Thursday, December 02, 2021

Book Depository's international free shipping is a lie

Ads from Book Depository claim "FREE DELIVERY" on all books mailed internationally--but it's not really free. 

Here's one example: Amazon says the retail cost of this book is $14.95, and the Amazon price is $13.46. If you spend $49 worth on qualifying products (including this and most other new books) at Amazon, shipping to Israel is FREE.

Meanwhile, Book Depository offers "FREE" shipping on the same book but sells it for 95 shekels, which is about $30. That's about $16.50 you pay for "FREE" shipping, or $15 above even the retail price. 

How is this sort of false advertising even legal?

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Have a problem? Here's the best way to find a solution

No matter the problem, the answer can be found by asking questions. 

When I run into a problem, I ask myself several questions that almost always help me find a solution. 

1) Why did I start this thing?
2) What did I expect to get out of this thing?
3) Am I getting that with this thing? If not, am I getting something else out of this thing?
4) What is this thing costing me (time, emotionally, etc)? Is the reward for this thing (see 3) worth the cost?
5) What are alternative ways to get what I wanted to get out of this thing and what are their costs? Out of the alternatives, which one offers the greatest reward for the lowest cost?
6) When weighing the rewards and costs of what I'm currently doing versus the rewards and costs of the best alternative, which one offers the greatest reward for the lowest cost?

I've done this analysis with classes, jobs, and all kinds of big life decisions, and it's never steered me wrong.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

All the helpful information about Covid in Israel: lockdowns, coronavirus case tracker, regulations, vaccine distribution, and more

I tried to post a shorter version of this post in the Secret Jerusalem group on Facebook. It was deleted supposedly because it didn't mention Jerusalem. So I posted the post below mentioning Jerusalem, and the post was locked because it supposedly went against the rules mentioned in a non-existent pinned post. Gaslighting. Here I was trying to help people find the most useful information - information with the potential to literally save lives, and they hit me with lies and gaslighting. 

So here's the post for anyone looking for answers to questions about Israel's lockdown, vaccination rates, and anything else involving coronavirus in Israel. Better here where anyone who wants can have access to this information rather than a closed Facebook group.


I'm mentioning Jerusalem now and adding a Jerusalem specific graphic to this post to appease the admin who removed this post from the Secret Jerusalem Facebook page on the grounds that it didn't mention Jerusalem. (Even though that rule apparently doesn't apply to questions about when will Ben Gurion open, when Ben Gurion isn't in Jerusalem.) 

Unfortunately, there's no Jerusalem specific graph showing new cases and deaths, just for Israel in general, but I've added the map of coronavirus cases in Jerusalem. 

As you can see, it's all red except for Ramat Rachel. Red means the rate of transmission of the virus is over 7.5%. (Jerusalem is currently at 8% on January 31, 2021.) You can find the updated version of this map on the Jerusalem municipal website here:

People keep asking when the lockdown will be lifted, so I hope the following answers the question once and for all:

Below is the current graph of daily deaths in Israel since the start of the pandemic. You can find it by Googling "Israel coronavirus statistics deaths." It's updated daily. (As I said, there is no Jerusalem specific graph, however, Jerusalem has had the highest number of deaths in Israel in recent weeks.)

People are dying because there are too many severely ill patients to take care of them all. Hundreds are currently intubated, and thousands of medical personnel are currently in quarantine because they have been exposed to Covid. The graphic below shows that, as I write this, Shaarai Tzedek in Jerusalem is 96.93% full and has 105 members of staff who are in quarantine. 

This information and lots more can be found here:

The lockdown won't end until the hospitals can handle not only the patients they have now but also the patients they're likely to get if the lockdown is lifted.

We can all help lift the lockdown by following the guidelines of the health ministry and staying home as much as possible. If we don't, the alternative would mean death to hundreds, possibly thousands more.

I'm following the guidelines, because I know my kids need me alive, and I love them. If you knew now that one of the people likely to die is you or someone you love, wouldn't you follow the guidelines for them? Wouldn't you want others to do it too?

ADDED after the moderator said that if he allowed the post above he would have to allow multiple similar posts a day:

Then pin a single post with all the relevant links to the top of the page and write in the pinned post that it's where all the info can be found so there's no reason to post it again or to ask questions that are already answered by the links in that pinned post.

Otherwise, it looks like you're deliberately hiding helpful information that would allow members of the group to find answers to questions they keep asking over and over so they can make informed decisions.

"When will the lockdown be over?" (Already asked again today.) Check out the ministry of health here:

"Why is Jerusalem under lockdown?" Find Jerusalem on this Covid tracker here:

"Is my neighborhood safe?" See where the red zones are here:

"What is the traffic light plan?" "When will Ben Gurion be open for passengers?" (Already asked again today.) "Where can I find information on contact tracing?" "Who's in quarantine, where, and what are the rules for that?"
The answers for all of that can be found here:

 And finally information in English can be found here:

You could make it easy for people to answer their own questions once and for all with one pinned post at the top of the page, but what would I know? I'm only a former consumer columnist from the Jerusalem Post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Looking for photo references, and then I remembered I had this...

Sorry for the rambling. I'm considering making a graphic novel with stories from my mom's, my grandmother's, and my great-grandmother's lives, and I realized I had a very special resource for photo references. This is a volume from 1947-1948 of the newspaper my grandfather published in Jerusalem. The modern State of Israel was born in 1948, when my mother was 12 years old.

I get nervous in front of the camera, hence the rambling.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Disney Pixar's Soul: a review

Saw Soul, and while I like all Pixar movies, this one is at the bottom three of the list for me. 

Pluses: it's so beautiful, especially in 3D, and Tina Fey is hilarious. I liked Moonwind and the Jerrys, too, and their interactions with Terry were fun. I also really liked 22 and could understand what she was going through. Heck, I'm at a loss as to why she wasn't the main character. I would have loved to see her story from the start.

Negatives: I couldn't relate to Joe or his selfish quest, which I'm just now realizing is an issue I have with the main character of another Pixar movie, Cars. In addition, for a movie centered around music, it's weird that I can't remember a single piece of music from it. I recognize the music from Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Cars, and Brave, so I know Pixar can do better in this regard. 

Don't get my wrong, it's still a good movie. It's just not as good as it could have been.