Birth by Chance

Yesterday I was catching up with José Angel Cilleruelo's blog and came across one of his funny little dialogues. I don't know if this is pure invention, but I doubt it; I can imagine this happening pretty much the way he presents it. He presents it under the category "little theatre works." The conversation is between a lottery seller and client, which is immediately obvious for a reader of the original, but not necessarily so for one unfamiliar with Spanish life. Something about it caught my fancy so I went ahead and translated it:
–Please, could you give me a number that ends in 85.
–Does it have to be 85?
–Yes, it's got to end in 85.
–85, let's see what I can find. Here's one in 58 that smells like a winner. Will it do?
–How funny. I was born that year. In 58.
–A good reason.
–I'd prefer one that ends in 85.
–That means your reason is better.
–Well, perhaps.
–A reason better than having been born? Could there be one?
–I don't think so, none.
–So? 58?
–So: 85!
–Better than being born?
–To be born again.
–Another time?
–Not another time, the first time.
–Now I get it! But in 85... Nothing!

And speaking of birth, how about that woman in California and her eight newborns! That's hitting the lottery! I'm hoping not to be unborn today. Have a little trip to Cordoba to see Pablo today; should be fun.


Not long ago I made a brief mention of Paco Ruiz Noguera's most recent poetry collection, Arquitectura efímera. A few weeks ago Soler reviewed the book in his weekly article for Sur. I missed it then, but he mentioned it last night and so I just read it. Excellent. In these articles Antonio is masterful at capturing the essence of things in very short order. And in just two sentences he gets at the core of Paco's character, recalling, on the one hand, that Rafael called him "Paquito", and on the other observing that he was probably the most sensible person among the Bilmore group. True! Here's an improvised try at some of the book's initial verses, from a short poem titled "Purpose": "Hold on to life / as in empty days / you hold with your gaze / a touch of blue / shining through the mist." The varied rituals of holding on are often lived with desengaño, disillusion, and even touches of bitterness. Sometimes it's all we can do, just hold on. And share it. The horizon is silent and uninterested in us. And there is tedium. The signs are dark. We build what we can, ephemerally.


El Acebuchal

Yesterday Asun and I went up to the Acebuchal, a fascinating place in the mountains behind Frigiliana. We were joined by Fernando, Antonio, María del Mar, Chris and Rosalynd. After the Spanish Civil War there were some small groups of guerilla fighters who tried to keep the cause going. They hid out in rural mountainous areas around Spain. The tiny, isolated village of El Acebuchal, really just a tight cluster of eight or ten very modest homes, was shuttered by the Civil Guard shortly after the war. They feared that the village was too sympathetic to the Maquis, as the rebel holdouts were known, and that it was too isolated for them to control. And so for decades the Acebuchal was a ghost town that fell into complete decay. Then in 1998 the children and grandchildren of one of the families that had to abandon the place began to rebuild. And it kept going. Apparently they have been quite faithful to the way things were before the war in their restoration efforts. I believe five or six families live their full time now. The result is quite charming. There is one little restaurant and that, of course, was our destination. Lunch was superb: salad, lamb in mint sauce, goat in almond sauce, and wild boar. Coconut cake for dessert. 


Down the Coast

The other night I was talking to Pedro Martín-Almendro about the unfortunate relationship between the cultural life of the capital and the international population of "foreigners" up and down the coast. There seems to be a lot of mutual looking away. The Costa del Sol is certainly an interesting habitat. Known, obviously, for its sunny climate, it is in reality an immensely complex area that seems to be defined by a few persistent stereotypical images. One of the realities of the coast is the presence of organized crime, usually described as "mafias". The mafia mafia has a presence, but over the course of the past ten or fifteen years the arrival of criminal groups from Eastern Europe has accelerated. Just a brief sampling of the crazy mix of stock figures we imagine here: young Brits in for a weekend of obnoxious drunkenness, tourists from anywhere in Europe looking for a little sun, Spaniards in search of a cheap getaway, Arab elites looking for Western decadence, Russian mobsters, third rate glamour people, Bulgarian hitmen, etc. Major professions: real estate developer, corrupt politician, jeweler, prostitute, drug dealer, paparazzi... In any case, this morning two stories from the coast, one kooky and the other tragic. The tragic: some soulless hacks kidnapped a local businessman and held him briefly for a million euro ransom. For whatever reason, they didn't wait long and this morning his body was found along the side of the highway. A brutal, cold-blooded murder. I read about the poor victim and his story and tragic end provide several metaphors for the recent history of this area. But that's another story. The kooky: a frenchman was arrested yesterday for trying to organize an exhibition of works by Dali in a hotel in Fuengirola, an ugly coastal town between here and Marbella. Yes, a hotel in Fuengirola is a likely place for a serious art exhibit. And of course it's pefectly normal for the works to be thrown into a truck sent here from France. And naturally you'd store over sixty Dali originals in one of the hotel's rooms with no special security. Right. And exactly who did this guy think was going to buy these valuable pieces of art? Dali is one of the most forged artists in the world. I guess the guy figured he'd find plenty of suckers here who wanted to launder some money. And probably a very reasonable supposition. (In the photo, Fuengirola's main beach.)


