Way Out

New York in June

“I like New York in June, how about you? I like a Gershwin tune, how about you?”
I love that song, but let me tell you, I’ve been to New York last June, and it was hot and humid and rainy and generally a mess, and therefore I hereby vote to change it to “I like New York in April”, but this kills the meter, so let’s compromise for, say, May, which leaves us with merely an awful rhyming problem, which can be easily yet dreadfully solved thus:
I like New York in May, how about ye?
I like a Gershwin Play, how about ye?
Thank you, you’ve been a wonderful audience, please don’t lynch me.

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Fnools at Large

It’s about time I told someone about that fictional magazine dedicated to fictional science fiction stories written by fictional creatures, or maybe the stories are actually the creatures, or maybe there’s just one creature who’s been writing this for some years now, and he, too, is sort of fictional.
Let us see, then, what that magazine has to say for, or maybe about, itself:
This online magazine is dedicated to Fnools, which are the speculative fiction stories of the Fnools. While it is quite known that we are still at war with the Fnools, that state of affairs should be no reason for us to disregard their rich culture, their fine arts and their exceptional Fnools. It is therefore our task to bring to our readers fresh Fnools every Fnool-week, along with commentary by, whenever possible, humans.

Fnools at Large

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The Fish Who Pushed

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Close Encounters of the Third Rewind

Today I found out that my new synthesizer is somehow related to aliens. It goes like this:
The new synth is a reconstruction of an old machine named Odyssey, by a company called Arp. That company is long gone, but back in the seventies it was one of the biggest, most famous synth manufacturers. So big that an anonymous film director, let’s call him Spielberg, chose its big synthesizer as the music instrument to play the alien tune in that low budget film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Since the synth was a big machine, Arp sent to the movie set, along it, a technician to take care of its installation. That technician, one Philip Dodds, got immediately cast as the synth player in the movie, and can be seen in the alien spaceship communication scene, which is one of my all time favourites.
I found all this in Wikipedia. And here’s the scene:

Having learned this, I couldn’t stop myself from Sweding (see “Be Kind, Rewind”) the scene, using my new, reconstructed synth. So there:

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It’s Raining Cows

I’m happy to announce this new and almost fresh website hosting my almost steadily growing collection of almost caricatures. Check it out!

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The Misanthrope at the Family Dinner

Contrary to common belief – especially the belief of all his acquaintances – the common misanthrope does not hate his family members. Sometimes he even likes the old bastards. He just prefers doing it by remote. If he has the means, he will probably move to another country, thus saving himself much unnecessary headache. The average misanthrope, however, in contradiction to both his will and common sense, will occasionally be forced to participate in a family gathering.

Thus comes the big clash between the family’s unexplained desire to meet the prodigal son as much as possible and the prodigal son’s desire to meet the family, and, come to think of it, anyone else, as little as possible, preferably not at all. The family has an unfair advantage here, it being the multitude of events that require a gathering: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, circumcision ceremonies, Friday night. The misanthrope, however, also has an unfair advantage, it being the fact that he doesn’t give a damn. He will gladly explain that holidays are anachronistic and barbaric manifestations of ancient and idiotic customs, birthdays are a sham, Bar Mitzvah and circumcision he’s already had once, which was more than enough, and on Friday night he’s busy – he’s reading a book. The family, of course, will refuse to accept any of this, but to no avail, since the misanthrope will simply fail to arrive, and when asked or yelled about it later will merely say, “that’s the way it is, get used to it.”

This mode of behavior can work splendidly for many months, sometimes even years, until disaster strikes: a really-big-event-which-cannot-be-missed. Say, a parent celebrating half a century of life, most of which dedicated to nudging. This will cause the whole family to unite in dragging the poor misanthrope, the cute and gifted wandering lamb (says mother), that idiot (says father), to the family gathering. And thus, forced by the unfair laws of physics manifested in the fact that three uncles and one father have a combined mass of about twelve times his own, he will find himself bound to a long dinner table in front of many relatives that he has not met for years and never grieved their absence.

If you’ve had the misfortune of stumbling into a family dinner, you may identify the misanthrope quite easily by the following signs:

  • He’ll be late. He’ll arrive at the latest possible time, hoping in vain to reduce the amount of suffering he’ll need to endure.
  • He’ll take a sit as far as possible from the most talkative, jolly or drunk relative. If there are babies anywhere, he’ll treat them in the same friendly and easygoing way in which Europe accepted the black plague.
  • He will not show any affection towards his parents and siblings. In fact, the way he’ll stare at them would convince anyone of lesser knowledge than yourselves that he hates them more than anything in this world. In fact, the people of lesser knowledge would be right in this case: at the moment there’s nothing in this world which the misanthrope hates more than the people who made him come here. This felling will pass. Eventually. Maybe.
  • When some fool will try to start a conversation with him, the misanthrope’s reply will seem to be an outright insolence (if you’re the grandmother), a sheer vulgarity (if you’re one of the uncles) or a bit of really funny and witty humor (if you’re a child under 7). With a bit of luck, it will offend the silly do-gooder enough to silence him for the rest of the event.
  • If sentimental speeches are involved, take a good look at the misanthrope – it is very rare to see that extreme amount of hatred emitting from a single person.
  • Same as above – if one of the babies starts crying.
  • Finally the misanthrope will find a way, a reason or an excuse to go away, and the world will look brighter. Especially to him.

