Thursday, June 11, 2009

4x4: The meme

My fellow award-winning blogger J. Kingston Pierce has tagged me with a meme tailor-made for Detectives Beyond Borders. The meme is built around questions involving the number four, and I especially liked the ones that involved travel and places where one has lived.

Since Jeff expanded the list of questions from eight to ten, I don't feel too badly about making my own adjustments. And you can do the same.


Four places I'd like to go or things I'd like to do:

1) Visit the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia

2) Visit the Ajanta caves in India

3) Hike the length of Hadrian's Wall

4) Complete a short walk I began a few years ago, along the West Kennet Avenue from Avebury to the Sanctuary


Four places I've lived:

1) Montreal

2) Rome

3) Philadelphia

4) The Boston area, which leads to my own category of ...


Four places I've lived in the Boston area:

1) Waltham

2) Brookline, whose no-overnight-parking regulations seemed intended to keep out the folks from ...

3) Brighton

4) Somerville


Four places I've been on vacation:

1) Split, Croatia. By the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea, in a hotel within the precincts of Diocletian's Palace. One of the places that has inspired me with a desire to live there.

2) 桂林 (Guilin, China.) Sweaty, hot, amid spotty air-conditioning and other trappings of a section of China making the uncertain transition to Western-style consumer capitalism. Also home of the near-hallucinogenic beauty of the sandstone natural spires, and the only place I have seen anyone playing a guitar while passenger on a bicycle.

3) Israel/Palestinian territories. Alas, it's not as easy as it once was to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs to see blind old Muslim sage-like men praying at a site so fundamental to our sense of our own culture.

4) Istanbul, in particular Hagia Sophia, quite possibly the most influential building in the history of the world, and certainly one of the most beautiful. One can see the gallery mosaics up close, and there is something special about seeing and touching the rough, unfinished stone that lines the spiral stairways to the upper levels.


Four foods or drinks I have liked:

1) A nice, medium-rare steak

2) A good Brunello da Montalcino

3) Fresh raspberries

4) Deviled eggs


Four (with ties) books or movies I could read or watch again:

1)
Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility

2) Roughing It

3) Any of books 7 through 16 of Bill James' Harpur and Iles novels

4) Seven Samurai, Stray Dog and, appropriately for repeated viewing, Rashomon


Four works of art before which I have stood (or sat) either in deep relaxation, as close as I get to a meditative state, or with a profound sense of receptiveness:

1)
Piero della Francesca's Resurrection and Montefeltro Altarpiece (Scan by Mark Harden)

2) Velázquez's Las Meninas

3) Rembrandt's Bathsheba at Her Bath

4) Trajan's Column


Four literary, scientific, artistic or political figures from the past whom I'd like to watch at work or meet for dinner and drinks:

1) Giotto

2) Jane Austen

3) Mark Twain

3a) Charles Darwin

4) Jawaharlal Nehru. Anyone who can write a book of world history from memory and addressed as a series of letters to his daughter is a man to be reckoned with. Anyone who can write a book about his own country and call it The Discovery of India has a passionate intellect that's worth anyone's interest. And the man had a few practical accomplishments as well, I think.


Answers have begun to arrive from four people I think might take it upon themselves to answer these questions:

1) Sucharita Sarkar (yet another evocative post from one of my favorite writers in blogland.)

2) Seana Graham (good reading!)

3) Adrian McKinty (good reading about bridges and food!)

4) Maxine Clarke

and

5) Kerrie, who stepped in graciously for Maxine and talks about her journey from Paradise to Hell and back. Thanks!

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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74 Comments:

Blogger J. Kingston Pierce said...

Since this wasn't a category on my original list, I'm going to put in my two cents on the matter here.

Four literary, scientific, artistic or political figures from the past whom I'd like to watch at work or meet for dinner and drinks:

1) Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham
2) President Theodore Roosevelt
3) Diamond Jim Brady (this meeting would necessarily have to be over a gut-busting meal!)
4) And yeah, I've got to go with Mark Twain as well.

