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Friday, February 24, 2006

Photo Friday (Vol. LVII) ['Bit of Ass' edition]

Alright everyone... admit it; Who doesn't like to see a bit of ass at the end of a busy week?  It lifts the spirits... puts a new spring in your step...

What's that?  Oh grow up!  That's not what I was talking about, and you know it!  What, are we in third grade here???  :-)

Along my daily commute I typically see dozens of donkeys.  In fact, they are so ubiquitous that I had almost stopped noticing them altogether. They had simply become part of the scenery.

But then I realized that there are all of you for whom such sights haven't become mundane, so I decided to try to photograph a few for posterity. 

This wasn't as simple as it sounds.

You see, with the exception of the odd kibbutz, donkey's aren't exactly part of the scenery in the Jewish part of Gush Etzion and Har Hevron.  If I was going to photograph any donkeys I meant I would either have to take pictures while driving (something I've done a few times and which didn't give very good results), or each time I spotted a donkey I'd have to decide if there was a safe place to stop that wouldn't put me, or may passengers in any immediate danger.

I went with #2.

Of course, as soon as I'd made the decision to try to photograph some donkeys, they suddenly became quite scarce.  Where once there were dozens around every bend in the road, now there were one here and one there... and usually in unsafe or inconvenient places to stop.

So what you see below is the total result of two days of trying to find suitable subjects.

The funny thing is, I was fairly certain that my passengers would find the whole endeavor crazy... but one of them - a Major on his way to reserve duty - pulled out his brand new camera from his kitbag and started photographing right alongside me!

You need to look closely at this first picture to notice a metal frame sticking out from the sides of the donkey.  These pictures were taken early in the morning.  In the evening such a donkey will be loaded down with produce, firewood, and a wide array of other 'stiff', all supported on this metal frame.  The load can be larger than the donkey sometimes:
Donkeyframes

Next is a fairly typical/traditional image (sorry about the blurry pic).  In addition to being beasts of burden, donkey's are also a common alternative to walking:
Donkeysheik

Another common site is the donkey cart.  These have nice inflated tires and are often loaded with, well you name it and I've probably seen it piled high on one of these carts:
Donkeycart1

And another one:
Donkeycart2

This last image bothered me more than the others.  I've often thought that if one of those theories about reincarnations turned out to have any validity, the last thing I would ever want to come back as is an Arab's donkey.  I've seen these animals being beaten with sticks and tire-irons whipped with chains and ropes... and as in this picture, dragged along by their head rope/chain by a faster-moving vehicle.  As I prepared to take this picture I could actually hear the chain snapping taught each time the donkey's stride didn't exactly match the pedal strokes of the bike rider!   
Donkeybike

Anyway... lots to do today.  Two blogging folk are coming to join us for brunch today: Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) of 'Goblin King' fame... and Cara, of the popular Cara's World

Shabbat Shalom!
219_22_5

Posted by David Bogner on February 24, 2006 | Permalink

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A familiar sight to us also. I've also gotten used to the sound of donkey's braying in the early morning, especially on Shabbat when there are no car noises to muffle them. I find it strangely comforting.

Posted by: westbankmama | Feb 24, 2006 8:23:09 AM

Neat pictures of miserable asses. The donkeys are cool too.

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Feb 24, 2006 9:06:14 AM

Hi Trepp, I commented to you on your post about your 4th grade teacher. But I think I was too late. I wanted you to know what a beautiful post it was.
These pictures are wonderful. I see horses daily ride by my house, but I have to admit, never a donkey!

Posted by: Randi(cruisin-mom) | Feb 24, 2006 9:44:19 AM

Wow, look at the ass on that one, brings out the animal in me. I feel just like Johnny Damon.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 24, 2006 10:16:29 AM

You always manage to find such interesting things to photograph. Thanks for the pictures. Shabbat Shalom! (Enjoy the blogger meet!)

Posted by: Essie | Feb 24, 2006 1:23:02 PM

(i'm on a friend's computer so it's harder to get the s-haczek up there)

Thanks so much for the great brunch and tour of The Gush! I was actually thinking about taking a picture of one of the donkeys we passed on the way but wanted to conserve film at the end of the roll.

It was really great meeting you, Zehava, your kids and dog, along with Cara today. Hopefully seeya during the summer (and in the blogosphere, of course)!

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der shteg) | Feb 24, 2006 2:34:19 PM

All we see here in FL are goony birds (we like to call them), chameleons, and large, eat-you-in-one-gulp toads... I much prefer your donkeys!

Posted by: Regina Clare Jane | Feb 24, 2006 3:39:15 PM

I've often thought that if one of those theories about reincarnations turned out to have any validity, the last thing I would ever want to come back as is an Arab's donkey.

Mark Twain made basically the same point about Arab horses in The Innocents Abroad.

Posted by: JSinger | Feb 24, 2006 5:53:04 PM

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: Val | Feb 24, 2006 8:17:33 PM

Poor donkeys!

Seems like there're no animal rights activists when it comes to dealing with some people. *Sigh*.

Posted by: Irina | Feb 24, 2006 11:08:05 PM

Nice ass!


[sorry, how could something so wrong be so right?]

Posted by: christopher | Feb 25, 2006 9:34:09 AM

Westbankmama... comforting? I've heard that sound described many ways by my neighbors, but never as comforting. :-)

Doctor Bean... I'm sure they'd say the same about you.

Randi... Never too late to comment... I just fell behind with responding. Thanks.

Jack... more like it brings out the ass in you. :-)

Essie... Thanks, it was fun. We even scored a shabbat guest for next week.

Steg... Nice meeting you as well. See you this summer.

Regina Clare Jane... Gooney Birds? I thought Florida was famous for the 'Early Bird' special. :-)

Jsinger... See, great minds think alike.

Val... Thanks, you too.

Irina... Oh sure there are. Don't you remember when the Palestinians loaded a donkey up with explosives and used it as a walking bomb. PETA sent a letter of protest to Arafat about the cruelty to the donkey but failed to mention anything about the intended Jewish targets.

Christopher... No need to apologize. I put it out there assuming someone would bite. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 25, 2006 11:07:23 PM

I would assume so, but as you know the problem with an assumption is that it makes an ass of you and me. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Feb 26, 2006 7:55:43 AM

Ugh, I can't stand PETA. But that's a cute bunch of asses! : )

Posted by: Irina | Feb 26, 2006 9:20:52 PM

Jack... Well, one of us anyway. :-)

Irina... The annual 'eat an animal' day is coming up soon. I may actually have a friend who is a shohet (slaughterer) kill a couple of partridges for me to celebrate the occasion. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 26, 2006 10:15:09 PM

Redstu yidishe???!!!
Sababa!

Posted by: erica | Feb 27, 2006 4:16:58 PM

Erica... I'll take that to mean you enjoyed the pictures. :-) By the way, I was touched by your birthday post. Most people forgot.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 27, 2006 9:35:48 PM

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