Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HaYarkon 181

The above 9-floor building is known by the name of 'the crazy house'. The back of it looks as if covered with pieces of white sheets, the front resembles a persian carpet. I wouldn't call it 'crazy' ; 'unusual' seems to be a more appropriate word. Compared to the other buildings in the city , everything about it is unusual: its location - among ordinary buildings , the architecture - a mixture of Gaudi and Art Nouveau styles; the construction and decorating materials - a combination of natural elements such as wood, sand, limestone, shells, plants, and urban elements : metal, cement.

Anyway, it stands out in its surrounding; it can hardly be missed by the passers by. At the opposite side of the street, there's a bench (donated to the city by the entrepeneur) that matches the style of the building. The bench is a splendid idea; people can sit comfortably on it, and contemplate in wonder "the crazy house".

During the construction period 1982 -1985 ( it was ready to be inhabited only in 1989 as it took seven years to get all the necessary license documents !!) there was much controversy about this building project - people liked to hate it. It was not surprising; after all, people tend to dislike and even hate the unusual, the different, the alien. Besides, there was also the envy factor - not everyone could afford an appartment in such an exclusive building on the border line between the sea and the city, with both views - to the sea and to the city available.

After it became "fait accompli' , the locals got indifferent to it, whereas tourists found it a great object for photography. The area is frequented by tourists as it is close to the sea and there are many hotels , bars, travel agencies around, so this building became one of the city's touristic curiosities.

The 'crazy' house, designed by architect Leon Gnignebt , is situated at 181 Hayarkon street in Tel Aviv .The house is residential, not open to the public. To those interested in seeing the details of both the interior (with its wall paintings, sculptures, carpets etc..) and the exterior (including the roof, pool, garden, fence) of this odd piece of architecture , you could look for the video presenting the slideshow created by the tour- guide Henya Michelson. Even if the captions are in hebrew, still, it gives some pretty good idea of the building .

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Don't Panic, Go Organic"

Among the various food items in my kitchen, a place of honor is given to the bottle of the organic, extra -virgin, cold pressed, olive oil used for flavoring and cooking. My favorite brand is produced in a small, family-owned oil press in the Nahal (stream) Zalmon area.

The Zalmon stream is a long stream which flows in the north part of Israel on the border between the regions of Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee and terminates into the Sea of Galilee ( Lake Kinneret). The area surrounding it, is a very beautiful, peaceful one, often visited by families with children on vacation; the scenery is breathtaking: mountains, villages, valleys.(The serenity of the place was grossly violated seven years ago when a young czech tourist female was strangled here with a thin cable by a young man from one of the nearby villages; he then placed her head under the water and put large stones on her body. It was murder for the sake of murder , as the judge said in court).

The trees that grow the olives out of which the oil is extracted are hundreds and even thousands of years old!! There's no need for irrigation or any artificial manipulation, and the hard olives are hand picked. The oil produced from these olives is thicker, more aromatic , with texture and flavor of high quality.

A basic salad consisting of organically grown veggies and sprinkled with this organic olive oil, or a similar quality oil is a delightful dish. An addition of an organic egg and/or organic cheese to it, makes this dish into a
wonderful, healthy meal.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Midnight Slaughter in San Diego

In one of the previous posts, I've mentioned my Genealogical Quest - an attempt to track the saga of my ucrainian/romanian Great Grandmother in America, and find information about her descendants .

It's not an easy task; it takes a lot of time, energy, and feelings. Sometimes you come upon positive things such as one of GG's grandson being a leading legislator in Michigan and his sister a talented singer who has her own radio station; sometimes you come upon personal tragedies such as the untimely deaths of another grandson and his daughter in Miami. And then, you face an unimaginable event of extremely tragic proportions - the slaughter of an entire family by its adopted (at birth) teenager. An event such as the last one devastates you emotionally for weeks ,and greatly delays your work on the project.

It happened in San Diego , California. in the condo of an elderly couple , my GG's grandaughter and her husband. There were six people inside the condo : the elderly couple, their daughter and her three family members ( her husband, their 10-year old girl, and the 16 year old adopted son) on visit from Las Vegas. Five were killed by the sixth one, the adoptee.The murder was planned by the teenager as he was was very angry about being sent to a boarding school for troubled youths in West Los Angeles, away from his parents and sister who lived in Las Vegas. He used a hammer, a kitchen knife and an ax to slay his victims, then he cleaned the murder weapons, took a shower, changed his clothes, set the condominium on fire to cover up the crime, and left.

According to online sources, he was trouble from the beginning, hostile to his adopters and agressive in school. He was an emotionally disturbed child who turned into a vicious, dangerous teenager. There was also slight criticism on the parents in some sources implying that they had put pressure to change the diagnosis from "emotionally disturbed" to "learning disabled", and by doing so they had possibly prevented from him adequate treatment. I find that hard to believe (authorities always look for ways to cover up their action or lack of action), and I don't "buy" the possibility of treatment in this case.

Anyway, I believe the only good thing the parents could have done was to have opened their eyes widely before adopting him, by checking for defective genes inherited from his biological family. It's sad, but people are more careful about buying a car than about adopting a child.

The bitter irony was that my great grandmother had left Romania hoping for a more secure life for her children in the new country. Luckily, she didn't live to witness that mini american -style holocaust of grandaughter and her immediate family. May they all rest in peace!

The photo at the top - "Killer Bean Forever