Thanks for playing along, Peter.

Cheers,
Jeff

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the tag. Reading your widely-travelled and variedly-experienced answers was interesting, and rather humbling, because I have hardly ever travelled. Not even to Ajanta caves, which are in my part of the world.

Will post my answers in Past Continuous.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I've got nothing better to do, I'm in. In fact I think I'm going to use your template including the 4 places I've lived in the Boston area. Piece of cake.

I'll probably post Saturday which of course is your Friday.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jeff, maybe my crowd could join your crowd for drinks after dinner. I'm embarrassed to admit that Burnham's name seems familiar, but not his work. What should I (or do I) know about him?

Your group, of course, will meet in a place where cigar smoking is not just allowed but encouraged. I'd like to know what Mark Twain would have had to say if confronted with a "No Smoking" sign, though.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sucharita, you live in a pretty large country. There is no shame in not having seen part, much or even most of it. In any case, what I like about this meme is that it allows the mind to range widely even if the body does not travel far. I will look forward to your answers.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Four places in the Boston area. Four of the six possible joints involved in a Belfast six-pack. All part of life's bright mosaic.

I of course understated the case in the comment above when I called India "a pretty large country." In fact, "Your 4 favorite continent- or near-continent-size countries" would make a splendid addition to this or any other meme.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or maybe that's eight, not six.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Paul Brazill said...

Well, Peter, I've had a peek at a few of these memes going round and yours is certainly the most highbrow!

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Donna said...

As Paul said - you're very highbrow! Mines at the 'in the gutter' end of the spectrum. Although I do rather like that wine myself. I'm not sure that I could come up with 4 political figures I'd like to meet for dinner (except if I was having their liver with a nice chianti), but I'd like to come to the cigar smoking dinner if I may.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

This meme and its mutations are floating around, indeed! Yours is tres fascinating! Thank you for sharing, Peter! It's rather difficult at times to get to know a fellow blogger by any other means. :))

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Highbrow, you say? Must be those deviled eggs.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Donna, I can well understand not being able to come up with four political figures in Britain these days. Ex-political figures might be easier.

But in the gutter? Don't several of your meme fantasies involve Cary Grant? Hardly gutter material, I'd say. All you wanted was to take tea with him.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, PM. I had fun putting this together. I had not thought of such lists as ways to get to know one's fellow bloggers, but you're right, of course.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, and Donna, I'm sure an extra chair could be found for you at the smoker.

June 11, 2009  
OpenID maxine said...

Thanks so much for the referral, Peter. I am not much of a one for memes, but if you were to substitute me for Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise, I bet you would be rewarded with a fascinating post! She is really good at them.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I'll ask her.

As if in rebuke for time spent on memes, a humorous crime novel I am about to read has an epigraph from that humorist Jean-Paul Sartre:

"Mais il faut choisir: vivre ou raconter." ("But one must choose: live or tell," as near as I can make it.)

Whether this is a self-contradictory pronouncement for a writer, I don't quite know.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Kerrie said...

So I have Maxine to blame for being tagged! You know the old saying: Who needs enemies when you have friends.. I'll have a go on the weekend.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

As soon as she mentioned your name, I thought of some of the intriguing places you have visited, and I knew you were a fine choice. So I share the blame.

As each recipient tailors the meme to his or her own interests, it will be interesting to see the sorts of people chosen to receive the game next. Thanks, and have fun with this.

June 11, 2009  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

You are far too interesting. I love Croatia. Did you get to Dubrovnik?

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I did not. I was on an archaeological/historical tour to Split and its immediate surroundings: Salona, Trogir, Hvar. And I had not planned extra days before or after to allow for a trip down the Adriatic coast to Dubrovnik.

The trip was just two years ago and, by several accounts, Dubrovnik had been swiftly and skillfully restored from the terrible damage of the Balkan wars.

Tell me about your trip to that wonderful country, molim!

June 11, 2009  
Blogger Kerrie said...

