The Diary

Footballer outed as pianist

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

A lot of Premiership footballers have problems adjusting at the end of their careers. Some go into coaching, some become pundits, others buy a pub.

However, Israeli player Elisha Abas has made a more unusual career choice. After a long career in the Israeli top league, he has become a concert pianist.

Abas was actually a child prodigy at piano until the age of 15, when he became a victim of burnout. Three years later, he made his debut in his new career as a footballer.

More..

13-year-old pooch gets a bark mitzvah

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008
What do you do for the dog who has everything? Well, if he is 13 years old you give him a bark mitzvah. New Yorker David Best spent $10,000 on his a bash for his pooch, Elvis. He must be barking.

More..

Israel’s Ikea in the frame

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Furniture in Israeli branches of Ikea cost more than the ubiquitous flatpacks in any country in Europe, according to a new survey. Prices at the store's Israeli outlets are about 30 per cent higher than in Britain and the Netherlands and 24 per cent higher than in France and Sweden.

And then you have to build it yourself.

More..

Rabbi's courting controversy

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

One of Israel's leading rabbis has, er, somewhat unexpected views on dating.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the spiritual leaders of the religious Zionism movement, held forth on the subject following Israeli discussion show Srugim. One of the show's guests argued that multi-dating was allowed under Jewish law.

Aviner said that multi-dating was forbidden... unless the woman was old and the man took too much time making a decision.

We wonder how long is too long - and how old is old?

More..

Who is Muhammad Cohen?

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Here is a contender for the world's craziest name. It's Muhammad Cohen.

You may not be surprised to hear that film director Cohen was born Eliot. However, he changed his name following his marriage to an Indonesian Muslim woman in 2002. It was, he said to demonstrate the similarity of the Muslim and Jewish religions.

Cohen said he was welcomed by the Muslim community. When he decided to marry, the only worry of the officiating Imam was that he be circumcised. Cohen was able to re-assure him on that count.

More..

Flag day at the BBC

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Is the BBC as objective and unbiased in its news coverage as it maintains? According to a source at the BBC, the Middle East Section of its online news service is run by two journalists - one with a Lebanese flag on his desk, the other with a Syrian flag adorning his workstation.

It is an interesting interpretation of "balanced".

More..

Palestinians' bad timing

By Simon Round, September 4, 2008

The time is a- changing in the Gaza Strip, though not in the West Bank. Such is the level of feuding between the Hamas administration in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that they cannot even agree on what time it should be.

Gaza Mean Time, or GMT, went back to Daylight Saving last Friday, whereas the Palestinian Authority put its clocks back on Sunday with the onset of Ramadan.

More..

Don’t get too pretty, girls

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

According to blogger Modesty Blasé writing in the Jerusalem Post, there is a new phenomenon among Jewish mothers. They are encouraging their daughters to be mediocre.

Says Blasé: "They shouldn't be too pretty, too smart or too competent for fear of scaring the boys away,"

So is the world being turned on its head, or has April Fool's Day come early?

More..

Lamarr’s ‘sex with Hitler’

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

Adolf Hitler may have based his career on Jew-hatred, but it did not stop him having sex with a Jewish girl - and not just any Jewish girl, but Hollywood film star Hedy Lamarr.

In a new book about the legendary actress, biographer Devra Hill claims that Lamarr fled Austria to embark on an acting career in Hollywood after she was forced to make love to Hitler by her first husband, Austrian munitions dealer Fritz Mandl.

Devra claims that Hitler was unable to resist Lamarr.

More..

Does AP have it in for Joe?

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

Either AP has got it in for former Democrat, now Independent, Joseph Lieberman, or the news agency needs to employ better proof-readers.

A recent AP story should have read: "Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential pick in 2000, who is now an independent..."

Except, somehow, an "r" was inserted in "pick" between the "p" and the "i".

Whoops!

More..