Funny and Not so Funny

On Tuesday two workers found themselves trapped in an apartment. They got out onto a terrace and after a time were able to flag down a policeman, screaming that they had been taken hostage. They had just finished some work for the owner of the apartment and had been paid 1300 euros. When the woman demanded they sign a receipt they refused. So she locked them in the apartment and left. And this illustrates a basic difference between American and Spanish homes that has always struck me: here door locks are of the dead bolt type and they don't have a release from inside. So if someone locks the door on their way out and you get left behind without the key you're stuck. This has always seemed to me a horrible safety hazard, but that's the way it is. Funny story. The woman was arrested for kidnapping but the workers had to return their fee. So everyone lost. Less funny is a story in El País about problems with the vandalization of public art in Spain. The story begins by pointing out that at a youth hostal in Amsterdam there is a sign requesting that public spaces be respected. It's only in Spanish! How sad. The article goes on to report of several cases of public art around Spain being destroyed almost as soon as it goes on display. Just last week I was showing a few of my students the beautiful bronze sculpture that pays homage to Rafael Pérez Estrada. As I got close to the statue I suddenly started to feel sick to my stomach, and also enraged. Graffiti all over it. I just wanted to cry. There is no doubt that the sense of shared civil responsibility is weak in most parts of Spain. Spaniards keep their homes spic and span, but not their public squares. And the problem is not that no one is cleaning up. Malaga has a veritable army of street cleaners. Which is why streets and squares here can be absolutely gorgeous in the morning and a look a little rough around the edges by mid afternoon. I'm reminded of Rosa Montero's fine article in the Sunday magazine a couple of weeks ago in which she reflects on the very basic importance of beauty in our lives. Beauty as a civilizing, "taming" energy. Not a new idea, but she expresses it well in her article. I don't think you can meaningfully live without rather regular exposure to beauty. In the photo, a sculpture in downtown Bilbao.



Two news items this morning remind me that while in most ways people are the same everywhere, culture certainly plays a vital role in shaping how we interact with one another. For the past few days El País has been reporting on a shady investigative unit created by a Madrid councilman. They describe it as basically a publicly funded private detective agency used exclusively by the councilman to spy on his political enemies. With no accountability. And this morning some good quotes from Nacho Duato, the director of the National Dance Company, regarding his anything but amicable departure. In both cases the degree to which energy is directed towards very personal rivalries is quite striking. Rosa Maria Artal observes in her recent book España, ombligo del mundo, echoing generations of earlier writers, that Spaniards are plagued by envy. It seems that anyone's success must be at the collective expense of everyone else. It seems to be the national sin. There have been many comments along these lines, for example, regarding the famous chef Adriá Ferrán. It's my impression that historically Spanish society has prized individual genius over the more mundane accomplishments of collective effort. The grandeur of the gesto. And during the empire, Spanish might was often portrayed through the image of a personified nation of unique brilliance, in turn exemplified by a small number of heroic figures: El Cid, Columbus, etc. All countries have done this, of course, but in the case of Spain the emphasis on individual exceptionality seems particularly strong. And as the catholic church has taught generations of Spaniards, sainthood is reserved for a very select few, even though all should aspire to it. This persistent envy then gets translated to institutional rivalries as well. Now Malaga and Seville are fighting over which city will host the central offices of the hoped for megabank created by the merger of several Andalusian Savings and Loans, the Cajas de Ahorro: Unicaja, Cajasur, Caja Granada, etc. And Malaga fights with Cordoba over which city should be designated European Capital of Culture for 2016. In fact, last night with Pedro Martín-Almendro of the Fundación Málagaa, I attended a talk by Neil Peterson, who led the Liverpool Culture Company, the organization that got that city the cultural capital designation for 2008. Based on the attendance I wouldn't feel too excited about Malaga's chances. And I'm sure some people in the Madrid metro felt envious of Asun and me when they spotted us with our three beautiful daughters. Who could blame them? Just joking. After all, Obama did speak yesterday of the importance of humility. I hope we were listening!


