Where Do We Keep Our Old Photos?


I just finished publishing a new website for a colleague of mine named Guy Yitzhaki, showcasing his artwork in photography, video art and writing. The following couplet is from an ongoing project of his, where he photographs adult siblings in a composition that references a family picture from their childhood.

Siblings | GuyYitzhaki.com

Siblings | GuyYitzhaki.com

I really like his siblings’ series, as it takes a simple idea and creates a powerful body of work. Check out the full series here.

Excuse me miss, can I show you something amazing, for only twenty seconds of your time?

There’s nothing young Israelis like better than to make a fast buck. That’s why when they are in their twenties, after the mandatory army service, many of them travel abroad to work mainly in two countries: Japan, selling paintings to wealthy Japanese, or to the US selling nail care products to soccer moms. The legitimacy of these jobs is borderline at best as the hiring company usually enrolls them in bogus college courses in order to get a work permit.

Rami Feinstein   , a rising Israeli singer-songwriter, usually sings in Hebrew, but after he worked in the US selling manicure products to finance his debut album, he decided to take the script he worked off of to lure customers, and compose it into a song.

Here is the video for the song, called “Something Amazing“:
Something Amazing – Rami Feinstein – lyrics

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Buy this MP3 track or buy the entire album.

Excuse me miss,
Can I…
Can I ask you a question?
Do you have natural nails?
Can I show you something amazing,
For only twenty seconds of your time?

Come closer,
Step into my office.
See it’s a
Professional buffer,
It has three sides:
The black is made out of diamond dust,
And the white is cotton,
And the grey…
The grey is the most magical side
It’s gonna make your nails shine for
Two whole weeks.

Come here,
Come close.

Let me show you something amazing,
Something amazing,
Something amazing,
Can I show you something amazing,
Something amazing,
For your nails?

See on a regular day
We sell it for
Thirty-nine ninety nine,
But, you know,
Thirty-nine ninety nine is
Also a good price,
You got…
You got… It’s a whole kit:
You got a lotion,
You got some cuticle oil inside,
It’s actually for all of your body,
But today,
Only today,
Only for you,
We have a special promotion going on
And it’s only twenty-nine ninety nine.

Here, come close,
Put some lotion on,
Put it on…
I know you want to,
I know you want to.


Who? Me? I’m just…
You know, I’m not a salesman,
I just came here for a few months for Christmas.
I’m really a musician,
I wanna make some money for my

No, I’m not a salesman,
No, just…
This is my first time doing this.
If you can think of someone else
That would like this as a Christmas gift?
You know, if you buy two
You get a better price.


iBuy says Bye Bye

Last week, one of Israel's leading auction websites, iBuy.co.il, has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 (actually 350 in Israel), and their website now looks like that:

iBuy says Bye Bye

I really hope that when my time will come to run a million dollar company to the ground, I would sound more eloquent in my parting words. This reads 'Due to difficulties the company encountered, the company's management is dealing with these difficulties. A status update will be posted later on'.

It's not just the linguistic faux pas in repeating the word 'difficulties'. When you read the statement you get a feeling that something is missing: the use of the phrase 'due to' heralds some consequences that will be mentioned later on. When you read it again you'll notice that there are none, and that's the metaphor I have to offer today for the scores of iBuy customers who want to receive the merchandize they paid for.

If you liked read that nitpicking, I read a great one this week.

Israeli Avenue Q – Follow-up #1: Rehearsal Sneak Preview

Oh boy, have I got a bag of goodies for all you Avenue Q fans out there. First, check out this photo of the Israeli cast:

Israeli Production of Avenue Q in Hebrew - Rehearsal PR Photo

Front left to right: Michal Muchtar, Lucy the Slut, Tali Oren, Kate Monster, Michal Yannai, Rod, Roy Bar-Natan.
Back left to right: Princeton, Nicky, Idan Alterman, Trekkie Monster, Nicky Goldstein.
Missing from photo: Elinor Aharon.
Peeking in the back: the ubiquitous all-Israeli white Ketter Plastic chair :)

If that photo did not quench your thirst, I know what will: a video clip of the company singing the Avenue Q Theme, but before you press play, I have transcribed the Hebrew lyrics for your listening pleasure, then translated them back to English, and then added the original English lyrics for reference:

Original lyrics Translated back Hebrew lyrics
The sun is shining,
It’s a lovely day,
A perfect morning
For a kid to play,
But you’re got lots
Of bills to pay –
What can you do?You work real hard
And the pay’s real low
And ev’ry hour
Goes oh, so slow
And at the end of the day
There’s no where to go
But home to Avenue Q!
You live on Avenue Q!
You’re friends do too.
You are twenty-two
And you live on Avenue Q!
You live on Avenue Q
You live on Avenue Q
You live on Avenue Q!
Sun is shining
In golden colors
A cat and dog
Play together
You have no
Money for milk
That’s the statusWorks a lot
And earns a little
The time crawls
And crawls slowly
At the end of another crummy day
Me and you
Come back to Avenue Q!
Living in Avenue Q!
It’s not all-that
Just so you know
Living in Avenue Q
Living in Avenue Q
Living in Avenue Q
Living in Avenue Q!
זורחת שמש
בצבעי זהב
חתול וכלב
משחקים יחדיו
לך אין
כסף לחלב
זה המצבעובד הרבה
ומרוויח קצת
הזמן זוחל
וזוחל לאט
בסוף עוד יום מזופת
אני וגם את
חוזרים לאבניו קיו
גרים באבניו קיו
זה לא משהו
רק שתדעו
לגור באבניו קיו
לגור באבניו קיו
לגור באבניו קיו
לגור באבניו קיו!

