24 Elul 5775

I have Yahrzeit starting tonight for my mum. I don’t think I have ever blogged about it before, and am not sure why. (Plenty of material for analysis there, methinks.) But, whatever the reason, I wanted to mark this one. To put it shortly, although it happened a long time ago, it still hurts.

Last throw of the dice

For me, it’s the last blog post about the 2015 election – after this, posts will be about the election result. (Scary, man.)

However, there’s just time to follow up the Ynet post (here) with a look at the opposing press faction, the resolutely pro-Bibi Israel HaYom.

Frankly, I’m underwhelmed by today’s front cover. Maybe there will be a real attempt to motivate voters tomorrow. But this is almost neutral, and quite pedestrian:


The translation of the main headline is:

Right – or left

Not exactly stirring stuff.

And while I am here, note Israel HaYom‘s electoral coverage banner, and how it relates to the Ynet version (seen in this post):


You can click the picture to see a larger version.

Interesting approach.

Life as a lawyer can suck

Every year, Roll on Friday does a sort of alternative Firm of the Year competition for the legal profession. It’s primarily different because they ask the people who work inside the firms to rate them. Of course it’s anonymous…

However, despite its unscientific nature, there are certain recurrent themes at certain firms. After leaving the profession, based on what I knew then, when I read the ratings and the comments, they were not out of place. They may have been embarrassing for the firm management. (Or not, since some law management teams were (and are) arrogant beyond belief.) And there seems little doubt that the regularly under performing  firms have sometimes made an effort to put things right.

So, while it is no surprise that behind the flashy front office, life as a lawyer can suck, take a little time out to look at some of the comments from this year, here.

Here’s a taster:

Motivational Speaking Award

“The partner who likes to give tours of the building, pointing out non-lawyers to their guests and calling them ‘the overheads who don’t make us any money’ won’t be winning any prizes for motivational speaking.” Nabarro

The really funny aspect? To this ex-lawyer, it sounds exactly like the thing a numpty of a lawyer would say. And not in jest.

The next time you meet a lawyer, you may see him or her a little differently.

Cereal offender

One morning this week, I had to drop my car off at the garage for a service. I walked home.

It was still before 8.00 AM, so the school traffic – vehicular and pedestrian – had not yet cleared.

As I passed by a local school, I saw one young girl walking towards me. She was wrapped up against the cold – as she felt it! – and making steady strides despite the ominously large backpack she was carrying.

Even more impressive, was that she was making her way while eating her breakfast cereal.

No, not out of a packet.

No, not out of a bottle.

Out of a bowl.

She was playing the perfect part of a pedestrian, while spooning out her breakfast cereal, and eating it on the go. And nary a drop was being spilled.

I’m not sure if it is appropriate to criticize her for being late, or commend her for her practical approach – and skill. But at least I now understand why the kids need to have such big schoolbags; it’s for their school stuff, and their breakfast bowl and spoon! Come to think of it, maybe there was a big box of Rice Krispies in her schoolbag…

Interrupted service

The break in blogging has not been caused by the Gaza situation – although I have had a few diversions to bunkers, here, there, and other places. There’s been a problem with my hosting service. This is the first time in a week I have been able to access my site. And I had so much to say…

70 years ago

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0. See http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2/

Source: UK National Archives. Licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

Was the D-Day invasion the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime? I’m not sure it matters. The Allied soldiers fought bravely, and died for a noble cause. We should never forget their sacrifice.

All the mince in the west end

I am not a theater lover. I won’t normally go willingly to see a play. I have fallen asleep at some top rated events, and snored my way through some much loved (by others) musicals. But there was one play that was deeply significant in my life. It inspired me to find out more. It intrigued me with its style of presentation and its arguments. It toyed with my emotions as no stage production ever had – or would again. And it burned itself on my consciousness, never to be forgotten:

John McGrath‘s The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black oil.

It was a play that sent shockwaves through society. Arguably, it marked the rebirth of Scottish Nationalism as a political reality. It revitalized theater (for those who like that sort of thing) and gave vested, comfortable interests a kick up the backside. It challenged the status quo. It challenged the affected to do something. It was a political and social catalyst.

Check out this post at Bella Caledonia. I especially enjoyed this:

Here’s what theatre writer and director Davey Anderson said about the play.

“I saw the Cheviot on my honeymoon. It was October 1973, we’d got married in my home town, Rutherglen, and decided to take a road-movie holiday, hippies that we were …

“First stop Kyleakin, Skye. The gig – Kyleaking Village Hall. The Audience – the good people of Skye. The Performers – a bunch of folk who didn’t seem ready: five minutes to go and they were still setting costumes, tuning instruments and blethering with each other and the audience.

“Where were the curtains, the hushed reverence, the dinner jackets, the blue rinses?

“… That night in a community hall in Skye proved to me that theatre was far from dead, as I has assumed it to be.

“All the mince in the West End, where the actors couldn’t even be arsed acknowledging the presence of the audience was forgotten. Here was theatre that spoke to you about your life, the important things, the daft things, the things that give you joy and the things you can change. The company were startling in their energy, anarchic versatility and joyous commitment.”

Glorious. And, yes, very appropriate in the light of the forthcoming independence referendum. I won’t be voting, but I haven’t stopped caring.

The new face of terror

Smile! (But not for the Israelis.)

Smile! (But not for the Israelis.)

From Ynet:

Hamas appoints female writer as Western media spokesperson

Israa Al-Mudallal, 23, will represent Gazan terror organization to foreign press. She hoped to speak to Israelis, but Hamas was quick to remind her of ban on Israeli media

Hamas’s new face: Meet Israa Al-Mudallal, a young 23-year-old journalist and writer, the first to be appointed as the Hamas administration spokesperson to Western media.

Hamas has recently decided they wanted a new figure to present their messages to the world, and Al-Mudallal, who comes from an aristocratic Gazan family and has spent many years in Britain – where she attended London’s Bradford College – won the job. As part of her role, she opened Facebook and Twitter accounts, where she plans to engage her message.

The new spokeswoman has many plans to change the stereotypes affiliated with Gaza, as well as plans to present the regime in Gaza to Israeli media. “I will address Western and Israeli media,” she said in an interview, “and I will work on changing the media discourse, painting a different picture of Palestine and Gaza. The West does not understand religious discourse.”

It may be that Al-Mudallal is unaware that the Hamas administration has ordered to ban all Israeli media and journalists over a year ago, but the discrepancy was apparently amended as she has now aligned with the policy and refused to speak with Ynet.

The appointment of Al-Mudallal is part of a new plan by Gaza’s Hamas government to improve its relations with Western media. “(The appointment) comes within the framework of the development of Palestinian dialogue with the West, in a bid to find foreign language speakers to present the government’s views as well as the Palestinian issue,” said Ihab Al-Ghosein, head of the government’s media relations bureau and Gaza government spokesman.

Al-Mudallal has in recent months worked on a novel, however she fears she will be unable to complete it due to the demands of her new job. “I have a great love for literature – and not for politics. I know I will now lose much of that joy in my life. I will miss it.”

A love for fiction will come in handy as a Hamas spokesperson…