The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ode to Ramat Raziel

Besides getting to see my sons, HDIL and grandchildren, I got to ride my bike a bunch of times during our recent trip to Israel.

OOS rented me a very nice carbon bike from the wonderful bike store in Har Nof (on Kanfei Nesharim). We rode on the first Friday and then on Sunday in the Nes Harim area, doing the nasty 3.5 mile climb and descent. On Wednesday, I rode by myself, doing the Nes Harim thing and adding climb up from the Stalactite Caves (another 2.5 miles).

This past Friday, OOS and I did the climb up Ramat Raziel. I had done this climb twice before but hadn't done it in about four years. The ride is about 5.5 miles, about 5 of which are uphill with some very tough gradients. As usual, OOS, with his inferior bike (but superior legs) smoked me and left me in the dust. (He kept climbing towards Ein Karem until I called him when I got to the top of Ramat Raziel; it's good to be 26).

I may not be particularly fast up the hills but at least I get up the hills. It was especially tough since I was riding without my shoes and pedals (I was too busy and too lazy to remove my pedals from my bike and take them with me; big mistake in light of all the riding I did) and the fact that I was riding a bike with a compact double with only a standard 12-25 in the back (rather than the 12-27 I use on my bike).

It's amazing how one remembers these hills so well. It was like I had climbed it last week rather than 4 years ago. I guess pain will do that to you.

The biggest hoot of the week (riding-wise) was the descent down Ramat Raziel, which I had never done before. (We didn't have time to do a sivuv up to Ein Karem, Nes Harim and then down back to Ramat Shiloh; that's a fabulous ride but takes about three hours). I'm not one who usually likes to descend but, for whatever reason, I really enjoyed it. Not for the feint of heart and, in one really scary section where the road narrows to one lane, freezing to boot. It was good for a couple of primal screams.

If there aren't enough reasons to live in Israel, living 10k from Ramat Raziel ought to clinch the deal.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Worse Than Shiny Shoe Music

I was sitting this morning at the Rimon Cafe in the mall outside the Jaffe Gate having a lovely working breakfast. (I have recently bought in heavily to the idea of taking a lap top everywhere I go and hooking into wifi; a little late to the game but not bad for an alter kocker)

They were playing very nice music (including a tune from Mati Caspi from about 35 years ago when I spent a year at Hebrew University that had me going nostalgic). Then they played a pretty song called "Killing Me Softly" by someone whose name escapes me. Suddenly, after a couple of verses, a rapper intervened in the song. The whole rap thing then surrounded the pretty song and totally ruined it.

I've been meaning to post about this phenomenon for a while but haven't had the chance. This morning was the last straw.

What IS this?

I am often subjected to this horror at spin classes. They take classic rock songs and surround them with either a rap or disco beat. I recently went to a spin class where the instructor was a few years older than I. She announced that she would be playing "oldies" from her era and hoped that everyone would get into it. Unfortunately, I was then forced to listen to 45 minutes of this horrible music. I felt myself longing for The Chevra or the Yeshiva Boys Choir! (OK, not really, but you get the point).

There ought to be a law.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dumb and Dumber

I've been on the road a lot lately. Last week to Washington, this week to San Francisco and LA.

I assumed in light of the recent airline bombing attempt that the security process would be more painfully stupid than normal.

Until last night, I was pleasantly surprised. All of my flights went smoothly with only the usual silly hassles (I get annoyed every time I have to take off my shoes; even though I usually travel in Naot clogs).

Last night took the cake. I got to the security line at LAX at 8:30 for a 10 pm Red-eye home. It took 35 minutes to get through the x-ray and metal detectors. Among the people the TSA peeps body searched were a blond teenaged girl, a woman in a wheel chair, and an old lady; all highly suspicious characters. When I finally got through the x-ray, they pulled me over because they didn't recognize my tube of hand cream. I had to send my bag through X-ray again.

Ich kenesht.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Almost Home

In less than 12 hours I will be picking up MHW at JFK.

I have survived!

Truth be told, I very much enjoyed the last four days taking care of and hanging out with The Vance. We had fun, she did not take too much advantage of me, and I don't think I destroyed all of MHW's four-plus years of work (maybe just one). Nevertheless, I will be very happy to see MHW back in charge. I suspect the Vance will be as well.

It's a funny thing. I spend many nights on the road on business. I don't sleep well when I'm on the road but don't feel the loneliness overtly. I'm probably too busy and stimulated to think about it. At home, I feel the loneliness much more but sleep very well in my own bed.

In any event, I look forward to getting up at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow, driving to JFK in the freezing weather and picking up MHW. Well worth it.