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Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
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On Home Ground



after a 9 hour flight from Rome, after being away for about 3 weeks, with Dante smoothing my way through the dreaded gates of INS at the airport. While I will miss (and recall) the Mediterranean azures (apart from days in Rome and Florence, the communion with the sea was continuous), it feels good to be back to a cloudy Jersey spring day.

And before I forget, my favorite art moment from this Italian sojourn (remembering Italy bleeds art): the discovery and the conquest of breathing by Caravaggio's "The Calling of Saint Matthew"1 - this, after randomly walking into a church in Rome to rest tired feet for a bit before continuing on to the Pantheon, and discovering this painting (along with two other masterpieces) hanging in an innocuous alcove! I have, since then, been haunted by that extended hand of Signor Jesu.

[1] For more detailed description of the painting look here


Travel Notes

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Training Paradiso





Somewhere in the Austrian Alps




Travel Notes

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Tulipland Snippets



A) How to feel poor? Hand $100 to the sharply dressed Dutch lady at the ABN Amro counter, and get €55 back - how the mighty have fallen! Self is also reeling from sticker shock: a dozen tulips (quite lovely, in the deepest blue) some €20. Don't they grow these things here by the millions?!

B) Europe Airport Modern: is there an architectural school by this name? While American airports are quite heterogeneous in the details of their style, European airports, admittedly in far fewer transits, seem to be more stylistically alike: in the layout of shopping areas and moving walkways, as well as a more sleeker signage. Oh, and the Yanks should import these super comfortable lounge chairs (in which I am lounging, here at Schipol) right away - seating sucks in most US airports.

C) Glaring in its absence here, is that ubiquitous marker of an country where the state (like Nazi Germany) has gotten to playing mind games with its citizenry, false warnings: "The Department of Homeland Security advises that the current threat level is Orange"

What kind of threat? Threat from whom? How scared should we be? That dude is wearing a t-shirt with Arabic on it. He is making me nervous. Holy cow, someone arrest him quick!

Reading Kafka on planes makes one notice these things.

D) Amateur statistics: Eye scans the passing throng, and detects a missing element: what happened to the morbidly obese in Europe?! Didn't they know WW-II is long over, and they can eat all they want. I miss me some obese folks.




Travel Notes

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