Inauguration Day

It's inauguration day and here, too, it's getting a tremendous amount of attention. Yesterday a woman from SER, the big radio network, called me to ask if we could talk this morning on air. Hopefully we'll be able to get a tv set up at the Cursos so that the students can see some of the ceremonies. Classes started yesterday and there's a whole lot to do this week. Calma...  In the photo (taken by Daniela back in November) a scupture by Baltazar Lobo displayed on the Paseo del Prado in Madrid. These sculptures are now on Calle Larios in Malaga, where last year we had sculptures by Rodin. 


Recent Readings and Travels

It would be nice if I had more time to comment on some of my recent reading. Over the Christmas holidays, in addition to the Richard Price novel Bloodbrothers, I read Gabriel García Márquez's short novel, Memoria de mis putas tristes. (It was translated to English by Edith Grossman with the title Memories of my melancholy whores.) Garcia Marquez writes beautifully, but the story didn't say much to me. An old man who has just turned ninety decides he wants a virgin before he dies, so his old friend the local madame sets him up with a fourteen year old girl. His initial desire is thwarted but he ends up falling in love with the girl. I've also been reading Luis Garcia Montero's most recent essay, Inquietudes bárbaras, and Paco Ruiz Noguera's just published collection of poems, Arquitectura efímera. Paco's book has been a real pleasant surprise. There is a definite change in tone and style with his earlier work; the language is simpler, more direct. I owe him a note. Bloodbrothers was good, the first novel I had read by Richard Price. It's rigid determinism reminded me of Zola. The Garcia Montero essay is rather frustrating, heavy on argumentation, but sparse with examples that might give some weight to his line of thought. Maybe I'll come back to that another day, but right now I want to jot down a few notes on yesterday's little excursion to Comares, a very small village up in the Axarquia, the eastern most part of the province that includes some coastal towns and mountain villages that are at altitudes of over 3,000 feet in spite of their very close proximity to the sea. Yesterday Comares was de fiesta, celebrating their patron saint, St. Hilarion of Poitiers. Odd for this little village to have a fourth century French bishop as their main man, and I don't know how that came to be. In any case, our little group was welcomed by the mayor himself and his wife just before the mass that would be followed by the procession of Hilarion down to the square and then back to the church. I hadn't been in a church for a service in a long time and I guess I was reminded why: the priest very earnestly explained to the faithful that our current economic mess was completely due to the fact that we had turned away from God. Oh well, people didn't seem bothered, they were just waiting for the procession. So Hilario was marched down the very narrow street to the plaza where the ten or twelve men carrying the throne were served beer by... the mayor himself. (This guy was everywhere, and with his amazing toupée was easy to spot!) Then it was back to the church for the saint. And an open bar for the two thousand or so people in attendance. Yes, it was all on the house, or should I say, on town hall. All the beer and wine you could want. At 4 pm the soft drinks and water were all gone, but the beer and wine was still flowing. And there was plenty of free food, too: chorizo (served by, yes... the mayor himself!), blood sausage, wonderful olives, and, of course, paella for everyone! The serving of all this food and drink was appropriately chaotic, but the students who were stoic enough to wait in line very kindly brought me a plate of paella. And it was actually quite good. And of course, music: two or three pandas de verdiales, a good banda de charangas, and finally the "orquesta", consisting of a female vocalist and two men with those computerized keyboards that produce whatever you want, in this case, mainly a very heavy bass thumpa, thumpa, thumpa. I'm not exactly sure why, but I had this sensation that the leader of the group was on a weekend furlough from the provincial prison. Then shortly before five pm we had a truly esperpéntico moment: the band was ordered to stop the music. A funeral procession. Right through the square they marched, even breaking the line of the people still waiting for paella. The lack of solemnity, of respect for that family's drama, was, for me, observing from a distance, while not surprising, nonetheless rather stunning. Well, it was a beautiful, sunny day and I'm sure a memorable experience for the five students who joined us.



