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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
It's that time again
My day has consisted of the following events:
Getting up early, doing the laundry, making dinner for this day and the next (so I won't have to take precious time away from studying tomorrow to cook), having breakfast, making coffee and then studying for the next 11 hours with few and short breaks, while drinking ridiculous and extremely unhealthy amounts of coffee.
You guessed it, exam period has started. So until May 6th (along with an essay deadline set for the 17th), I shall not be blogging much (unless I'll be slacking, but considering the tight schedual I certainly hope I won't).
I hope to 'see' you all again after I'm done!

Monday, April 25, 2005
Narrating bloggers
Since I have exam reading these days I have little time to spend on my blog (although I would neglect pretty much anything for this obsession-called-internet). Also I see that fellow bloggers are doing such an excellent job (as usual, except for David Treppenwitz though, he's slacking!) describing current events.
But I did want to mention one thing that crossed my mind while reading Gilly's blog. I have never met Gilly, but I am very well aware of the fact that he is born and bred in London, and according to David Treppenwitz (who has met him), he sounds like "a narrator for the BBC".
Now I don't know about the rest of you (again, except for Treppenwitz who calls them "voices in his head"), but I always, always narrate while reading blogs, and often the accents/voices I hear in my head make little sense. The only voices I've actually heard are those of the following:

Lisa: A Canadian with a very sophisticated and personalised way of speaking. It's really contagious.
She can speak really fast in Hebrew by the way.

My Obiter Dicta (Jeffrey): He speaks really fast and I actually sometimes had problems keeping up. (He and Lisa both speak in virtually unaccented Hebrew, which is unusual for anglo-Israeli adults).

Treppenwitz: Has the kind of voice that has a really calming effect on you. It has crossed my mind that David should have become a dentist. I think that might have worked out quite well!

However, apart from that it's left to my imagination, so I decided to share with you how I 'narrate' some of my regular reads (in my head, of course).

Geviha Ben Pesisa: American accent spoken fast, with an extensive vocabulary.

Hasidic Gentile: I don't narrate. But you are no Brit to me!

Israel Midnight Café: This is the mystery man, but I'm guessing you speak almost exactly with a typical American accent. (Until recently I sort of narrated with a British accent, though). And I'm also guessing you're not bad looking. It's just a guess.
Israellycool: American accent, in an excited tone of voice (and yes I know you're Australian).

Neither here nor there: British all the wayyy

Nice Jewish Boy: Super-American accent with slang and stuff

Not a Fish: Now you see this is weird. Don't you speak with a British accent? I narrate with more of an American..

Oleh Girl: Why do you sound like a "cowboy girl" in my head??

Reb Lazer's Shtibble: Oh well I've watched interviews, and you sounded different from what I would have thought!

Rishon Rishon: Good & educated language, soft voice speaking quitely (I could be way off here with the latter)

yiddishe-kop: Serious American girl who speaks calmly 

But then the question remains. How do you all narrate me? Come on, lets hear it..

Orly's new pictures from Tel Aviv
Orly has once again taken a quick break from her PhD studies to take some amazing photos. This time they are from Southern Tel Aviv. As usual, her photos give me mixed feelings of familiarity, nostalgia and pleasure, along simply being utterly charming.

Saturday, April 23, 2005
Banning Israeli universities... And then what?
The news of how the Brits have now banned Israeli universities, hardly come as a great surprise. But it is just as unpleasant, nevertheless. The matter is certainly of highly personal interest to myself, as someone hoping to start MA studies in Israel next year. It seems like if I do pursue graduate studies in Israel, I need to keep in mind that my education might stand and fall with the world's "attitude" towards Israel.

Brits ban Israeli universities

British academicians claim Haifa University censors criticism of Israel’s policies in territories, Bar-Ilan boycotted because it 'runs courses in colleges in the occupied West Bank;' Israeli official: ‘Last time Jews boycotted in universities was in 1930’s Germany
Britain's main university teachers' union said on Friday it had agreed to a Palestinian request to boycott two Israeli universities, angering Jewish students and administrators who said it could fan anti-Semitism.

Association of University Teachers (AUT) General Secretary Sally Hunt, announcing the boycott, said members are asked to avoid all academic or cultural cooperation with Haifa University and Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, British Ambassador to Israel Simon McDonald said the British government opposes academic boycotts in general and the boycott against the Israeli universities in particular.The AUT council voted to boycott Bar-Ilan because it runs courses at colleges in the occupied West Bank and "is thus directly involved with the occupation of Palestinian territories contrary to United Nations resolutions". It boycotted Haifa because the university disciplined a lecturer for supporting a student who wrote about attacks on Palestinians during the founding of the state of Israel.

 'A betrayal of academic principles'

The boycott, which is not compulsory, will last until Haifa "ceases its victimization of academic staff and students who seek to research and discuss the history of the founding of the state of Israel," it said. The AUT said it voted for the boycott in response to a plea for action by a group of Palestinian academics. British university administrators and Jewish student groups were outraged. "It is a betrayal of academic principles -- it looks like they are moving backwards into the hatred of the past few years," Union of Jewish Students spokesman Danny Stone said.

