October 27, 2008

The election

Well folks, its about a week away.

Yes, I have already voted, and I voted Straight Republican down the line.  The US just is not safe in democratic hands.  Not in the world we live in.

And, now I am truly glad I have, all this crap is finally coming out about Obama and just the type of administration he would have.  Seeking reparations from slavery to not speaking to any media outlet that asks "tough" questions.  Shit if he cannot even handle tough questions how in the hell is he going to protect the lives of each American citizen? 

Anyway, we all must vote.  This election is absolutely important for not only our country but for our allies as well and Western Civilization.  Are we going to go the route of Neville Chamberlain and appease our enemies?  Or are we going to fight for justice and what is right?

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Syrian attack update.

It looks like we got a big fish in that attack!  Ace has all the goodies on it.

U.S. Official Confirms - Senior Al Qaeda Leader Killed in Syria by Special Operations Forces, That Awful "Puffy, Crampy" Feeling, But Mostly Special Operations Forces.

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October 26, 2008

We attacked Syria?

Yep, it sure looks like we did.  Over at Ace of Spades there is well...celebration.  It looks like this was not exactly unplanned as there have been operations near the Syrian border with Iraq.  Something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.

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October 25, 2008

Aliyah info

Well, as some of you know I am now classified as an oleh chadash.  I think that is basically like a perspective immigrant.  I have received the documentation to begin the process with the Jewish Agency and filled it out to the best of my ability, but I need to get to California to have an interview with them.  I have also gotten conflicting information in that Nefesh B' Nefesh is now handling all aliyahs from North America.  I have their application as well.  That one is substantially larger and will take a bit more time to complete.  I have ran into some issues trying to prove that I am Jewish.  The cemetary my grandfather is buried says they cannot find his record.  Anyway, I do plan on going to California in a couple of weeks to visit my grandmother, show her what I got and the pictures from the trip.  At that time I hope to met with the Jewish Agency in LA and resolve the issue about my grandfather's burial. 

In the meantime I have been doing a great deal of research there on how other Olim have faired in making the aliyah.  I do think that I have an advantage in that I am single.  But, the major issues are the Israeli bureaucracy, finding a job and a place to live seem to be the major issues.  At least with the last two I am going to try to use every resoruce that Nefesh b' Nefesh and the Jewish Agency offer.

In the mean time I am refinancing my house to take advantage of the housing market changes.  Though of course no prepayment penalty in the event that I do move to Israel.

Who knows this could be my next HUGE planning adventure sort of like planning for the vacation!

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Disco and dance clips

Ah, first some Prince!

Prince - Erotic City

Rick James - You and I

Brothers Johnson - Stomp

Hues Corporation - Rock the boat

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Some observations again

If you do a trip like the one we did and you decide you want to take tours (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) - first try to do a private tour.  Yes they are more expensive.  A public tour is about $100.  Whereas a private tour in a private bus is about $500.  BUT, you go at your own speed and see what you prefer to see.  However, if you dont have a budget for a private tour, do a public tour.  It is far more organized and you will see more things and be exposed to more history than if you just went off on your own.  Also, the safety factor is an important consideration.  Yair told us, before we left Tel Aviv, that there are places in the Old City of Jerusalem that we would not want to be and if we felt that we were unsafe - to trust that instinct and get out.  Our tour guides make sure we did not get left behind (well Haya was very good in this, Alberto was well...not as good as Haya). 

We tried to venture on our own to Caesara.  We got there but we ended up getting lost.  And as a result we missed out on the best Roman Ruins in Israel.   And a city that was the pride of the Mediterranean over 2000 years ago.

Next time I am in Israel - either as an Olim/Oleh (as an immigrant to Israel) or as a tourist again.

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October 24, 2008

The end

That should cover the vacation summaries.    Shawn and Chris if I left anything out please feel free to add to them.

