This and That

Random bits of my life

War and Whooping Cough

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 20, 2014

Summer ... another war

I haven’t blogged lately because I’ve been too busy with the war in Gaza and the war with whooping cough. My husband caught pertussis first, gave it to me, so we’re both coughing. I’ve learned some interesting things: childhood vaccinations against pertussis do not continue into adulthood. Pertussis can be difficult to diagnose because it starts out with cold-like symptoms and is easily mistaken for flu, asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. It is highly contagious and can be fatal to infants, so if you suspect that you have it (bad cough that goes on for weeks), go to your doctor. A three-day course of azithromycin will greatly shorten its duration and limit the contagion. You’ll still be coughing but not for as much as you would if you did nothing.

Here’s a cough remedy that is all over the Web. I found it helpful. It’s not too unpleasant to drink (like drinking a spicy vinaigrette) and it’s easy to make with kitchen ingredients. I wouldn’t give it to children, though. It’s too strong-flavoured for young palates and unpasteurized honey should never be given to young infants.

Cough Remedy

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine the ingredients in a jar, close, and shake. take by the teaspoon.

I refrigerate mine, but I’ve heard that it’s fairly stable at room temperature. I will also be trying thyme tea, as soon as I can get my husband to pick some up at the healthfood store or the shuk.

We’re slowly getting used to the state of being at war again. August is usually filled with events that we look forward to all year, like the International Arts & Crafts Fair, the Wine Festival at the Israel Museum, various concerts. Almost everything has been cancelled and won’t be rescheduled in the foreseeable future. :-(

One missile fell close to home. I was at work, getting ready to leave for the day, when the alarm sounded in Jerusalem. I grabbed my backpack and went into one of the internal staircases. I waited until I heard a couple explosions (Iron Dome intercepted two of the rockets) and then went out to catch the minibus. At the grocery store I ran into a neighbour who said that the siren had sounded in Maale Adumim, she heard a loud bang, and the ground shook. The rocket landed about a kilometer or two down the road. We’re not protected by the Iron Dome system.

Our son is halfway through his military service. We don’t see much of him these days. He works 12-hour shifts and tries to find time to call us every few days. I’m such a Jewish mother–I live on the top floor of a building that is about as well-constructed as a cardboard box; the other day I called him and demanded to know what the army was doing to keep him (and the other soldiers) safe. He reassured me that most of the time he works underground. During an air raid they all go underground. So even if my knitting goes up in a puff of smoke, at least my little boy is safe! Just kidding, folks. We hope this ends with as little loss of life as possible.

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Summer of Missiles

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 10, 2014

Bomb Shelter at work

They posted new signs at work so that we can find the bomb shelters. However, the one on our floor doubles as a travel agent’s office and it was much to crowded to enter when the siren sounded at 6 p.m. I went into the stairwell, waited until I heard a few loud booms and then went outside to catch the minivan home.

Four missiles were fired at Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. Two were shot down by the Iron Dome antimissile system and two fell into open areas. My husband was in a nearby store, buying wine for Shabbat. Someone said, “Is that a siren?” Everyone agreed, and continued what they were doing. When he got outside, a small crowd of people were photographing the missile being shot down with their cellphones.

For people in Jerusalem, missiles are a bit of a novelty, although we are well within striking distance of Gaza. By, the way, 96 missiles were fired at Israel today. The total, since Operation Protective Edge began, is 442. The majority of Israel’s citizens live within range of Hamas missiles. This article shows the range of the M-302 missile, relative to large cities in the US, Canada, and UK (What if Terrorists Could Shoot This Rocket at Your Country?). In our area, we have 90 seconds to get to shelter, which is a lot more time than most people (15-45 seconds), but doesn’t seem like very much time if you have to deal with scared children or pets.

We are trying to lead normal lives, although it does make some activities more difficult (a friend’s daughter who is getting married tonight had to find a new wedding hall yesterday because the hall they booked cancelled all its functions). Our local buses are targeted by stone-throwers and no one wants to risk a trip to the hospital for a dinner in town. My husband’s bus was stoned on his way home the other day but no one was injured. I feel safer at work than at home, because our building is a massive block of concrete. Our soldier son won’t be home this Shabbat. We’re not too concerned about his safety because he works in air force intelligence and that building is probably as well protected as any. I hope we all have a peaceful Shabbat.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: “Garden of Dreams” and “Tower of Light”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 26, 2014

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“Garden of Dreams” (Jaffa Gate Plaza) and “Tower of Light” (Tzahal Square) are both by Luminarie De Cagna (Italy). Interestingly, De Cagna is an Italian family-run business that was founded in 1930. In those days they illuminated buildings for festive occasions with gas and carbide lights. Since 2006 they have only used LEDs for their installations, which, they stress, greatly reduces the electricity consumption of their lavish constructions.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: “Circus of Light”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 26, 2014

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“Jerusalem Circus of Light” (Nuno Maya and Carole Purnelle, OCUBO, Portugal) is a clever video-mapping of the old Rothschild building in Batei Mahsei Square, Jewish Quarter. The installation starts with the familiar skyline of Jerusalem at night and turns it into a circus. I love how the architectural elements and cypress trees  are incorporated into the video. The collages of people applauding reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations.

