Learn To Say Olmert in Sign Language

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Receding Hairline Over The Years - 1960s, 1990s, 2000s - From Full To Bald

Many shows on Israeli TV feature a sign-language interpreter in the corner of the screen for the benefit of the Israeli hearing impaired. While there is nothing wrong with my hearing, from time to time I find myself watching the interpreter rather than the show. I know very little about sign language: I know it is different in each country – and I know how to sign ‘I love you’. That’s pretty much it, except I have noticed the interpreters spell the letters of certain names, but have specific signs for popular ones – so when I first noticed the sign-language lady on the nightly news making a comb-over gesture when the anchorman said ‘Ehud Olmert’, I was certain I was mistaken. Only after finding the following video on the Israeli sign language website SignPedia, did I begin to believe my own eyes:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCUjnMGQbOs

Ehud Olmert, who has been in the public eye for years, has always had a comb-over in a futile effort to disguise his receding hairline. It has only been a couple of years since he stopped fooling himself and accepted his baldness, so I guess the gesture for his name was invented a long time ago, which is rather funny to watch now, because it seems like deaf people all over Israel are making fun of him.

Nelson Mandela Is Dead – Saddam Hussein Killed Him – Or So Bush Says

I was watching this live on CNN, and was bumfuzzled for a second, but no worries, Mandela is alive and well, but not according to Bush’s press conference this morning:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1KGwQ1O88Y

I thought an interesting comment was made – somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, “Now, where’s Mandela?” Well, Mandela’s dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.

Chumbawamba Criticizes MySpace Culture – on Their MySpace Page

Chumbawamba      is one of my favorite bands – always political, always relevant and always quick and precise in expressing their opinions in hot-button issues. With a career spanning 25 years, it is a real shame most people know only one of their songs, Tubthumping (‘I get knocked down / But I get up again / You’re never going to keep me down’). The release of this song was, in my humble opinion, the worst public relations move they could ever do because most people now think of them as a cool-fun-one-hit-wonder-band and most do not bother to listen to any of their other songs.

After previously discussing issues as diverse as cultural imperialism, sweatshops, Tony Blair, the war in Iraq and Paris Hilton, they posted a new song on their MySpace page – this one is about Web 2.0 culture, I guess. For your listening pleasure, here are the lyrics:

Chumbawamba – Add Me – lyrics

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Buy this MP3 track or buy the entire album.

I’m a loner alone with neurosis and hate
Anger is a permanent character trait
My letter bombs are primed and they’re ready to send
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I’m a wound-up whiner with a fetish for guns
I’m almost fifty and I live with my mum
I hope my nude picture doesn’t offend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Chorus:
Add me, add me,
My momma says she wish she never had me
Add me, add me,
Would you like to add me as a friend?
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I’m a recovering alcoholic; I rarely leave my room,
Peeping through the curtains in my dog costume,
The voices in my head, aah… they’ll get me in the end
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I really like to mail you the picture that I drew,
It’s Kylie’s body, but the head is you
I’ve asked you fifty times before I’m asking you again
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Chorus

Here’s a picture of me in my Nazi uniform
Doing a trick with an egg that I like to perform
At a monster truck rally that my mum and me attend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I’ve added Britney, and Paris, and you and Tom,
I’m gonna find your address so I can visit you at home,
I don’t like people, but I like to pretend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Chorus

frgdr.com Gets Some Stardust

Tedy.TV LogoTedy productions, the guys who gave you the Israeli version of American Idol, the Comedy Store series and other popular TV shows, have launched a new website which is supposed to be the next Israeli YouTube/MySpace mashup. Normally I would not have mentioned it, but since some of my video works are featured on the art channel, you might want to check it out.

Where Is This All Going? Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0

We all feel the excitement in the air: the internet is evolving. Information Architects in Japan have produced a new version of their Web Trends for 2007, documenting the 200 most successful websites, mapped by popularity and category on the Tokyo metro map, with the added bonus of a forecast.

Legend:
Legend: Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0

Nine Eleven Got Branded, Nine Eleven Got Sold

A knot of bystanders at Park Row and Beekman Street look up as the south tower begins to collapse | Photograph by Patrick WittyOn this 6th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, I just wanted to make a quick note to Israeli news editors:
This might be the most documented event in history, yet every time there is some news item related to the event – like the recorded emergency phone calls being released to the public or any one of those post-9/11 stories – it seems that news editors always use the footage of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

With millions of photos and hundreds of videos depicting the first hours of this human tragedy, why is it so important to use that specific point in time, probably the most painful one to watch? Is it intellectual atrophy that forces Israeli news-editors to use the actual impact as a metaphor for the extent of the event? Are these the same people that started calling everything a ‘tsunami’ after the 2004 event – basically comparing every annoying new trend to the catastrophe that caused over 200,000 human casualties?

