Friday, June 29, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Brown, though, has a tough sell in the next few months. He must appear different than Blair, he must be something new or bring something new to the table, but he cannot be too critical of Blair. So, we have a person whose policies are basically the same as Blair's, but he lacks Blair's baggage and his charisma. On the other hand, personality-wise, he seems like a person who is not going to be subservient to Bush (Blair is called "Bush's Poodle" in the UK). Here's the question of the day: how long will Brown last? Or, in other words, since I cannot file this post under religion or antiquity, should I put it with phenomena or ephemera (I am leaning towards the latter).
Friday, June 22, 2007
I thought that was the end of the search for lost causes, until I started reading the blogs today. Paleojudaica has posted that someone thinks they know where the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus as the Last Supper, is. According to telegraph.co.uk, Alfredo Barbagallo, an Italian archaeologist, claims that it is buried under the sixth-century Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, one of the seven major churches pilgrims used to visit when coming to Rome. Let's not all hold our breath, though, because the Vatican Commission of Sacred Theology still has to determine whether they will open the catacombs where the holy cup is supposedly buried. (Of course, even if they find a cup down there, it still will take a LOT of ingenuity to convince the world it is, indeed, the Holy Grail.) Maybe they ought to pray to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes and things despaired of.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I have spent the past few weeks in the gastronomic paradise of Italia. I do not want to eat any more pasta for the next six months--enough is enough. But I do not think I could ever tire of gelato. I think my favorite combination (b/c I always ate gelato with at least two flavors) was chocolate and raspberry, which, incidentally, was the very first combination I tried. Perhaps some of the best food was in Bologna, the least touristy place I went and the city that boasts the first university in Europe (a close second goes to the University of Paris). The lasagna here was absolutely fantastic. Throughout Italy, there always seemed to be plenty of artichokes and zucchine, which, for me, was heaven since I love both. And, I have to say, the award for best olives in Italy has to go to the South (the area around Naples, the originator of pizza), but I must note that no place even approximated the olives I had in Greece. And, of course, I had the pizza.
Whenever you travel in space, you inevitably travel in time, whether looking at the ancient forum, the Colosseum, or even St Peter's Basilica in Rome, the medieval town of Siena, Renaissance art in Florence (especially wonderful in this regard are Fra Angelico's works in San Marco), or the former naval empire of Venice with its numerous canals (and no cars!). But one senses it most potently in the southern city of Pompei, an entire city eerily and perhaps frighteningly preserved due to a disastrous volcanic eruption of Mt Vesuvius in the first century. The streets are crowded (except the one shown here) with mobs of tourists and the inevitable ghosts of 2000 years ago, whether one goes to the ancient forum, the best preserved and oldest known amphitheater, the baker's shop, the ancient brothel, or the numerous private homes that one can now wander through. It is a city frozen in time in which perhaps the real ghosts (or phantoms of some presence out of place and in the wrong time) are us. Perhaps in two thousand years people will be wandering through my former haunts, taking pictures, analyzing them for research, or putting them on their walls, or posting them on their futuristic blogs. Tourists will come in droves and scholars will examine every nook and cranny to try to understand everyday life in hoary antiquity. Or, like most people and places in far-off times, we will be forgotten. Which is worse--to be exploited for knowledge or irrecoverably lost?