In summary, if you are the proud parents, siblings, uncles, aunts or other relatives of a misanthrope, here are a couple of tips which will help you survive a family dinner in his company:

  1. Don’t invite him.

Thank you.


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Super-Smashing Soviet Cars!

I love cold-war espionage novels. I love the descriptions of life behind the Iron Curtain. And I definitely love the cars – the protagonist would always drive an old and cranky Lada, and the evil KGB (or better – NKVD) officer would drive a Volga.

But only now, visiting Ukraine, I got to see these cars for real. And I love the way they look!

So there:


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My Real Life

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Just Another Day at the Office

Here’s the new short video I’ve created for the company I work for. Or is that the company which works for me? Anyway:

Script: Nir Yaniv, Roni Ben Aharon, Shai Kfir, Tomer Lichtash
Camera: Roni Ben Aharon
Music: Barak Igal
Visual FX: Nadav Tal
Auxiliary Team: David Broder, Tali Ben Haim
Produced, Directed and Edited by Nir Yaniv


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A Final Report of the Expert Committee on the Subject of Chickens and Eggs

Dear sirs and madams,

We are delighted and honored to present to you the final resolution of more than a decade of extensive research conducted by our committee. The question we were tasked with the pleasant duty of answering – which came first, the chicken or the egg? – was authorized by the senior political echelons of the Party, approved by the Expert Subcommittee on Questions and Birds, and even received modest funding from the State, or rather from the pockets of those citizens who were greatly honored by having to take part in our activities. The conclusions of our study, which involved considerable effort and sometimes even noble self-sacrifice (see Appendix C – Night of the Living Chickens), are presented here to the general public for the first time. A more detailed version was submitted to the National Archive, and is currently being reviewed sympathetically – we hope – by the Department of Internal Security and General Prosperity.

When discussing our subject matter, we first have to clarify the exact nature of both chickens and eggs. It took us a relatively short time to form a strong opinion of the former, but the latter presented us with unexpected difficulties. Fortunately, these very same obstacles proved vital to the solution of our problem, and therefore we shall soon elaborate on the matter.

The Committee’s conclusion in regard to chickens confirms the results of previous research, determining and proving beyond any doubt that a chicken is, and is only, a being which, in body, organs, mind, nature and aspirations, is a chicken. This allows us to distinguish between real chickens and other animals which may pretend to be chickens, such as turkeys, pigeons, ostriches, peacocks and our honorable committee member, comrade N., who, in the seventh year of the research, proclaimed that he was capable of laying eggs(1), and was promptly sent to rest in the relaxation and excruciating labor farm in the north.

The exact definition of an egg, as noted, presents a more complex challenge to researchers, and therefore constituted a major part of our efforts. After much discussion, deliberation and consideration, sometimes involving noticeable personal risk, it became clear that a single definition for the concept of “egg” is a mathematical impossibility. Therefore, we have had to divide it into the following classes:

  1. A non-chicken egg: in this class, the easiest to define, we can include such items as quail eggs, Tyrannosaurus Rex eggs, caviar, and some of the eggs brought to us by the honorable comrade N., before he was taken from us by the Security Service.
  2. A chicken egg: unfortunately, even this carefully considered definition is not clear enough, and therefore we had to divide it into two sub-classes:
    1. An egg from which hatches a chicken: it must be emphasized that the animal which laid this egg does not have, even when applying the most rigid logical perspective, to be a chicken. While it’s possible and even reasonable to assume that the laying animal is mostly a chicken, even to the point of being an almost-chicken, it definitely does not meet the abovementioned requirement of being a one hundred percent chicken, and thus shall be named a proto-chicken.
    2. An egg laid by a chicken: this egg, according to the logic specified above, will result in a chicken(2).

Having arrived at these definitions in the most quick and cost-effective manner possible (during our deliberations, the head of the committee was replaced merely twice), we were able to organize and combine them into a neat logical inference and thus arrive at a conclusion. Both are brought here in their most basic version, as publishing the whole thirty-eight volumes of mathematical formulae is currently impractical.

In order to simplify matters, and considering the original chicken assumption, i.e. accepting as a chicken only a being that is one hundred percent chicken, we shall divide the population of eggs according to the three abovementioned options, in equal parts: 33.33% non-chicken egg, 33.33% egg from which hatches a chicken, 33.33% egg laid by a chicken. These numbers are not wholly accurate, and there is a serious claim made by Doctor N., member of the Zoo-Political Institute, that the number of non-chicken eggs is considerably larger than that of those which are related to chickens (see his important research, “Hen vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex throughout History, volume III – The Early Years”). However, we were blessed with the guidance of the first political advisor of our committee, who generously convinced us to round the numbers, thus arriving at those which were just presented here.

Let us consider, then, the information we have gathered so far, using the latest scientific knowledge in the innovative field of government statistics:
Of the total amount of eggs in the world, ⅓ are not chicken-related, ⅓ were laid by proto-chickens and ⅓ were laid by chickens. Thus we can immediately reach this committee’s final conclusion. The answer to the question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is: two-thirds of an egg.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Sub-Secretary N. (Committee Secretary)

Representing: Comrade General N. (Committee President), Comrade Herr Professor N. (Committee Member), Comrade Commissar N. (Political Advisor for the Committee)


(1) What’s more, he claimed that those were free-range eggs.

(2) Or a fried egg (see The 35th of May, by Erich Kästner)

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