More Religious Art (Strange, Interesting, and Beautiful)

On Tuesday morning, after leaving Daniela off at the ballet school, Pili, Asun and I went to center Madrid. After getting Asun's train ticket for Sunday (Madrid-Malaga in 2:25!), we decided to go see the Convent of the Descalzas Reales, which I had never visited. Impressive! The convent was established in 1559 in a fifteenth century building that had served as a palace for one of Charles I's (The Emperor Charles V) officials. The nuns were, and still are, of the Poor Clares order (Clarisas franciscanas), devoted to contemplation and prayer. Today 22 nuns live here. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the nuns who came to this convent were daughters of royalty, so they brought some serious wealth with them. And thus we have a building that houses an extraordinary collection of renaissance and baroque art, including a Titian. One of the works that most got my attention was the sculpture of Christ shown above. This is a sixteenth century work by Andalusian artist Gaspar Becerra, done in polychromed wood. The blood and suffering is over the top (nothing new in Mel Gibson's ridiculous film), but that's been seen a lot. What's really curious is the door in his chest. This is a little tabernacle, the place where the host is stored! (And by special permission dating from the convent's foundation, this Christ figure is carried in procession on Good Friday with the host inside it! That seems to contradict everything I learned in catechism, but what do I know.) Wow, this Becerra really took the Counterreformation to heart: the body of Christ–you don't believe it? See, the priest is reaching right into his chest and bringing out some body. Eat! Among the many wonderful paintings in the convent, one that stood out for me is the portrait by Antonio Rizi of Princess Margaret of Austria, daughter of Philip IV. She's the famous infanta so beautifully captured in the center of Las Meninas. Such a cute little girl and look what happened to her! She's buried in the convent's main chapel, but we were unable to visit the tomb, as the nuns must have been in there. (Note [1/07/09]): This is WRONG. I confused the dear little princess with an earlier relative, another Princess Margaret, this one the daughter of Queen María, widow of the Emperor Maximillian II. The Margarita who ended up in this convent was the 14th of 15 children! She lived approximately a century before the Margarita so wonderfully painted by Velazquez.) Finally, there is an incredible Dolorosa by the great Andalusian sculptor Pedro de Mena, who did important works for the Cathedral and convents in Malaga. This bust is a single piece of sculpted wood. The expression is magnificent and the red hues under her eyes, so suggestive of intense crying, are so realistic it took my breath away. I literally had to turn my head. Don't cry, it's ok!, I wanted to implore. This baroque art is not subtle in terms of working on the emotions. Forget theology, feel it! It was a great visit and I wished we could have seen the chapel and some of the other private areas. We then had a nice lunch in Malasaña. Asun and I had a little 'trip down memory lane', going by the place where we met, the building where I was living, bars we visited, etc. The neighborhood has changed tremendously, but it was great fun nonetheless. Twenty-six years! That's how long ago we met. Beautiful! Give me twenty-six more, please.


Finally Here!

Asun and Daniela arrived on Sunday! It's wonderful. My "exile" is over, and I survived, somehow. Crazily, after just a few days I'm back in Malaga by myself, but Asun will be here Sunday. She's staying in Madrid this week with Daniela, who started ballet less than 24 hours after the plane touched down. They are with Pili, staying at an apartment that was lent to them by one of Pili's coworkers. Daniela is taking classes at Victor Ullate's school, a very serious place which has produced some internationally renowned dancers, including Tamara Rojo, the star of the Royal Ballet in London. (I just read a funny quote. Rojo began her career with the Scottish National Ballet when she was 20. She commented that when she got there she didn't speak any English, but that it didn't matter because neither did they.) It was hot in Madrid, but very dry, so not too unbearable. Yesterday we saw the Residencia where Daniela will be staying the next couple of weeks and it seems fine. It's right in the center of Madrid and there's a bus that takes the dancers out to the school. Daniela really surprised me (but I guess I shouldn't haven been surpised) because as soon as she got here she turned the Spanish language button on in her brain and she's doing fine. She's got a great, confident attitude. I can see that she wants to immerse herself, and fast. It's a struggle, but she's already communicating in Spanish more than I had anticipated and by mid October she'll have returned to a very high level of proficiency. Within six months she'll be completely bilingual again. What a night: this morning just before six a car parked on the street almost right below went up in flames. I have no idea how that happened but I suspect it was some punks just being jerks. In any case, it was quite a fire and the bomberos took a while to get here, by which time the car was thoroughly destroyed as was the little van parked next to it. The stench from the burning tires was awful. And before that, around 3:30 in the morning, a few drunks decided to continue their "conversation" after the bar closed right below us on the Paseo. Very loud and obnoxious. I launched no less than four water balloons, but these guys were so drunk they didn't even notice. No wonder I've had a hard time getting going this morning. I guess I'm also a little tired from the drive down from Madrid. (The photo is from Cristina's graduation in June.)


