in post

March 8, 2021


Abie Nathan

There's a corner of the woods across from the village dedicated to the peace activist Abie Nathan; not by us, but someone must have thought it an appropriate place. When it was made, in 1999, Nathan was still alive, but in a wheel chair, after his stroke. I well remember the ceremony. Shimon Peres was there, among other luminaries.

During the 1970s and 80's everybody listened to his pirate radio station, "the Voice of Peace," broadcast from a ship outside Israel's territorial waters. John Lennon helped him to buy the ship. Every half hour or so there would be recordings of Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat during the latter's visit to Jerusalem: “No more war, no more bloodshed’ ... ‘the October War will be the last war’."

At one point, the Coca Cola company decided to stop advertising on his station, so he replaced their jingles with one of his own, "Drink pure refreshing water, there's nothing better for you... drink water today" an ear worm that worked so well, I can still hear it today.


Royal Families

I didn't have the energy to read much about the Oprah interview with Megan (?). It ranked high in the news here; Israelis seem to love all that stuff as much as people in other places. The Crown was hugely popular, for some reason. Maybe the best thing to do about royal families is just to ignore them, then maybe they will go away. Seriously; the brand is only maintained thanks to public interest and the revenue they generate.


I learned a bit about the apostille process today. I need to get a document signed for my brother in the US. Before 1961 embassies had a lot of work cut out for them because only they could approve the legal documents provided in foreign countries. Then came the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. Countries that signed the convention recognized each other's notarized legal documents, as long as the special apostille stamp was attached by an entity chosen as competent in each signatory country. In the US, this is the secretary of state in a given state. In many countries, it's the ministry of foreign affairs. In Israel they are provided in magistrates' courts. The US embassy is also able to notarize some US documents without the need for the apostille process, but currently they are not providing that service due to the COVID pandemic. There are also US notaries that provide online services, but apparently only for Americans in possession of a social security number. So, in my case, my only option seems to be to go first to an Israeli notary, pay the standard fee, then obtain the apostille stamp from a magistrate's court. Such things as notaries and apostilles have been the nuts and bolts of government bureaucracies, from Roman times.


In the last century of the Republic, probably in the time of Cicero, and apparently by his adoptive son Marcus Tullius Tiro, after whom they were named 'notae Tironianae' a new form of shorthand was invented and certain arbitrary marks and signs, called notae, were substituted for words in common use. A writer who adopted the new method was called a notarius. Originally, a notary was one who took down statements in shorthand using these notes, and wrote them out in the form of memoranda or minutes. Later, the title notarius was applied almost exclusively to registrars attached to high government officials, including provincial governors and secretaries to the Emperor.

The word apostille also has Latin roots, from post illa then French, meaning a marginal note.

Musical addictions

When I was working as an embassy mail boy in my youth, one of my colleagues happened to be learning the tabla. You could see that he was really sunk in it. In every idle moment his fingers would drum on a counter top and his mind was constantly caught up in the beats.

With the one exception of tabla, and the ragas spun from it, I have never been very appreciative of percussion music. But nowadays I have started to enjoy house music and its abiding rhythms. Sometimes a piece will go on for six hours, like

Sahalé - Djiin (6 hours)
by Cafe De Anatolia ETHNO WORLD on YouTube
of Cafe Anatolia, which I am listening to right now: lots of percussion with lilting ethnic interludes. I've started to wonder what this kind of music does to my mind; will I turn into the musical equivalent of a pot head? Is this sort of music benign or harmful? Can it actually be called music? I've no idea.

In my parents' house the radio was always going. It was mostly talk; lousy commercials, traffic announcements, jingles, smidgens of news repeated ad infinitum Whenever I was at home alone, I would leave the radio off. But when my mom came home she would say "Ugh, it's like a morgue in here," and turn it back on. I'm convinced that my parents' consciousness was permanently altered by this constant radio noise. They even insisted that their cats loved it, "because it keeps them company". Eventually the creatures turned into the feline equivalent of pot heads.