Also, in a Ynet interview published today, Moshe Kepten, the director of the show dished out some exciting information. Apparently, the musical was translated to Hebrew, but the names and locations were kept, except for one character: the building superintendent in the original production is Gary Coleman, the actor who starred in the eighties television series ‘Different Stokes’ – played by another actor, as the has-been of the Avenue. In a very bold move this part was transformed, and Michal Yannai, who herself was a huge television star for millions of Israeli kids in the nineties, plays herself as the has-been, supposedly telling everyone at home she is participating in a movie filmed in New-York.

The full article in Hebrew can be read here, and is also archived here for posterity.
I have previously posted all the needed ticket ordering information here.

Uncancelled: Israeli Production of the Avenue Q Musical

Although its PR person emphatically denied it last month, Beit Lessin Theatre's production of Avenue Q is in full swing, premiering in October, 2007. This full page ad appeared in the shows schedule sent to subscribers today.

Israeli Production of Avenue Q - Beit Lessin Theatre Ad

The cast will include Michal Yannai, Idan Alterman, Roy Bar-Natan, Tali Oren, Nicky Goldstein, Elinor Aharon, and *Michal Muchtar. Directed by Moshe Kepten, produced by Yariv Yefet and translated by Eli Bizsawi.

To those of you who have no idea what all the fuss is about I would say that if Rent was about 'living in America at the end of the millennium', Avenue Q is about being twenty-two ten years later. You can check out some clips on YouTube, but don't dawdle in ordering your tickets, as there are only seven shows scheduled.

Additional information to follow. Critique to follow in October.

What do you do with a B.A. in English,
What is my life going to be?
Four years of college and plenty of knowledge,
Have earned me this useless degree.
– Avenue Q

*If the name Michal Muchtar rings a bell, it might be because you read my 2005 critique of Beit Zvi's production of the Blood Brothers musical, where she played the girlfriend, Linda.

Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin Coloring Book

Assassination of Rabin family activity pack: Noa Ben Artzi's eulogy

This is an art work I created in 2006, consisting of coloring pages created from television images embedded in our collective Israeli memory. The work was originally displayed in Jerusalem as a ‘family activity pack’ consisting of coloring books and crayons for the kids, and four television monitors for their parents, showing the actual events, including the Kempler video, the TV news announcement, President Clinton’s eulogy, and the state funeral.

Assassination of Rabin family activity pack: Yaacov Eilon announcing PM demise

Some might think this artwork is in poor taste, and I would agree. It is my criticism on the commemoration of Rabin in Israel, particularly within the Israeli educational system, which consists more of ‘Rabin as a grandpa’ and ‘killing people because of their ideas is bad’ and less about what we can do today to stop the next political assassination, how raising the level of debate in this country strengthens us, and why it is still possible to get elected for office in Israel without expressing any opinions or plans.

Assassination of Rabin family activity pack: Aaron Barnea announcing PM demise

Assassination of Rabin family activity pack: President Clinton's eulogy

The complete ready-to-print coloring book can be downloaded here.

Update: You can read this post in Hebrew here.

Radio Interview About ‘Almost Finished’ – A Book by Shahar Golan

Shahar Golan - Almost FinishedI was invited by Israel’s Channel A radio to be a guest on the program Writing for the Drawer hosted by Rona Gershon. It is an hour-long one-on-one chat following the recent publishing of my book named Almost Finished. The original broadcast date was Wednesday, September 5, 2007 – 13:05 (repeated Saturday September 15, 2007 – 18:05).

Get a copy of my book: Listen to the recorded interview:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Music that was played during the show:
Artist Song Album
Dori Adar Irrelevant Answer Jewish Delights
Pink Martini The Gardens of Sampson & Beasley Hang on Little Tomato
Yafit Reuveny Sweet Night Blindness Sweet Night Blindness
Texts that were read on the air:
[singlepic id=201 w=170 h=230 float=center] [singlepic id=200 w=170 h=230 float=center]
[singlepic id=198 w=170 h=230 float=center] [singlepic id=199 w=170 h=230 float=center] [singlepic id=202 w=170 h=230 float=center]

Israeli Advertising Agencies’ Most Annoying Habits: Inventing New Words

One of my biggest pet peeves is the Israeli advertising agencies’ never-ending attempt to make us use words they just invented. It seems that all agencies use this beaten old trick, which usually comes in the form of combining two Hebrew words into one (a portmanteau) and pummeling it over and over into the brains of unsuspecting TV viewers. Some advertisers go to the extent of inventing whole new words from scratch, a trick that does not work with anyone above the age of twelve. In most cases this pretentious trick is used while trying to sell something no one needs, or when the advertising client have no earthly idea why anyone would use his services over his competitors.

