Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday's Roundup; WarDrums, VideoGames @ Chopsies Pizza, Spooky Pictures...the usual weirdness

Yes, there are war drums beating at Israel's northern border. Before we discuss that, some acutely vivid memories popped into my head on my way to work.

While PsychoToddler is a known video game addict, I also used to waste my share of quarters on video games when I was a teenager.

Places that come to mind with those machines are the "Greasy Spoon" type places (who knows what it's really called) across the street from YU's Beit Midrash in Manhattan, which is next to Shaller's book store (if that still exists).

I don't know why I got to thinking about Washington Heights this morning, but the Greasy Spoon definitely occupied my thoughts. The good news for PT is that newly released research proves that Video Games are good for your eyesight (besides improving eye-hand coordination). When a terrorist shot up the Greasy Spoon on Amsterdam Avenue in the 1980s, one high schooler even was saved by ducking into the video game.

Though not many of the readers here know this, there used to even be a "game room" in the basement of YU's Furst Hall, with dozens of pinball machines and video games.

At some point in time, they migrated to the Morg dorm's basement.

But when I was younger and had no access to these locations, I would play at the "Chopsies" Pizza store, where "Pepe" the counter guy was a known icon. I must have burned dollars and dollars playing "The Wizards of Wor", PacMan, Ms. Pacman, Frogger, and Space Invaders. My hard earned babysitting money of $1.25/hour would disappear into the machines, as I fed my electronic addiction, hoping for a high.

Next door to "Chopsies" was "McDovids" of the first Kosher fast food places in NYC, along with Kosher King (in Brooklyn)...which was sued by Burger King has had to change it's name to Kosher Country.

Who would have thought back then that I would have access to all those games of yore on my laptop in 2007, and can play them to my heart's content without feeding in a single quarter.


Space Invaders


Wizards of Wor

Ms PacMan

OK, enough about video games and back to reality.

Last night, Israel's border (surprisingly...not) started to heat up with an exchange of gunfire and tankfire between the IDF and Lebanon's army.
The IDF and Lebanese forces exchanged fire on Israel's northern border near Avivim late Wednesday night. Israeli troops have been operating in the area between the Israeli fence and the Lebanese border for several hours, combing for additional Hizbullah explosive devices similar to the ones found earlier this week in the area. (YNETnews)
Arabs have decided that while they can defile the Temple Mount by destroying all the evidence they could find of the Beit HaMikdash underneath the "Solomon's Stables", yet when Israel tries to excavate near the Mugrabi Gate (so they can build a new bridge to the entrance of the Temple Mount), the Arabs (in typical fashion) lie to the world and threaten terrorist attacks on Synagogues.

Their claims include:

1. Israel is trying to build the Third Temple.
2. Israel is trying to damage mosques on the Temple Mount

Quality quote from Arab protester:

"We oppose the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque," one protester told Ynet. "It hurts Muslim pride, the world, and Israel." (same YNET article as above)

Oooooh - Muslim pride.

Go back to the rock you crawled out from, JERK.

(Put the rock down and don't throw it, either)

The last time I saw Moshe Saperstein was in August, 2005. I was driving into the slated-for-destruction community of Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif. The IDF had already cleared out all pockets of "resistance", had broken the spirit of the residents, and all that was left was for the lucky few who could get back to their homes, was to hastily pack up their possessions in a few hours before the bulldozers started their work.

One family from Ganei Tal was detained at the checkpoint, and was refused entry to the Gaza Strip because of the polite nature of the Israeli police. After hours of haggling, and they were finally allowed entry; they rushed to their home only to see it bulldozed to the ground in front of their eyes, with all their possessions in it.

Back to August 2005; I was driving into Neve Dekalim, showing my special Defense Ministry permit that allowed me entrance to Gush Katif, and my passenger asked me to stop. She lowered the window to say hi to Moshe. With tears in their eyes, they could not believe that the Disengagement was actually taking place. I said hi to Moshe, and "chazak v'ematz" not knowing what else to say... Moshe is missing part of his hand and fingers because of a terror attack from a few years earlier, and he and his wife wrote a book which we used to keep next to our front door, "What to do in case of a terror attack." The book was for people to know AFTER a terror attack, what to of the most important tips was to bring spare change and a cellphone charger to the hospital.

The reason I mention all this is because Moshe Saperstein just won a US Federal court case against the Palestinian Authority and PLO for their role in a terror attack against him. Now he is trying to collect (or freeze the assets) that they own him -- $16 million dollars.

It's unfortunate that the US State Department doesn't cooperate on issues like this, and will bypass the United States legal system to funnel money to the PA at all costs...even at the expense of dual American-Israeli citizen victims of Palestinian terror, backed by the Palestinian Authority. Maybe you should ask your congressmen about that one.

Ending off this post on a slightly more cheerful note, or perhaps, just a slightly more bizarre one; The Israeli city of Rechovot has entire neighborhood.

Apparently, someone found this 55 year old picture (shown below), which heralds the opening of a new neighborhood in Rechovot, "The Cuba Neighborhood."

The problem one has any idea where the neighborhood is. It's as if aliens abducted the entire neighborhood, since it doesn't exist on any map.

The Rechovot municipality is still trying to locate it. (Story in Hebrew on NRG, here)

That's it. No more today...join us next week where we follow up with some of the comments left over the past few days about Israel and aliya.

