Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

BBC’s Facebook Reality February 28, 2009

This BBC Three video shows what Facebook might be like in REAL LIFE.  Living hell, that’s what.


Hitler in Tel Aviv February 18, 2009

I came across this video on Facebook via my friend Rick.  Apparently it’s a campaign railing Tel Aviv’s municipality for the dire parking situation and subsequent sky-high costs of parking fines.

The theme is straight up WWII Hitler Third Reich & it’s harsh. Holocaust survivors, none too happy about the parody, are  demanding it be removed from YouTube.  Judge for yourself.



I’ve heard about Waterboarding.  I’ve read about it.  But I never had a visual image in mind of what it entailed.

While surfing Vanity Fair I came across this video.  I like Christopher Hitchens – acerbic as he can be.  Kudos to him for trying it out.  Geeyad.  If the video doesn’t come up on this blog page,  follow this link.  It’s very uncomfortable viewing so I can’t even imagine what the real deal is like.


Difficult Truths February 16, 2009

If you want to know the truth about yourself – say how you look, whether or not you’ve been behaving badly lately, if you are a fair person or if you fall to the heavy or slim side of the scale – ask a grade-schooler.

Because unless they’ve already been taught to bluff, kids are the ones who’ll give you the truth.  Straight up.  No mal-intent and little to no buffering.  They simply call things as they see them.

While traipsing Tel Aviv with my 7-year-old and his classmate during yesterday’s evening hours, the subject of Super Heroes arose.  After pulling some moves on each other and making appropriate heroic sounds the boys piped down and my son suddenly turned to me.

You can’t be a Super Hero, he said matter-of-fact-like looking me in the eye.  

Why’s that? I countered, feeling flattered to have been pulled into their  conversation.

Because your boobies are... he tapered off verbally and instead gesticulated somewhere mid-navel section with both hands.

Wait.  What is that supposed to mean? I asked, unsure of whether or not I truly wanted to know.

Well the Girl Super Hero Action figures have boobies here, he explained, reverting back to hand gestures this time at an elevated chest level.

Yeah, his friend chimed in.

They tag teamed me.  Beautiful.

And of course, I was faced with the reality of gravity and the fact that despite my son’s misguided belief that his mother is a mere twenty-four years old (who on earth told him that?), she’s not.  One day he’ll figure out that the real action figures with perky breasts are the true twenty-four-year-olds.  Far be it from me to burst THAT bubble prematurely.

But my god was it a hilarious moment.

Except for the tag team part.


Oscars Anyone? February 15, 2009

Oscars are a week from today.  I haven’t watched the ceremony in yeeeaaaarrrsss but I always follow the results.

This year, however, I’m changing it up by synching my local Israel time to U.S. ceremony time (read: It’s gonna be an over-nighter Sunday) to watch it live.  I admit: I’m a sucker for the red carpet, the hoopla, the speeches, the controversy and I particularly love seeing trailers from the contenders.

This year I have selfish interests at heart as well: I want to see if Israel’s nominated entry Waltz with Bashir wins in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

I FINALLY got around to seeing Waltz this weekend.  And it far exceeded my expectations.  The use of animation was really apt on many levels.  Also, because the subject matter it addresses has been so very controversial for so long, the film was quite poignant.

Because Director Ari Folman’s animation is a personal testimony to one of the major events that happened in Israel’s 1982 Lebanon War/Invasion, it is tough to dispute what some have denied vis a vis Israel’s role in that event.  I’m being vague, I know.  I don’t want to spoil it.

Watch the trailer.  French Foreign Film Contender The Class also looks quite good  – haven’t seen it yet.   I’d say it’s between the two.  But Waltz With Bashir’s timing in terms of what we just saw happen in Gaza may give Folman the edge…


Why Ikea is Cool February 13, 2009

…er well at least their Europe ads are


The Big Ask: ACT NOW! February 12, 2009

Israel elections are past and a new government is in the making.  The Green party I voted for didn’t even make it into the bleeding government.  THAT is crazy.

It’s all about the future – for us and our children. If we combust, who cares who’s holding the scepter?

Check out the video. .


Israel Pee Pee Campaign February 6, 2009

If you were wondering how Israel’s election advertising campaigns differ from, say, the U.S. or Europe, take a look at this ad.