Does it count as delusions of grandeur when you invent meaningless, useless words and expect people to use them? Here are some examples of this nasty habit, published here in the hope of using shame as an incentive to be more creative:

2004 – Dan Design Center TV Ad – Stakalala


Phrases: tormofau, bravole, stakalala, darmushe, shasto
SEO: טורמופרב, טורמופאו, ברוולה , סתקללה, סתקללה לאללה, סטקללה, דרמושה, שסטו, שאסטו

2005 – Schoko Shock – Boker Shock


Phrase: boker shock (instead of boker tov / Good Morning)
SEO: בוקר שוק, בוקר טוב, שוקו שוק, שוקושוק

2007 – Yamit 2000 – Spark


Phrase: spark (a portmanteau of spa and park)
SEO: ימית 2000, ספארק המים, ספרק, ספא, פארק, פרק

2006 – Ruppin Academic Center – Mehandel

2006 - Ruppin - Mehandel

Phrase: mehandel (a portmanteau of mehandes / engineer and menahel / manager)
SEO: רופין, מכללה, מכללת, מהנדס, מנהל, מהנדל

2002 – Lapam – Pasim Lev


Phrase: pasim lev (instead of tasim lev / Pay Attention)
SEO: פסים לב, תשים לב

2005 – Avis – Tsidrug

2005 - Avis - Tsidrug

Phrase: tsidrug (a portmanteau of tsi / fleet and shidrug / upgrade)
SEO: אויס, אוויס, צידרוג, צדרוג, צי, שדרוג, שידרוג

2002 – Bagel Bagel – MemaCracker


Phrase: MemaCracker (a portmanteau of memaker / addictive and cracker)
SEO: ממכר, מקרקר, קרקר, ביגל, בייגל, בייגלבייגל, ביגלביגל

End of Part 1

Gotta Have Hustle And Bustle When You Sell Hatsil And Batsal

Kishore Biyani, Managing Director of Pantaloon Retail (India)A very interesting article by the Wall Street Journal discusses the Indian retailer Pantaloon, led by Kishore Biyani, in its effort to blends the look, touch and feel of Indian bazaars with aspects of modern retail like choice and convenience. Apparently when the aisles in their hypermarkets were wide and clean, the Indian shoppers did not purchase much, as the venues did not convey the city markets' look and feel. This was proved to be the case after Biyani renovated the stores, narrowing the aisles and leaving the onions dirty (hatsil in Hebrew is eggplant and batsal is onion, hence the title).

Having traveled to India myself, and after being smitten by some of the cultural differences (commonly referred to by Westerners as sheer chaos), I am naturally lured to reading these kinds of articles.

Here's the first paragraph of the original article:

On a tour of one of his supermarkets, Kishore Biyani notes that shopping carts are getting stuck in the narrow aisles, wheat and lentils have spilled onto the floor, black spots cover the onions and it is difficult to hear above the constant in-store announcements. He grins and congratulates the store manager.
Mr. Biyani, 45 years old, has built a large business and a family fortune on the simple premise that, in India, chaos sells.

If you want to read the full article, you can find it here. If you want to read the book written by Kishore, you can find it here.

You Lying Dog!

Dobby Doberman - Opening TitleIsrael Educational Television has recently shot a short educational film explaining road safety for kids. This is a new episode of the famous eighties TV series called ‘The Friendly Doberman’ although everyone knows it by the name of its canine protagonist, Dobby Doberman.

I thought this might be a good time to discuss a lie we have all been taught: throughout the 1980s when there was only one channel on Israeli TV, every child learned how to cross the road from the friendly neighborhood dog, Dobby. Two of the many slogans we memorize till this day are: ‘Crossing the road in a straight line – is safer and shorter‘ (it rhymes in Hebrew), and ‘Diagonally means dangerously‘. Since this was a fraud on a massive scale, and since to this day any thirty year old can easily cite these erroneous slogans, I took the time to create an easy to understand diagram showing how we were fooled to believe this fallacy:

Dobby Doberman - A Crosswalk Diagram And How The Fraud Was Perpetuated

To show that crossing a road in a straight line is shorter, two kids (shown here in red) were placed in two different starting points, and crossed the road in order to reach the same finishing point. That was the basis of the perpetrated fraud: sport runners start any competition at the same spot and ends it at the same spot. If two kids are placed in the same starting point and cross the road in order to reach the same finishing point (shown here in green) it is evident that crossing diagonally is much shorter than walking in straight lines – hence your third grade math teacher was right: a straight line provides the shortest connection between two points.