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Friday, February 18, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XV)

I've mentioned several times that many people have asked for the same / similar photos, so today's edition is to see what we can do about getting caught up with those.

The first request is for something with funny or confusing packaging. 

There really is no good place to start with this one... there are so many choices!  But looking through our stuff I noticed a likely candidate.  This is a picture of a spray that is used to remove wrinkles. Why, oh why do Israeli's think they don't need to consult people from one of their largest target audiences before randomly assigning a name to a product?  Helloooo, ever hear of a focus group??? 

The name of this product is 'Soupline'.

Yes, as in a combination of two most lasting images of the great depression; Soup kitchens and Bread lines.  I sat for quite some time trying to fathom if there might be some less obvious source for the name, but came up empty.  Anyone care to venture a guess?


One of the more frequent requests was for something that my kids see nearly every day.  I asked them about this, but it seems that kids see everything, but take notice of almost nothing.  So I decided to take a stroll along the route they normally walk to school.  Just outside the front door of the school I noticed a pretty mosaic set into the Jerusalem stone wall.  It is a very nice representation of what appears to be 6 of the 7 'species' attributed to the land of Israel;  Bonus points to anyone who can not only name the 6 pictured, but also tell me which one is missing (unintended trick question):


The Last of these requests (that I'll post today, anyway) was for something typically 'Friday' (some asked for shopping crowds, others for particular Friday preparations for Shabbat... others for street scenes). 

The following is perhaps the single most common sight in Israel on Friday.  Whether one lives in the most religious community or a completely secular enclave, bringing home flowers for Shabbat is a given.  As Shai pointed out last year in his wonderful list of '56 things that make Israel, Israel', “No matter how much of a hipster you are, you still end up at moms for Friday night dinner.”  However, the unspoken part of that truism is 'oy vavoy l'cha' [there's no good translation of this expression, but think; 'G-d help you!'] if you show up without flowers! 

Nearly every big intersection and bus stop has people selling beautiful bouquets of flowers.  It is one of the little Israeli things I will never get tired of seeing:


So, I have a request of my own this beautiful Friday: Go buy some flowers... even if you're not in Israel.  For that matter, go buy some flowers even if you're not Jewish!

Is there a weekend that won't be improved by bringing a little beauty into the house?

Shabbat Shalom!


Posted by David Bogner on February 18, 2005 | Permalink


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"Soupline" comes from the french word "souple", which means flexible, souple, extensible.
Have a nice weekend. Shabat shalom.

Posted by: Jany | Feb 18, 2005 12:05:08 PM

Beautiful, as always.

"Soupline" is certainly baffling, but what about "uncoated chips" in the same picture? Was that intentional? If not, then it's a very funny coincidence. I have no clue what's in that box. Food? (American style chips or British fries?) Electronics? Poker chips? Maybe each person in the soupline gets a handful of uncoated chips just to add some crunch...

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Feb 18, 2005 12:07:09 PM

"Soupline" is French.

"Eurobranding, or other globalization efforts add another dimension to the name game. In Europe, Lever sells fabric softener under various names such as Soupline in France and Cocolino in Italy."

(From an article on the Igor Naming and Branding Agency website.)

Shabbat shalom!

Posted by: Rahel | Feb 18, 2005 1:36:45 PM

Re: the previous comment about Soupline: If you look below "Uncoated Chips" you'll see a purpleish/bluish area that says "antone olor cifier"... and of course, everybody knows that Zahava is a graphic designer...

Still not clear? The "Pantone Color Specifier" is a book of color swatches used by to specify inks for printing presses-- available in many formats, two of the most popular are the "Coated Chips" and Uncoated Chips" (printed on coated [glossy] and uncoated [matte] paper). The advanage of the chips is that you can send a "chip" (a section of the page in a given color) to the printer to say, "I want it to look like this" (as opposed to saying, "pantone 256" and hoping that what he prints is the *exact* color you had in mind).

Re: 6 of the 7 'species': If you look again, the upper right tile has 2-- making it a complete set (I can only assume the person who designed it was looking for symmetry and cheated by putting the 2 "like" species on one tile.

Shabat Shalom,

Posted by: wogo | Feb 18, 2005 1:37:06 PM

P. S.: Wheat.

Posted by: Rahel | Feb 18, 2005 1:37:35 PM

Jany... I love the people who come here, they are such a wonderful source of information! Thanks. Your answer makes perfect sense except for one thing; of all the languages represented in israel's population, the francophones are one of the smaller groups. Odd that the manufacturers would assume people would make the connection you pointed out.

Doctor Bean... The uncoated chips are Zahavas. They are color chips so she can make exact color selections in her design work and give correct instructions to printers for producing the finished end product.

Wogo... You get full credit on the mosaic answer (funny how I wasn't very observant), and my eternal thanks for not making me ask my wife (for the zillionth time) exactly what the chips are for. :-)

Rahel... [looking out window] Nope, I don't think I'm in France. :-)

Posted by: David | Feb 18, 2005 1:42:32 PM

Regarding the Soupline, what I find interesting is that the English name doesn't match the spelling of the Hebrew. The Hebrew should have two Yuds to say "line." Right now, I'd read it as "Sofe-leen" -- some kind of diminutive take on the word "Soft," or, since "sof" means "end," perhaps an indication of how nice the clothes look at the end of the ironing process. So, which came first, the bad Hebrew transliteration or the bad English transliteration?

