General Blog

General Blog

May 5, 2011


I’d always been told that the “poor man’s copyright” worked. That you could carefully wrap up, stamp up, and mail a hardcopy of your work to yourself. Then, in the midst of a courtroom struggle you could present this bomb right on the stand. “Let the record reflect…” RIIPPPP “that the package dated last year contains a copy of the word in question, posted by the author, sent to the author!” Nice fantasy, anyway. A couple of weeks ago, the newspaper (remember those, kiddies? Better google it) had a piece about copyright and how the poor man copyright didn’t mean […]
April 23, 2011

Italy – Day Eight – Arrivederci

The train would leave at 2:30pm for Rome. It was our last day in Venice. No solid plans; we wanted to see our beautiful town one last time. Boarded a water bus for San Marco Plaza (if you are going for a final stroll, what better place?). Worked our way down the Grande Canal, smiling at the newbie tourists shooting everything and anything with their cameras – what a difference a few days made. Stepped onto the ancient paving, walking slowly through the plaza one last time (careful not to pass between the pillars). Listened the the cries of the […]
April 23, 2011

Italy – Day Seven – High Art

I dreamed of Charlotte airport, of the TSA checks, their purple cloaks, of the power imposed by the Imperial presidencies and of simple brute force. I could hear the screams, smell the smoke… Actually, I was standing in the Gallerie dell’ Accademia, a beautiful collections of paintings running from the middle ages until the Renaissance. Quite interesting see how the crucifixion, the rebirth, all those moments were captured and presented over the long centuries. The picture shown here, attributed to US customs in Charlotte (soon enough I’d face that horror) was actually the Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by […]
April 21, 2011

Italy – Day Six – Beads and Lace

Our water-bus chugged through the early morning mist, rounding the point and easing down the north face of Venice on its way towards the lagoon islands. I was standing in the central open area, minding my business when suddenly something warm settled over my foot. I looked down to see a good-sized dog leaning against my leg. I didn’t move, content just to watch him (and snap a picture). At the final Venice stop, his master stepped from the boat and the dog obediently followed him onto the dock without a glance back. I watched his departure with a melancholy […]
April 21, 2011

Italy – Day Five – Root Canals

In the glorious opening scene of the 1955 movie Summertime, Katharine Hepburn detrains in the Venice station, walking betwixt its pillars and out into the plaza with the Ponte D. Scalzi bridge arcing over the Grande Canal. How wonderful to do my own personal parody of that shot, to step from my first class car on the high-speed train, to pass through the timeless station, to exit through the portal and enter the land of old world magic. There it was, just as Katharine beheld it, spread out for me to see. Venice! Even after the majesty of Rome, Venice […]
April 19, 2011

Italy – Day Four – Boots and Puss

A cool overcast Sunday morning finds us off Flaminio metro in a decaying factory yard – broken concrete and rusted tin roofs – the sort of place you might kick a suitcase full of money to some threatening goon and growl, “Count it if you like, but it’s all there!” It’s all there, all right – it’s a weekly swap meet and this industrial courtyard is fulla bargains: boots and coats, clothing and toys, all sorts of treasures and trash. My wife and sister vanish into it like the final scene of “Free Willy”. Splash. I wander for a while, […]
April 19, 2011

Italy – Day Three – Ostia

Did you ever find something you didn’t know you were missing? Like a dollar bill? That spare key to the boat house? Or your old copy of Fire and Bronze? Well, that’s Ostia. This was one of Rome’s primary ports along the mouth of the Tiber, a sizable city that was doing just great until 500AD or so, when the river suddenly moved away. Commerce dried up, everyone moved on, dirt blew up around that walls and the city was largely forgotten. Now recent excavations of unearthed an entire Roman city, its bath, amphitheater, its market, its apartments and shops. […]
April 18, 2011

Italy – Day Two – Ruins

I’m halfway to the sun, high in the seating of the massive Coliseum, watching as a line of armored militia lock shields against four times their number of long-haired, screaming enemies of the empire. Did I mention I’m facing outwards? And that I’m watching a students and riot police play hot-potato with a tear gas canister on the street below? Such is Rome. Still, on our first full day in country, we headed out early for the ruins. My sister was clever enough to suggest the Roma Pass, which grands free transport all over the city and two free entries […]
April 17, 2011

Italy – Day One – Arrival

From the Piazza de Popalo, you can see down five streets. If there was a sixth street, a Val del Past, I might have been able to see the day before. I’d see us at the airport with plenty of time, relaxed, through security and detached from all the hassles of preparation. A slow lunch at a nice airport restaurant. I’d see the flight to Phily, where I sat next to an avid reader and chatted about books and life. Even at Philly, where Air Force One’s passage snarled traffic and kept our Rome flight on the ground for 90 […]
April 16, 2011

Italy – Day Zero – Reservations

In the old days (before the internet, when everyone wore funny old clothing and photos were in black and white), people would have gushed about their pending trip abroad, bubbling to friends and family of their destination, itinerary, their hopes and dreams. Of course, now we worry that our wider broadcasts (via facebook and blogs) will result in our doors being pried open and our houses ransacked. So yes, I’ve been quiet online about this. But anyway, about nine months back, my wife and I had been talking to my sister about traveling abroad. First the idea was Morocco but […]