Man vs. Machine – matchup in 4 rounds

With all my feminist pretensions, in some aspects I’m still that old-fashioned “Man”. One of these aspects is my deep relations with the car. Controlling the car is one way to prove your manhood.

When we went to visit our son in North Carolina last autumn, I ordered a rented car to pick up at the airport. I asked for a cheap car, only to have 4 wheels and a motor. Apparently there were not really cheap cars to offer, so I order the cheapest available.

When we arrived at the agency to take the car, the model that we ordered was not available, as the yard was full of luxury cars and jeeps. The agent went to the neighbors to borrow something that will not be too much above what we were paying for. Still it was an automatic car more modern than anything I’ve seen before.

“You can go; it is all yours!”car_tamer

But I didn’t find the ignition to put the keys in and rotate. I was looking around, confused, and had to leave the car where it was, blocking the lane, and went to call him back from the office to the cold night.

“How do I start it?”

Well, there was a simple “Power On” button just in front of me, as if the car was a damned dumb toy.

I drove out and started to get used to the automatic gear that lets lazy drivers just press the gas pedal…

* * *

The real challenge came as we were driving in a narrow park road in the Appalachian Mountains. We took a wrong lane and wanted to make a U-turn. I entered in reverse an even narrower road that joined the park road. It was steeper than what I imagined. I stopped the car with its tail down and prepared for the driver’s ultimate test of leaping up a steep slope.

But where are my hand brake and my clutch pedal that I should release gradually and carefully? All I had is this lousy automatic gear and one gas pedal. I didn’t believe we will make it and had a strong feeling the car is going to roll down back into the valley.

As I pressed the gas pedal, the car moved quietly up the steep lane and into the park road. It didn’t show any tendency to roll back, not even by one inch. (Yes, it was an American car – so it was thinking in inches, not centimeters).

I was shocked. The car simply knew that while it is on “drive” and not “reverse”, it shouldn’t go back. It didn’t need any of my manly superior capabilities to tell her how to do the right thing.

* * *

As I started to doubt the future of mankind and ask existential questions, I didn’t notice that something went wrong with the car. I tried to speed up but it hardly responded – or rather responded by loud vocal roar of the motor but little motion.

I tried to slow down and accelerate again, but it was still the same thunder without lighting.

Finally I understood.

While taking the leap up on the steep slope, the car entered the power gear mode.

I had to stop and power off the motor in order to get it back to normal driving mode.

I was reassured of my manly superiority over the foolish car.

* * *

As we drove to the airport and turned the car back to the agency, they asked me whether it was all OK.

Well, pretty much so. I said. There’s only one problem. When I lock the car with the remote control, sometimes it locks, sometimes it doesn’t.

The man laughed at my provincial ignorance and showed me the trick.

If you lock the car but stretch your hand back to the door with the keys in your hand, the door senses the proximity of the keys and unlocks…

Well, maybe I’m still smarter than the automatic gear, but I’m surely no match to this damned thought-reading creepy door.


Being Israeli all the way…

While the state of Israel is hunting down and killing Palestinians every Netanyahu_to_be_Israeliday, its hate-mongering Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke in Tel Aviv and called on the Arabs in the 1948 occupied territories: “Whoever wants to be Israeli must be Israeli all the way”.

This reminded me of an old joke about one Arab Palestinian family that decided to take the challenge and do just that…

Muhammad and Fatimah were fed up from being victims of discrimination and applied to convert to Judaism with their two small kids.

The state of Israel is not fond of Arabs that like to be Jews, neither are the religious Jewish authorities easy to convince, as they don’t want Arabs that just look for material benefit. They will only convert true believers. So they requested the couple and their children to prove their devotedness by swimming across the Jordan River at the middle of a storm.

Muhammad was a strong man. He was the first to reach the other side of the river and became Shlomo. Fatimah almost drowned in the water but with her insistence and devotion she finally made it and became Shlomit.

As they were sitting together on the shore, they witnessed their two kids struggling with the water and finally drifting down the stream.

Now, being Israelis all the way, they told each other: “Never mind, it is two Arabs less.”