Yesterday my new students arrived, so now it really is back to work. Also yesterday, in Madrid, there was a huge demonstration against Israel's invasion of Gaza. The organizers claimed a turnout of 250,000 people. El País estimated 55,000. Some things never change. I sympathize with the indignation expressed by the protesters, but in the news reports I saw not a single speaker made any reference to Hamas's missile attacks. A little one-sided. Also one-sided: I read a few minutes ago in the Times that Al Jazeera English TV is available almost nowhere in the United States. (I see it here and it's good; it's not a bunch of raving radicals.) That's just ridiculous. Think about all the crap your cable lineup is full of. And no one can find a spot for Al Jazeera? That's censorship. And Congress voting overwhelmingly to support Israel's invasion? We have really lost our minds. Read the resolution passed by the Senate. Talking about one-sided! 
But enough of horrible, depressing news. On Saturday a bunch of us went up into the Montes de Málaga to have lunch at the La Nada, the same place we went around this time last year. The usual suspects. It was cold! But the fire in the chimney kept us warm. (Photos, above.) Afterwards we had coffee with Ana Salinas, who excitedly told us that she had just been offered a position with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Good for her! Now I'd like to write about recent readings, but there's no time for that at this moment. It will have to wait. Off to work...


The Holidays are Really Over Now

Yesterday Cristina and I went to Antequera to do a little tourism. It was a cold day but we had fun. This was my second visit to the Church of Carmen since its restoration and I found it just as amazing to see as the last time. Always new details to admire. The photo above is a little detail from the pulpit. After that taxing visit we went into the Poor Clare's convent to get some of their baked goods ("Ave Maria Purisima" I greeted the nun hidden behind the "lazy Suzan". "Sin Pecado Concebida" she responded. Then we could get down to business.) After a quick cup of coffee at a nice little bar, we visited the city museum and were fortunate enough to have a great guide. She pointed out several details I had missed in earlier visits, including a chasuble that was created in the early fifteenth century from a flag of the Moorish kingdom of Granada. Incredible! There is lots of other liturgical paraphernalia and art that I find fascinating, including a 16th century life-sized sculpture of St. Francis carved from a single piece of pine by Pedro de Mena. And lots of other amazing "stuff". Our visit had begun with the megaliths just outside town and in the one with the deep well at the center, a "modern" work, I couldn't resist contributing a little of my spit to the pool at the bottom. Plip! And I couldn't help being reminded of Basho's famous frog haiku, which for some reason I had come across a few days ago in an essay. Here's Allen Ginsberg's translation: The old pond / A frong jumped in / Kerplunk! On our way out of Anequera I slammed on the brakes when I saw that the church of Santiago had its door open. Fortunately there was just a little space to leave the car on the side of the narrow street. I had never been inside and didn't want to miss this opportunity, as it seems to usually be locked up. Cristina stayed in the car and I told her I'd be just a minute and to come get me if there were a problem with the car. There was just one elderly lady in the church. She was sitting in the back pew, praying. I wandered up towards the main altar, which was presided over not by Jesus or Santiago, but my a huge Virgin, in this case Our Lady of Good Health (La Virgen de la Salud). I was just standing there when the old woman startled me by tapping my lower back. She was about four feet tall and looked to be well into her eighties, if not nineties. She asked me where I was from, then took me by the hand and started to lead me right up to the altar. For a moment I feared she thought I was a heathen and she was going to make me get down on my knees and repent. But no, she got out some keys, unlocked a little door hidden in the wall and pushed me up a tiny staircase which led me up behind the main altar to where the Virgin stands under an unbelievably densely decorated baroque cupola, her chamber. Fun! Then my octogenarian friend asked me if I might like to have an image of Our Lady. Would I! So she brought me into the Sacristy and got me a little photo which is now in my wallet. Then she got out the collection basket and suggested I might like to put something in it for the upkeep of the church. Not a problem. Apparently satisfied with my modest contribution, she took my hand again and led me over to a little side chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Work. (La Virgen del Trabajo, not a common devotion! Damn, it was if I were nine years old again, opening up a pack of baseball cards and lo and behold there's Mickey Mantle!) In this chapel she pointed out an old baptismal font in which the year 1611 was clearly carved into the white marble. Cristina could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the old lady accompany me out the church; she wanted to point me in the direction of the next church I should visit. But I spared Cristina, as it would have been ecclesiastical overload for her. On the way home we stopped and had lunch at a local classic: Venta El Tunel. I write this having just returned from taking Cristina to the airport. Now it's just Waldo and me.


