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what Lynda was *not* talking about, when she said it's about damn time.

So the new rule (HA) is that I can't start a new book until I have said something intelligent about the last one.  Or at least.  Until I have tried.  Of course, this may pose a problem when I finally succumb to the Italian-language Calvin & Hobbes collection at that bookstore on Via Governo Vecchio ("C'è Qualcosa Che Sbava Sotto Il Letto" -- how cool is THAT yo?) -- but oh, intelligence is such an elastic concept when you're dealing with these things...

For now, we have the second reading of The Time Traveler's Wife.  (I hear Brandi singing in my background, o lord what can I say.)

***

You know how, in the extra features for the DVD edition of When Harry Met Sally, Nora Ephron (or maybe it was Rob Reiner -- hm), talks about New York City being the third character in the love story?  (Alright.  Maybe you don't know how, because maybe you have never rented the DVD edition of When Harry Met Sally -- dubiously re-named Harry ti presento Sally, in Italian.  As my six-year-old-self would say: BUT STILL.)

Anyway, in this book it is Chicago that plays that uber- and under-everything third love (I was tempted to say the fourth love, with Time being the third, but then I thought no -- Time is the arch-villain, the Beelzebub, the traitorous Judas in this story).

From the Art Institute of Chicago, to the Field Museum, to the Newberry Library and Grant Park, right past Lake Michigan and the river and onward to Evanston -- with so many of these places dipping in an out of the time-pool that this story swims in.  If I loved Chicago this book would read like an ode.

***

Random favorites (be warned, there may be lovey-dovey cheesiness among these):

- "...cool as a Raymond Chandler murderess."

- "Without Clare I would have given up a long time ago, I never understood why Clark Kent was so hell bent on keeping Lois Lane in the dark."

- "Everything seems simple until you think about it.  Why is love intensified by absence?"

- "I wish for a moment that time would lift me out of this day, and into some more benign one.  But then I feel guilty for wanting to avoid the sadness; dead people need us to remember them, even if it eats us..."

- "I'm sorry.  I didn't know you were coming or I'd have cleaned up a little more.  My life, I mean, not just the apartment."

- "I place my hands over her ears and tip her head back, and kiss her, and try to put my heart into hers, for safekeeping, in case I lose it again."

- "He has this idea that every piece of music should be treated with respect, even if it isn't something he likes much.  I mean, he doesn't like Tchaikovsky, or Strauss, but he will play them very seriously.  That's why he's great; he plays everything as though he's in love with it."

there would be more, of course -- "had we but world enough, and time."


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[domenica 03 gennaio 2010 ore 15:53:41] []

that was *way* too long a dry spell...

I'm talking about the Random Shiraz Selection, of course.  What did you think?

...

Well, *anyway* -- this is Edition VIII in the series, for all of you who've patiently waited (yes, I'm talking to you all three of you).

***

1 - From the BBC, one of those comforting illustrations of the fact that in Italy, it's not *always* and *only* the female body that is -- how shall I put it? -- on display:

The recession in Italy has led to fierce competition between retailers, who are battling harder than ever to capture the attention of potential customers.  One shop in Rome has gone to the length of hiring a 'human mannequin' to live on a bed amongst customers.  The shop in question, '7 camicie' in Via del Corso, which sells shirts, has hired professional model and actor Paul Lahmiesc to ply their trade.

Of course, it's only a matter of time before Intimissimi, Yamamay and Tezenis follow err, "suit" -- but until then, I'm going to enjoy my walks down Via del Corso...

***

2 - Courtesy of The Observer, one of those end-of-the-year / start-of-the-year, list-ey articles -- 30 ways to a better life.  I'm not sure if improving your makeup technique and "swishing" your old clothes (don't ask) make for a better life, and I am a little wary of these self-proclaimed "business dragons," "style consultants," (cough) and "gurus" (sigh), but I did find some goodies, starting with this one:

Cards of Change, which now has several hundred users worldwide and a growing number in the UK ("It's hard to be exact as people are constantly losing and/or getting jobs") works a bit like an online AA meeting: people who have been laid off take their old business cards, cross out the details and replace them with optimistic messages about utilising their new-found spare time to learn to skateboard or, alternatively, by writing something poetic and proverbial about the change -- along with their new contact details.  Users then post a photograph of the new card on the site, for free.  A large number have been re-employed as a result, with Van Daele hiring two users for his own company.

A little like PostSecret, but for the Lately-Laid-Off.  I like the "naturally anonymous" one about how "I now steal the office supplies."

***

3 - Also thanks to The Observer article, I found The School of Life, and one of those lovely-but-slightly-nerdy pastimes that the English so endearingly call a "parlour game":

It’s the one where you choose three obscure books, read their covers aloud and ask players to write what they think is the first line.  An umpire then reads out the results with the real first line of the book buried somewhere among them, and asks the group to choose which is the real one.  I’m prepared to bet as much as a fiver that no matter how many times we play this game, the group will always mistakenly identify one of their own lines as the real thing.

Writing prompt, anyone?

***

4 - And the last find that I owe to the 30-ways piece (you know by now that if I can get Douglas Adams into a Random Shiraz Selection then by Trillian I will), is from outrospection, an "empathy blog" (cough), by the albeit admirably-intentioned Mr. Roman Krznaric.  (If I send you a list of people, would you do housecalls, Mr. Krznaric?)  He reminds us of a most handy tool for "expanding your empathy" and tackling "YOUR FAMILY EMPATHY DEFICIT" (uh-huh):

The film The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy features an ingenious device called the Point-of-View Gun.  When it is fired at someone, it causes them to see things from the perspective of the person who pulled the trigger.  This singular weapon was designed at the request of the Intergalactic Consortium of Angry Housewives, who were tired of ending every discussion with their husbands with the statement, ‘You just don’t get it, do you!’

Oh Mama, get me one of those.

***

and just like old times, previous RSS compilations can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Just remember that hyperlinks are like happy marriages -- not all of them last.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[domenica 03 gennaio 2010 ore 11:04:51] []

pieces of you.

I switch back to the smaller comforter, the single.  I replenish the clementines, but not the milk.  The Cheerios sit pretty uncheerily on the kitchen counter.

Outside, the Colosseo squats under the finally-blue sky.  If I were not so happy, I would shake a mental fist at this Roman sun, for how carefully she seems to have choreographed her ferie, this year.

Instead I feel a little like I did on that first permesso-visit back from purgatory (also known as Canada), when Lynda asked so warily -- how does it feel to be here, and have it not be home.

Something tells me it will be.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[sabato 02 gennaio 2010 ore 20:35:38] []