Thursday, December 28, 2006


They say the Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow. I only have one.

From Snow in Jerus...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

The rain in Spain

It turns out your pronunciation can say a lot about you. Unfortunately, it doesn't always give you away completely. Today, my hardcore California accent (or lack thereof) placed me in the "Midland."

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West


North Central

The Inland North

The South


The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Apples and tangerines

Who was the first to celebrate Thanksgiving? Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado is thought to have feasted with some Native Americans in Texas in 1541, in celebration of (and gratitude for) his discovery of food supplies. Some 200 years later, national leaders called for a Thanksgiving feast after a military victory over the Whiskey Rebellion (not to mention the American Revolution and the War of 1812). George Washington even declared the completion of the new constitution worthy of its own Thanksgiving festivities. In the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to expand the Christmas shopping season by moving (the already traditional) Thanksgiving a week earlier. But the funniest by far is the group who celebrated what is thought to have been the second Thanksgiving dinner ever:

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With all that fruity goodness, no wonder cranberry sauce became a Thanksgiving staple. The typical canned variety might as well have been created (and packaged) 3 centuries ago, considering its incredible rigidity. In case you've been wondering how strong jellied cranberry sauce really is, it may not be able to support an entire gobbler, but it can hold up more than its weight in pennies:

Carefully, we set paper plates on the tops, and began piling pennies, ten at a time, on the paper plates. We tried to place the pennies evenly around the plate, in order to balance the load. Side-by-side, we continued to pile. With each addition of pennies, the dedicated staff held their collective breaths. It became apparent right away that the jellied sauce would be the stronger. Still we piled, like a backward game of Jenga. At 300, we saw signs of strain on the whole-berries. At 310, it collapsed. The dedicated staff was saddened but also a little relieved. It is hard waiting for the inevitable. The jellied berries fought the good fight, finally falling at 540. The dedicated staff cheered. (

Go figure! Gobble gobble... Happy Thanksgiving!

Plumb full of pumpkin

In honor of Thanksgiving, a seasonal recipe:

  • 1 slab of pumpkin, skinned and chopped in 1-inch chunks
  • a handful of brown sugar
  • 2 T butter, margarine or olive oil
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • nutmeg (optional)
  • powdered ginger (optional)
Spread pumpkin chunks on a cookie sheet and cover with little bits of butter (or toss in olive oil). Sprinkle brown sugar over the top (and add a dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger if you like a spicier dish). Cover in foil and bake at 350-400 degrees F until pumpkin is soft and steam pours out of the foil when you open it (30-60 minutes). Remove foil and bake uncovered for a 10-15 minutes to get a caramel tinge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dear friends

False Bananas often focuses on the semantic meaning and etymology of words. In light of this summer's events, this entry explores the conceptual and experiential meaning of a little word with a lot of clout — war.

Dear friends,

Just wanted to let you all know we're fine, Jerusalem is still untouched (physically), and so far Benny hasn't been called up. Yohana and Tzahi, Benny's sister and her husband, are hosting Tzahi's family (who live in Kiryat Shmona), so their house is a bit full, but nobody's staying with us — yet. Maybe we'll get to host a family for Shabbat next week.

Everyone up north is in bomb shelters and reinforced rooms, as far south as Haifa, Tiberias, Acre. Tel Aviv is under warning but it's hard to tell if people are taking it seriously since there hasn't been a rocket attack there. And in Jerusalem, everyone is depressed but so far safe. Mostly we're just wondering if tomorrow there is going to be a huge war, or if the whole situation is going to fizzle in a few days. Nobody really knows what to expect, and though life does go on as usual in this city at least, with work and TV and everything else, we go to sleep each night wondering what news we'll wake up to.

The battle with Hizbullah here and in Lebanon is strange, stressful, ongoing — it doesn't seem to let up. Very different from suicide bombings, when at least you weren't expecting it and waiting for it to happen, and then when it did, it hit hard, then passed (if you were lucky not to know any of the victims). Or maybe I've "learned" suicide bombings. They had a pattern, devastating but familiar. The potential for pain and fear was delineated by the nature of those attacks: the repercussions could only go so far.

I feel vulnerable for the first time, though the rockets are falling miles and miles away, even after 6 years of terrorism here in my city, neighborhood, bus stop. It's a scary feeling. This new war game is endless and unpredictable, in location and scope. A wrong move by Israel, Syria, Hizbullah could draw us into another full-fledged, multination war like the others in Israel's history. Those wars made heroes. They are black and white on pages of history books and newspapers. Romantic and poetic on movie screens. Educational. Historical. But not real. Not for me.

Who will get called up to the army, and when? And will they come home? Conjuring images of past Israeli wars and their 5-digit casualty lists is awful. If we think and talk about it today, over lunch, will that make it easier to deal with if it actually happens tomorrow? Will we look back, thinking, "So that's what it was not to know war"? Will it all be over tomorrow and will I feel foolish for imagining I could imagine war?

I don't want to send a man to war.

Each morning when I get up and before I leave for work I want to wake Benny and say something... in case he gets called up to the border while I'm away at work. And then I get over it and just take a good look at his peacefully sleeping face and go to work.

I don't want to send a man to war. I don't want a hero in a box.

I hope we're laughing this off next week in nervous, giddy relief.