Before Your Time

Everyone goes through times when they fear death. I just saw an article in one of this morning's papers about the actor Patrick Swayze's fight with pancreatic cancer. He talks about the fear. Then I read another article by Jim Atkinson in the Times, in the Alcohol and American Life series. Atkinson recalls the epiphany he had his third day in rehab. He asked about a fellow rehabber who had disappeared and the therapist explained that he had just died as a result of complications from his heroin addiction. The therapist told him, "This business about this stuff killing you is not just a slogan." How true. Atkinson decided he didn't want to die. I am reminded this morning, with a mixture of sadness and affection, of a friend and an acquaintance who have died in recent years, Mary and Stoney. Stoney was an alcoholic. He was a little younger than me. A very nice guy, but with some serious demons. I remember him talking real nonsense and sometimes it was scary. There were times when he seemed to be doing real well and in those periods he was a sweet guy with a gentle touch. He hadn't been successful with formal schooling but he was smart. Then one day he snapped and put an end to his life with a gun. He had appeared to become isolated in the days and weeks before that, so maybe it's true that people do die of loneliness. (It requires an effort to attend to others with the respect and dignity they deserve. It's easy to be dismissive - I don't know you, I'm not interested, you're full of shit, I don't care... How often we fail. I'd better stay connected. That, of course, is my true good fortune-the human connectedness. Save the physical suffering of a child, I can think of nothing sadder than a disconnected individual. No doubt that is why Goya's incredible painting of the semi-buried dog sends such a chill through me.) Mary was a good friend and a dear soul with a tremendous sense of humor and an infectious laugh. I can hear it perfectly as I write this. She maintained a tough exterior and had a strong independent streak. Stubborn. She had been sober for several years, but her distinguished drinking career took a deep toll. Cirrhosis of the liver is not a pretty sight. I admire her dignity in those final weeks. To know what's happening to you and to deal with it with poise and grace, that's a lesson to be treasured. Thanks to Mary, to her friendship and encouragement, I feel a little less afraid. Maybe fear is like a pest, it's there but you have to be somewhat dismissive. It can't be all about introspection, we'd go crazy and wouldn't be able to function. (Thank you Hubble telescope and science reporters! I like being reminded of the true scope of things. We just aren't a big deal. Wow, our little solar system is spinning around the center of the milky way much, much faster than previously thought. Someone get me a new seat belt!) So I can identify with Atkinson. None of us know when our time is. (Thank God-wouldn't that be a nightmare!) I feel that were I to go kaput today it would be before my time. Not an outcome I'm enthusiastic about. Hell, my desk is a mess. But I like my chances for today, and given that I don't have this all figured out, I'd rather not die. Not yet, anyway.



Yesterday, coming out of Angela's little store here in the Malagueta we noticed a very funny announcement posted in the window. Some handymen (first class!) were offering their services. What's so funny is the word "chapuzas", normally used to designate a poorly done job. So it looks as if our eager to work neighbors were offering something along the lines of "Renovations and crappy jobs". In fact, chapuza can mean any little odd job, but that usage is not nearly as frequent as the more common one. (And in Mexico a chapuza refers to some kind of fraudulent transaction, a rip-off.) Unfortunately, there is a lot of shoddy work done here, and not just in home improvement. But today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany so we'll try to stay positive. We have been discovering there are certainly no chapuzas at Artxanda, the neighborhood Basque restaurant that used to be the 7 de Julio. I may offend some traditionalists and others who felt loyal to Patxi, the owner of the 7 de Julio, and he did run a great place, but Artxanda may be even better. It's pricey, but they deliver the goods. Today we just went in for a tapa after our walk downtown. Excellent. Last night we watched a film about Edith Piaf. I didn't think the film itself was anything special but the actress sure is wonderful. Really convincing. A few random notes for the sake of my memory: today Asun and Daniela go back to Madrid, so now it's just Cristina and me here in Malaga. Alma and Jake are in Barcelona and get to Madrid on Thursday. This morning before having a roscón de Reyes with the girls, Asun and I sat down and went over the calendar for the next few months. Travel is relative, in that what's a lot for some is very little for others. For us the next few months will involve lots of travel around Spain, but mainly back and forth between here and Madrid. 


Sad Goodbye

The glaciers in Glacier National Park are melting away and they may be completely gone within a decade. They've been around for at least 7000 years. Anyone still doubting the reality of global warming? I just read this news and as I write this I'm trying to identify the nature of my sadness. I think that sinking feeling I have is for the future, for how we have robbed our children and grandchildren in such a terrible way. They taught us not to mess with Mother Nature, but meanwhile Progress had other ideas. I'm no Luddite and there are a whole lot of comforts and benefits of our wasteful, gluttonous age that I wouldn't want to give up, but it sure is sad. Unfortunately, when I was out in Yellowstone many years ago I didn't get a chance to go visit Glacier National Park. I hope that within the next couple of years we can do some traveling out west. Big mammals,, glaciers and forests, fish... it seems like everything is disappearing. But nature abhors a vacuum, right? I just hope whatever fills it doesn't kill us all.



When is violence justified? That's the question I woke up with this morning after seeing news reports last night of Israel's ground offensive into Gaza. It's madness. Of course Israel has a right to defend itself, but killing hundreds of people, including many innocent children, is an outrage. There is no proportionality. Can you imagine the Spanish army invading France because ETA terrorists based there had set off a car bomb in San Sebastian? It really is despicable. But I don't want to write more about that, it's just upsetting. Yesterday I took Alma and Jake to the airport in Granada for their flight to Gerona. Daniela and Cristina came along. Our plan was to visit the Alhambra in the morning, but by the time we got up there the tickets were all sold out. It was too bad, but it was a rainy day and not a good moment for that kind of experience. We did get to see the Royal Chapel and downtown Granada. These long holidays have really got my sense of time messed up. Tuesday it finally comes to an end with Reyes Magos. Then it's back to normal time. And a normal diet! And speaking of Granada, this morning I read in El País of a different kind of madness: Granada has one of the last remaining monuments to fascism in Europe. The monument shows five hands in a fascist salute, dedicated to José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Spanish Falange. It's amazing that it is still standing. (That's it in the photo above.) Poet Luis García Montero, whose troubles with a colleague I wrote about a couple of months ago, is involved with other writers and artists in another effort to convince city council to finally remove it. Ironically, as a child he participated in the fundraising to pay for the monument's creation in 1972. (1972!) I ran into Luis here in Malaga a couple of weeks ago and we talked about his coming to Dickinson next fall. Hopefully it will work out.


Some Family Pictures

Here a few recent photos from the holidays. It's too bad I have to crop them so much in order to get the file size small enough to upload to this site. 

Last night in front of the cathedral, after a light dinner right there in the Plaza del Obispo. Warm enough to eat outside.

December 30th. A short break as we drive through Despeñaperros, the mountain pass that brings you into Andalucía from Castilla.

In Bilbao, in front of the Guggenheim, December 28th. 

Cristina on her birthday, December 29th. At Barkaistegui.

At San Ginés, the famous chocolataría in Madrid. December 21st.

With abuelo, in San Sebastián.


New Year's in Malaga

We did eat our grapes last night, after a wonderful dinner with Juvenal, Alicia, and Alicia's brother and his son. Incredible homemade raviolis. Good salads that Asun and I made. Ossobuco. The youngsters went out afterwards and Alma and Cristina got home around five am. A beautiful day in Malaga, a nice way to start the year. It wasn't anything like a hike in the woods, but Asun and I did get a nice walk in along the beach with Waldo. We talked about the Israeli destruction of Gaza and how tragic that whole messy situation is. I have been fortunate to never have lived in a society so full of murderous hatred and can't really fathom it. I get touches of it in San Sebastian, but that seems like touchy feely child's play compared to Israel and Palestine. ETA did set off a car bomb yesterday in Bilbao, where we were on Sunday, but they gave a little warning and no one was seriously hurt. I can't remember the name, but I did read something recently by a Polish philosopher about the importance of having some kind of faith. Faith in what is besides the point, but he argued that there better be something because once there's nothing to hope for it's all over. I'll keep hoping scientists discover that the Big Bang had a fuse and that a match was put to it. I think I should have that hope, but I'm not even certain about this. Maybe we could find out too much. And if the nature of the match were to repel us, or scare us? Right now I'm reading Blood Brothers, a novel from 1976 by Richard Price (in the photo). Daniela came across it in San Sebastian. I'm glad I asked her if I could look at it. It's pretty stark and crude for a thirteen year old. I didn't say she couldn't read it. I just haven't encouraged her. I'm enjoying it very much.