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[AUGUST 2009.]

i know you’re probably abroad, but i’m going to bug you about content anyway. content!

Rome is too hot in August! Be wary! It tempts you with pizza and textured orange walls, and then you fall over and desiccate—

Gian Lorenzo Bernini: masterpieces HOLY FUCK MASTERPIECES at the Borghese gallery, where a pointlessly nasty lady doesn’t let you check your suitcase and encourages you to drag your suitcase halfway across Rome—this is the kind of thing St. Paul complains about in his letters—but the marital relation is a useful card to play when arguing with people, J. can say “my husband” just dragged the suitcase halfway across Rome at your suggestion and it brought no profit and now he has to wait outside with the suitcase in the heat, and they will arrange a ticket exchange—

Berlin: a million kinds of seed-bread, snazzy bicolored crows, books, punks, speakers of Turkish. Sudanese falafel (it comes with peanut sauce). A bas-relief of Luther translating the Bible; hands down the most awesome depiction ever of the act of translation—

I read Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum all by my own damn self; we are climbing up this hill, though I still speak the language like a caveman who happens to know a lot of philosophical concepts—

Berliner Philharmoniker: saw the performance of Symphonie Fantastique that I’d been waiting for since I was sixteen and thought Berlioz was the sublimest shit; premiere of a great new Kaija Saariaho piece, the composer in attendance wearing a bright red dress; with last year’s Gubaidulina premiere in SF and the various John Adams events I’ve now seen most of my favorite living composers clapping and bowing and receiving flowers, still makes me giddy—

just had a “griechische Omelette”—feta and rosemary and honey on the wine-dark sea. J. is 30 today. We salute her!

but then Rome gifts you with a cool fountain and a wet hat! Go Rome!


Pay For It

Friends, in these awful times for the University of California I can’t point you anywhere better than “The Death of Socrates” by Thomas M. Disch. The munificent Andrew Carnegie-bot will let you read the first few pages here, and the broke-ass UCB library even has a copy.


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