Saturday, June 30, 2007


DHL came 2 days ago to pick up the manuscript of my book Theory 4 Classics and whisk it off to Routledge in Oxford. This is in addition to the 36 page article I've written on how architectural influences travel. I've done a little celebrating the past couple days, but I've also finished my final report for the Albright and the University. Tomorrow, I get back to the Philistines and my friend Celia, who I usually room with at ASOR is spending 3 days with me.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Scariest Middle East Experience...

I attended the gay pride parade today in Jerusalem. Some people here wondered why I bothered. I went out of respect for many friends and also to show my support for tolerance and universal human rights. I was also curious to see how it would play out. It was a very moving experience - all the more so because I felt like I was risking my life going there. It was definitely the scariest experience I've had in 20 years of working in the the middle east. All was well however, thanks to the 9000 cops there were for the 5000 marchers. It was interesting. Whereas gay parades in big US cities and in Australia are more like celebrations - there was some of that - but there was also the atmosphere of campagning for human rights with people carrying pictures of Gandhi, King, and Mandela. Amnesty International and the Communist Party also got in on the action. It made me think of what the 1960's must have been all about. The police sealed off a very large perimeter, using buses to block the streets. The marchers were surrounded by police in riot gear. There were also plainclothesmen and police all in black on motorcycles. The march passed the historic King David Hotel where Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice have stayed. My biggest fear was that someone planted a bomb somewhere, but it was fine. I recovered with a trip to the American Colony for drinks :-).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Trude Dothan, Asthma & Revising Syllabi

Last night I went to Trude's house for shabbat dinner. Trude is Trude Dothan, the Grande Dame of Philistine archaeology. I've been a semi-regular guest there throughout the past year. Trude is always up for enjoying an ouzo or an arak and tells great stories about her long career in archaeology and her many excavations. The photo shows Trude holding court in the Albright garden earlier in the year. Afterward I met up with some friends in the garden bar of the at the American Colony Hotel, but by that time, I switched to Perrier. One of the friends, Beatrice, I met some 14 years ago while still a student when I helped lead a group from the Albright around Crete. The garden bar is lovely and feels more like Hawaii than east Jerusalem. It's been very windy the last few days and it was cold enough that we enjoyed our drinks wrapped in blankets. The wind has also created a lot of dust and pollen, which has been irritating my asthma, so I'm using my inhaler a lot. Problems in the Gaza strip resulted in a number of road blocks and check points yesterday, the day of Friday prayers, but things stayed quiet. I was indoors working all day, but heard about this from others. Today I lost 3 hours to re-arranging the lecture schedule on the syllabus of one of my classes. The syllabus for my seminar is already online.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

i-Chat, Do you?

I just found out my best friend, Bob Anderson, has a new mac book and just signed up for i-chat. I have i-chat too, but no one to chat with until now. Bob was online tonight at the same time as me and we were able to have some face time. It's the first time I've actually seen him since November. Bob was the man of honor at my wedding. It was great being able to have a face to face conversation with him and very easy. If any of you other friends have it, let me know your i-chat e-mail and we can talk. Even though the photo I took on the computer screen looks a bit blurred, it was actually quite clear.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Winding Down

My time here is starting to wind down. I finally finished my book manuscript for Routledge. It was a long haul. I still have to type up the bibliography, write an introduction, and make corrections, but I'm still planning to send it off by the end of the month.
It's hard to believe that I'll be home soon, especially since I have a lot of things I still want to do before I leave.
Last week I gave a lecture at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv. You can read about it on Aren Maeir's blog.