Poor you. It’s late. I’m feeling . . . discursive. Prone to ramble. Well then:
As much as I’d love to point you to my interview show on the Strib website today, there was a rare technical cock-up. Audio only. No video. I tried to put a bright happy face on the experience - well, gang, now that we know that can happen, we can take steps to make sure it never happens again! - but I wasn’t the guest who spent time to come to the studio and chat. And so you will never see me propose that skyway restaurants compete with food trucks by sending out miniature trucks like Shriner cars to roam the skyways selling hoagies.
I wore my wireframe glasses, too. Decided today that I hate & despise my black-rimmed Ray-ban mod frames. They’re not me. I don’t like looking at myself when I wear them. I look old. My grandpa wore glasses that were black and the top and clear on the bottom - modern for him, perhaps, which is odd; you never think of your grandparents as doing anything modern.
Why? Because young kids assume that the Wrinkled Ones have no knowledge of the world as it’s happening now. They have no idea how to tell it like it is, man, because they live in the Gauzy Was, not the All-Important Now. I thought of that when I saw this article about fold-out maps, and how they’re making a comeback. (via Instapundit.)
The guides are written colloquially, just as a friend might speak, so the commentary leans towards the sassy. Local artists ensure each one has a flavor that reflects the vibe of the city.
"We always tell the artists, 'If your grandmother sees it, she shouldn't like it," said Nicolas Marichal, USE-IT's editor-in-chief for Europe.
Yeah, don’t let Granny see it, because she’ll wonder why there’s a red circle around the best place to get hash from a tranny hooker. Really, this might have been apt 50 years ago, when women suddenly put on a smock and put their grey hair in a dense bun the moment they stopped menstruating - if you believe the ads, anyway - but give Granny some credit.
I didn’t use any phone-based maps on my Europe jaunts, because it’s expensive if they’re live, and the pre-loaded maps don’t give you the same sense of being somewhere else as getting out a physical map. I use tri-fold laminated maps that can be easily consulted and stowed. I’d happily ditch them for Google Glasses, though. For someone who does not like getting lost, ever, the idea of a HUD that offers a gently throbbing red alert when I’ve strayed from the destination is comforting. Wife would insist we go down this alley to follow the sign that says CAMEO FACTORY in handwritten paint, and we’re going down an alley that gets narrow and dark, and it’s Naples, and twilight, and I think: well, it’ll give me directions back.
404 Street Not Found
Uh - hon? This street is coming up invalid. Let’s go back.
Oh where’s your sense of adventure.
But my glasses can’t resolve the address.
Otherwise a great day. Didn’t do the Strib blog, because. So there. Live with it. Had morning work, a column to file, a video to shoot. I can only shovel so much coal. It was cold, miserably so, and noting the fact is not complaining. But really: 19 below with the wind. The dog went outside because that’s what dogs do, and tried to squat on the icy sheet of the backyard; his legs went this way and that and he couldn’t get up. Had to carry him back in. Let me note with resignation that his training has failed, and the imperative to deposit stool outside the den is not as strong as one would like. You get used to these things. Every gradual incremental manifestation of decline, you accommodate and incorporate. Because he’s part of the family; he’s the dog part. He walks around the table and suppertime and barks if he doesn’t get some rice.
He looks up when you pass, ears up, cloudy eyes wide: something going on? Yes? No? Okay then.
He sleeps all day. I pass, I stop, I watch for the rise and the fall of his breathing. Why formulate it like that? The fall. And then the rise. This is February, the month he was born. The smells of spring are just a dozen weeks away. I can’t wait to see him raise his snout - the one thing that still works as well as ever - and read the breeze.
Right now it’s a mean thing, the wind; it doesn’t just drop the temps. It catches the outside door and flings it open like a madwoman intent on finding her husband with a lover, and knocks over the pot on the steps. The pot with the evergreens. Today the wind took the door with such force the pot broke, and the screws popped out of the frame, and the door-closer mechanism was bent. This has happened so many times there’s not enough wood to provide purchase for the screws of a new mechanism. The entire door frame has to be replaced.
Fitting it happened on the last day of January, no?
I always thought it peculiar that the Romans had a god of doorways, since that seemed a rather minor job for a deity, and would subject the fellow to ribbing at the God Conventions.
“What do you handle?”
“Oh, war, pestilence, violent expansionism. And you?”
“Doors!” Coughs, looks into his drink. “Really.”
“Well it’s more than that, of course. There’s portals of any sort. Hinges and knobs as well. Knockers in all shapes and sizes. You’d be surprised how much is involved.”
“Yes. Quite. Well, nice talking with you . . .”
“Right. Well, nice to meet you.”
But Janus was the god of transitions, which is a far more subtle concept. His temple had a symbolic door that was open in time of war, and closed in time of peace. A god of war was a concern of the State. A god of transitions would be someone a Roman brushed up against on a daily basis.
If they believed in those things. I don’t think most Romans paid them much thought beyond rote propitiations. Jupiter, sure - either as the Big Dude, or the Prime Mover divorced from the soap-opera pantheon, or Sol Invictus. The family gods of ancestors. Plebe fads for Dis or Mithras; patrician cults for Venus or Bacchus.
In other words, one big top god, and then one personal one. The human brain arranges itself like that quite easily, as if there’s a natural pulse to existence - the beat of a heart, one two. The rise and fall of breath, one two.
The break in a blog between the top part and the lower section that comes after the ad. One two.