Ballet in a Cave

Last night I went to see the Danish Royal Ballet in the Cuevas de Nerja. Last summer I saw flamenco and this year it was ballet. Actually, it wasn't the company itself, but just twelve of their 'stars'. The caverns certainly offer a unique setting for ballet and there were some moments when the effect was marvelous, but for the most part it was a little silly because the stage was tiny and the dancers were extremely limited in what they could do. If nothing else they deserve admiration for the adjustments they no doubt had to make to the choreography. Plus, there was the additional, and quite distracting, drama of the need to watch out for a large stalactite that was invading the left side of the stage. Watch out! They offered an eclectic program, mainly a series of pas de deux, which made sense given the stage's minuscule dimensions. My favorite was the opening number, Apollon Musagéte, a piece by Balanchine with music by Stravinsky, and it was not a pas de deux, but rather one male dancer and three ballerinas, including  Amy Watson, an American dancer who trained at the School of American Ballet in NY. I've always loved the great Russian composer and although I don't have any real musical literacy, I seem to 'get' Stravinsky. At the opposite end, we had a world premiere: "One and Seven". Hopefully it's one and done. Contemporary nonsense with a spoken narration that was pathetic. Dancers rolling on the floor... oh the suffering! Please! Unintentionally comic was "Petit Mort". This number seemed like a live Karma Sutra demonstration, but with the dancers dressed in underwear that was decidedly unsexy. Petit mort? It was about as sensuous as white bread. Unleavened. I must have missed it. Maybe there's something I don't understand about Danish customs. In any case, think Jack Lelane meets Madonna for a date at the gym. And it doesn't go too well. And besides, we weren't at the gym, we were in a real cave, where real neanderthals lived twenty or thirty thousand years ago (really!), but the male dancers last night were definitively uncavemen like. Well, it was fun, and there was some very beautiful dancing, so I don't want to sound too negative–the DRB is a great company with wonderful dancers. But I don't think I'll go to any more performances in Nerja. Apart from the squeaky stage and other minor distractions, I was in a constant state of semi-alarm, as I found myself frequently looking up at the huge and very menacing stalactite that was pointing right down at the crown of my head from the ceiling high above. Oh, to die in a cave, pierced by a stone needle! Grande mort! (In the photo, Silja Schandorff, one of the ballerinas who performed last night.)


More Relativity

This morning El País has an interesting front page article comparing US and European social models and their respective capacities to deal with the current and upcoming hard times. Armed with a wealth of statistical data, the article's conclusion was just a little surprising to me: the European Union appears much better prepared to weather the next couple of years and may even continue to generate new employment. In any case, I was thinking a little about this article while I was walking Waldo, and when we passed a couple of homeless guys who were just getting up (they looked really down and out), I started to think that maybe the European model isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Malaga is not a city Europeans would wish to advertise in terms of promoting their wonderfully wide, deep social net. But then almost immediately I started to think that in a global context, this debate is rather ridiculous. The US or Europe? Rich vs. Richer? Come on, those differences are irrelevant when we compare North to South, Rich to Poor. How's the social model in Somalia? How about that great safety net in Haiti? Have you considered emigrating to Zimbabwe? The Strait of Gibraltar, separating Europe from Africa, the US/Mexican border, that's where the difference is. And the drama. I don't know what the solution is, but until we come up with one, it seems kind of selfish of me to waste any time worrying about the state of my retirement savings and how I'm going to pay those tuition bills. Oh, poor ol' me... And as I fret and pace the marble floors I have to look out over the shiny blue Mediterranean. Vaya. Well, if I stop for a moment, and really look out to the horizon, imagine the little boats packed with women and children risking their lives in a very uncertain and desperate attempt to reach these shores, perhaps this very beach at my feet, then I can worry a little, worry for them. Stupid me.


