Month: February 2013

  • We’re going away for a while to gather fodder for the blog.  We’ll be back sometime, Lord willing.

    While we’re away, here’s some Michigan humor for you.  It could apply to Pennsylvania or any number of states.

    According to Jeff Foxworthy:
    * If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Michigan.
    * If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t even work there, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you’ve worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number,you may live in Michigan.
    * If “vacation” means going anywhere North of Grand Rapids for the weekend, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you have switched from ‘heat’ to ‘A/C’ in the same day and back again, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Michigan.
    * If the speed limit on the highway is 70 mph – you’re going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Michigan.
    * If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Michigan.
    * If you find 10 degrees “a little chilly,” you may live in Michigan.
    * If you actually understand these jokes, repost this so all of your Michigan friends and others can see that you definitely do live – or have lived – in Michigan

    All those who are tired of the government lurching from one crisis to another and never solving a problem, raise your hands.  I thought so.  100%.  In my several decades of watching politicians, I’ve never seen such a sorry bunch of incompetents.  I heard someone say on TV this morning that both sides are standing outside a burning building casting blame on each other for starting the fire and no one is putting it out.  They can’t think beyond the next election, any of them.

    What’s sad is that “every nation has the government it deserves,”  (Joseph de Maistre, 1753-1821).  And I’m afraid that’s the sad truth. 



    Last night during coverage of the Carnival ship being towed to port with its wretched cargo of wretched people, there came on a commercial for Carnival urging us to sign up for a fun cruise to a land of our dreams.

    Perhaps it would have been better for Carnival to pull its advertising for a while. 

  • When I was in school, during the age of the dinosaurs, I had some teachers who obviously didn’t like kids.  I wondered then, and wonder now, why they went into teaching.  Of course back then the options for women were mostly teaching, nursing or secretarial.  But still.  Apparently it’s still a problem, according to this from World Magazine.

    Considering the details divulged in her lawsuit against Mariemont City Schools, perhaps Maria Waltherr-Willard should have chosen a different profession. The 61-year-old former high-school teacher is suing the school district, which serves Cincinnati’s eastern suburbs, for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against her because she had a rare phobia: fear of school-aged children. According to the lawsuit, the district was trying to force her out of a job by transferring her from her high-school position to teach 7th- and 8th-graders—an age group that she says caused her blood pressure to spike and anxiety to soar.

  • I have a very poor sense of direction, as anyone who has ever had me drive them someplace will tell you.  But I’m not quite as bad as this poor lady, as reported in World Magazine.

    Scenic route 

    Within hours, Sabine Moreau should have known she wasn’t in Belgium anymore. But misplaced trust in her GPS direction system turned what should have been a 93-mile trip to Brussels into a 900-mile, two-day odyssey to Croatia. On Jan. 12, Moreau, 67, left her home in Erquelinnes, Belgium, to go pick up a friend from the train station in Brussels. To navigate the trip, Moreau flipped on the GPS system in her car and dutifully followed the directions as she drove southwest hour after hour. First she saw signs written in French. Then German. Then in other languages. All this, she says, didn’t make her realize something had gone terribly wrong. “It was only when I ended up in Zagreb [Croatia] that I realized I was no longer in Belgium,” she told the UPI. During the 900-mile journey, Moreau stopped for gas twice, got into a minor accident, and even pulled over to sleep for a few hours. When she arrived in Zagreb, she phoned home to find her family had filed a missing person report and police were preparing a manhunt for her.

    As bad as I am, I do think if I ever ended up in Toronto while on my way to Chicago, I would suspect something was very wrong long before I saw the CN tower. 

  • After every snowstorm there are reports of stores running out of shovels, snow blowers, salt and all the stuff needed after a big snow.  It got me to wondering – do people throw out their snow shovels every spring?  Do they say, “Oh, it will never snow again.  We don’t need this anymore.”?  We’ve had the same snow shovels for nigh onto 30 years or more.  I think it’s hard to wear out a snow shovel.  And if one does wear out, couldn’t it be replaced in, say, November?  Couldn’t a bag of salt be bought in December, just in case?  Unless you just fell off the turnip truck from Florida and don’t realize you’re now living in a snow zone, shouldn’t you be a bit prepared?  Snow shovels and salt don’t have expiration dates.

    As I write this, Sam is out using one of our antique snow shovels to clear the end of the drive where the plow went by and snowed us in.  We can get the cars in and out, so I suggested he wait until our neighbor shows up with the blower and does the job in three minutes, but he says it needs to be done NOW.  It’s hard to argue with logic like that.  And if he’s in bed all day tomorrow with a sore back, he will find sympathy in the dictionary.