I leave you with these unanswered questions and one relevant song, Jacob’s Ladder (Not In My Name) by Chumbawamba, one of my favorite bands, from which I took the quote for this post’s subject.

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Heap of Garbage – Israeli YouTube-Wannabe and Its Pathetic Promotional Campaign

Heap of Garbage: heep ad on MySpaceHeap of Garbage: heep ad on YouTubeI have noticed a recent trend with the ads I am being shown while surfing. Whether I am on Gmail, YouTube or MySpace, I often see ads for heep.co.il, a lame Israeli YouTube-wannabe, and those ads always leave a bitter after-taste. While each ad might be different, they have something in common: all of them insinuate that at the other end of a single mouse-click there are plenty of videos waiting to cater to your every voyeuristic need. Now I am no prude. I can handle porn ads as much as the next guy, but I don’t like them served to me on regular mainstream websites (via Google). I think this sly way of trying to lure you into their website is pathetic.
Heap of Garbage: heep ad on Gmail
YouTube got to where it is today by hard work which created positive word of mouth – but I guess the heep guys over at heep think the Israeli weather is just too hot for actual honest work.

Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year

Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year | MaarivAs the Jewish new-year draws near, Israeli coffee shop chain Aroma Espresso Bar placed this full page ad in today’s papers, wishing us all a Happy New Year. Now, Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, but the greeting appears in four languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian, so it seems the company went out of its way to make everyone feel welcome in the coming holiday.

Everyone?

Amharic, the mother tongue of Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent, most of which are very observant, is missing from the ad. I would not have mentioned it, but after last year’s incident, in which Aroma’s CEO called a woman a ‘stupid, inferior black stain’ and made sure she noticed his white skin as opposed to her ‘black skin’, I’m not so sure anymore.

Israeli Avenue Q – Follow-up #2: Notes Following Press Junket

The Israeli production of Avenue Q conducted a press junket yesterday, performing some of the songs in front of news reporters, and both the actors and the puppets were interviewed by all mainstream Israeli media. As I grow more and more anxious towards the premiere in October, 2007, here are a couple of notes, based on my newly gained knowledge:

Puppetry:
Avenue Q Israeli puppets versus their American counterpartsIt seems that Roni Wagner’s puppet-making skills produced some inconsistent results:
while Kate Monster, Nicky and Trekkie Monster (TrekkieFletset in the local production) seem like they are the exact replicas of the originals, the other puppets seem a far cry from Rick Lyon‘s work:
Princeton doesn’t look like he just stepped out of college, more likely he just stepped out of the Kibbutz and haven’t had a chance to change his socks-and-sandals.
Rod with his pale blue skin color seems like a Chinese knock-off of the original investment banker and he seems to have changed the frames of his spectacles to an older and much less endearing ones.
And with Lucy the Slut something just doesn’t sit well, but I can’t put my finger on it. For some reason she looks to me more like a love doll than your local neighborhood slut.

Translation:
Eli Bizsawi’s translation to Hebrew was probably a difficult task. Unlike English, the holy tongue is full of words with many syllables, which creates quite a challenge for anyone trying to fit the same amount of information into a predetermined amount of stanzas. It seems the translator did a pretty good job, as the words of the songs seem to flow quite naturally.
Besides that, the Israeli production, like the English one, had to bridge over the cultural differences, so here Rod will not read ‘Broadway musicals of the 1940s’ but will watch a DVD of ‘The Eurovision Song Contest – The Beautiful Years’, as it is an activity much more authentic to the stereotypical Israeli homosexual.
Also, the original Japanese character Christmas-Eve was changed to Latina, the Spanish immigrant who faces pretty much the same difficulties as her US counterpart.

Check out the video coverage of the press junket as reported by NRG:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=canUTfh9sck

Additional coverage: Channel 10 News, Ynet News.

If you haven’t done so already, check out these related posts:
Israeli Avenue Q – Follow-up #1: Rehearsal Sneak Preview
Uncancelled: Israeli Production of the Avenue Q Musical