Reminiscent of 1930s Germany

The AUT's executive committee said it would look further into a call to boycott a third university, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, after claims that the institution had confiscated land occupied by Palestinian families in east Jerusalem. 

Boycotting Israel? - Read this

But how far are the Brits planning to take their academic boycott of Israel? And how exactly are they planning on doing it, with one eye shut?
Adam sent me an excellent article discussing the matter. (This is must-read material).

Pay attention, British professors. If you support the boycott of Israel proposed by some of your fellow academics -- and if you are to remain intellectually honest -- prepare for a radical lifestyle change. Firstly, unplug your computers. Good. Now switch off your interactive digital television sets. Well done. And now throw away your mobile phones. Excellent.

You see, Professors, these machines are not only the engine of the globalized, capitalist world but they also depend on technologies that have been produced by Israeli academics in the Zionist entity.Also, I'm afraid you may not use the British Library because it has been computerized by Ex Libris, a Zionist company that was spawned by the odious Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Friday, April 22, 2005
Wishing everyone a:

David (Rishon-Rishon) has written an excellent post about this holiday, that begins tomorrow night, here.

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Barthez the wiz
Guess who's in trouble? Our buddy Barthez has apparently been banned for spitting on a judge. A muslim judge, by the way.. The judge claims he's too experienced for such "stupid mistakes". But then again, he's a football player, they're not exactly renowned for their intelligence. Here are a few other stupid things footballers have said. Would an accountant, for example, be likely to say these things?...

'I would not be bothered if we lost every game as long as we won the league.' - Mark Viduka

'If you don't believe you can win, there is no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day.' - Neville Southall

'We lost because we didn't win.' - Ronaldo

'I've had 14 bookings this season - 8 of which were my fault, but 7 of which were disputable.' - Paul Gascoigne

'I'd like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona.' - Mark Draper

'I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel.' - Stuart Pearce

Interviewer: 'Would it be fair to describe you as a volatile player?'
David Beckham: 'Well, I can play in the centre, on the right and occasionally on the left side.'
(I recall Victoria describing how "David really is very misunderstood. He's actually very deep").

'I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet.' - David Beckham
(Worth mentioning: David Beckham was adopted by Jewish parents (askmaria.com, hehe).

How monsterous can a person get..
This is too horrible not to mention. It's not often that news make me shiver like this:

Jessica Lunsford was raped and buried alive

TAMPA, Fla. — A 9-year-old girl was raped, bound and buried alive, kneeling and clutching a purple stuffed dolphin, state prosecutors said in documents released Wednesday.

Jessica Lunsford's (search) body was found March 19 buried about 150 yards from her house in Homosassa, about 60 miles north of Tampa.

According to the documents, Jessica was found wearing shorts and a shirt — different from the pink nightgown her family said she was wearing when they reported her missing Feb. 24, The Tampa Tribune said in its online edition late Wednesday.

The body was wrapped in two plastic trash bags knotted at her head and feet in a grave covered by a mound of leaves, the state attorney's office said in the documents.

Jessica died of asphyxiation, according to a coroner's report. A convicted sex offender,John Evander Couey (search), 46, is charged in her slaying.

Officials said they believe Jessica may have been alive in Couey's home while police and volunteers searched for her. After she was killed, Couey fled to Georgia.

First day of summer, and a pesach holiday in Iceland
Tourists can be quite stupid sometimes. It certainly doesn't surprise me that practically every other tourist that visited the shop where I work today, wanted to know why everything was closed (everything except tourist shops..). The reason was the national holiday we call "the First day of summer". I had a few conversations with Americans that just didn't seem to want to understand. They went something like this:

Tourist: So what are you celebrating?
Maria: "the First day of summer" (Sumardagurinn fyrsti)
Tourist: Oh okay. But wait, is it the first day of spring, or the first day of summer?
Maria: Summer
Tourist: That seems early. So when is winter?
Maria: The "First day of winter" is usually in late October.
Tourist: Oh right, so that is because you only have two seasons, right?
Maria: No, we have four seasons..
Tourist: So do you also have a "First day of spring and fall"?
Maria: No
Tourist: Why not if you have four seasons?
Maria: I don't know. We just don't. 
Tourist: Oh, well jee thanks!

