# Thursday, 26 October 2006

Welcome to Teaneck

Sent by a friend in Eretz Yisroel...

And before anyone bothers e-mailing me, yes I'm also sure it's a manipulated picture, not a real sign, but I thought it was funny OK?

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Bashing hoshanos (and each other)

One of the more interesting parts of Succos (which has a notably large number of interesting parts) is the act of beating hoshanos on the last day of Chol Hamoed (known appropriately enough as Hoshano Rabbo). We have a healthy willow tree in our garden, which started out life as the arovos in my lulav a few years ago. After Succos, I planted it, and it has now grown big enough to provide me with fresh arovos part way through Succos, as well as enough hoshanos for the whole family.

Whilst most Jews take hoshanos of a modest length, there is a custom amongst certain Jews to take very long ones, presumably in remebrance of the ten amoh (Biblical cubit, between 18" and two feet) long ones that were taken in the Beis Hamikdosh every day of Succos. This year, Aryeh Yehuda decided he wanted long ones. This wasn't a problem as our tree grows quite tall and needs cutting back every year, so I cut three sets of long ones (about nine feet), and some more sets of a normal size.

Nechoma Bryna, Aryeh Yehuda and I used the long ones, the others used the smaller ones. In case you've never seen anyone bashing a large set of hoshanos before, here is a stop-frame action shot of Aryeh Yehuda in action...

And here is Nechoma Bryna looking a little more genteel with hers...

...and Shayna Brocho looking pleased as punch with hers (which actually weren't hers, but she picked them up and bashed them around after the previous owner had finished with them)...

A good time was had by all, except for those who had hundreds of willow leaves to pick up afterwards!!

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Lots of girls in the park

Just had to share this photo. We went to Bruntwood park (south Manchester) the day after Succos. All the children were still of school, so we took the opportunity for a family day out. It was a lovely day, made even better by the fact that the non-Jewish schools weren't on holiday, so the place was almost empty. I caught a nice picture of Nechoma Bryna and Simcha...

Well, while I'm at it, here's Chana Liba on a swing...

As you can see, Shayna Brocho was having a great time swinging her.

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# Wednesday, 25 October 2006

The great fishing trip and "new" Macdonald's farm

We went to Burrs country park for a Chol Hamoed Succos outing. One of Aryeh Yehuda's friends had been some weeks before, and had caught fish in the river. The children were keen to try the same.

After some initial searching, we found a spot that had some fish. Armed with nets and a jam jar, we spent a happy hour or so in a battle of wits with the fish. We managed to catch about 18 altogether, with Nechoma Bryna catching the first, Aryeh Yehuda catching the most, Eliyohu catching the most at one time and Shayna Brocho catching the biggest (albeit with rather a lot of help from me), so everyone was happy...

We took them home and put them in a large plastic bowl, for want of anything better. The following day, we went off to a local pet shop, where we bought a small tank. Along with some gravel from the main PSG fish tank, the fish had a new home.

The aforementioned friend of Aryeh Yehuda had given him one of his fish, which was living in a (different) jam jar on a shelf in the kitchen. Originally, he had been named Elbow, after Chana Liba's first attempt at pronouncing "Wilbur" (our short-lived baby fishy friend of some months ago), but Shayna Brocho decided that "Macdonald" was a far more suitable name (what do you mean, "why?"), and that stuck.

Logically, if Macdonald was in a jam jar on the shelf, then the collection of fish in the new tank should be "Macdonald's farm" - and so it was. Sadly, Macdonald himself, having survived several weeks in his jam jar, unexpectedly expired the very day he was to have joined his friends in the farm.

So, now we have a second tank of fish, a little smaller than the main PSG tank. It turned out that the fish are minnows...

Apparently, they are one of the few native British fish that will take well to an aquarium. Ours have already got used to flake food. They can grow to about 4", if they don't get eaten by pikes or trout first. Due to the curious lack of pike and trout in our small tank, I think they shold be safe!!

The only sad part of this is the events of last Shabbos. I came down on Shabbos morning to find that three fish had managed to jump out of the tank during the night. I guess the lid must not have been on firmly enough, although it looked OK to me. What was even more sad was that another jumped out later that same day. Given that we hadn't lost a single fish due to our bad care, it was sad to lose four in one day. We still have 14 left, and hopefully they will grow.

To end off on a happy note, here is a picture of Chana Liba enjoying the riverside...

Chana Liba on a rock

End of fishy tales for today.

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Interesting 'phone call

4:20pm: The 'phone rang...

Hello, this is Anna from the Coca-Cola Corporation, just ringing to see if you want a soft drinks order this week.

Me: Pardon?

Anna: I'm just ringing to see if you want a soft drinks order this week.

Me: Why would I want one of those?

Anna: This is the Coca-Cola Corporation.

Me: Ye-e-e-s, and?

Anna: Well, do you want a soft drinks order this week.

Me: Do you always ring random members of the public asking this?

Anna: Isn't this the Red Lion Hotel?

Me: No.

Anna (highly embarrassed): Oh sorry, I must have dialled the wrong number, goodbye.

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Google notebook - could be useful

I came across what looks like a very useful tool today. As part of the ever-expanding Google empire, they have developed Google Notebooks, which are a bit like a normal notebook, except that being web-based, you can access them from any web-enabled device.

If that were the sum of the tool, it would not be particularly remarkable. What is natty is that by downloading an extension, you can add to your notebook from any web page. Say you are viewing a page about Andalusian Hairy Ferrets (well, who doesn't?) and you want to make a note of something on the page, be it text, images or whatever, you just highlight it, and right-click. There is an option to add it to your notebook. You can also get quick access to your notebook in a little window right there and then, or go to the main Notebooks site and access it a full browser window.

Been using it for a day or so, and it looks quite useful.

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# Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Shurely shome mishtake here?

I just went on to PayPal's web site, straight to the member log-in page. Right above the log-in form (which was the only real content on the page), was a message in red informing that I had to be logged on to access this page!!

Shurely shome mishtake here, hic.

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# Monday, 23 October 2006

Who needs a truck?

My good friend Yosef Cazes sent me a lovely collection of pictures that shows how resourceful you can be when you need to!!

Enjoy :-)

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# Thursday, 05 October 2006

How to waste the entire day

I blame my brother. Having wasted too much of the day at www.youtube.com, he then sent me a link to an amazingly addicitve puzzle at Funny City. I defy anyone to give up without trying!! The rest of the site had some good stuff as well.

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Magic Roundabout

I just discovered YouTube, a site that has loads of user-uploaded videos. It includes the now-legendary opening sequence from the Magic Roundabout (the original, not the more recent films), as well as a full episode. Unfortunately, this isn't one of the Eric Thompson episodes, so lacks the dry humour for which he was so famous, but it's better than nothing!!

Let's be honest, it's what the Internet was invented for really :-)

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