I’m happy to announce this new and almost fresh website hosting my almost steadily growing collection of almost caricatures. Check it out!
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, will occasionally be forced, in contradiction to both his will and common sense, 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 disadvantage, 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 in fact 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:
- Don’t invite him.
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!
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
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 is, in its body, organs, mind, nature and aspirations, 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 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 to the following classes:
- 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.
- A chicken egg: unfortunately, even this carefully considered definition is not clear enough, and therefore we had to divide it into two sub-classes:
- 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.
- 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 only 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)
I’ve just released an I’ve written, which makes a musical instrument out of your Android phone . It’s called SoundSurf, and it converts your hand-movement – or, in fact, the rotation of the phone – into a sound. If you know the old electric instrument called Theramin, this one’s quite like it.
You can use it to create weird stuff to add to your music. You can also use it to annoy your neighbors.
Get it here. It’s free!
Update: a new guerrilla ad I’ve created for the application, using merely a bit of imagination and some brute force upon my co-workers:
I feel that it is my duty, as a citizen and a person, to report the invasion of the Fnools. They are here. They hide in plain sight. And they have a terrible, horrible weapon.
You can hide, but you can’t run.
How many times have you paid nothing and got something back? Now you’re offered the unique opportunity : pay something and get Nothing back!
I’ve just created a new mobile phone application – which does Nothing whatsoever. I’m selling it on the Android Market for 0.99 US$. Buy it and help prove that Nothing is indeed worth Something!
Find it, in the Market, by searching “Nothing Nir”. And here’s a Link, too!
Update: Ynet, Israel’s biggest news site, dedicated an article to Nothing.
Update: Due to the success of the original, I created Nothing Pro, retailing 9$. It does Nothing much more efficiently.
Update: Nothing serves, somehow, to deliver right-wing propaganda. This rather surprised me!
Update: Lavie Tidhar sums it up quite nicely.
A short stop-motion video I created several months ago caught the attention of the editors of Ms.Use magazine. Now, in a slightly longer version, it serves as a commercial for their new issue. Check it out – and make sure your speakers are on!