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Ok ok this post is based only on my experiences and thoughts.  Earlier I had posted my thoughts about Adi when we had dinner and drinks with her.   Now is my time with Lital.  I had the honor of seeing her 3 times.  Each time was outstanding and alot of fun.  The first time was our first day there.  (this was the only one I taped).  She met us at Mike's Place and then drove us to this French Restaurant.  I don't know what I expected except that I thought it would be a bit nervous.  As I said to her, this is not like talking on the phone.  But, it was like we had been friends for years (which in reality it has been).  As far as I could tell the comfort level was mutual which was suprising given the fact that there were three strange men and one woman. LOL

The second meeting was the day we met Adi for dinner (the day Shawn left).  Honestly, this was my favorite for two reasons.  First, I got to talk to Lital about 20-30 min by myself and it thusly reminded me of our emails talking about life in general. Secondly, that was THE CLIMAX of the trip from the tour to dinner and drinks with Adi to more drinks with Lital it simply was "IT."

My final moments with Lital took place the day before I left Israel.  This was a fun time with Lital and Yair. I think the only reason I look back on this with more bitter than sweet is because my mind was already drifting back to the States.  Yet always Lital told me that we can change ourselves at any time. 

During these times I tried to observe as much as I was a participant.  Each time we spent together it was always fun and enjoyable.  I had the best time learning about her, her job, listening to her stresses about deciding what to do about school.  She was always polite and ready to answer questions even when Shawn was conducting his semi-interview.  As I have stated before I still kick myself for not getting Lital's rendetion of the Hey Clip on tape!!! 

When I saw her at Murphys Bar (the second meeting) she was talking to this guy and watching her clips (showing it to me).  That was ironic and quite endearing since we have seem a similar setting on the girls clips.   We even got to see some of her pics from her trip to Sinai!   And in some ways she is very much an engima.  There seems to be a draw to her friends and then drive to pull away from them.  There is alot of confusion in her.  And, as Adi is the cool hippie chick who does not act and is totally herself in front of the camera Lital is her polar opposite, the consumate actress.  After meeting her, seeing her in person and now watching the clips - yeah I can see that.  The pictures that she poses for...is just that.   Yet her eyes reveal a great depth that is inside her head.  Combine all of that with a sweetness and you have a better view, in my honest opinion, of Lital.

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Day 6

The previous day was the Jerusalem Tour.  This day was another tour this time we were going to explore Masada, the Dead Sea and En Gedi.  As with the previous tour we had to get to David's Citadel before 8:45.  Honestly when this day began I was doubtful for the tour.  My feet were just aching from the Jerusalem Tour, I simply was exhausted from over 4 hours of walking up and down Jerusalem and even told Shawn that there was a good chance I would miss the tour.  Well after dinner and a good night sleep I decided I was going to do my best to get there. 

After dinner Shawn ended up going out got to a bar and got very drunk again.  Around 3 am he comes to my room and tells me thanks for letting him come along to Israel, punches me in the arm and I tell him to go to sleep. LOL  He asked me to wake him up for the tour.  Around 7:30 am I try to do just that, I hear a bit of moaning and I just walk away and met Chris for breakfast.  We took separate paths to the hotel (chris needed more memory for his camera).  Eventually around 8:30 we met up at David's Citadel but Shawn is no where in sight.  I call him no answer.  We decide to go alone on the tour.  About 9:15 the tour bus arrives and our tour guide (ALBERTO) loads the bus up - and by 9:30 we are off.  He translates everything into English AND Spanish.  So very quickly we leave Jerusalem and head south towards the Dead Sea.  On the way Alberto is giving us lectures about the bedouin villages, Herod the Great, the Maccabean revolt and the areas that we are driving through.  Throughout this journey we are close enough that on our left side we can see the Moutains of Moab (Moutains of Ruth) otherwise known as Jordan.  During our journey down there on my cell phone I get a text saying "WELCOME TO JORDAN" and I am like WTF?  We even passed the Caves where they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls (I would have liked to have seen those caves) and within about an hour or so we finally arrive at our destination, the visitors center for Masada.  Around 10:30 am we get there.  We explore the visitor center for a bit and then head up to watch a 10 min movie about the Masada and its significance.  Then we head to the cable car launch.  We end up taking the cable car up to Masada's entrance.  From there we walk this wooden path to the beginning of the Tour and to grab a bit of water.  The heat and humdity was stifling it reminded me of Phoenix (over 100 degrees).  It was a very interesting tour and I loved looking over the countryside and examing the Roman camps that could be observed from the heights of Masada as well as the Roman Circumvellation which trapped the defenders in.  Half way through the tour I reached my limit between my feet aching and lack of water I headed to the gathering point where we got some water and began the tour (near the Israeli flag).  At this point I picked up a stone from the ground and kept it as a reminder of the tour and of visiting Masada.  When the tour was done we took the cable car back to the visitor center.  At this point there was quite a bit of conflict because our tour seemed to have gotten divided and well...between the heat and thirst some people because well...had very little patience and words were said...but we all got back to the visitor center and things quited down.  At the visitor center I got some things to take back as souvinners and gifts and we had a bit of time to sit and relax before loading back in the bus. 