Tis done Peter - http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2009/06/4-play.html - not nearly as elegant as yours though

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Kerrie. Don't sell your answers short, though. You have been from Paradise to Hell and back, which not many can claim in the way you can.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I did my list. I couldnt come up with 4 places in the Boston area I have lived after all, but here are three: Newburyport, Cambridge and Marblehead. I also stayed with my brother in law in Newton for a week so maybe that counts as 4?

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I don't know if it counts, but I will give you credit if you tell me your four favorites among the villages of Newton. Mine would definitely include Nonantum and Newton Upper Falls.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Well he lived in Newton Center. I dont remember a whole lot about it to be honest except that it was on the T and there was this bakery that did those Japanese sweet bean curd rolls which were absolutely delicious.

Newburyport though I know like the back of my hand and to a lesser extent Marblehead - a place where that William Buckley accent has not gone out of style.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I suspect you know Newburyport as well as Michael Forsythe does.

Newton Center is pretty busy, though picturesque in that New England village way. Newton Center has its own stop on the T's Green Line (as do Newton Highlands, Waban and Chestnut Hill).

June 12, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Got mine up tonight, Peter, and have now tapped four more unsuspecting victims, which is of course the reward we get for our labors.

V word apt: presses

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

As in "stop the." I'll take a look forthwith. Thanks.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Peter, I tried to click through to Kerrie's post and it took me to Adrian's instead.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Those Australians stick together, I guess.

No, no, I thank you for letting me know about that glitch. I'll fix it right away. Give me a few minutes, then come back again and try to read Kerrie's answers.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

All fixed. Kerrie also visited Abu Dhabi some time back, if I have my emirates straight, and posted some good pictures. I was surprised she did not cite that visit in her participation in the meme. I forget if she posted the pictures on her Mysteries in Paradise blog or elsewhere, but they are worth looking for.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Thanks, Peter. It's fun to see what others do with this.

I had a customer today whose last name was Paradise. It seemed a bit incongruous that she didn't seem to be all that happy about things, though of course it wasn't really. I suppose that kind of name could be a burden.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Kerrie said...

I take it you were referring to these Peter, which include that memorable one of me in a burkah, and the other one of me and a falcon eying each other off.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Someone named Paradise in a bookshop should have been looking for, I don't know, Jim Thompson. Or On the Road, of course.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, Kerrie, those are the ones. What I remembered most from the first time I saw them were the ski slope, of course, and all the shiny new construction. I'd read about them and even seen a picture or two. But nothing had prepared me for the oddity of seeing so many images at once. Visitors must find the surroundings slightly unreal at first. Perhaps older residents do as well.

June 14, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

That looks like quite an adventure, Kerrie. I'm quite impressed by your getting so up close and personal with that falcon!

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Kerrie said...

And looking so happy about it :-)

June 14, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That bird is scared, but curious. Notice how it sneaks a look at you even as it turns its back!

June 14, 2009  
Anonymous May said...

You've got such eclectic tastes, Peter!

Austen as author and as book appears several times on your list - its not necessarily something I associate with a lover of crime fiction!

June 15, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Poor Jane Austen! Some people think she was lightweight. At least one commentator wrote that Jane Austen hated people. That's wrong, but at least it recognizes what really was Austen's incisive, clear-eyed wit.

Austen got to the heart of the matter and cut through her own characters' self-delusions. I would not mind reading more crime writers who did this.

June 15, 2009  
Blogger marco said...

4 places/things I'd like to see

-Victoria Falls
-Tierra del Fuego
-That bigger replica of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Yamoussoukro
-Ayers Rock


4 Australian musical groups I like, inspired by literary works I also like

-The Triffids/The Day of the Triffids (Wyndham)
-The Go-betweens/The Go-Between (Hartley)
-The Birthday Party/The Birthday Party (Pinter)
-Rose Tattoo/The Rose Tattoo (Williams)


4 sports that bore me to tears

-Golf
-Baseball
-Cricket
-(American) Football


4 simple flour/corn-water-salt variations that taste much better than tortillas

-Sgabei
-Focaccette
-Panigacci
-Testaroli


4 Beers

-Guinness, as drank in ye olde fake Irish Pub where I heard so many cool Italian Indie groups play, now closed for more than a decade.
-Chimay Blue
-Petra Chestnut Beer
-Rhyton Honey Beer


4 homemade (not by me) liqueurs I've enjoyed

-Nocino
-Limoncino
-Allorino
-Grappa alle more



4 reasons to be...