Regarding the seven species, I too noticed that "chitah" and "si-orah" were on the same tile. So I THOUGHT that the trick question would involve the fact that most people think of "dvash" and "tamar" as being two separate items in the list - Honey and dates. But in fact, it's "dvash tamar" -- date honey.

No time to buy flowers right now, but I had some sent to my good friend who is getting married next week, does that count?

Shabbat shalom,

Posted by: Sarah | Feb 18, 2005 3:20:44 PM

yes, Mr Bogner, Wogo is right, chitah. and also, maybe if you want to count this one, it says tamar instead of devash. yes, i know, devash comes from temarim--at least the devash the Torah talks about does...have a good shabbos!!


Posted by: Tonny | Feb 18, 2005 4:32:24 PM

I agree with Sarah. I looked at this in Hebrew and thought "Sof Line," the end of the wrinkly lines.

Posted by: timna | Feb 18, 2005 5:52:05 PM

I heartily agree on buying flowers. I buy some for my wife most every week - she deserves much more than that for putting up with me(!)

Posted by: Steve Bogner | Feb 18, 2005 6:03:33 PM

I incorporate the seven species into a lot of my papercutting art (link) and here's the definitive list:

Wheat, barley, grapes, olives, palm dates (these are the source of the honey referred to in "land of milk and honey"), figs, and pomegranates. The first two in the list are often represented in very similar graphical ways, and (presumably) have therefore been combined in the mosaic you show.

Posted by: Isaac B2 | Feb 18, 2005 8:55:43 PM

It's funny you should choose "Soupline" for your pic because that is the very product that had ME laughing when I was in Israel. On my last trip I took some pictures while in the grocery store, with my personal favourite being this picture I took in a grocery store in Rehovot. A marketing tactic you would never in a million years see in North America (the land of glitzy packaging and shiny marketing)

Posted by: celestial blue | Feb 18, 2005 9:35:34 PM

Hah those 56 reasons are hilarious. However, the are a lot of missing reasons there.

Posted by: Maria | Feb 18, 2005 11:07:32 PM

what's with encouraging flowers? whose side you on anyway?

Posted by: shmiel | Feb 20, 2005 5:48:03 AM

Sarah... Partial credit for the answer and full points for the flowers. :-)

Tonny... Hey, noce to see you found me here! Oh, I think we can dispense with the 'Mr. Bogner' thing. My kids call their teachers by their first names here!!!

Timna... It would be such an easy thing to involve native speakers of whatever language the Israeli products are targeting... but nooooo.

Steve... Just before I got married a friend once told me, "There is nothing you can do that flowers won't fix". Time and experience have since disproved that theory... but if you substitute 'little velvet boxes' for 'flowers', you end up with a more workable hypothesis. :-)

Isaac B2... How about a link to some of your work? Y'know... a picture... 1000 words...

Celestial Blue... regarding 'packaging and shiny marketing', that only works on people who have short attention spa... hey, is that a butterfly?

Maria... I'm sure Shai would appreciate any additions you'd care to publish on your site... just make sure to link to the original list.

Shmiel... You sure talk a good game for a guy who spends way more time in the kitchen than his wife! Take off the apron before you get all macho on me... it's less distracting. ;-)

Posted by: David | Feb 20, 2005 2:04:31 PM

Native Hebrew speakers can often not really make the distintion between an 'EE' sound (Week) and an 'I' (Wick). That is what causes so many problems for native English speakers and their transliteration attempts. The human brain in most people does not even register the difference for sounds that it was not trained to differentiate between at the time it was learning language. For an English or french speaker thus suplin, souplin and Soupline are three different words altogether while to a native hebrew they sound bafflingly similar as do speaker and spicker and gnat and net.

I knew a non-jewish man called Mr Sachs who changed his name to Sash after he started working for some chassidim on the Hill who kept on calling him Mr Sex.

Posted by: Shaigetz | Feb 21, 2005 1:31:30 PM

Shaigetz... That reminds me of a musician friend with whom I played countless Chassidic weddings. His name is Todd, but for some reason all the Chassidim always called him Ted. He finally gave up and started introducing himself to that crowd as 'Ted'.

Posted by: David | Feb 21, 2005 2:35:48 PM

The "Todd/Ted" incident may be an example of the "shmirat ha-lashon" (guarding one's tongue) prevalent in certain Jewish groups. A rabbi I knew once told a story about the residents of a particular place in Eastern Europe who always called a knife a "nesser" rather than a "messer" (the proper Yiddish word for a knife) because "mes" was how they pronounced the Hebrew word which means "dead person" ("met" in modern Hebrew).

The name Todd sounds a bit like the Yiddish word for death, and religious Yiddish-speakers might feel uncomfortable with it. So for them, consciously or not, Todd becomes Ted.

This is not confined to strictly religious Jews with roots in Eastern Europe. A traditionally Jewish but not terribly observant French-speaker I know has problems with the American name Mort for exactly the same reason I described above.

Posted by: Rahel | Feb 22, 2005 4:11:56 PM

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