Sunday, July 22, 2012

(Keep on) Rockin' in the Free World

July 12, Neve Yosef Community Center, Haifa. MidLife Crisis performs Neil Young's  socially relevant 'Rockin' in the Free World' at a the Neve Yosef community theater festival. Filmed by ML.

It took over three hours navigating  traffic jams to get to Haifa in Danny B's 'band van' and when we arrived at the prestigious "back balcony" stage, the audience consisted of roughly 3 little girls and a savta . But MLC will never pass up a gig, no matter how small (as long as we're all free that day and preferably if there's a drum set). After a few numbers, more people dropped in. A few started dancing. For once we had monitors and could hear ourselves. Threatened with only a short 45 minutes, our set extended to over an hour and a good rockin time was had by all. We've been promised the "front balcony" next year. At last, the big time!    

Saturday, July 21, 2012


It's been a roller-coaster week. The sort of week that, in most countries, would be spread over a year.

It started with the shocking self-immolation of Moshe Sliman at a social justice demonstration  in Tel Aviv, continued  with the departure of Kadima from the cabinet, the decision to grant university status to the Ariel University Center  and the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ended with the Damascus explosion and the  terror attack at Burgas airport in Bulgaria .

The frequency with which I (and everyone else) am bombarded with dramatic news of potentially cataclysmic proportions has an emotionally numbing effect. Soon after the shock and despair comes the desire - for the selfish sake of remaining in my comfort zone - to downplay, to rationalize. 

If Moshe Sliman was driven to pour "flammable material over his clothes and body" and set himself on fire, maybe Bibi was right when he said that this was a "personal" tragedy and not an indication of the total breakdown of the social services.

 If Kadima found it necessary to quit the government it joined only 70 days earlier over disagreements with Likud on a law that would legislate national service for haredim, then perhaps we had  not missed an historic opportunity to share the national burden and  Netanyahu will eventually come up with a law that satisfies both army reservists and his ultra-orthodox political allies.   

If the "Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria" voted on Tuesday to grant full university status to the Ariel University Center, then perhaps this was not a final, symbolic nail driven into the coffin of flagging hopes for a two state solution. After all, Arabs study there too... 

If Hillary Clinton, at the end of a day of intensive talks with the Israeli leadership said, "I think it is fair to say we are on the same page at this moment, trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact on affecting the decisions that Iran makes," perhaps I was misinterpreting her. Perhaps "at this moment" is of longer duration than it sounds. Maybe, "trying to figure our way forward"  was just a modestly understated version of, "we have an agreed plan."  

If the Damascus explosion that killed the Syrian defense minister signals the end of the Assad regime, perhaps he won't use his large stores of chemical weapons against Israel/ won't try to transfer them to his Hizbullah allies? And perhaps the Syrians who replace him will turn out to be a decent lot after all...

If 7  Israelis were murdered in a terror attack at Burgas airport in Bulgaria, then  perhaps their terrible loss will be seen as part of the shadowy war of terror that Iran and Israel are waging against each other and not be used as a pretext for Israel to launch an attack against Iran.  And we can still take our vacations in Europe... right?

This morning, we cycled down to the beach, swam in the clear, warm water and then sipped freshly squeezed orange juice at Castina at the entrance to the port in Yaffo. 

Why let the news get you down?     

Three Philippines Scenes

A trip downtown We are staying with our gracious Filipino hosts in Santa Rita, a suburb of Olongapo, a city of about 240,000 si...