Thursday, August 26, 2004

Voting Absentee

About two weeks ago I sent an application for a federal absentee ballot. I haven't gotten anything from the board of elections yet. I hope it wasn't lost in the mail. I hope I'll get my state primary ballot on time - though in my district there's this congressman that has been in office for about 20 years and got around 75% of the vote in the last two elections (good thing the internet exists to check this out). Since no democrat is running against Chuck Schumer there won't be a senate primary. So my vote in the primaries will not be anywhere near being the tie-breaker. But then again, neither will it be in the general election, including the presidential election - my vote for Kerry will just be added to the vast majority of New Yorkers voting for him. But hey, if Kerry has just one more vote than Bush in the legally unimportant national popular vote, I'll know I'm that one vote, symbolically. Anyway, I'll seriously start checking out information about congressional candidates once I get a ballot, to make an informed decision.

This will be the first time I vote in US elections. I've never asked for an absentee ballot before. I wonder how they make sure it's really me voting. Maybe once I get the letter from the board of elections I'll know a little more.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Israeli Gold!

Mistral surfer Gal Fridman made history today with 3 Israeli firsts:

1) First Israeli gold medal in the Olympics (but don't forget - we already have a lot of paralympic gold medals), which means it was the first time the Israeli anthem, HaTikvah ("The Hope") was heard at the Olympics. I think it is the most "Olympian" and optimistic anthem ever heard at the Games. You may not agree with Israeli policy. You may think of Israel as a fascist state (it isn't, but some mistakenly see it that way). But the Israeli anthem is the most hopeful of all anthems I know of. The anthems of all other countries talk about war, about defending the homeland, the greatness of the country and its people. HaTikvah, like it's name, is about hope for a better, independent future. It doesn't say anything about that future being achieved by bloodshed (it turned out that it did involve bloodshed, but that wasn't the vision of HaTikvah).

2) First Israeli to win two Olympic medals. He was a bronze medalist in Atlanta eight years ago.

3) First Olympic games where Israel wins medals in two different fields. We won one medal in Atlanta (mistral surfing) and one in Sydney (Kayaking) - both bronze. The first Games in which we won medals, Madrid 1992, we won two of them, one silver and one bronze, but they were both in the same field - judo. This year Arik Zeevi, who I had been hoping would win a medal, won a bronze in judo.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I am Uncle Emmanuel!

My new niece was born this week! She's so cute and adorable. If we ever feared my sister might have another autistic child, now we are completely confident my niece is absolutely fine. The difference is amazing. When my nephew was born he'd never look at us, and whenever we touched him he'd stiffen up. We now understand what that was, but at the time we didn't really notice. My niece, on the other hand, is very soft and cuddly.

She's a beautiful baby. I'm objective, I really am. When my nephew was born I thought he was ugly (and he was - big ears and a long nose, good thing that as he grew, the proportions of his face changed, and now he's very good looking. The only big thing on his face now is his big beautiful eyes).

Yesterday I went to visit my sister, mainly to see the baby. But my nephew was there when I came in. I didn't want to insult him so I stayed with him most of the time, and saw the baby for about only a minute. I feel sorry for him. He's flapping his hands a lot lately. He's nervous because of the new situation. I hope he'll get used to it soon.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Athens Olympics

The opening ceremony is underway, 202 national teams are walking through the Olympic stadium in Greece. I hope everything will go well. I'm cheering for two teams - Israel and the United States. Since the US is already the medal champion, I'll be watching Israeli athletes more closely. We so far have only 4 medals - one silver and three bronze medals. Hopefully, we'll get our first gold medal(s) in these Olympics, hosted by our (almost) next door neighbor. I heard wrestling is where we have most chances of getting a gold medal, as well as the pole vault. Personally, I'm hoping Arik Zeevi will win in Judo - he's been number one is so many championships, and though now he isn't at his best, I still hope he'll be able to win.

Also in Judo, Israel has won its first victory - a technical one. When Iranian champion Arash Miresmaeili and Israeli Udi Vaks were randomly drawn to compete against each other in the first round of competition. The Iranian refused to compete with an Israeli, thus redrawing from the Olympics, despite the fact he had a good chance of earning a gold medal. It's a great thing for Israel.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Driving Lessons

I just started driving lessons. It's about time. I'm already 5 years older than the minimum age for driving in Israel. The teacher is a nice guy and I enjoy driving. Until I started I didn't feel like getting a license but now that I've started I'm enthusiastic about it.

I had my 22nd birthday recently. I invited a few friends from the university and it was nice. I had too many beers left over, and since I don't like beer (nothing against alcohol, just don't like the taste) and neither does anyone else in my family, my father used some for Tandori Chicken or whatever it's called. Came out great.