Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Seasonal Affective Disorder 2015 - 2016

Nothing particularly inspiring to blog about these past 3 weeks (must be the usual seasonal affective disorder).  Everything pretty much routine for everyone here.

Last week I completed an intensive Hebrew language improvement course, which has helped me noticeably (though I still need more of it; have an appointment to discuss a possible course given in January by a local purveyor instead of having to shlep into Tel Aviv 4 days a week).  Approximately one-third of the last class were French, about one-fourth from the former Soviet Union, about one-fourth Anglos, and a few from other miscellaneous places (including Latin America, Denmark, and Italy).

Though Christmas is not my holiday, I do hope that my Christian friends had a merry one.  Back in the States, several of my neighbors had some, shall we say, very visible Christmas light decoration displays (some of which were reported in the local newspaper).  Israel being Israel, there is not too much of that to be seen here, though there is a visible Christian community in my town, most of whom are employees of American companies who have been assigned to the Israel offices, and who commute to Tel Aviv or Ramat Gan (and in the case of one I know, to the Holy City of Jerusalem).  There is a store in town that sells Christmas decorations; the owner tells me that the people who come in to buy them often remain loyal customers throughout the year.

Some potentially interesting personal and professional plans are now shaping up for me and for my wife.  Nothing to report yet, but perhaps some of the events in the offing  shall bring me past this current burn-out.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Cost of School Security Guards

The New York City Council has just enacted legislation providing reimbursement for the cost of unarmed security guards in non-public schools (as this is written, the measure has yet to post on the NYC Council website).

I do have mixed sentiments about the whole thing.  On one hand, it obviously is a measure to pander to certain vested interests whom Mayor de Blasio has slighted in the past.  On the other hand, my son once attended an eligible non-public school in the City of New York.  And, if a law can be evaluated by those who oppose it, there are some Blaine Amendment criticisms now being bandied about.

The catch:  The security guards, it seems, would be "unarmed" and accordingly, of limited value in actually protecting the schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a burglar named Matthew Riggins was eaten by an alligator while trying to evade the sheriff's deputies who were pursuing him.

Perhaps the alligators could be flown in from Florida to guard the schools.

But Blaz's legislation not only requires that the guards be unarmed, but that they be paid a minimum of $18 per hour.  Will the animal rights activists demand parity pay for the gators?

And everyone, have a Happy Chanukah!

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Taking delivery.


Since our arrival in Israel we have been renting our car.  We have finally taken delivery on our new automobile purchase:  A ┼ákoda Yeti.  Back in May, before we arrived here, we were considering a sister car, the ┼ákoda Octavia.  But the Yeti had a better availability date, and besides, my wife missed the higher road view of the vans she had been accustomed to driving in the States.  And the Yeti has more room than the Octavia, which has already come in handy.

We purchased it with the proceeds of selling our two cars in the States (each within a week before we departed).

In Israel, taking delivery of a car is different from taking delivery in the USA.  In the States, you go to the dealer who sold you the car; in Israel you go to the regional distribution center (which, for us, is on the other side of Tel Aviv, about a 30 km drive each way.  We both drove down in the rental car, then drove back to the Avis car rental place near our community to return the rental car.

We had the foresight to purchase the bumper-to-bumper body damage insurance when we took out the rental because, during the past 5 and a half months we had the car we put lots of mileage on it and it got a few scratches and dinks in the process (plus a flat tire).  And the dust cloud last August/September didn't help matters much.

We now have our own car.  So far, we enjoy the ride.

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