La Malagueta in the Afternoon

Usually I take Waldo for a post-lunch walk around 6 pm. The Paseo Maritimo has a much different feel to it at this hour. The day is in full swing, the beach is still crowded, and lots of people are out walking or just hanging out. It's a nice hour because the line of tall buildings is by now for the most part blocking the sun and the Paseo is in the shade even though a lot of the beach is still getting sun. Perfect. And every afternoon I pass by an older man who's always sitting on the same bench. And every time I pass by he says the same thing: "hey, there's the dog who's ears are so long they're bigger than mine." Ha, ha. Same thing, everyday. It even made me think of that Bill Murray comedy, Groundhog Day. In fact, this guy does have huge ears. But yesterday there was a twist. He had two of his friends with him there on the bench and after his obligatory joke about ears, his friends started joking him about the very small dimensions of his penis, his pichita. Odd.  Here I am standing there as Waldo snoops around and these old farts are laughing away, going on and on about the pathetic state of their dried up little pichitas. And what made it funnier is that I don't think these guys could come up with a full set of teeth among the three of them. Well, they seemed to be having a fine time and they certainly don't lack for entertainment just sitting there on the bench. It's quite a parade. The Malagueta is mainly a local beach, but not a neighborhood beach. That's because there are two different bus lines (C2, 14) that come by here and they dump off loads of beach goers from some of Malaga's most modest neighborhoods. And you throw in an eclectic mix of tourists (British, Japanese, Russian, Swedish...), plus the occasional groups who are walking into town from the cruise ships, and it all adds up to a fun, crazy spectacle.


La Malagueta in the Morning

La Malagueta is a nice place first thing in the morning. Around 8 or 8:30, when I take Waldo down for his morning walk, is a very pleasant hour. The cleaning crew has usually come around by then and the Paseo Maritimo is fairly litter free and looking quite attractive. There are people out strolling, lots of runners on the beach, and a sense that the day is off to a good start. It's quieter than it will be shortly. And it's not hot yet. In recent days, and due to having Waldo here and taking him for walks on a regular schedule, I've become aware of some of the routines of others that I would never have noticed otherwise. For example, every morning I pass by an older gentleman who is out for a walk with his daughter. I've seen them many times now and they are always engaged in animated conversation. And I here the woman say "pero papá..." and that's how I know they are father and daughter. The man must be around 75 or 80 and his daughter around 50. They seem to be having a fine time. The man walks slowly, perhaps necessarily so, but I get a sense that he feels compelled to this pace by the fancy white mustache he sports. His slow, purposeful gait suggests he's quite proud of it and when he stops and leans on his cane, which is every fifty yards or so, he tilts his head upwards just a little, as if showing off his well coifed mustache to the mediterranean sky itself. But above all, this guy seems happy to be with his daughter. So I wonder about their lives. Where is the man's wife? Is she even still alive? Are there other children? There are lots of other people I see routinely at the same hour and I wonder about their lives too. Maybe it's because right now I'm rereading Galdos' classic epic Fortunata and Jacinta, that grand saga of life in Madrid in the 1870s, but I feel curious about all the details. No detail is too insignificant. I don't know how Galdos does that, but it's a wonderful trick, to get us to care about it all. The grand drama of everything! And there sure is plenty of drama right here in the Malagueta. Little by little I'll write about some of them. Oh... the photo here is rather unrelated. This is Easter Sunday, when Pili and Ana were here for a quick visit and we had a nice roast lamb dinner before heading off to the airport.


"Past Blessings"

Yesterday I spent a few minutes reading texts by Epicurus and this one really stuck out: "He has become an old man on the day on which he forgot his past blessings." Remembering our past blessings seems to me to be not only a moral imperative, but, taking as truly insightful Epicurus' observation, also a great health recommendation. It's another way, perhaps, to become a little less egocentric. So I read this text, thought for a moment about some of my great good fortune and, of course, Betty and Duane came to mind. What luck! To have grown up with them as my parents was a blessing with a major capital B. I couldn't find a photo of dad on my computer, but here's one of Betty. (Not a flattering shot of her, certainly, but it's all I've got right now...) Forty-two years of blessings for me. And I suppose being always attentive to one's present blessings is not a bad idea either. I think mother was pretty good at that. I'm sure having all those kids took its toll, but it also kept her young in spirit. How about waking up in the morning, as I just did a short time ago. Pretty good, eh? Beats the alternative if you ask me. (I'm not sure I like the idea of dying in my sleep, which many people seem to find attractive. Besides, I sure as hell don't want to kick the bucket all by my lonesome.) In any case, I did wake up today. Yes! And then, coffee!! And really good coffee at that! Here in Malaga it's another foggy dawn, but these clouds burn off quickly.  Unfortunately, it feels like it's going to be a hot, sticky day.



