Archive for September, 2013

Sep
28

Venice goes to France

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The interval of silence that has passed between my last post and this was not caused by my retreat to a Carthusian convent, though the thought has often appealed to me.

No, we skipped out to Orleans — the old, not the new — for the Festival de Loire, a five-day traditional-boat festival on the cobblystoned banks of the river.

This is the waterfront before the arrival of all the boats.  The water nearest the embankment is a sort of deviation of the Loire, which is flowing behind the line of trees and joins this offshoot where the trees end.

This is the waterfront before the arrival of all the boats. The water nearest the embankment is a sort of deviation of the Loire, which is flowing behind the line of trees and joins this offshoot where the trees end.  This side of the trees the channel is always navigable; on the other side, the river is largely sandbank.

The Venetian fleet: From the shore outward, the "Diesona," or ten-oar gondola; a gondola "da fresco," a battella a coa de gambaro (shrimp-tail battella), and a gondolino.

The Venetian fleet: From the shore outward, the “Diesona,” or ten-oar gondola; a gondola “da fresco,” a battella a coa de gambaro (shrimp-tail battella), and a gondolino.  All but the battella belong to the Settemari rowing club.

Other boats begin to appear.  I never saw them arrive. Maybe they rose from the deep.

Other boats begin to appear. I never saw them arrive. Maybe they rose from the deep.

Every two years, the City of Orleans puts on this fiesta, with stands and food and games for the children and demonstrations of crafts and lots of stuff for sale (like cases of the local wine, to pick an example at random).  It is a massive undertaking, and what with logistics and cost I can see why they need a year to recover.

Here is what I can tell you about Orleans, from what I remember:

It’s the first city that Joan of Arc liberated from the English stranglehold, after a hideous siege, in 14something; it was the capital of France for a long time, before (fill in King Name here) decided he liked Paris better; the historic center is beautiful and extremely clean; the cathedral is really high, and I can say that because I stopped counting the stone steps on the way to the pinnacle after about 852; the local dish is andouillette (an-doo-ee-YET), an alarming sausage-like creation composed of the internal organs of either pig or calf.

If I’d ever gotten downwind of chitlings I might have been prepared for this, and I have to admit I’ve never tried haggis, which conceivably could be even more alarming.  But as for andouillette, the odor alone is enough, as it approaches your face, for you to think again about biting into it. (Actually, you don’t have to think about it at all.  The mouth shuts without any prompting.) It’s something like the aroma of a slaughterhouse in summer which has never been inspected or cleaned.  Apologies to people who love andouillette or haggis.

I did in fact read up briefly on this extraordinary invention, just to see if I was being needlessly finicky.  After all, I love tripe, and I have consumed brains and kidneys and pig’s feet, so how bad could this be?  “It has a strong distinctive odor related to its intestinal origins and components” — my source tactfully puts it — “and is stronger in scent when the colon is used.”  I rest my case.

These are andouillettes, hot off the grill.  They look normal, it's true, and they were selling like crazy.

These are andouillettes, hot off the grill. They look normal, it’s true, and they were selling like crazy.

I will admit that I could have been tempted to try something prepared by Cyrano de Bergerac. Just not that.

I will admit that I could have been tempted to try something prepared by Cyrano de Bergerac. Just not that.

Cyrano's son is studying at a university in Louisiana, hence the jambalaya recipe on the apron.  I don't know if he has ever made it in Orleans.  They probably would think it's uneatable.  As they chomp into their fourth andouillette.

Cyrano’s son is studying at a university in Louisiana, hence the jambalaya recipe on the apron. I don’t know if he has ever made it in Orleans. They probably would think it’s uneatable. As they chomp into their fourth andouillette.

On other hand, I discovered real smoked herring (not the salty little pieces of herring-jerky known as kippered herrings in England), which is now my new favorite thing and which I don’t imagine ever eating again, short of a trip to the Netherlands or some Viking country.  Lino says it used to be very common in Venice; small gobbets went very well with polenta.

The herring production system is simple, but time-consuming.  One man has already beheaded and gutted the herring,and skewered them on poles.  The fish on the right are hung over a slow fire to dry.  They are then placed between the blankets on the iron drum at the left, in which sawdust is creating clouds of smoke.  I can't explain at what point, or by what alchemy, the fish come out of their swaddlings gleaming like copper, but it obviously works fine.