-1) a Communist
It is a well known fact that Italian communist eat babies.That's why in a country where 130% of the population is catholic there are so few children.
Hmmm...babies.

-2) an Anarchist
The music of Fabrizio De André. Plus, you're generally well loved by regimes left and right, though you may be prone to exotic diseases, especially when you're in police custody.

-3) a Catholic
My friend Don Alessandro (surname witheld as protection against Vatican spies)

-4) an Atheist
Don Alessandro doesn't really care whether you're Catholic or believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, plus he'll end up excommunicated anyway.



4 languages I'm fluent in

-Italian
-English
-German
-French


K-4

-Kafka, Franz - In der Strafkolonie
-Kapusczinski, Ryszard - The Shadow of the Sun
-Kouruma,Ahmadou - Waiting for the Vote of the Wild Animals
-Kristof, Agota - Trilogy of the city of K (The Notebook, The proof, The Third Lie)


4 reasons not to commit suicide

-1) Because, according to Mayan prophecies and a bunch of people who communed with alien elves after taking LSD , the world will end in 2012 and/or we'll evolve into timeless multidimensional snakes. Surely you can wait that long?

-2) Because suicide is a sin! Do you really want to forsake your eternal soul?

-3) I understand you've decided to practice for your first homicide with someone you know , but maybe you haven't really thought out the implications all that well.

-4) Because you don't need to die to win a Darwin Award :it's enough if you manage to sterilize yourself.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, the world will end in 2012, all right, but in the real, hidden 2012, not the fake 2012 that the unenlightened think will come between 2011 and 2013.

Thanks for that spledid addition of the musical groups inspired by literary works.

Your comment on Don Alessandro reminds me of some of Ken Bruen's fiction which, despite its vitriol against a good deal of what the church has done to Ireland, betrays great affection for the occasional admirable priest.

Soocer is boring, but only when Roma and Parma are playing. And I hope Adrian will still speak to you.

Mille grazie!

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I posted that too soon. I meant that I hope Adrian will still speak to you despite your harsh indictment of baseball.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Funnily enough I just read Shadow of the Sun. They've brought it out in one of those collectible cheapie Penguin editions. I liked Travels With Herodotus a little better - quite a bit more eccentric.

Your rejection of both baseball AND cricket proves to me that your life has been too exciting. Both baseball and cricket are excellent preparations for death. I spent 12 soul destroying hours last week lisetning to the NYY-Red Sox series. Schopenhauer would be proud of my joyous acceptance of annihilation which as you say may come via the alien invasion in 2012; although I dont know why we should believe predictions about the future from a civilization that didnt invent the wheel.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I have not read Kapusczinski, but I'll correct this soon.

There's an interesting article about Travels With Herodotus here. As it happens, I have in mind a trip next year to the destination discussed in the article's opening. I also have a nice edition of Herodotus illustrated with photos and maps, which encourages vicarous travel.

Adrian, did the Yankees' 15-0 demolition of the Mets and their bottom-of-the-ninth win on a dropped pop-up not pull you back from the brink of anything? Oh, and have you read Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Invented Baseball? Turns out this sixth-century monk named O'Doubleday reached America in a leather boat that he immediately, after a vision of St. Brigid, turned into a baseball glove.

My appropriate v-word for a comment that began with a discussion of travel: peramb

June 17, 2009  
Blogger marco said...