Here is were something extremely unexpected happened.  Shawn showed up.  At first I did not even recongnize him.  Hell, when we left him he was asleep and missed the tour.  We found out that he ended up taking a Taxi to Masada!!!! And, he was VERY LUCKY because we were just getting ready to leave Masada to go to En Gedi.  If he showed up 10 min earlier we would have still been on the mountain.  10 min later and he would have missed us as we would have been on our way to the Kibbutuz.  Alberto gave Shawn a chance to go up Masada, but Shawn declined so we loaded into the bus and headed to Kibbutuz En Gedi. 

After a 15 min journey we arrived.  At this point we had a choice we could either go and take a dip in the mud bath, warm and cold springs and then the Dead Sea or go and have lunch.  Mostly everyone went to take a dip in the Dead Sea/mud bath.  I chose to rest and have lunch.  Chris and Shawn went swimming (well floating) as it had been made clear one does not swim in the dead sea you float.  And DO NOT GET THE WATER in your eyes.  (Shawn found out).  During this time I also did a bit more shopping.  They had far better deals on the dead sea cosmetics and such here.  After this, I just relaxed until it was time to load back in the bus (I think I had about 45 min of resting).  Around this time Shawn appeared and he got me a piece of the Dead Sea Salt!  WHICH WAS VERY COOL.  So I now had a piece of Masada and the Dead Sea Salt. I was very happy.  About 4:00 we loaded on the bus and everyone was spent!  Most of us all fell asleep on the way back to Jerusalem.  We got back around 5:30 or so and rested until we decided to hit the bar.  Now that I am thinking about it, I am not sure if today was the day of Shawn and my Morrocan Dinner or if it was the day of the Jerusalem tour.  Well never matter by this time we knew the next day we had to leave Jersualem.  Hopefully we were going to be meeting Adi (which did not pan out) and then Shawn was going to have to leave.

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Jerusalem Tour

This happened on Day 5.

We had checked into the Jerusalem Inn the previous day, settled in and did not really eat due to being Shabbas.  So we all ended up in a local pub and just had beer for dinner and crashed because the next morning we had to be at David's Citadel prior to 8:45 am.

We walked the couple of blocks to the hotel and waiting for the tour bus to arrive. I started taking some photos of taxi's, soldiers, and just anything that struck my fancy.  By about 9:30 am the tour bus arrived and Haya (the tour guide) found us and we loaded into the bus.  Our first stop was Mt. Scopus - near Hebrew University.  From here we had a vantage point of all of Jerusalem.  At the time I did not realize that this was apart of Jordan prior to 1967.  She took us to this ridge where we could take photos of the overview of the city (posted).  After this point we ended up loading back into the bus, listening to a lecture from Haya and driving around the old city of Jerusalem.  We were literally driving on the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  She also pointed out areas of interest like Bethelem and the infamous Wall that Israel has been building to keep out the terrorists.  We also saw Absolom's Tomb, the Kidron Valley and each of the entrances into the old city (we had already seen Jaffa Gate prior when we arrived in Jerusalem.) 