The herring production system is simple, but time-consuming. One man has already beheaded, gutted and skewered the herring. The fish are then hung over a slow fire to dry. When the moment is right, they are muffled between the blankets on the iron drum at the left, in which burning sawdust is creating clouds of smoke. I can’t explain at what point, or by what alchemy, the fish come out of their swaddlings gleaming like copper, but it obviously works fine.

Ready to be eaten.  Please notice that smoking is forbidden.  You don't want your smoke to clash with their smoke.

Ready to be eaten. Please notice that smoking is forbidden. They don’t want your smoke to clash with their smoke.

This is lunch, with its delicately smoldered flavor and its long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and Vitamin D.

This is lunch, with its delicately smoldered flavor and its long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and Vitamin D.

We went to Orleans to represent Venice, the guest of honor for the 2013 edition of this mega-fest, bringing four Venetian boats and 20+ Venetian rowers from the Settemari club and Arzana‘, a smaller organization dedicated to the conservation of old boats. We are members of the latter, though there are several people who belong to both.

Our duties consisted of rowing the boats up and down the stretch of river fronting the one-kilometer (half-mile) stretch of festival stands and hordes.  We did this for a while in the morning, and another while in the afternoon.  We were there to look beautiful and fascinating, and so that’s what we did.  Between eating and drinking, that is.  And climbing the cathedral.

Now we’re all back to the most beautiful city in the world, where our absence wasn’t noticed, and neither is our presence, usually. Still, if I had to choose between Venice and Orleans, my choice is clear.  It’s true that Orleans has a phenomenally efficient and clean tram system. But we have the vaporettos, which are administered by highly-paid people who obey the instructions transmitted by alien beings through the fillings in their teeth.

So I’m sticking with Venice. What’s mere efficiency compared to that?

A few boats of various sizes were also brought from Cesenatico, down the Adriatic coast from Venice.  The big bragozzo never left its moorings, but the smaller craft went up and down, sails spread, motors running, just like everybody else except us.

A few boats of various sizes were also brought from Cesenatico, down the Adriatic coast from Venice. The big bragozzo never left its moorings, but the smaller craft went up and down, sails spread, motors running, just like everybody else except us.

There were plenty of traditional Loire transport boats. I love their sails, they look like something off the Bayeux Tapestry.

There were plenty of traditional Loire transport boats. I love their sails, they look like something off the Bayeux Tapestry.

Man did not live by boats alone. Two Ardennes draft horses were brought to recall the epoch (probably about 3,000 years long) in which such creatures were crucial in towing the boats against the considerable current when the wind dropped or the water rose, or when the cargo was especially ponderous, such as sand.

Man did not live by boats alone. Two Ardennes draft horses were brought to recall the epoch (probably about 3,000 years long) in which such creatures were crucial in towing the boats against the considerable current when the wind dropped or the water rose, or when the cargo was especially ponderous, such as sand.

We took a few hours to visit the cathedral of the Holy Cross (photo: Andrew Lih, Wikipedia).

We took a few hours to visit the cathedral of the Holy Cross (photo: Andrew Lih, Wikipedia).
One of our group had discovered the priest responsible for the cathedral, Father Girault, who agreed to escort us up to the top.  What was I thinking?

One of our group had discovered the priest responsible for the cathedral, Father Girault, who agreed to escort us up to the top. What was I thinking?

But we made it to the top, some of us impelled by the desire to touch the angel's feet, which the good padre told us was traditionally believed to bring good fortune.  Me, I just wanted to see if I could do it.  The fact that he did it as well impressed me no end, as did his spontaneous blessing of us and the city of Venice from this vertigenous shelf.

But we made it, some of us impelled by the desire to touch the angel’s feet, which the good padre told us was traditionally believed to bring good fortune. Me, I just wanted to see if I could get there. The fact that he was right there with us impressed me no end, as did his spontaneous blessing of us and the city of Venice from this vertigenous shelf.

Then he invited us to his residence nearby for snacks and drinks.  He told us some very funny stories, even while deftly rolling countless cigarettes.

Then he invited us to his residence nearby for snacks and drinks. He told us some very funny stories, even while deftly rolling one cigarette after another.

Back to the river.  On Sunday morning, some good soul organized a trip a few miltes up the river in four traditional boats.

Back to the river. On Sunday morning, some good soul organized a trip four miles (7 km) up the river in four traditional boats.

We anchored by throwing the anchors ashore) at Combleux, a village at the entrance to a canal, now abandoned, which was the route to the Seine and eventually Paris for innumerable cargo boats in days of yore.

We anchored by throwing the anchors ashore) at Combleux, a village at the entrance to a canal, now abandoned, which was the route to the Seine and eventually Paris for innumerable cargo boats in days of yore.

The Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but they can't fix everything up.

The Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but they can’t fix everything up.

The masts can be extended horizontally, for obvious reasons.

The masts can be extended horizontally, for obvious reasons.

 

The pennants are traditionally attached to the masthead with distinctive carved symbols representing the owner, the cargo, and other distinguishing characteristics.

The pennants are traditionally attached to the masthead with distinctive carved symbols representing the owner, the cargo, and other distinguishing characteristics.

We took a few musicians aboard for the return trip, and their songs of the rivermen of the Loire practically made me get up and dance.

We took a few musicians aboard for the return trip, and their songs of the rivermen of the Loire practically made me get up and dance.

Here are two clips Voce036[1] Voce035[1]recorded on my cell phone; remember we were all floating down the river, so this is not studio quality.  It was sort of superlative-moment-in-ordinary-life quality.

It was one those beautiful interludes that you can't resist, and Massimo Rigo (president of the Settemari rowing club) and his wife Barbara didn't especially try.

It was one those interludes that you can’t resist, and Massimo Rigo (president of the Settemari rowing club) and his wife Barbara didn’t especially try.

We didn't learn many details, but it's clear that the owner of the chateau had no intention of letting the Loire in spate damage his property.  The neighbors on either side are on their own.

We didn’t learn many details, but it’s clear that the owner of the chateau had no intention of letting the Loire in spate damage his property. The neighbors on either side are on their own.

And speaking of floods, these marks on the walls show the height of several catastrophic inundations -- strangely, we all noted, in years ending in "6."  This street, may I note, is very high and far from the river.

And speaking of acqua alta, these marks on the walls show the height of several catastrophic inundations — strangely, we all observed, in years ending in “6.” This street, may I note, is very high and 150 feet (45 m) from the river.

Saturday night was the height of the festivities, complete with these strange floating drifting constructions which seemed oddly benign.

Saturday night was the height of the festivities, complete with these strange floating drifting constructions which seemed oddly benign.  The big moment, which drew something like 20,000 spectators, was the fireworks spectacular, choreographed with music.  It was thrilling.  No pictures — I was concentrating on being thrilled.

And colored lights played over the boats and river.  It was magical.  I'm going to end the story here.

And colored lights played over the boats and river. It was magical. I’m going to end the story here.  We all lived happily ever after.

 

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Sep
16

The battle of the woodcuts

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The house of Aldus Manutius in Venice appears to be inhabited, but we can only gaze upon the plaques to send him appropriately respectful thoughts.

The house of Aldus Manutius in Venice appears to be inhabited, but we can only gaze upon the plaque and meditate on his brilliance from the street.

"In this house that belonged to Aldus Pius Manutius the Aldine Academy gathered and from here the light of Greek letters returned to shine upon civilized peoples. The department of Greek letters of the University of Padua in the year 1876 1877 wished to designate this famous place to future generations."

“In this house that belonged to Aldus Pius Manutius the Aldine Academy gathered and from here the light of Greek letters returned to shine upon civilized peoples. The department of Greek letters of the University of Padua in the year 1876 1877 wished to designate this famous place to future generations.”

As all the world knows, Venice used to be one of the most important cities in Europe for printing — books, music, heretical works banned by the Catholic church.  Even in the last century there were still 20 printing presses in Venice.

If one were to want to know more, it’s pretty much enough just to read the story of Aldus Manutius (Aldo Manuzio, in Italian), who singlehandedly midwifed the Renaissance by printing (and translating) many of the Greek classics which survived antiquity, few as they are.  Do I exaggerate?  It’s thanks to him we non-Greek-speaking people can read Aristotle, Thucydides, Sophocles, Herodotus, Xenophon, Euripides, Demosthenes….

He also invented the pocket-sized book, and italic letters.  You see how many things we take for granted?

But this is not a post about Aldus.  It’s about Antonio Gardano and Johannes Buglhat and their big battle of the woodcuts.

They were part of the brigades of other excellent printers hard at work in the 15th and 16th centuries, and these printers were not all drinking buddies.  Being merchants, they had to keep a sharp eye on their competitors.  Sometimes very sharp eyes.

A friend has sent me an article by David Plylar, from the Library of Congress blog, which deals with the woodcut slanging between the aforementioned publishers.

Rather than reprint it here, the author has suggested that I only give the link.  I myself think it’s pretty funny.  But you decide.

The title page of

Gardano’s printer’s mark featured the lion and bear of his patron, Leone Orsini.

 

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Sep
14

The wonders worked by gold

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Simple little gold.  I don't know how much this is worth, but I know I could use most of it.

Simple little gold, otherwise known as Au, or 79. I don’t know how much this is worth, but I know I could use most of it.  So could Venice, but I”m not sharing. (Dallas Refining)

Money in Venetian is known as schei (“skay”).  It is also known, by extension, as the thing we need most and have least.  In fact, we have none.  We never have any.  There isn’t any.  We can’t pay for anything because we haven’t got anything to use, not even bricks of salt or boxes of tulips.  We’re broke, and proud of it.

I’m broke because no money comes in.  The city is broke because money comes in but then it goes out again, somewhere, lots of somewheres, all according to accounting systems that bear more resemblance to Advanced Squad Leader than simple little double-entry bookkeeping, which was invented in Venice, by the way.

It’s something astonishing.  Venice can’t pay for the Regata Storica.  It can’t pay for the city hospital.  It can’t pay for repairing (fill in name of favorite monument, church, work of art here).  It can’t pay to build a new cinema for the Film Festival.  It can’t pay to correct the errors which were paid for with money which it didn’t have.  It’s trying to sell the Casino because the once-flourishing cash cow is running out of butterfat.  Somebody wrote to the Gazzettino that the best way to settle the evergreen conflict about whether the Italian Region of Alto Adige is really the Austrian Region of South Tyrol is to sell it to the Austrians. Conflict over, coffers bursting.

The only way to confront snaggly streets and exhausted bridges and anything else that needs fixing is to seek a sponsor.  The word “sponsor” has acquired the lonely, sacred, unattainable significance of “Holy Grail.”  “We have to find a sponsor” is the most annoying, monotonous, “I got nothin'” phrase since “Have a nice day.”  It means “We have to find an oil field,” “We have to find a rhodium mine,” “We have to find something that doesn’t cost us anything and gives us everything.”

But money there is, because it keeps popping up where it isn’t supposed to be — not only in Venice, but all over Italy.  Bribes.  Payoffs.  Fake blind people imbibing state subsidies for disabilities.  (A woman has just been nabbed for having requested — and received — a 300-euro contribution to pay for her children’s schoolbooks.  She claimed to have only 6,000 euros in this world.  But in fact, she turns out to have 480,000 euros in this world.)  One man who has finally been cornered for some malfeasance I haven’t been tracking was discovered to have 238  bank accounts.  Is that a lot?  I have no way of knowing.

If it's hard to earn gold to spend on cars and clothes, think of how hard it is to earn gold in Olympic medal form. This is from the Winter Olympics of Cortina d'Ampezzo, 1956.

If it’s hard to earn gold to spend on cars and clothes, think of how hard it is to earn gold in Olympic medal form. This is from the Winter Olympics of Cortina d’Ampezzo, 1956.

I do know that there were long, convoluted negotiations between the city and Pierre Cardin about the “Palais Lumiere,” the cyclopean ultra-modern glass skyscraper he wanted to build on the edge of the lagoon.  Everybody but the two aforementioned entities thought it was a terrible idea and finally he gave up and took his idea and went away.  Which means that now the city suddenly doesn’t have the 30 million euros (I believe it was) which they had already happily scribbled onto the “Income” side of the ledger.  Which means that now they haven’t got enough to pay for extending the tram across the bridge from Mestre to Piazzale Roma.  Evidently the phrase “You should have thought of that sooner” applies to more situations than to five-year-olds in the back seat of the car who suddenly have to go to the bathroom.

As usual, everyone is wailing about taxes and many are wailing about the cost of government.  (Feel free to wail in your own language.)  But if anybody has the sensation that the taxes are going nowhere, it’s possible to discover at least some of the wheres.  Such as running the government.  We heard on the radio that the cost of government in Germany is 4 euros per person; in Greece it’s 6 euros per person; in Italy, it’s 27.  It’s expensive to keep 630 people in Rome arguing all day about the other parties’ members and mistakes.

Am I going somewhere with all this?  Certainly.

I am reading a very diverting book entitled “A Book of Scoundrels,” by Charles Whibley (1897), which delineates the careers of England’s most notable highwaymen and other sorts of thieves and criminals.  Short version: In spite of their faults and failures as humans, he was basically on their side as long as they had panache, originality, and/or great clothes.

I offer the following segment in honor of all the fiscal frivolity that crowds the newspapers and the courts.  This may be the only period that I’ve ever wished I were a lawyer; I’d be fixed for life.

And there was that little unpleasantness about the Golden Calf. Based, as I recall, more on its calfness than its goldenness. A detail, and not one that would get me out of court.. (The Nuremberg Chronicle, Vanderbilt University).

And there was that little unpleasantness about the Golden Calf. Based, as I recall, more on its calfness than its goldenness. A detail, and not one that would get me out of jail. (The Nuremberg Chronicle, Vanderbilt University).

The characters: James Hind (1616 – 1652) a notorious highwayman of Royalist sympathies who happened to get his clutches on John Bradshaw, the judge who had condemned King Charles I to decapitation. The scene: The luxurious open spaces of Dorset, near Sherborne.

First, Hind took all of the judge’s money, told the bodyguard (who had judiciously decided to suspend his active service) to take off his hat, and then delivered the following discourse on gold:

“This is that incomparable medicament, which the republican physicians call the wonder-working plaster.  It is truly catholic in operation, and somewhat akin to the Jesuit’s powder, but more effectual.

“The virtues of it are strange and various; it makes justice deaf as well as blind, and takes out spots of the deepest treason more cleverly than castle-soap (sic) does common stains; it alters a man’s constitution in two or three days, more than the virtuoso’s transfusion of blood can do in seven years.

“‘Tis a great alexiopharmick, and helps poisonous principles of rebellion, and those that use them.  It miraculously exalts and purifies the eyesight, and makes traitors behold nothing but innocence in the blackest malefactors.

“‘Tis a mighty cordial for a declining cause; it stifles faction or schism, as certainly as the itch is destroyed by butter and brimstone.

” … The very colour of this precious balm is bright and dazzling.  If it be properly applied to the fist, that is in a decent manner, and a competent dose, it infallibly performs all the cures which the evils of humanity crave.”

Thus having spoken, he killed the six horses of Bradshaw’s coach, and went contemptuously on his way.

Take that!  And that!  Hind’s scorn might be wasted on the prime exemplars of modern brigandage here in the cradle of the Renaissance.  Not that they’re unfamiliar with scorn, and some irony manages to make itself heard from time to time, but discourses such as Hind’s would lack flourish in Italian, where utterances often depend more on blunt instruments (words such as “shame”) than the whetted poniards of true rhetoric.

But I feel better now.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe because it shows that there’s no point in struggling to be better people. It’s been this way forever.  Here we are, and here we’ll stay.  Evolution is over.

So let's revert to mythology, when life was simpler, if shorter.  Danae met Zeus in the form of a golden shower, the story goes.  James Hind could only dream of this.  (Orazio Gentileschi, date TK, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).

So let’s revert to mythology, when life was simpler, if shorter. Danae met Zeus in the form of a golden shower, the story goes. James Hind could only dream of this. The gold, I mean, not the girl. (Orazio Gentileschi, c. 1621, Cleveland Museum of Art).

 

 

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I was walking along, head down, pondering, when suddenly I saw this just lying on the ground. I promise you I did not touch it, even with my foot. What I'll never know is how or by what agent these pieces came together. The "why" seems obvious, though.

I was walking along, head down, pondering, when suddenly I saw this just lying on the ground. I promise you I did not touch it, even with my foot. What I’ll never know is how or by what agent these pieces came together. The “why” seems obvious, though.

It’s so easy to get dragged down by the undertow (or do undertows drag out? another of the endless questions that fill my brain) — dragged on, let’s say, by the daily, hourly, secondly force of aberrant behavior here that you might wonder why I’m still here if it’s all so, well, aberrant.

Answer: It’s not ALL so aberrant.

Life here can also be really entertaining.  I try to stay alert to the brighter side, even if I don’t always write about it.  Things may calm down soon, and more brightness will be able to leave the Witness Protection Program where I’ve kept it while the summer rampaged on.

Here’s some of what I’ve seen lately that made me smile.

We were sitting with a bunch of friends in an osteria when this trio of lovelies wafted in. The visitation was clearly part of her wedding-eve bachelorette celebration (if that's what it's called anymore). Hence the wedding veil and flowers. The rabbit ears are original, though -- assuming she's not marrying a rabbit. They gave each man a special little gift.....

We were sitting with a bunch of friends in an osteria when this trio of lovelies wafted in. The visitation was clearly part of her wedding-eve bachelorette celebration (if that’s what it’s called anymore). Hence the wedding veil and flowers. The rabbit ears are original, though — assuming she’s not marrying a rabbit.  I’m a little concerned about her less-than-festive expression, but I don’t know how much wine they’d already given her.  I hope that’s the explanation, anyway.  Before wafting away, they offered each man a special little gift…..

It's chocolate.  It needs no explanation.

It’s chocolate. It needs no explanation.

This is the lion that triumphantly tops the entrance to the Arsenal, placed (with Santa Giustina above) in commemoration of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto. I've photographed him many times, but the other morning he was looking exceptionally crisp. Perhaps he'd been starched and ironed.

This is the lion that triumphantly tops the entrance to the Arsenal, placed (with Santa Giustina above) in commemoration of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto. I’ve photographed him many times, but the other morning he was looking exceptionally crisp. Perhaps he’d been starched and ironed.

The gondoliers' station at the Molo, which is almost always a scene resembling Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. Seeing this trusty gondolier ready for work, all by himself, on an early, diabolically hot July morning, was astonishing, and even a little distressing. Of course he had his little postage-stamp of shade. But I had the strange feeling he was waiting for an event for which he was either early or late.

Here we are at the gondoliers’ station at the Molo, which is almost always a scene resembling Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. Seeing this trusty gondolier ready for work, all by himself, on an early, diabolically hot July morning, was astonishing, and even a little distressing. Of course he had his little postage-stamp of shade, but it’s really unusual to see a gondolier all by himself.  I had the strange feeling he had been put there for a big Time Out.

I love reflections, but I never thought a rained-on gondola would take it upon its highly varnished self to continue the reflection of the palace already underway in the canal.  You get my reflection too, no extra charge.

I love reflections, but I never thought a rained-on gondola would take it upon its highly varnished self to continue the reflection of the palace already underway in the canal. You get my reflection too, no extra charge.

Speaking of gondolas and their intractable urge to reflect anything that comes in at the correct angle, I only discovered a slice of the church of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti after I congratulated myself on taking a picture of the oars.

Speaking of gondolas and their intractable urge to reflect anything that comes in at the correct angle, I discovered a wavy slice of the church of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti only after I congratulated myself on taking a picture of the oars.

Watching people has been more than usually entertaining this summer.  I'd like to have known if this pair had consulted on the green-white configuration, or if they are so conjoined mentally that they don't have to confer.

Watching people has been more than usually entertaining this summer. I’d like to have known if this pair had consulted on the green-white configuration, or if they are so conjoined mentally that they don’t have to confer.

Same thing here -- or maybe there was a memo that morning that went around the neighborhood. Which I didn't get, by the way.

Same thing here — or maybe there was a memo that morning that went around the neighborhood. Which I didn’t get, by the way.

As I looked at this young woman, I had to admit that despite the divergence in our taste, she had actually spent much more time planning and perfecting her appearance that morning than I had. I have to admire that.

As I looked at this young woman, I had to admit that despite the divergence in our taste, she had actually spent much more time planning and perfecting her appearance that morning than I had. I have to admire that. So please note her left shoulder-strap, which is red.  Sorry I didn’t make more effort to show the entire ensemble but I preferred to stay where I was.

She isn't a door-knocker, that's for sure.  I'm not certain what she's doing on this ironwork arabesque. With wings that small, she probably has to stop every few minutes to rest, like those animals who have to eat every five seconds or they die.

She isn’t a door-knocker, that’s for sure. I’m not certain what she’s doing on this ironwork arabesque. With wings that small, she probably has to stop every few minutes to rest, like those animals who have to eat every five seconds or they die.

 

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