« April 2009 | Main | June 2009 »

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mongolian BBQ I could sort of understand, but...

With the exception of people living in caves, most of us have had to deal with SPAM (unsolicited email advertising) landing in our in-boxes at least occasionally.

Thankfully, gmail is pretty good about filtering out the worst of the stuff, so for the most part I rarely have to delete come-ons for pharmaceutical marital aids.  But once in a while something slips through and I find myself wondering who the target audience is for the ad.

Such is the case with an ad I got last week for Mongolian Real Estate.  I kid you not... it was a real estate listing for a couple of properties in Mongolia, complete with brief descriptions of the properties and basic floor plans.

It makes you wonder, are there really people out there who are impulse buyers of third world real estate? 

I mean, ads for Mongolian BBQ I could sort of understand, assuming they were targeted at people who; a) lived within driving distance of the place; and b) didn't keep kosher.  But Mongolian Real Estate?! 

You tell me... who could possibly resist these two properties?

Tsetsegma's Office
1st floor, 110m2, 8$ per m2, Located Next to Mongolian Technical University


Zamba's Office
2nd floor, 320m2, 13$ per m2, Located Next to Grand Khaan Irish Pub


If you find yourself in need of the contact information for either of these places (priced to move!), I'll be happy to send you the link.

Posted by David Bogner on May 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Monday, May 04, 2009

Preferences & Choices

Life is full of choices.  Many choices are less about right and wrong, and more about preferences.  We're invited to make choices dozens of times each day... and even when we aren't asked, we choose anyway.   In fact, it's pretty amazing when you stop to consider how many binary choices we 've already made... without ever having done a conscious and/or systematic analysis.  

In many cases we aren't even choosing among real options... yet we are deeply and personally invested in preferences that exists entirely in the realm of the theoretical. 

Here's a list of such real and theoretical choices... see how many we share (words in boldface indicate my preference):

~ Obviously, some of these are gender specific... to the opposite gender.  So where necessary, assume I'm projecting my preference, not gearing up for a parade down Commercial Street in P-Town (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you!) ~

  1. Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate
  2. Nestle's or Hershey's
  3. Scotch or Bourbon
  4. Road Bike or Mountain Bike
  5. American League or National League
  6. Hitting Pitchers or Designated Hitters
  7. Ketchup or Mustard
  8. Ice Cream or Sorbet
  9. Downhill or X-Country
  10. Mac or Windows
  11. Horns or Synthesizers
  12. White Wine or Red Wine
  13. Aisle or Window
  14. Non-Stop or Stopover
  15. Root Beer Float or Ice Cream Soda
  16. Creamy or Chunky
  17. Smoking or Non-Smoking
  18. Plane or Train
  19. Sailboat or Motorboat
  20. White Gold or Yellow Gold
  21. Rocks or Neat
  22. Dog or Cat
  23. Candybar-style or Flip-phone 
  24. Steam-room or Sauna
  25. Tea or Coffee
  26. Sugar or Splenda
  27. Fiction or Non-Fiction
  28. Burned to a Crisp or Bloody as Hell
  29. Martin & Lewis or Amos & Andy
  30. Flats or Heels
  31. Pants or Skirts
  32. Army or Navy
  33. Dark Meat or White Meat
  34. Sauce or Dry Rub
  35. Automatic or Stick Shift
  36. Bar Soap or Body Wash
  37. Set Menu or À La Carte
  38. Dressed Salad or Dressing On The Side
  39. Cut To The Chase or Shaggy Dog Story
  40. Long Hair or Short Hair
  41. Driver or Passenger
  42. Coder or WYSIWYG
  43. Crossword or Sudoku
  44. Chess or Go
  45. Boxers or Briefs
  46. Now or Later
  47. Indoors or Al Fresco
  48. Coke or Pepsi
  49. Betty or Wilma
  50. Ginger or Maryanne

What's funny is that as subjective as most of these preferences are, many people will try to convince others of the correctness of their choice... arguing only slightly less stridently than they might if theology or politics were involved.

So yes, I'd love to know how you feel about any and all of these choices... but please don't try to sway me.   I've made up my mind.  At least for the moment.   Even about those things the are in open contradiction with others on the list.

Share your thoughts in the comments here... or copy and paste the list to your own blog.  Feel free to add, delete or make substitutions.  As we say here in the Holy Land; 'About taste and smell you can't argue'.

Posted by David Bogner on May 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A funny moment (on an otherwise dismal night]

This past Thursday night Gilad called from his Taekwondo practice (he's a red belt) to tell me he'd hurt his shoulder.  While holding a kick target for one of the other students, he'd gotten an extra strong jolt that knocked his left arm out of the socket where it meets the shoulder.

Apparently this is not a terribly uncommon injury as the instructor had managed to pop the arm/shoulder back into the socket (don't ask... I'm not happy about this either!).  But Gilad was still in a lot of discomfort, so I told him to come home and I'd take him to 'Terem' in Jerusalem to have the shoulder looked at.

For those outside of Israel, 'Terem' is a wonderful mid-ground between doctor's office and emergency room that allows treatment of common injuries/wounds, while keeping all but the most emergent patients out of the hospitals (where it is much more expensive to treat them).  'Terem' centers have most of the necessary diagnostic tools (such as X-rays, monitors, etc.) and are able to deal with broken bones and other 'moderate' injuries and illnesses.

Anyway, it was after 11:00 PM when we finally arrived at Terem and I was pleasantly surprised to find the place almost empty.  I gave the desk clerk Gilad's magnetic health fund card and we were told that somebody would be right with us.

Sure enough, within 30 seconds a pretty young religious woman (identifiable by her long skirt and sleeves) called us in to see the doctor.  The doctor quickly established that the arm was indeed 'in the socket', but he wanted an x-ray to make sure nothing had been damaged in the initial injury (or the subsequent 'reduction' by the coach).  The film was taken quickly, and as expected everything looked fine.  Like me, the doctor was also bothered by the idea of the coach popping things back into place, but conceded that at least he'd apparently done the job correctly.

But to make sure it didn't pop out again, and to give the shoulder a chance to fully recover from the trauma (swelling, etc.), the doc said he wanted to have Gilad wear his arm in a sling for a few days.  He printed out his instructions, handed us the computer disc with the x-rays on it, and told us that if the discomfort continued after a few days, that we should use the referral to an orthopedist he had included in the packet of papers.

Before he said good night and walked off to see his next patient, he instructed the pretty girl who had escorted us in, to put Gilad's arm in a sling.  This is where the funny moment occurred.

I'm sure this attractive young woman has put slings on hundreds of patients of all ages and genders.  So in a very business-like manner, she faced my 13 year old son, put the sling under his arm and began tying it behind his neck.  This deft little maneuver placed her arms around him, and her face perhaps an inch from his.  And for the few moments it took her to secure the knot, Gilad blushed a deep crimson... all the while trying to act nonchalant.

When the sling was in place, and Gilad and I were alone in the elevator going down to the parking lot, I couldn't resist a little dig:

Me:  "She was pretty, huh?"

Gilad: "Huh? Oh, um, I didn't notice.... I mean, yeah, I guess... I mean... oh shut up!"

Totally worth the two hours sleep I lost.

Posted by David Bogner on May 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack