Perhaps, these days present an opportune moment to reflect on Ogden Nash’s epic poem from his 1931 collection Hard Lines:
REFLECTIONS OF A WICKED WORLD
After my last post, one of my readers objected in fairly strong terms —”Focus your good eye on grasping what’s interesting on the street and leave politics to the newspapers”. In theory, of course, he’s quite correct and the title of this blog is so that I can do just that. But sometimes, what happens around me riles me so much that I have to break out and say what’s on my mind. I always hope that it doesn’t happen too frequently but sometimes for a few minutes, the camera and what it sees have to take second place
In this context—and in these two paragraphs I will end it—there has finally been movement on the corruption cases involving the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu (a.k.a. Bibi). Having decided 9 months to indict him on three cases of bribery, fraud and breach of trust—subject to hearings, which took place several weeks ago— the Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit, a Bibi appointee and a person who had served under him as Cabinet Secretary for three years prior to his being appointed Attorney-General, decided “with heavy heart but wholeheartedly” to go ahead and press the charges.
Bibi’s reaction to the A-G’s decision was to call “for the investigators to be investigated” by means of an “independent commission”, claiming that the police and prosecution service were attempting nothing less than to bring about a coup, a claim endorsed by the transitional Minister-troll of Justice, and this in a democracy—but shades of Trump, no less! The greatest insult to people’s intelligence and feelings (at least mine) was provided by a senior coalition partner, Aryeh Deri, head of the Ultra-Orthodox Shas party who openly called for full support for the Prime Minister in this, his hour of travail. Twenty years ago, Deri had his supporters out on the streets singing “He is innocent” following his indictment for taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as Interior Minister (a position he now holds again). In the event, he was given a three-year jail sentence of which he served 22 months following “good behaviour” while imprisoned, presumably because he didn’t make any attempt to bribe the jailers. Coming from a convicted criminal, this was some support; crook supports suspected crook, well, what else?
And there you are, Micha. I won’t bother you any more this week!
I start this post on a Tuesday (I think). However, I know that tomorrow morning at some ungodly hour (actually 06.20 — so it could have been worse), a taxi is coming and with a bit of luck it will to convey me to Ben-Gurion Airport for what will be, I hope, seven days of R&R in London NW3. The only downside of this trip is that I didn’t choose the date myself as it was chosen for me. I will be attending the consecration of a tombstone for my late sister-in law on Sunday morning and I only hope that I will be able to remain emotionally stable during this short ceremony. Somehow, I doubt it.
And now it’s Thursday afternoon and here I am in London. Outside, it’s cold and damp although I didn’t expect anything different—one doesn’t often come to the UK for the weather. I’ve forgotten how early the light ceases in this part of the world at this time of the year; it’s 8ºC outside, it’s going to rain before long and I’m off in a few minutes to watch the London grandchildren at their tennis class.
Well, now it’s Friday. I didn’t get much done yesterday. I did go to the tennis classes and it did rain but I saw the grandchildren and their other grandparents, so that was important, too. So today is Friday—Black Friday—as every notification that comes up on the computer screen or the phone keeps on reminding me so as I looked out of the bedroom window at 7 o’clock in the morning, I thought I could begin to understand why it’s called that.
However, listening to the weather forecast and if it’s to be believed, there should be no further rain until next Wednesday when I return to Tel Aviv where, I would hope, sooner or later, there should be some rain as well.
So what did I see last week while walking around in the mornings in Tel Aviv. In the Yarqon Park, just before it empties some of the little water in carries into the Mediterranean Sea (it’s such a small amount of water that the Med doesn’t even notice the dribble), there was the most raucous squawking and barking coming from the opposite bank. From what I could see a dog was hounding two geese or the two geese were viciously trying to injure the dog. From where I was standing neither I nor the woman beside me observing the same battle could figure out which was the aggressor and which the retaliator but the show went on up and down the bank for at least five minutes before it subsided.
Although in the two photographs above the development of events is now quite clear, I couldn’t see it at the time and it was only when I crossed the bridge and started walking home along the northern bank that I understood what had been happening a few minutes before. The goosely honking had been in aid of their gosling offspring, which were being dogged by the mutt; its woofing had all been in vain. All was placid by the time I got there and I continued on my way.
And while in the park, I watched a bird with a quandary. Someone had tossed yesterday’s (or maybe last week’s) bread into the river and there’s far more than even a very hungry bird can consume a one go. What to do? Call in your friends? Hack it into smaller and smaller pieces? Bring them home? Eat them there? What a dilemma (or an octilemma, in this case)!
But it’s not only the ducks and geese in the park that attract attention. Although the park is a public space, it’s packed with “personal trainers” who use it as a gym or exercise space. These people don’t like being photographed and often tend to be upset when I do because personal training apparently is mostly a cash business, and it seems as if they think that I might be from the Income Tax Authority. Some even tell me that it’s forbidden to photograph people in the park in which case I have to explain to them that the park is a public space and that their personal exercise space is also my outdoor studio and if they don’t want to be photographed, they should move inside to some private space where I won’t be a bother to them.
In addition to providing workspace for personal trainers and nosey photographers, the park also provides adequate bathing space for its avian residents and their guests …
… and if you look up as well as down, it’s possible to observe that winter is a little late in coming this year (not only because of the dearth of rain) but because the cormorants have arrived a bit later than usual.
And while looking down towards the stream and them up while turning the camera through 180º, I was able to get this somewhat surreal picture of the Reading Power Station.
On my way home along Nordau Boulevard, I saw the figure of a woman standing in front of a car. Initially, I thought she was waiting for someone to pick her up but then I thought that perhaps she was a traffic warden or policeperson so I waited a little longer until her identity was indeed confirmed.
And on the same stretch of street, where parking is at a premium—at least until 8 in the morning—you may be able to find a space to park your car but that’s only half the problem. Once you’ve found it you have to be able to get out and then in again. Though contortionists have little problem with this, normal human beings may find it difficult especially when they wish to hang on to their purse and its contents.
And not so very far away from this, on Hayarkon Street, a new hotel is going up. Actually, they’ve been working on the site for two or three years but there was a lot of clearance to do before foundations could be laid; in fact, it looked to me as if the hotel is being constructed over water and sewage mains but I suppose that the engineers that signed off on the plans knew what they were doing. Nevertheless it’s potentially hazardous work. One might fall off a ladder …
… and end up like the gentleman below, observed in Tel Aviv Port.
In my last post, I included a picture of a cyclist—one of many—inflicted with “arrow-blindness”, i.e. cycling in the opposite direction to the orientational arrow that is painted clearly in white on the bicycle lanes around town. This week, while waiting to cross Hayarkon Street at the pedestrian crossing towards Nordau, I managed to photograph two (of many) passing drivers who seem to think that slowly moving traffic jam is as good a time and place as any to catch up on WhatsApp chats, Tweets, and the like …
… all of which is accomplished to the obvious disgruntlement of the trees that see it every day all the time but can’t do too much about it except to make the appropriate facial expression.
And yet, here I am again in London for a few days trying to catch up on myself once again.