At this point we parked near the old city and entered via Zion's Gate into the Armenian quarter.  Haya told us we would be taking a two hour walk (which turned into 4.5 hours).  She said we would be visiting all 4 quarters of the Old City (Muslim, Christian, Armeanan and Jewish).  We unloaded and began our walking tour.  Our first stop was at King David's tomb.  It was very moving, this is where King David is buried and were we first encountered very religious people singing and chanting.  I also found out that in the second floor is where Jesus had the last supper - that was very interesting.  We visited both areas and then moved back down to begin our tour of the Old City.  We were told the Armenian Quarter was the smallest part of Jerusalem and before we really knew it we were in the Christian Quarter.  It was fascinating to see the streets (which resembled more like alleys IMHO) and to walk in a place that has existed for over 4 thousand years. As we were walking at first you don't really notice alot of people - though you see plenty of allys and side streets.  And in the Jewish Quarter we stop and look at the Cardo (or Cardo Maximus).  This was the main Roman Avenue of Jersualem.  It was substantially lower than from where we were standing and it was my first real taste of Roman Ruins and damn, I wish we spent more time there.  After visiting the Jewish Quarter we stopped for a break and some shopping at Al Magithe and after I got done spending oh....alot of money we started back on the tour this time entering the Muslim Quarter.  Almost instantly the population bloomed to overcrowding and the SMELLS..oh my...the smells were amazing coming from the spices and bazaars of the local shops.  The main thing Haya kept trying to do was to keep us all together because if you got lost.....you really got lost!!   Our main objective at this point was to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.   This church is stations 10-14 on the Via Delarosa.  From here we saw the site where Jesus was Crucified and ultimately buried.  If I recall correctly this was the only church I actual went into when I was in Israel.  After spending about 30 min at the Church we started walking the Via Delrosa in reverse.  In this manner we walked back toward the Kotel (the Western Wall).  During the walk we experienced daily life in the bazaars, and the closed off section of part of the Jewish Quarter (because it was Shabbas) and another Chruch (I can't remember the name, but it seemed like an entry into a room off the Via Delorasa) and from there we headed to the Kotel.  This was what I had been waiting for.  We entered through the main entereance went through a metal detector and walked a corridor and once we were through we entered the portico where the Western Wall can be approached.  Haya told us not to take pictures because it's disrespectful, yet now that I am home I see LOTS of pictures of people at the Western Wall up close, even when one is leaving notes at the wall.  Anyway, that is why all of our pics of the Western Wall are so far away - we were told it was disrespectful.  I immediately walked to the wall, put a yamulka on and reached the wall, began praying and at the same time just thinking that I had finally made it.  I had to pause for a few moments just to collect my thoughts as I realized I was not only in Israel, in Jerusalem, but at the very center of Judaism.  At the Kotel saying prayers and thinking of my family my mother and realizing that I have no idea what to do next.  After a few minutes at the wall I took the notes I had and put them in the wall.  And limped back until my yamulka fell off my head in a gust of wind and I had to try to chase after it.  I then walked back to where our tour group was set up and rested a bit (this was the end of the 4 hour + long walk and I was exhausted).  At this point we began to load up in the bus and head to the Kibbutz Ramat Rachael for lunch. 

After lunch we ended up back on the bus and took a street tour of the New City of Jersualem.  We saw the Kenesset, the Supreme Court of Israel, the National Bank of Israel and Independence Part, Al Quds TV headquarters and the Jerusalem Bridge.  Then we hit a couple more churches Church of Mt. of Olives and at Gethsemane.  Most of the people in our tour went in, I did not.  Then we went to Mt of Olives Bazaar.  We stopped there for tea/restrooms and shopping.  I ended up getting a coin from Masada and a some fridge magnets and a Chaim (sp.) emblem for a necklace there.  That was our final stop from this point on we were going to go to the hotels to be dropped off (it was after 4pm going on 5pm). 

We were dropped off on Jaffa street and walked to the Jerusalem Inn. Later this evening Chris went to check out some bars and Shawn and I went next door to a Moroccan restaurant later in the evening.  It was amazing and it was the most expensive meal I had in Israel.  I totally got buzzed off of the glasses of wine and Turkish Coffee. LOL  After about 2 am Shawn and I headed back to our rooms where I finished off more school work and got ready for our next tour (Dead Sea and Masada)

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In reviewing

my posts from the vacation there are some posts that I never really got around to posting about.  For example, I started a post about the impressions we got from meeting Lital and it never got posted.  Since I had the pleasure of seeing her a few times I want to get that put up.

Also, I never completed the detail of our tour from Jerusalem (Day 5).  It is really interesting and it has been started, but not completed.  I did not realize I even get that up until I saw the videos of it.  The same goes for the Masada tour. 

So, I will throw them up and Chris and Shawn please feel free to add to it in case I leave anything out.

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October 23, 2008

Good music

Jay Z - Hard Knock Life

Jay Z - Can I get A . . .

Total, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown & Da Brat - No one else.

Total  and Notorious BIG - Can't you see

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Israeli Slang

Here is a good website to learn about Israeli slang.   The words they wont teach you in an Ulpan.