It’s for Brit Olam, a co-existence advocating party that warns against “letting  them continue to urinate on us .”

Yikes.  Disgusting and tasteless.


The Female Factor February 5, 2009

I’m chagrined the past week. For a few reasons I think.

First of all I’ve been traveling to Jerusalem for work for the past few days.  And each time I get there, right at the entrance are strategically placed massive election posters canvassing tall buildings.  The posters bear images of the three campaigning front runners for the prime minister slot:  Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni.

I’m incensed because some person/s have painstakingly climbed up scaffolding or used pretty impressive ladders or who knows what else and have painted over Livni’s face.  On each and every poster.  And there are a lot.  And they’re not easy to get to.  “A” for effort.  Clap *  cough  * clap.  Is it the candidate or her gender?  I muse.

Second:  I phoned up the spokesperson for one of the campaigning Orthodox Jewish parties after hearing a rumor that they had added a woman to their list to offset “the Livni effect”.

“Is it true?  Do you think I can get an interview with her?” I ask.  The man on the other end of the receiver chortles cynically.  “A woman?  Uh no.  We didn’t add a woman,” he sniggers as if I had just suggested:  “Have you, perchance, added a Tuberculosis infected illiterate third grade Hamas devotee to the party list?”     

And lastly, probably fanning the flames of all this disenchantment is the fact that I’m reading Afghan author Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Sunsdescribing, among other things, the absolutely horrific treatment of women in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, civil war and  Taliban rule.  Some excerpts are chilling but the book is not put-down-able.

I read it and contemplate the part of the world I’m living in now and the potential future for this region.

And I have a tough time maintaining a positive outlook.


I Was Angry With NBC February 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — stefanella @ 10:51 pm

I had a really great chat with my mom the other night.

We’re separated by a few continents so we  make up for lacking physical closeness by burning up the telephone lines.  I have a primo long distance plan so we chat at least once a week.  Sometimes there’s not a whole lot to share.  And other times we gossip our toochases off – no small feat considering our kin-folk’s proneness to generous backsides.

The other night we somehow got around to discussing September 11th and Gulf War #1 and how the face of terrorism has changed our global reality.  

My mom got emotional when recalling the morning of the Twin Tower hits.  She told me where she was when she got the news and described the impact of seeing the initial footage on television.

I shared what my reaction had been that morning and how I immediately phoned my brother with whom I consult on matters of grand scale international developments.  He and I discussed the implications of the attack and who might be behind the carnage.

Then mom & I ventured backwards to Gulf War #1.   We reminisced how at the time my parents were  hand-picked to appear in a live interview on Cincinnati’s NBC affiliate immediately after the first Scud Missiles were fired into Israel.

It was my turn to get emotional.  Because that night 17 years ago both my above-mentioned brother and I were living in Tel Aviv and my sister was living in Haifa.  Missiles hit both cities simultaneously and initial network reports cited possible chemical or biological attacks in both locales.

My unfortunate parents, along with many other U.S. dwelling parents of children in Israel, were unable to get through the jammed phone lines to determine the fates or whereabouts of offspring in targeted cities.

In a state of fear and shock, however, my folks had agreed to be carted off to the local television station for an appearance as “Parents of three children living in Scudded cities who have yet to learn the fate of their kids…”

After the Gulf War ended, someone at the network sent me the tape.  And I’m pretty sorry I viewed it.  Because  my father, always with a joke up his sleeve and a story to tell, sat ashen faced and terrified.  He spoke softly and had difficulty concentrating.  My mother sat listless and silent at his side in the harshly lit studio.  She was clearly in a state of shock.  During the war, wrapped up in work and my own fear, I hadn’t realized the impact to my parents.

“All I could think,” my mother shared via phone this week  “was that I couldn’t lose three of my four children all at once.  I couldn’t.  And then later,” she confided, “when NBC sent flowers to the house to show gratitude for the fact that you were working for them despite the Scuds, I got really angry.  Like flowers would make everything okay.  It took me weeks to finally get past it and send them a thank-you note.”

Chuckle chuckle.  She sent a thank-you note.  But then, ma has always been fastidious when it comes to decorum.

Oh yeah.  Now I remember.  We got onto the subject by way of discussing Gaza.  And the loss of children to war.