    P.S. He just came in and said two little neighbor girls, ages 5 and 8, came over and helped him.  And he says his back is sore.

    And – fifteen minutes after he came in, the neighbor with the snow blower showed up.


    We had about 12 inches of snow last night, and that’s a lot for this part of Michigan.  It was a winter wonderland this morning, and made even nicer because one of our neighbors used his snow blower on our drive and sidewalk twice – once last night and again this morning.  Ah, it’s good to be the oldest people on the block!  And helpless and pathetic.

    I love the way our globe blue spruce looks when covered with snow.  But after I took this picture, I brushed the snow off – too much weight.

    There’s a bush under there somewhere.

    There are several bushes under there somewhere.

    SNOW DAY!  I love ‘em!


    Dear Lois,

    December and January have been busy months. In December our group returned to Kibbutz Ketora. I won’t give a day-by-day summary because we did most of the usual activities: visits to nearby Kibbutzim Lotan and Grofit, to Timna National Park (site of ancient copper mines and smelting), desert crafts.

     We also visited a private farm (very rare in the southern desert) where a young couple has planted olive and date groves and are building a boutique spa-hotel. They already have a small café there which hosts parties and cultural events.

    One evening we heard a fascinating lecture on the Cairo Geniza. A geniza is a small room in a synagogue where damaged holy scrolls and books were kept because it is forbidden to throw them away. Generation after generation anything in Hebrew, Aramaic, or remotely connected with Judaism was also added. There was a fire in the synagogue, and the entire interior, including the geniza, was thrown out. Congregants noticed the geniza items and most were saved. Some were sold to antique dealers and found their way to the great libraries of the world in England, Russia, the U.S.A., the Vatican, etc.

    Many books and academic papers have been written about this treasure of ancient holy texts. A picture of everyday life through the ages is revealed through marriage and engagement contracts, wills, property deeds, commercial documents , and other items. Some of the artifacts have been bequeathed to Israel; others have been bought by Israeli institutions, but much is still overseas. Some has recently been put online, but much is still unavailable to scholars.

    Ketora is home to Methuselah, the date sapling grown from a seed found on Masada. How “our boy” has grown! He is definitely a male, a disappointment to botanists, but several fairly ancient seedlings are being grown in hopes of finding him a mate. (One tiny plant has optimistically been named “Rebecca.”) Methuselah is not much taller than he was 3 years ago, but he is broader. Now outside, there is electronic fencing to prevent his being damaged.

    Here at home we have had a very rainy and windy winter, with one day of heavy (for Israel) snow in Jerusalem, the Judean hills, the high desert, and the hills of Galilee. Our elections were held on January 22, and this week the first efforts will be made to form a coalition government (the norm). Although our own leftists and the foreign media cite “a turn to the left” or “a tie between left and right,” that is really wishful thinking because the “tie” includes the Arab parties on the leftist side. The son of good friends of ours is the new leader of a party of the right, and I understand the U.S. administration and media have deliberately misled the public by branding him an extremist.

    At last we now have new ceramic tile floors, laid on the previous floor tiles! All the furniture had to be moved twice: one for the flooring and once for the stuff (I don’t know the English word) between the tiles. [Editor’s note: grout.] Wardrobes and bookcases had to be emptied in order to be moved. Since the work was done during a particularly rainy week, all the tile cutting had to be done inside, and even covered furniture was filthy with the dust. All in all, the experience was far worse than moving house. The workers left over two weeks ago, and I’m still finding items, usually while searching for other items.  The floors, however, are gorgeous. The only drawback is that the light beige tiles show every speck of dust and tiny crumb, but I’m getting lots of exercise stooping to pick them up.

    Love, Marsha

    Timna National Park.  Fenced-in ancient copper smelting site.  Note the pinkish stone of the area.

    Timna National Park.  “The Pillars.”  Note stairs for intrepid climbers.  Not us.

    Methusulah the date sapling.

    A solar panel field at Ketura.  As in the biblical fields where the corners were not harvested but instead left for the poor (Book of Ruth), the kibbutz donates the profits from the corners to charity.

    Kibbutz laundry.  Members sort items and put in appropriate openings. Temperatures are centigrade.

    Private farm on hill.  Young olive and date trees below.

    Kibbutz Lotan.  One of several experimental gardens, this of two wooden shipping platforms standing on end.  Several kinds of vegetables grow at the same time in tiny spaces.

    Playground at Lotan made from tires, straw and mud.

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