Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cell phones, rice and a little tinkle of water

We’ve all heard about someone spilling a glass of water over their cell phone, then fixing the problem by dropping the phone into a box filled with rice. Turns out it’s a solution that really works; just ask my friend Debbie.

No, don't toss out any unused rice you have
at home. You never know when you might
need a bowl of it to fix your phone.
She got her lovely new smart phone all wet recently and discovered that a little rice is exactly what the doctor ordered. The much more fascinating story, however, is how she managed to find herself with a dripping communication device.

Accidents do happen and there are all sorts of ways a person might manage to damage their phone. For instance, you might be hustling from your car and drop your phone in a rain puddle; perhaps you’re sitting next to a pool, reach for your phone and fumble it a bit and, oops, now it’s soaked. You could leave it out on your patio and a storm passes your way, or in your convertible when some prankster tosses a water balloon in your direction. None of those things happened to Debbie. But they could have, right?

I’m thinking she wishes her little accident was so simple and straight forward. But, no, Debbie was out and about last week when she needed to, ah, find a restroom. Her problem first began when she found a convenient place that, unfortunately, didn’t have any sort of hook about to hold her pocketbook.

It’s what she did next that has me scratching my noggin. Perhaps Debbie was in a hurry – you know, nature will only wait so long. So she, well, smartly decided to rest her pocketbook in a nearby sink while she dashed into the closest stall.

All seemed good, at least for the moment. Then Debbie heard the quiet little tinkle of water. Oh-so unfortunately, the tinkling was coming from outside the stall. When she finished up her, ah, business and made it back to the sink, water was pouring from the faucet and nicely filling up her pocketbook. You can guess where her cell phone was resting!

It turns out that Debbie had managed to stick her pocketbook into one of those high-tech sinks, one with an electronic eye that automatically activates the faucet. Yikes!

As I mentioned earlier, the rice thing really works. Just Ask Debbie. You might also consider giving her a portable hook with one of those rubber suction thingies on it. I’m thinking it’ll cut down all sorts of problems for her in the future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I’m thinking she’s not worried about muggers

My friend Malka snapped this photo recently of a teenager getting some cash at an ATM in Jerusalem. Truth to tell, the assault weapon is just about as common here as the ubiquitous jeans and camisole she’s wearing, just a little accessory that brings out the highlights in her hair!

Most Americans visiting Israel for the first time are caught a bit off guard by all the weapons carted about by IDF troops, many like this oh-so young woman in civilian clothes. It all seems so alien to the way we live our lives in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In the Jewish homeland it’s part of everyday life!
Soldiers are responsible for their weapons, even when off-duty, and often have nowhere to stash them. So they carry them on errands, when visiting friends or out for a casual drink. It’s not at all uncommon to spot a guy or girl in a bathing suit, strolling along the Mediterranean with friends, an M-14 slung casually over their shoulders.

If you happen to be at one of the central bus stations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Haifa on a Sunday morning – the beginning of the work week in Israel – then you’ll have a chance to see just how much weaponry is actually in circulation in this tiny nation. I wasn’t around in the 1940s, but I’m thinking the coming and going of youngish troops, armed and smartly decked out in an array of colorful uniforms, is a mirror image of what the U.S. probably looked like during the dark days of World War II.
In Israel, troops returning to their duty bases can be spotted with Dror light machine guns, Uzi pistols and submachine guns; Galil assault rifles and the occasional high-powered sniper rifle; a wide range of handguns and, of course, the ubiquitous M-14s.

At first glance it might seem like the wild and wooly west has been reborn in the Middle East. And yet, after a moment or so, the weapons and soldiers seem a natural part of this place, just another interesting ingredient – along with Sabra wit, falafel, serpentine streets and mystical secrets – that makes Israel special.
So snap away at the teens and their assault rifles. You’ll find them most everywhere. They don’t seem to mind the candid camera hijinks of tourists and, truth to tell, all those weapons make Israel one of the safest countries in the world for visitors.

A final note: Here’s hoping that one day soon the weapons will disappear, along with all the reasons that make them necessary!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Staying really busy and doing absolutely nothing

I had dinner with the minyon group last Thursday. Irwin, praying pal extraordinaire and longtime friend, asked me what I’ve been up to lately. It’s a fair question, but one that often leaves me puzzled.

Since leaving that place with the printing press over, gulp, three years ago, I’ve stayed busy doing all manner of stuff – traveling, volunteering, writing, reading, walking, jogging, painting (both of the house and fine arts variety), yard work and drinking; in short, nothing much.
Mostly, I’ve learned that there’s a talent to doing nothing and that just about anyone can do it by doing, ah, nothing. But over time I’ve actually figured out how to do nothing in much more interesting and creative ways.

In the last year or two I’ve done nothing while watching TV, movies and plays; done nothing at film and book festivals, workshops and seminars; also stayed busy doing nothing working in my yard and cleaning the house and done a whopping amount of nothing sitting in front of my computer.
I’ve done nothing on trains, planes and cars; done nothing in Alaska, Washington, California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida. I’ve also managed to do a whole lot of nothing in Israel – twice!

Of course nothing, for some people, is something. I’m thinking this philosophical notion is buried somewhere in that whole half-glass full or empty concept. So, given my mood on any given day, it actually turns out I’ve been awfully busy! Almost makes me want to take a nap!
The really good news is that’s an option, perhaps one of the very best things I’ve learned over the last three years.  Turns out I’m a natural at doing nothing while napping.