The Turtles’ Sour Feast

The Turtles’ Sour Feast

The Turtles are famous for their slowness, but they have also extraordinary patience and insistence…

Not every day they would make a feast. Actually they waited some forty years before they decided to summon all the turtles in the forest and have some good time together. It required another year until the news passed by and a couple more until everybody gathered in a lovely clearing… You could image they were impatient and hungry even before they started preparing the food!

Preparing food for such a respected gathering is not that simple, but all were busy like bees. They brought many kinds of vegetables to make a huge pile of salad. They waited patiently under trees to get the best fruits just as they fall down, dragged them to the clearing and squeezed their intoxicating nectar. They toiled with urgency and happily and didn’t even throw a glance at the watch, but it consumed some more months before all was ready.

Just as the worlds’ best food was on the table and they gathered around it and wanted to start eating, they discovered that they forgot the most important ingredient of any meal: They didn’t bring salt.

They consulted each other and decided to send one young turtle, which was known as the fastest turtle in the forest, to bring salt. He was reluctant to leave the festive gathering, but after some social pressure he murmured: “OK, but don’t you dare touch the food until I’m back!” and disappeared between the trees.

They waited faithfully for days and weeks, freezing in their places around the temptations on the set table, but wouldn’t touch the food. They were patient but their stomachs grumbled with hunger and they didn’t talk any more, just sent long glances between the trees…

When weeks turned months and there was no news from the young turtle, some of the turtle kids started nagging and the old ones were consulting restlessly. After several months of consultations one old turtle said: “If we wait any more the food will be spoiled anyway. Lets eat!” To say the truth, at this point all the turtles were simply happy to bring this sad saga to any end, and they started to clap and attacked the food on the table from all directions.

At this very moment, the rapid young turtle came out from his hide behind the nearest tree, all angry and shouting in his highest voice: “You faithless traitors. I knew you will not wait for me!”

* * *

This story is dedicated here, in the current harsh circumstances of the Arab Spring, to our comrades from the left who are angry and alienated from the revolution because it didn’t wait for them…

Knowing that being angry at the comrades is not a solution – without the distinctive contribution of the left this very special historical feast can all turn sour.

You can read this post also in Arabic.

Futile Protestation of Innocence

Futile Protestation of Innocence

This is an old joke. I assume its IP rights have already expired, so you can have it for free…

* * *

Our Hero is a dedicated school inspector, specializing in the teaching of the Bible. After so many years he knew all the small tricks that the teachers will use to make good impression on his visits. Repeat a lesson that was already learnt. Carefully choose which child to ask questions… So it was only natural that he interrupted the teacher and requested her permission to ask the pupils some questions by himself.

He was not looking for embarrassment or trying to be a sadist, so he chose one well dressed kid that sat almost in the middle of the class and seemed to be well informed.

–         What is your name, dear?

–         Moses.

–         Will you please tell me who broke the Tablets?

Here the kid became anxious, moved uneasily in his placed and quickly said, almost crying:

–         Not me, Sir. I didn’t break any Tablets.

Our inspector was surprised, almost amused by the kid’s ignorance. So he turned to the teacher, protesting:

–         Did you here what he said? He says that he didn’t break the Tablets!

–         Oh Sir!

The teacher was much stressed by this confrontation between the important visitor and the innocent child, but decided to stand by her duty to protect the kid:

–         Sir, I know this child very well, if he says that he didn’t break them, you should trust his word!

Here the inspector couldn’t stand it any more. He broke out of the class and went straight to the Principal’s office. With his breath short he told the respected manager what just happened to him in the class. Of course, he wouldn’t make an issue from a foolish child, but the teacher’s response drove him mad.

The principal wouldn’t let such an issue dim the reputation of his perfect school. He didn’t wait a minute and promised the inspector:

–         Don’t worry. I will call Moses’ father and he will pay all the damages!

* * *

This old joke is dedicated with love to all my teachers and principals, without whom I would never be what I am.

* * *

But who really broke the Tablets?

If we believe the Bible it could have been Moses after all…