Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Voices and Photos

Want to hear some samples of my voiceover work? I’ve got links to some of them on my sidebar now—and also in this post.

Here’s a link to an online demo that I did for a product called Mighty Key.

Here’s the page at Tekhelet.com where you can see the video that explains the origins and traditions surrounding tekhelet, the biblical blue dye. I did the voiceover for that, too.

I also added a proper link to my photographs on Flickr. It’s about time, since I sold my first photo last summer.

Here’s the photo:

Menorah behind Dividers

The rest are here.

There will be more links as I get them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gazing from On High

Ever have the feeling you’re being watched?

It’s likely not your imagination.

I see you!

It’s Catschka the Yom Kippur Kittycat, making sure that we’ve all been good little girls and boys this year... so far.

Gmar hatima tova! (May you be sealed for good in the Book of Life.)

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Two Pictures from Today

This morning, I went to my dentist for a cleaning. His office is located on an upper floor of a high-rise in downtown Jerusalem. For years, I’ve wanted to take a picture of the view. Today, I finally got my courage up and asked him whether I could take some pictures from the window. He said, “Go ahead.”

Jerusalem with clouds above

Yes, that’s the Dome of the Rock on the right, and if you look closely, you can see the gold spires of the Russian church to the left of it. Behind it is the Mount of Olives.

As I took the photos, I couldn’t help but say: “My kingdom for a wide-angle lens!”

Later today, I noticed a moth flitting about near a plant nursery. After it landed on a berry, I took out my camera and managed to get a few shots. This one came out the best, I think:

Moth on berry, close up

Yeah... I guess I hang out with flighty characters sometimes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

For Maryam

Blue flower

I wanted my last post of the year to be simply wishes for a shanah tovah—a good year. And of course I still do wish everyone a good year, but I can’t put up a cheerful post the way that I’d planned to do.

Maryam died last night after a long illness. The funeral was at noon today.

Maryam was a long-time member of our minyan. Her good friend (and mine), Zelig, died on the first day of Rosh ha-Shanah last year. And now, on the last day of the year, Maryam passed away.

It feels strange to say “Shanah tovah” when you’ve just returned from a funeral, particularly the funeral of someone who was still young, whose parents are, to the best of my knowledge, still living. What is going through my mind right now is the line from the old Hebrew hymn: Tikhleh shanah ve-killeloteha; tahel shanah u-virkhoteha—may the curses of the old year end and the blessings of the new year begin. May it indeed be a good year for us all, with an end to sorrow and with the blessings of peace and consolation and joy.

May Maryam’s family and friends be comforted, and may Maryam’s sweet soul rest in peace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baby Blues

As I passed through the garden earlier today, Her Ladyship came over to me and asked to be petted. Then, when she’d had her fill of skritches, she posed, showing off her beautiful baby blues.

Blue eyes

At one point, she took over my backpack. The fact that I’d been on my way out didn’t faze her at all. (To be fair, I didn’t complain, either.)

My backpack. Mine.

“I love you, Your Ladyship.”


“I know.”

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Still in the Yard... but Less

The elm trees for which this blog was named were partially cut down yesterday and today.

It turns out that they were diseased and rotting. If they had been allowed to remain as they were, falling branches—some thicker around than an adult human being—could have caused severe injury or worse, God forbid. (At least one branch fell last year, lightly injuring one of the building’s residents.)

And so, we did what had to be done.

Here, a workman cuts down one of the trees in the adjacent yard:

Cutting down the tree

Looking down from above at the truncated tree:

Looking down

The same tree at ground level:

Elm tree, from ground level

The view from just inside the front gate, with tree debris covering the sidewalk to a depth of several feet:

At the entrance

I’ll miss the tree with its magnificent canopy. I will particularly miss the wild parakeets that used to come and eat the seeds every spring. But I’m told that the tree will grow back. I hope it will, and that it will stay healthy when it does!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shades of Cream, Tan and Brown

This past week, Catschka was given the freedom of the garden, under her human mom’s supervision. I got some pictures of her and of Her Ladyship as they frolicked (in Catschka’s case) and tried to get some rest (in Her Ladyship’s case).

Catschka, in a rare moment of rest, framed in greenery:

Catschka's baby blues

Her Ladyship likes to rest in the market basket... even when the market basket is being used for shrubbery clippings.

Festooned cat 3

Her Ladyship likes to hide underneath my skirt. Here, she makes me look like I have a tail:

I have a tail

Catschka says, “Play with me!” Her Ladyship says: “I’ll stay right here, thank you very much.”


The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Where Did You Say You Went to School Again?

Seen in a nearby neighborhood:

Alumni car sticker

The alumni reunions must be fantastic. I wonder where they’re held....


I didn’t forget yesterday. And I never will.

Seraphic Secret.

Allahpundit (via Meryl Yourish).

Blog d’Elisson.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Last week, Google put up a doodle commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s telescope.

That put me in mind of a song. It was written by my late dear friend Ray Scudero after Pope John Paul II reversed the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate Galileo. Among other things, Ray’s song satirizes the idea of papal infallibility, the idea that any human being has the power to condemn a soul to Hell, and, of course, the zealous thought-policing of the Inquisition, which Ray, a thinker and inventor himself, abhorred.

Here’s a look, through Ray’s eyes, at the conversation that took place when the devil got the call from Upstairs, telling him that it was time to let Galileo go:

“Hell-o,” the Devil said.
“It’s me, the Pope. How are you, Red?
“About Galileo, for a start....
“You see, we’ve had a change of heart—
“And we’re recommunicating Galileo.
“It seems that Heaven’s just where he belongs;
“That other Pope’s a real far-sighted fellow
“And we can’t suppose he’s guilty of any wrongs.
“Ah, Galileo!
“He knew your talents well
“And wanted research done on Hell;
“Hand your thesis to this angel
“And come along this way....
“So nobody can remand us for a blunder Vaticanus;
“Don’t try to understand us—we’re infallible, you know;
“We’re holier than any man on Earth today, with power to damn,
“And so, beware: we also can... make rules up as we go.”

But what really gives me pause is the last line of the following stanza, which is also the last line of the song:

I salute you, Galileo Galilei!
You’ve got your round-trip ticket after all;
And it’s heavenly and never more the hell-y
Unless someone new should override John Paul.

I believe that Ray wrote “Galileo Galilei” somewhere around 1992. In early 2008, a prestigious Italian university cancelled the visit of the current pope, Benedict XVI, over statements that he made in 1990 that appeared to condone Galileo’s excommunication.

Wow. Talk about farsighted.

(The complete lyrics to “Galileo Galilei” are here. The online archive of Ray’s songs is here.)