26 November, 2007

So sad, I barely notice them anymore...

I have to say, living here in Israel is fantastic. I can't see myself wanting to live anywhere else in the world.

That said, any native English speaker who has been here can attest to the horrendous English spelling here on, well, anything that has English p
rinted on it. It's so awful that it almost seems not worth reporting - it's not a mistake or a typo, it's just a joke. I once heard that this is not an issue with signs in Russian, simply because Israelis are aware that they don't speak Russian. Therefore, when they need a sign made, they go and consult someone who does. This doesn't happen with English, because all Israelis know that their English is perfect, so why bother checking?

Here is the first sign I remember taking a picture of, back in 1992. That was in the days of film, so the colors here are a bit psychedelic - my apologies.

Of course at the time I had seen my share of Israeli spelling mistakes, but I remember this one shocking me more than usual. Why? Because it was a sign for a library, of all things, a home of knowledge and intelligence. It seemed a disgrace that they couldn't manage to get it right. Thinking now, I realize that not only that, the guy ordering the sign could have just walked into the library and checked a dictionary...

Here are a couple of other examples of things you see here every day, just to get the point across. Like I said, I don't think that one of these alone qualifies as
its own post, but maybe when I have a few more photographed, I'll publish them together as a group.


23 November, 2007

Don't say you weren't warned

This summer, my husband and I spent a 14 hour (7:00-21:00) layover in Amsterdam. We had never been there, and although the local aroma was a bit overwhelming, we found it a lovely place to spend the day.

Walking around, we saw lots of interesting sights and signs, including open air markets, great fruit stores, the Anne Frank House, and even the "Toby Falafel and Shoarma Restaurant and Steakhouse." (!) Toward the end of the day, we passed by an unassuming storefront with a tiny sign in the window.

I'm not sure what pulled us in closer to see what the sign said, but something did, and here it is:

We decided not to go in and see for ourselves, but we're assuming it's a haircut place. That's seems possibly logical, right? If anyone is in, or has been in Amsterdam and would like to provide extra information, please don't hesitate to update us all...

18 November, 2007

Beyond the power of even a donut

Here's another picture from our summer trip to the States. (Yes, these will run out pretty soon, and we'll be limited to local humor, but I'm not too worried about a shortage.) Somehow, when I saw this one, I felt that it summed up a lot of the reasons that I'm so happy to live outside America, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. And of course, when I asked others if they found it at all disturbing, no one had a clue as to what I was talking about, so I suppose it's just another example of me living in a parallel universe.

Does it bother me because they're trying to sell anti-healthy junk food under the guise of popularity? Does it bother me because popularity is the convincing commodity? Do I feel betrayed, because I really enjoyed Dunkin' Donuts as a kid, and somehow didn't benefit from the popularity clause?

I obviously am taking this box of donuts a bit too seriously, but I think that maybe it was the nonchalance of the thing that hit me the hardest. Those poor Americans, always obviously striving for the outer appearances, always looking to be the cool ones. And here I sit on my hilltop, probably uncool, and yet happy with my lot, living the real life.

Now all I need is something to dunk in my coffee.

12 November, 2007

Elevator Entertainment

As some of you may or may not know, my dear son was hospitalized for a few days last week, after a youth group accident. Thank God he is fine, stitched and home, and we are grateful and relieved. Needless to say, I wasn't in a terribly picture-taking mood while he was hospitalized, but the morning that we got his release order from the doctor, I relaxed a bit, and asked him if he'd seen any funny signs around the hospital. He aimed me for the elevator, and asked me to take a picture of this:

The writing came out pretty small in the photo, and anyway I'll translate for those less fluent in Hebrew. The yellow one says "Elevator for Passengers Only" and the dark red one says "For Transporting Patients and Loads Only." I asked my son why he thought this was funny, and his answer was twofold: first, why aren't patients passengers? And second, he seemed quite certain that transporting the patients with the heavy loads would cause severe damage to the patients.

I turned around, and saw this one on top of the elevator across the way:

This is a sign for the Shabat elevator - an elevator (found commonly in Israel) that operates automatically, going from floor to floor on a timer, without anyone needing to push buttons. This Shabat elevator is apparently very special - it seems to have some serious Willy Wonka action going on.

And then, looking left, I found this fancy, new-fangled elevator that can accompany men, men and women!

I really don't get this one. Does this particular elevator run on a strict male/female ratio? Anyone out there care to take a guess what they're trying to convey?

Baruch Rofeh Cholim.

06 November, 2007

On some distant wavelength

This past summer, we fulfilled a long-standing dream of my husband, and took our kids to Disneyland. He's been planning it in his head for years; he wanted them to be old enough to remember the trip, and young enough to still be enchanted by the place. Truthfully, I'm not sure I really expected such a lofty dream to come to fruition, but I guess I underestimated the powers of high hopes and frequent flyer miles.

Anyway, we weren't in the park long before I saw this painted on a trash can:

Now, granted, I haven't lived in America for over eleven years, and so it's likely that culturally I'm just out of sync, but somehow this struck me as really silly. It seemed obvious that although perhaps it was trying to convey "give me your waste, please," it instead implied "don't eat that apple - waste, please, and put it in here." What a ridiculous typo - didn't they realize what they'd written? Until a minute later, when I saw another, and another, and realized that apparently that's just how you say "trash can" in American, or at least in Californian. Oops, silly, out of sync me.

But then, later in the day, I saw these two juxtaposed next to each other, and it was just too much:

So tell, me, please, is it just me? Does no one else see any potential irony here? Because I'm telling you, it was tearing me apart - what to do with our empty bottles? They're both asking so politely... but I suppose it's fitting for Disney to give us an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

02 November, 2007

Turns out, I'm not the only one

Although I work in mechanical engineering, it often seems that I spend just as much time (if not more) dealing with documentation and other tedious paperwork. Truthfully, I sometimes enjoy it - it's nice to relax your brain at the end of a project and wrap it up, all nice and neat, signed by everybody and photocopied to everyone who needs.

That said, everyone in my office has issues anytime we need to write documents in both Hebrew and English. Our computers don't have much trouble dealing with one at a time, but both in the same document can often f
razzle the program, making us work triple-time to make it look the way we'd like. It always makes me feel a bit inept when it happens to me - I like to think that I'm relatively computer savvy. However, my dear husband (thanks!) just found this on a game we purchased a couple of days ago, and somehow it makes me feel better. (If you can't see the picture well, double-click it to enlarge.)