I recorded a short video (bottom of posting) with a handheld camera.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: “Control No Control” and “Don’t Give Up on the Light”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 26, 2014

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“Control No Control” (Daniel Iregui, Canada) is an interactive installation that reacts to touch. I found the heavy bass techno sound track a bit monotonous but the lighting effects were interesting.

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The array of hands touching the surface caught my attention, like a strange, multi-dexterous octopus playing the piano.

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“Don’t Give Up on the Light” (Shelly Bin Nun, Israel) is a clever sculpture constructed of trash, casting a shadow of Jerusalem landmarks.

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The use of cut-outs to create the illusion of three dimensions is clever. For example, the highlight on the Dome of the Rock is created by cutting a piece out of a plastic disposable plate.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: Cosmogole and Daisy

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 19, 2014

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“Cosmogole” (Philippe Morvan, France) in the foreground, left. “Daisy” (Franck Pelletier, Studio En Attendant, France) on the right. The first photo was not easy, because “Cosmogole” and “Daisy” have cycles of dark/light, because I wanted the bright spotlights to be lit for a starburst effect, and because too long an exposure would cause the bright “Gate of Dreams” (center, back) to be completely washed out. It would have been nice to catch “Cosmogole” at a slightly brighter moment in its cycle, but that might not have been possible.

From above, on the walkway by Old City wall:

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Now the center ball is well-lit, but the bright spotlights aren’t on. In this exposure, the “Gate of Dreams” is starting to look washed out. Combining installations in the same frame always requires compromises!

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“Daisy” was fun to photograph but you had to catch it at a good time in the cycle and fiddle with the shutter speed. This shot was taken with a tripod. If you want to know the technical details, click the photo to go to the Flickr page. The aperture was f/32 because I was trying to get a starburst effect while photographing “Cosmogole” and hadn’t changed it to something more normal. OTOH, it sure compresses the depth of field! The “Palace of Dreams” is quite far behind the “Daisy.”

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The last shot was actually hand-held (.5 second exposure), which I don’t recommend unless you have really steady hands and a way to brace your camera.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: House of Cards

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 18, 2014

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Zoom blur of “House of Cards” by OGE (architects Gaston Zahr and Meirav Eitan). If only the dome of the Hurva Synagogue hadn’t had that burnt-out light bulb on the right. Oh, well, it adds some interest. The trefoil stained glass window is not centered because the window, the dome, and the “House of Cards” are not aligned on a single axis. Like all photos, it’s a compromise.

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I met one of the architects, Gaston Zahr, six years ago at the first Jerusalem Festival of Light (2009). He had emailed me to tell me that he liked the photos I took of the solar-powered flower installation, “Night Garden,” and we all met up a couple nights later (2009). We chatted for a while and I photographed him with Baruch again. The cards are based on Jean David’s cards designed for El Al in 1970.

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Gaston pointed out that the corner cards are square. In a real house of cards, you can overlap at the corners. This is not possible with glass panels set in a steel frame, so a different solution was found. This installation took about a month to construct.

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Gaston (left) and Baruch in 2014:

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and in 2009:

Gaston Zahr, O*GE Architects

I did make a short video of the installation but Gaston’s video is much better, so I’ve embedded it below.

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#BringBackOurBoys

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 16, 2014

#BringBackOurBoys

The whole situation is heart-breaking — a parent’s worst nightmare. As parents we try to keep our kids safe, but sometimes the unthinkable happens.

I took this photo a few minutes ago in the courtyard at work (two amazing coordinators organized the photo shoot in record time; I was just the photographer with an iPad).

Ittael Fraenkel is the aunt of one of the kidnapped boys, Naftali Fraenkel. She’s also my coworker.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: Cuckoo Clock

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014

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I love the Cuckoo Clock (AVS Creative, Israel) on the Christian Information Center building! It’s whimsical and clever, with the gumballs rolling down the street and soldiers emerging from the doors. The walls with windows on the upper story appear to crumble or fold inwards, revealing the clock mechanism.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: Damascus Gate Chrysalis

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014

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The “Damascus Gate Chrysalis” was the most memorable exhibit at the Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014. If you only have time to see one installation, try to get to the Damascus Gate. The shows are continuous, with about five minutes between each presentation. If you plan to see it in person, I recommend that you not view the video at the end of this posting. My video, made with a hand-held camera, does not do it justice. Damien Fontaine used the chrysalis concept in 2012 (Les Chrysalides de Saint-Jean, Lyons Light Festival) and in 2013 (Bolchoï Chrisalis).

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