PS: As a Public Service Announcement, WestBankMama has moved blogs from WestBankBlog to WestBankMama. Update your links.

NB: I saw this weird story the other day with the following picture.
Not every door that closes opens a new one, the fear you experience in a dark alley is not always a byproduct of an over-active imagination, a light at the end of a tunnel does not necessarily mean you're saved, if you smell incense it does not mean you're in a spa: Welcome to the "Nightmare".

Nightmare, Eilat's horror labyrinth, is one of world's most terrifying tourist attractions (yes, scarier than a roller coaster ride), and we have been around. We can not elaborate on the route starting at the dark, incense-saturated room and the horror-film sound track till the moment you'll scream in fear. What we can say is that the experience includes walking in total darkness, voices and sounds you'll hear, and the feeling that Freddy Kruger awaits around the next corner.

The only chance to get out of the maze is to follow the faint red lights, never stop, not look back. Alternately you could yell "nightmare" and one of the maze operators will come to take you to safety. Don't assume that does not happen – over 5,000 people have chosen that option so far.

Apparently, Israelis like being scared (which is obvious by the way they drive).

When I came back from shopping the other night, and I opened the door to my house, I kept seeing the above "image" sitting in our lay-z-boy chair in our living room. (Thats what happens when I stay up too late watching episodes of "24")

The power of suggestion.

Shabbat Shalom!

Jameel & Co.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


PsychoToddler said...

Thanks for dredging up old memories of Chopsies. I was at MTA from 80-83, and YU from 83-87. I remember distinctly that 2 slices and a coke could be had for less than $2 in those days.

While my interest in computer and video games is Gadol, my interest in the coin op pacman's and the like was very katan in those days. They just seemed stupid to me.

I didn't get interested in computer games until the 90's when I bought a copy of Wing Commander for my 386. That was the first time I played a game where if a ship went off the left side of the screen, it didn't vanish from the computer. The computer was still keeping track of all the battles in a virtual 3d world. That's what interested me. The chance to immerse myself in a consistent virtual world. To play fighter pilot, or space marine, or to explore an ancient dungeon and fight monsters.

Not stupid twitch games.

Cosmic X said...

"The last time I saw Moshe Saperstein was in August, 2006. I was driving into the slated-for-destruction community of Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif."

You meant 2005.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Cosmic: Of course. Fixed. Thanks.

PT: Stupid twitch games? Not Pacman! :-)

PsychoToddler said...

Oh, and I do remember the "game room." It was like some forbidden palace. You had to know someone very high up to gain entrance to that little slice of Nirvana...

I always felt like one of the lost boys when I got in there. Like I might grow donkey ears.

Shifra said...

I played Frogger at that very Chopsie's as a teenager.
I'm a bit younger than you but even when I was at Stern Pepe was still around telling everyone "Shalom" and "Lehitraot"(when the place wasn't being shut down by the board of health.)

MUST Gum Addict said...

Oh my -- I remember Kosher King and Kosher Country quite well. As for video games, I got my hands on an emulator that runs on my Mac -- it has just about every video game -- all original code and so it runs exactly as it did on the console. Still fun to play...

Of course, I spent my summers playing video games at the Lucky Dip and at the Homowack.

Jack's Shack said...

I loved Wizard of Wor.

the only way i know said...

nice memories, Jameel.
by the way, we visited Niagra Falls last year and passed the haunted house attraction there. It is suppose to be one of the scariest on earth.. I actually saw someone come out that had peed in his pants! lol
I think it also has an 'escape' route.. but not sure...
Either way.. these things ain't for me at all...

RaggedyMom said...

Wasn't there that airplanes shooting at aliens game - Galaga? My brothers were very into that one. And of course, they never let me have a turn on Pole Position.

Anonymous said...

Jameel, as one of those from MTA in the early 80's (by the way the shootings in YU were in 83 and 84 not 90's), you have given alot of info in trying to unearth your secret identity. I actually remember Chopise Landsberg obm himself, as well as Mom's Cookie Jar, and the other Amsterdam Avenue hangouts, prior to the pedestrian mall.

kishnevi said...

I learned today that one of the three men killed in the Eilat bombing was born in Peru, lived for part of his childhood in Israel, then moved with his family to Florida, and ultimately moved back to Israel. His parents still live in the US (don't know if they are now US citizens or simply legal resident aliens), while aunts and cousins live in Israel. But he is now the second member of the South Florida Jewish community murdered by the Palestinians in the last year. But does the USG give a peep about that?

westbankmama said...

Thank you very much for the public service announcement!

Anniegetyour said...

I am awesome at Duck Hunter. Awesome.

Michael said...

Those are some seriously old-school video games. Wow, brings back some memories...

Western Mich Univ, in Kalazoo, had a bowling alley and an arcade in the student center... I remember going through an entire roll of quarters just to finish the "Rampage" game. (Great game; you get to be Godzilla.)

You said, regarding the Temple Mount riots:
Their claims include:

1. Israel is trying to build the Third Temple.
2. Israel is trying to damage mosques on the Temple Mount.

Number one only applies, of course, when they admit that the Temple was ever there in the first place. Great students of history, these Arab/muslims...

PsychoToddler said...

Anonymous: I wonder, were you in my class? I remember the day the Cookie place opened. What an amazing smell!

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