On our visit to Granada on Saturday I got to see once again one of my favorite paintings in the world-Bouts' portrait of Christ. Actually, it's attributed to Bouts' workshop, but I think I read somewhere an article by an art historian who thought it was by the master himself.  (Dirk Bouts was a 15th century Flemish painter and some of his works, including a beautiful triptych, ended up in the personal collection of Queen Isabel of Spain. These works are on display in the Royal Chapel of Granada, an extraordinary place.) Among all the treasures-Isabel's crown, Ferdinand's sword, etc.-, this small portrait really stands out for me because it seems so innovative and daring. Jesus here is represented just head and shoulders, and there is nothing to suggest that this is the Messiah. To me, he just seems like a rather interesting young man of uncertain stature and attitude. Somewhat mysterious, perhaps. And a tad effeminate, perhaps due to the slightly rosy cheeks and the hair parted down the middle. But that's offset by his beard. Who could have been the model for this portrait? I imagine an artisan of some kind, maybe a silversmith. In any case, I've always thought the painting represents the Humanist revolution that was changing the way learned people in Europe thought in the 15th century. It strikes me as almost heretical. The reproduction here is a photo I took from a postcard, so the quality is not good. And I decided to add a portrait Cristina did of her abuelo Daniel.  Excellent, no? Portraits really fascinate me and I'll write more about them soon.


Carmen Comes Ashore

         Today the beach right out front had some interesting entertainment. The Scuba Divers' Association celebrated the Feast of Carmen, which was actually the other day, by bringing up a statue of her that they have 'hidden' on the sea bottom just off this beach. The scuba divers went down and brought her up, put her on a boat, unloaded her onto the beach, put her on a float, then paraded her around the neighborhood for a few hours. Now (around 6 pm) she's getting ready to go back to her underwater shrine. Not really sure what to say about this one. She didn't draw much of a crowd. It's a hot, muggy day that does not inspire one to do much of anything. Friday I took Bob and Ellen to Granada, then to Cordoba. I came back yesterday morning. The visit to Granada was quite nice. After finding the hotel in Cordoba, an adventure in itself, we had a light dinner at Pepe de la Judería. It was quite funny because they sat us down at a table that had me facing a portrait of Pablo. Oh well, I didn't get to see him, but at least I got to have his portrait preside our dinner. In the second photo, Pablo with me on a visit he made a couple of months ago.


The Feast of Carmen

Last night Carmen had her big day. July 16th, the Feast of the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of fishermen and sailors. There were friends here at the apartment and we could see the fireworks going off up and down the coast. There are a couple of processions this weekend. Bob Massa and his friend Ellen are visiting and so far seem to be having a fine time. Yesterday I showed them the Cathedral and the church of St. Lazarus, where Rocío is housed. Then we had a nice lunch on the beach out in El Palo. Today we will probably drive out to Nerja and Frigiliana. The name Carmen comes from Mt. Carmel, in present day Israel, where a Marian apparition gave birth to the Carmelite order. The cult to this image came to Spain in the 13th century and over time has grown greatly in popularity.  In Málaga there is a great image of her in the Church of the Holy Martyrs, downtown.


A little more on Epicurus

I'm learning that Epicurus had a lot to say about friendship, one of the corner- stones of his philosophy. Here is one of his obser- vations: "Neither he who is always seeking material aid from his friends nor he who never considers such aid is a true friend; for one engages in petty trade, taking a favor instead of gratitude, and the other deprives himself of hope for the future." Interesting. Friendship involves a lot of trust, mutual trust. Today I feel extremely fortunate to be able to count on some friends who I know are there for me. I hope I can be a true friend to them. Many of the greatest pleasures come from friendship and the security we get from cultivating these friendships. Friends help us stay away from loneliness and with our friends we stay connected to the unfolding of our lives. The photo here is a detail from Velazquez's famous painting of The Feast of Baccus, or The Drinkers. I put it up because yesterday I was having coffee with a guy (not really a friend, not yet, anyway) who looks like this. I think Velazquez's portrait of this man, apart from capturing wonderfully the positive side of alcohol, also suggests that his subject enjoyed the benefits of real friendship. He has a real twinkle in his eyes that is always absent in the lonely. One of my big fears when I stopped drinking was that the party was over, that never again could I enjoy the great feeling of connectedness that is vaguely suggested by Velazquez in this painting. Thankfully, I learned that these fears were totally unfounded. And of course, I learned that the feelings of connectedness that can seem so transcendent at the height of a festive celebration were sometimes illusory, even self-delusional. What happens when the party is over? And that question could lead us back to Epicurus and the nature of pleasure... and around in circles we could keep going, but right now my dear friend Waldo is suggesting a walk along the beach.


The Glory

Well, I hadn't really planned on it, but I ended up having an incredible lunch with Juvenal. And if someone had told me this morning I was going to have roast suckling pig I would have surely thought they were dreaming.  It's July for goodness' sake. One has cochinillo in the cold weather months, and in Segovia or Madrid. But we ended up at Miguel, who runs a beautiful little Castillian restaurant here in the neighborhood, and he suggested that's what I have, and who am I to argue with Miguel? (Clearly no one–I didn't argue.) I really have no right to eat this well. Totally ridiculous. Miguel's cochinillo was better than the one I had back in November at Botín, the cathedral of cochinillo cuisine. Oh my, and before the cochinillo, Miguel brought out a little dish of garbanzo and squid stew. Unbelievable! Heavenly. I just got up from a little nap so I don't quite have my bearings straight. (And this morning I had my first dip in the water in many months.  Surprisingly cold, but quite nice.)


A toast to Epicurus

Yesterday I was trans- lating a poem from La siesta de Epicuro, a recent book by the Malagan poet Aurora Luque. So this morning I had Epicurus on my mind and I decided to google him, since I never really studied Epicurean philosophy and only have a very superficial familiarity with its doctrines. Here's one of his statements from the Vatican Sayings: "Nothing is enough to someone for whom what is enough is little." To me that sounds like an excellent summary of alcoholism! (The Vatican Sayings, by the way, are so named because of the presence of a 14th century manuscript in the Vatican Library that contains a series of quotes attributed to Epicurus.) And last night I had a brief conversation on the topic of excessive drinking, so that is also on my mind. The alcoholic suffers because he/she ends up in constant battle with the desire for more. Consequently, the distinction between pleasure and pain becomes confused and quite paradoxical: we drink more to kill the pain caused by excessive drink which causes more pain, so more drink, etc., etc. In short, addiction. That's just my experience. So the answer is moderation. Simple. Yes, but not for me, and reading Epicurus reaffirms my understanding of the nature of my experience and condition: moderate drinking may be fine for a day, maybe for a week, but in my brain it was always "little". Little was unsatisfactory, and thus, not pleasurable. So moderation always ended up thrown to the wind. More! More pleasure, eventually leading to pain... But it's in our very nature to seek pleasure. Pleasure is good. So I learn that for me, and I'm not alone here, staying completely free of that whole dynamic is essential. Of truly vital importance. And I learned there are some things, even very, very simple things, that I can't do alone. But that's another story.


Perro caca

Basset Hounds are not at all common in Malaga.  I only saw two all last year. So, it hasn't surprised me at all that every time I take a walk with Waldo I hear several kids exclaim, "mira, un perro salchicha" ("Look, a hot dog". Well, more literally, "a sausage dog".) But today was just a little different, and very funny.  Towards the end of the walk, and for about the fourth time, I hear a little boy shout "mira, un perro salchicha". But then immediately following, from his little sister, a girl who looked to be four or five years old: "No, Carlitos, es un perro caca" (No, Carlitos, it's a poop dog".) Indeed, it's all about perspective.  Some kids spot Waldo and see dinner; others see Waldo and imagine a turd. Just thought I'd share that. The first twenty-five people to respond to this entry will receive a free "perro caca" t-shirt!


The enemy

Back from a walk with Waldo. The beach, as has been consistently the case in recent weeks, is filthy. What a shame, I thought, you sure wouldn't see this kind of trash all over the place in Little Compton. "Oh these Spaniards..." I was thinking, and so my feeble brain was once again in a comparative mode and these comparisons rather quickly led to consider larger, weightier themes. For example, the fact that the United States has become a torturer nation. And my walk suddenly became angry and bitter. Where is the outrage? We continue to hold hundreds of men prisoner in Guantanamo with no formal charges against them. It's now over 2300 days of illegal imprisonment! Hundreds and hundreds of men like the ones shown above, imprisoned like dogs, no worse than dogs, for years and years and then released... without ever having formal charges brought against them! Many of them indeed may be really awful characters, perhaps members of Al Quaeda with blood on their hands. Then for God's sake put them on trial and make the evidence public. If we do things right, on the up and up, then these prisoners should be held in the US or in Iraq or Afganistan, where so many of them were detained.  Cuba?  Oh yes, that's perfectly normal. The grace period is long, long past, gone when the weapons of mass destruction never showed up, gone with Abu Ghraib. Is this the War on Terror or the War of Terror? So, a great way to start the day...



Last Wed- nesday I participated in a session on Writers, Intellectuals, and Politics in Ronda. It was part of a week long Univerrsity of Malaga summer course organized by Fernando Arcas. Ballesteros and Soler were the other participants. Typically, the session started late, in this case because there was an improvised press conference at noon, when the session was scheduled to start. Poor students! The press, of course, was mainly interested in what Soler had to say and, in fact, after five or ten minutes with the three of us, a couple of journalists pulled Antonio aside to interview him.  So we finally go started around 12:25. There were about 35 people attending the session, a mix of young university students and older individuals. It was an interesting session, with Ballesteros and Soler focusing on their own experiences.  I explained that my intervention would be somewhat parenthetical and perhaps offer a point of comparison and contrast. My focus was on positions taken by public intellectuals on the Iraq war (I talked some about Poets Against the War and explained the origins of that movement), but I also disucssed the importance of the web (electronic journals, blogs, videoblogging, etc.) and how that has changed greatly how information is disseminated. I ended with some comments on how the internet age is destroying the traditional role of urban centers as the exclusive incubator of intellectual ferment. There were a couple of questions about Chomsky at the end. Overall it was a good session and we went past our scheduled 2 pm limit by a good fifteen minutes. It seemed to help Antonio organize a few thoughts and he dedicated his weekly article in Sur to the topic.


Language Politics

Last week a group of writers here published a manifesto in defense of the Spanish language. It's hard to imagine that Spanish, one of the world's most dominant languages, could need defending by a handful of intellectuals, but these individuals were moved to action by what they perceive as the discrimination suffered by Spanish speakers in Catalonia and the Basque Country with regards to public education and the public administrations. (Soler was one of the signers.) It is becoming increasingly difficult to have your child educated in Spanish in either of these communities. The signers of the declaration emphasize that rights are limited to individuals and can never be extended to territories or much less to languages themselves. This probably seems like an odd point to make, but can be understood in the context of Spanish politics, where Basque and Catalonian nationalists especially, and others from Galicia and some of the other regions to a lesser degree, often claim "historic rights", manipulate identity politics, and in general invoke arguments based on convoluted notions of exceptionalism when trying to defend policies that seek to promote the use of the local language, even when these policies seem to be in evident opposition to the promotion of the common good. In any case, politics is slow in the summer, and the newspapers need to generate polemic, so this is something to keep the talk radio crowd happy. It is an interesting debate, and few things are as intimate as language, so feelings quickly become quite impassioned. My two cents worth: the Spanish constitution may have a weak link when it refers to the obligation (el deber) all citizens have to know Spanish. How in the world can you obligate someone to know a language?  What are you going to do to the refuseniks, put them in jail? In this regard, I identify much more with a liberal ideology: when it comes to languages it's much wiser simply not to legislate. It's kind of like trying to legislate what goes on in people's bedrooms. Stay out! (Here's a pretty good critique of the manifesto by Josep Ramoneda.



Heavy fog blowing in. Not common in July in Malaga. The photo is by Daniel Seguin, a photo- grapher from Montreal. Google "fog". And it is a kind of foggy morning, lacking in consistent direction. A swirling fog? A walk with Waldo. Reading Pérez Estrada. Thinking about Wallace Stevens. The Red Sox got a few minutes attention while I drank coffee. How do you spell Youkalis? His strange hit, with the ball momentarily motionless on top of the outfield fence was absolutely wonderful. Too bad the ball didn't just stay there.  


The Shame

Why is this man not in jail for crimes against humanity? How can the rich countries of the world do nothing against this madman? The UN acts absolutely toothless and without the spine to stop Mugabe's raping of his people. Shame! Go to www.genocidewatch.org. Tragically, their warnings are coming true. The US and Western Europe must intervene now!