week.
Book recommendation of the day:
Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman