Archive for January, 2015

Jan
07

The last holiday gasp

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The tree has served its purpose, and now it's on to the mulch-mill, or wherever trees go to be reincarnated.  Of course this isn't the correct way to dispose of your spare timber.  When Lino was a lad, nobody had trees -- they had broth with tortelliniand were thankful to have that.  When trees began to be used, they were disposed of in the same way as much of the other trash: out the window into the water.  Nowadays you're supposed to work it out with the garbage collector, but as you see, that's too troublesome for some people, who'd rather haul it to the curb, so to speak, and just leave it.

The tree has served its purpose, and now it’s on to the mulch-mill, or wherever trees go to be reincarnated. Of course this isn’t the correct way to dispose of your spare timber. When Lino was a lad, nobody had trees at Christmas — they had broth with homemade tortellini and were thankful. When trees began to be used, they were often disposed of in the same way as much of the other trash: with a splash. Nowadays you’re supposed to work it out with the garbage collector, but as you see, that’s irksome for some people, who’d rather haul it to the curb, so to speak, and just leave it to its fate.

The high tide of the holidays has washed over the calendar, the budget, the crumpled handful of tomato-stained to-do and to-buy lists, and as the tide retreats into the new year, I thought I’d give a tiny review of the two weeks (it seems so much longer) just past.

After so many holiday seasons here, I don’t have much to say that’s new.  Christmas, New Year, and the ineffable Befana have passed in orderly single file, and here we are, facing the next 12 months.  The holidays don’t end on New Year’s Day, they drip on for another few days till the day after Epiphany, which my calendar says is dedicated to St. Raimondo de Penafort, who must be the patron saint of children going back to school.

The panettoni are now on sale at drastically marked-down prices (2 for 7 euros? You could stock up now for next Christmas!).  But anybody who has managed to finish one is glad to see the box disappear.  My own experience is that I love the first two wedges, and after that it's an increasing struggle to get through it.  This person is happier than I am, because we've got two more in the gift pile and you know nobody is going to want one, even as a gift.  Yes, I know: If only all problems were this innocent, not to mention easy to resolve.

If the panettone is gone, can the box be far behind?  Obviously not.  Hardly anything says “party’s over” like a busted panettone-box.  The panettoni are now on sale at drastically slashed prices (2 for 7 euros? You could stock up now for next Christmas!). But anybody who has managed to finish one is glad to see the box disappear. My own experience is that I love the first two wedges, and after that it’s an increasing struggle to get through it. The person who left this dismembered box is happier than I, because we’ve still got two more panettoni  in the gift pile and we can’t fob them off on anyone, even as a gift. Yes, I know: If only all problems were this innocent, not to mention easy to resolve.

This is a cry for help.  It may also demonstrate a buyer who seriously misjudged demand, and/or let himself be convinced by a price that was even more drastically low.  I'mi imagining the seller saying something like "Buy 2,000 panettoni and spend only 50 cents each."  I wonder if there's a dead panettone dump somewhere, a mountain of rejected Christmas confectionery.  I hope never to know.

This is a cry for help. It may also demonstrate a buyer who seriously misjudged demand, and/or let a producer beguile him with a price that was even more drastically low. I’mi imagining the seller saying something like “Buy 2,000 panettoni and you pay a mere 50 cents each.” I wonder if there’s a dead panettone dump somewhere, a mountain of rejected Christmas confectionery. I hope never to know.

How to beguile the dead-air space between New Year’s and Epiphany?  The old-folks’ club of Castello East, which undertakes some very charming initiatives for the neighborhood kids, came up with a new idea this year.  On Epiphany Eve (last Monday), they arranged for some of the carnival rides which are here for their annual two- to three-month stint, to open at 10:00 AM, and they were free for children up to 11 years old. I think it was a very likeable idea, even if not very many kids made it out into the sunshine from their festive lairs (fancy way of saying “beds”).

This is the usual method of advertising local events -- just type it up, print it out, and stick it on a wall somewhere.

This is the usual method of advertising local events — just type it up, print it out, and stick it on a wall somewhere.  It says: “Elder Group Castello-East, Monday 5 January 2014 The group of elderly in collaboration with the operators of the carnival-rides on the Riva Sette Martiri offer a turn on all the rides, cotton candy and candy to children not older than 11 years old.  From 10:00 AM to 12:00.  Whoever wants to contribute candy or chocolate is very welcome; just come to the group’s headquarters.”  I took a bag of candy to the clubhouse, my tiny contribution to the revels.  I’m not responsible for anybody’s teeth.

Kids in sugar shock before noon.  free candy and cotton candy, too.  Just what played-out parents and grandparents want: Kids in sugar-shock before noon.

Free candy and cotton candy?  Just what played-out parents and grandparents want: Kids in sugar-shock before noon.

IMG_4604  blog new year

IMG_4597  blog new year

I realize that the modest turnout was probably due to sheer sloth on the part of the kids. But I also think there was another drawback: Sunshine. I'm convinced that half, if not more, of the fatal fascination of these rides is that you indulge at night, when the lights are at their most dazzling and you're out late in the dark. Taking a ride in the daytime is like somebody giving you an apple as a treat when you really want a deep-fried Mars bar.

I realize that the modest turnout was probably due to sheer sloth on the part of the kids. But I also think there was another drawback: Sunshine. I’m convinced that half, if not more, of the fatal fascination of these rides is that you indulge at night, when the lights are at their most dazzling and you’re out late in the dark. Taking a ride in the daytime is like somebody giving you an apple as a treat when you really want a deep-fried Mars bar.

 

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