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October 22, 2008

It has been a month

Since I have returned from the trip.  Just as motivated as before to take the aliyah.  I have researched quite a bit.  I know that this process is not going to be easy. 

I have been reading a number of blogs as well as researching the Jewish Agency, Nefesh B' Nefesh and the AACI (American and Canadians in Israel). 

My sister asked me what percentage I was at in making my decision...and I told her about 50-60%.  I do not care about the money, or lack thereof.  The drive to do this is substantially deeper.  Though at the same time difficult to explain.  Anyway, it has been a month since I have been back and I dislike being back.

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October 21, 2008

A Single Clip

Kaskade and Deadmau5- Move For me

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Powell Endorsement = Obama Duplicity (again?)

I have a question and I hope someone might be able to answer it.  We all know that General Powell endorsed the Messiah a couple of days ago.  Most right center blogs have talked about it and well in muted tones.  I think we all can agree that Powell at most was a RINO if he was even registered as a Republican (I am not sure, I never checked).  That's all fine and good.  My question relates to his fundamental role in helping shape US foreign policy since 9/11.  Here we have a very talented general who as Secretary of State defended our actions especially in the war in Iraq.  Here is what Wikipeda has to say after a quick search:

Powell came under fire for his role in building the case for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. In a press statement on February 24, 2001 he had said that sanctions against Iraq had prevented the development of any weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein. As was the case in the days leading up to the Persian Gulf War, Powell was initially opposed to a forcible overthrow of Hussein, preferring to continue a policy of containment. However, Powell eventually agreed to go along with the Bush administration's determination to remove Hussein. He had often clashed with others in the administration, who were reportedly planning an Iraq invasion even before the September 11 attacks—an insight supported by testimony by former terrorism czar Richard Clarke in front of the 9/11 Commission. The main concession Powell wanted before he would offer his full support for the Iraq War was the involvement of the international community in the invasion, as opposed to the unilateral approach some advocated. He was also successful in persuading Bush to take the case of Iraq to the United Nations, and in moderating other initiatives. Powell was placed at the forefront of this diplomatic campaign.

Powell's chief role was to garner international support for a multi-national coalition to mount the invasion. To this end, Powell addressed a plenary session of the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 to argue in favor of military action. Citing "numerous" anonymous Iraqi defectors, Powell asserted that "there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more."[16] Powell also stated that there was "no doubt in my mind" that Saddam was working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons.[16]

Fast forward to the present.  Obama ran on basically the Iraq war was wrong ticket.  To this day he wont repudiate his stance.  And now, after running on this stand since well 2002 NOW, Obama is now saying that Powell will have a place in an Obama administration?  Wait, I thought all Bush Cronies were evil?   What gives?  Who would have thought that an architect to US foreign policy after 9/11 who helped launch the US to war and defended our actions to go to war against Iraq would have such a prominent place in Obama's administration!  Is this just another example of Obama duplicity? 

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October 20, 2008

Update on things.

First my sister is VERY lucky.  She is back in California visiting our grandmother. I am hoping in the next month I will be there visiting her and telling them about the trip. (more than what I could do on the phone.) and showing them some of the stuff I brought back.

However today my sister just sent me a very very very good text.  She got me the name of the cemetery that my grandfather is buried.  I needed this because I need to prove to the Jewish Agency that well..I am Jewish.  According to the right of return I just need to prove that a grandparent or parent is Jewish and then I met that requirement and now I am a step closer to that.   Then I can move on to the next phase in the process.  A step closer to changing my life.  As I have told Chris, moving to Israel is not something that I am motivated to do for financial purposes. (which is very unlike me - if you asked the people I have been close to most of my life.)  No, this is purely a cerebral and almost spiritual moving and motivation.

So now, tomorrow I will call Mt of Olives Cemetary and see what I can do to get the necessary documentation.  And, tomorrow I need to the Jewish Agency again.   YAY me!

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Great Songs

Sam Cooke - Change gonna come

JJ Jackson - But it's alright

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October 19, 2008

The Messiah's suppression

Gotta read this...the Puma's are under attack by Obamanics!!!  This is just too good....as Ace says..this is so good that you could dip your balls in it.

So, go and read and watch the clip..It is too good to pass up.

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October 17, 2008

What to do when Zombies Attack

Always a good subject to know about!

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