I try to listen to the radio when I am working around the house, and I wanted to tell you about my two favorite programs. First of all, up on our mountain, we don't get a lot of stations. There are several in Arabic, and one in Hebrew-- army radio. In the valley, there is more, though it's still pretty slim pickings. It is mostly talk radio, except for a mildly decent music station that is in English and broadcasts from Jordan. When they say things in difficult English, they helpfully translate into Arabic.
That being said, I like the army station. Aside from good news and interesting programming, they have for an hour a few days a week-- Benni Baradio ("Benni on the radio"). He is this very laid back and silly guy. I could go on and on about his interviews with people about their best shower ever and similar subjects (though that one is a particular favorite of his), but my favorite part of every show, is the part he calls "chush hanichush" ("the sense of the guess?" A little help with the translation?). Halfway through the show, he takes a break to sing for the listening audience a part of a song IN HIS HEAD. Literally, he sings it silently in his head. On the radio what you hear is a few moments of silence. Then at the end of the show, people call in to guess what the song was he was singing. The callers usually feel very confident about their guess ("I am sure I have it this time;..." or "This is my first time calling, butI have a really good feeling about it..."). I have never heard anyone win, and I wonder if anyone ever has. Ross the Rational wants to know if he writes it down so he can't cheat, but no one on the show seems wary of that. Yesterday someone called in and made a guess. Benni said that no, sorry, he was wrong. The guy said, "OK, but anyway you sang it really nicely!"
The show right after Benni is a show about Israeli Bureaucracy. People call in with their bureaucratic issue, and they try to solve it right there on the radio. Ross once heard someone who called with a complaint about a rooster that crows in her neighborhood every morning, and they handled it right there on the phone! Yesterday a guy called in who has been trying to get government housing for his family. They didn't solve it, but they did get the right guy on the phone, who clarified that despite the fact that their income puts them well below the poverty line, they are too wealthy, and he clarified how poor they would have to be in order to qualify to be put on the list, for which, if he gets on, there is a NINE YEAR WAIT for housing. Anyway, the idea is brilliant. On the commercial for the show, a guy calls some office and a woman says in a super-friendly voice, "Shalom!" The guy says, "Hi. I've been waiting on the line for an hour..." and she says in the same friendly sing-song, "Only an hour? Please hold." She comes back again with "Shalom!" and he says "the battery on my phone is almost dead" and she replies "Why don't you recharge it and try again tomorrow!" Last time she answers and says, "Shalom!" He says "Maybe now you'll help me?" and she giggles and says "Hitzchakta Oti! (you made me laugh!)" followed by a dial tone.
As long as I am writing, I'll give a quick update:
We just had an AWESOME Shabbat with the Franks!! It felt like we had never been separated! 12 of us in our little apt, and everyone got along great-- like we had never been separated! THere was a lot of sadness when they left, but it was socially rejuvinating.
Now we are back to life. Rivital just had try outs for a play (one her teacher wrote) and Shai has become active in a basketball league, which he loves. The other day Abaye, out of nowhere, said he doesn't want to move to a bigger house (which everyone has been begging for). Instead he wants to expand the one we have, because he loves being so close to his best friends. The point being that he was thinking beyond "when can we move back to Baltimore? (though if you asked him, I'm sure he'd still choose that).
That's the brief version, which will have to do for now.