However, Icelanders are also incredibly stupid. I was working at the little shop on the shopping street today. There wasn't that much to do, and I spent much of my time watching the people walk by. People are beginning to dress lightly, since it's getting warmer now. "Summer" appears to magically transform all the people into such a gorgeous bunch, I seriously don't know why. But although everyone (or a lot of people) are looking extremely fit and beautiful, they're still (and I won't apologise if someone finds this offensive of arrogant) incredible stupid! I mean they don't look stupid, they look great. But try having a conversation with a regular Icelandic person, they will only be able to discuss gossip and fashion. (although I doubt that Icelandic people are any dumber than people from other countries, they're certainly very well educated, which leads me to the conclusion that people generally just tend to be very stupid and ignorant).
Now why am I mentioning this? Well, while I was bored at work I started reading "the Reykjavik Grapevine", this paper about Iceland/Icelanders in English, for tourists. The reason why I read this and not real newspapers, is because of my attempt to boycott Icelandic media. So I decided to read something more entertaining and more mindnumbing. Alright, so they took several regular Icelandic people and asked them a bunch of very easy questions. The only question some of the people were able to answer was "who is Britney Spears' husband?" (and that doesn't impress me, sorry). They were asked "where is Finnmark?" (a part of Norway. Icelanders should certainly know this, I've known this since I can remember). Nobody had a clue, and people gave answers such as "uhm, it must be a country", or "I'm certain that it is in Iceland".
Another thing they asked a different group of imbeciles, ehrm I mean people, was: what comes to your mind when you hear the word "Israel". People said: Sorrow, injustice, war, war, war etc.
You know that's funny. I have (unlike all those people, obviously) been to Israel, and for me "burrekas", "shook", "hareidim", "falafel", etc etc etc all seem far more illustrative...

Which brings me to the pleasant part of my otherwise un-eventful day at work.
An American family, a wife, husband and their two children were trying to decide which souvenirs to get. They started chatting with me a bit, and I noticed that their daughter (about 12-13 y.o) was wearing a "chai" necklace. I was quite surprised, since you don't exactly see people wearing Jewish jewelry a lot in Iceland (I have a pair of chai earrings from Jerualem that I wear a lot though). I mentioned the girl's necklace, and they all kind of stared at me and went: "You know what it is?". So I said "yes, chai". And they woman shouts: "Oh my God, are you Jewish?!". And I tell her I'm not, I've "just" been sort of obsessed with Israel since I was like, born. So it turns out that they are a Jewish family from Boston, and that the mother once lived in Israel for 1 year. I asked her where, and she said she lived in a kibbutz near Jerusalem called "Ma'ale Ha'hamisha". I told her that I have been to Ma'ale Ha'hamisha many times, and we all got quite excited that it's such a "small world", after all.
After that they stayed a while and she asked me things about some products. For some strange reason I told her the "truth", as opposed to just saying what will sell the product, like I normally would. It's not that I normally lie, but I do withold information if people don't ask (such as "this isn't really made in Iceland"). But for some reason, I just felt.. I don't know..

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
It's pure madness!
Oh the unimaginable horrors of this day!
This day has been the worst, craziest, most annoying...
As some of you may remember, I have quite recently been ill. While being ill I went to see my doctor, who prescribed antibiotics (not penecillin). The problem was that I didn't really get better. I got out of bed, but I never properly recovered. Yesterday I started to become far more sick, and today I've had a sore throat, been feverish, dizzy and a just a mess. I had my doctor (who has always been a complete ass) and his reply was that "there is nothing to be done". When I told him that I wasn't satisfied with his answer, and that I did not feel that being sick for a month was normal, he told me "call me again on Friday if you feel like you're "dying".
I finally decided to go all the way to the suburbs (located outside of Reykjavik, I hate the suburbs) to the "shifts", where doctors are working from 17-23:30. I was fortunate enough to bump into a friend in the waiting room, so waiting wasn't so bad. The doctor there was nice, and prescribed penecillin and took a sample. He said he thought I seemed kind of nervous. I told him I'm in the middle of reading for my exams. He said that a lot of people my age that are seeing him are nervous as well, for the same reason.
This mixture of sickness, medication and exam stress is causing me to behave like mad woman. While sitting in the waiting room, my friend Jona (the one I bumped into, and who was later diagnosed with phneumonia) and I were discussing how we were seeing things double and our heads were spinning. Then suddenly I "heard" my mobile phone ring, very clearly. I got very anxious to pick it up since I somehow got this idea that I was "expecting a very important call from my sister".
Nr. 1) I knew perfectly well that I had left my phone at home in the recharger
Nr. 2) Calls from my sister are very rarely "important", but more like casual
Nr. 3) I also knew very well that my sister was downstairs at the Bedmaker (Rúmfatalagerinn) waiting for me, so her calling me would make little sense

And yet I persisted. I was certain that my phone was ringing. Finally I asked Jona if she had not heard my phone ring. She said she had heard nothing, that I was mistaken.
Now, I suppose I better go take a nap. Tomorrow is a national holiday. I don't know if it's celebrated in other countries, that's how clueless I am... "The first day of summer", and I am working, as ill, messed up and mad as I am!

A day not to be celebrated
So guess who had a birthday on this day, April 20th? (born 1889 in Braunau, Austria).
I hope no sad creatures out there in Germany, France, Sweden or whatever get carried away with their "celebrations". May it be a peaceful day.

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