Monthly Archive for September, 2003
my beautiful Goddaughter, aliki, is seven years old today (i’ve just arrived in st louis and it’s still the 17th).
i’m in washington now, as i travel the world to help save mankind. i’m actually in west virginia. don’t ask me why. i’d rather be just about anywhere else. and there’s a hurricane headed right for us, which is actually good news because it means i may be able to leave here early.
but to rewind a little, i must say that florence, italy was awesome. we saw the adobe illustrator chick (botticelli’s aphrodite, or ‘venus’ as the romans call her) in the uffizi, david at the academia, the ponte vecchio (the bridge with the houses on it), and lots more masterworks too numerous to list here. i thought nothing in italy could beat it.
then we took a day trip to siena by train.
smaller and even more beautiful. it possesses an amazing medieval atmosphere. while it didn’t match up to florence in famous artwork, it more than made up for it by being so picturesque (its duomo is pictured here). and it has maybe the most beautiful piazza i’ve ever seen. my photos don’t do the city justice. the one thing that sucked throughout the trip was that there was scaffolding everywhere we went. restoring and cleaning is good, but why during the high tourist season? big-headed david was partially obscured, along with the palazzo vecchio and part of siena’s piazza del campo. and titian’s scandalous venus of urbino was on tour somewhere else.
since i live in britain i found this lgf item on how british muslims celebrated the 11 september anniversary. it’s scary, ugly and disgusting. be prepared to have your stomach turned.
…All that and more brought forth great sadness, but powerful fury as well. There is something, after all, from ancient Greek times elementally horrific about visitors devouring their benefactors, the wide-awake guests seeing hospitality and liberality as the very weapons to murder the snoring host and his family, and torch his home. How odd that we were so often told that Middle Eastern traditional hospitality made it difficult for thousands to turn over a bin Laden or Saddam Hussein who sought refuge and succor in their homes, but did not deter Mohammed Atta and his cadre from killing the very people who had so generously welcomed them in.
…And when a Norman Mailer or Michael Moore and a host of writers and actors in the aftermath of 9/11 have uttered such atrocities after 3,000 vanished, what has happened to our intelligentsia and artists, so much the beneficiaries of the very wealth and leisure of the American engine they sneer at? Did they, like our brave firemen and police in New York and Marines in Iraq, show themselves in the hour of our need to be even better than we thought them — or was it instead to be abjectly worse?
read the rest.
i’m in germany now for meetings and it’s great because i can catch up on my espn news on the afn sports channel that’s plugged into my hotel. i only get the lame afn atlantic channel back in cambridge. i may stay up all night.
while i was away, i totally missed out on hearing about the newest internet cult star: the star wars kid. this guy’s the most famous since that cheesey, turkish, “i kiss you” guy a couple years back. his name is ghyslain raza and he’s a 15 year old canadian (this explains a lot). four peers of his got ahold of a videotape he recorded of himself going nuts with a lightsabre (sound effects and all) in an empty studio. it’s pretty funny stuff.
the latest is that he was mocked so badly at school that he dropped out and “will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite period of time”, according to his parents. they are also suing the four guys that obtained the footage, seeking $225,000 in damages.
aussiegirl asked me the other day how cell phones work (or ‘mobiles’ as they call them here in the uk, pronounced like mow-byle). “how should i know”, i answered. but i promised to find out….there’s a great site about how stuff works and cell phones made their top 40. and check out the article on the cool, new EZ-D DVD format. no more racing back to blockbuster to return a movie before the midnight deadline?
we’re in beautiful florence, italy on the aussiegirl 40th anniversary birthday tour. eating lotsa crostini (chicken livers…yummmm), pasta, veal (osso buco tonight), wild boar, and other delicious tuscan dishes. not to mention the gelatos. we first stopped through pisa to check out the famous leaning tower, which doesn’t lean as much anymore. cheesey, i know, but had to take the obligatory “i’m holding up the leaning tower” photo. i might have more later, but i’m still a little dizzy from all the museums and espressos.