I would have chosen The Soccer War, but I didn't know how many of Kapusczinski' s books were available in English and if the titles correspond to the Italian ones. I knew The Shadow of the Sun had been translated recently.
My other Ks are also good, and all are spiced with some sort of murder, mystery of crime (ok, I may be reachin' a bit).


Soul-destroying and baseball seems just about right.


- Oh, and have you read Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Invented Baseball?


When in doubt, always blame the Irish.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or maybe Daniel and the furnace ... a test of Adrian's resolve to be rewarded when the Yankees win the World Series. It could happen. The L.A. Lakers won the NBA basketball title, and those two teams are rough counterparts to Juventus and Manchester United: rich, arrogant, successful and, if you believe some, evil.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Did you think I had stopped reading?

The BIG difference between NYY and Man U for example is that the NYY fans come from New York and northern NJ not Islington. Also the hipsters are all Mets fans. The NYY are the team for Washington Heights, Harlem and the S Bronx, hence so many rappers wearing NYY gear. The team is wealthy because it has a loyal fan base and its in a big market - is that so wrong?

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's an interesting bit of sociology about the Yankees. I did not know where their fan base came from, and I'd assumed that rappers wore Yankees gear for the same reason they'd once worn Raiders or Lakers stuff: fashion.

Animus toward the Yankees is probably due to three factors: 1) Jealousy. 2) Sentimental attachment to the underdog, as in that old line that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel. 3) George Steinbrenner.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I havent been to Citi field but I do remember going to Shea and noticing how white it was compared to Yankee stadium. There were a lot more Latino and African American fans who went to the bleachers in Yankees stadium.

Look at the lineup for today's game:

Damon LF
Swisher RF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Cabrera CF
Pena SS

6 players whose first language was or is Spanish. (Additionally Damon grew up speaking English and Thai, Matsui is Japanese and today's starting pitcher is from Taiwan).

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Who's the sixth Spanish speaker after, I presume, Rodriguez, Cano, Posado, Cabrera and Pena? And I didn't know Damon spoke Thai. How did that happen?

In any case, that's a good bit of comparison between the teams and makes a case not often made for the Yankees' appeal.

If the Mets really are the team of well-off white suburbanites, that's a tale, too. Jimmy Breslin wrote a book years ago about the Mets, Can't Anybody Here Play This Game? (I have a signed copy.) that connects the team's lovable-loser origins with an everyman appeal, The team's fan base may have travelled far from those years.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Tex grew up in a multilingual household. Actually now I'm not feeling charitable about the NYY. Stupid bloody eejits couldnt buy a hit against the freaking Nationals?!! The Nationals who are to baseball what the Washington Generals are to bloody basketball!

The Mets are the team of Long Island - thats all you need to know about the Mets.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm an unhealthy stew of negative attitudes, and lately I've been taking delight in the Nationals' poor start, one of the worst ever, since Washington robbed Montreal of the Expos. Nice line about the Washington Generals.

Teixeira is a Portuguese name; I figured that was his ethnic background. I didn't know where Spanish would come in. In any case, your point is well taken.

Long Island says all about the Mets, I'd say, though they once must have been the team of working-class folks from Queens.

June 17, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Marco, do you see the dynamic at work here? You say, 'baseball bores me to tears', and what do we have? Comments and comments about all things baseball. You're a smart guy--you know you should have stuck to Italian politics.

I can't thank you for that, but I do appreciate your authors that begin with K list. Kapusczinski is under something of a cloud here, though. Even people who like him say he made up a bit. I haven't read him, nor have I even heard of the second two authors. And even my reading of Kafka is, shall we say, weak.

I'm sure Adrian isn't still reading down here, but I must say not inventing the wheel is no indicator of not being able to predict the future. People, or I guess I should say peoples, have different strengths. Maybe predicting the end of the world as we know it was just a Mayan area of strength. Not maybe the most useful strength to have, but still.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Yeah sorry my bad. Portuguese. Although apparently he can speak to the Spanish lang reporters. Although again I've been told that Portuguese speakers can speak Spanish but not vice versa which always struck me as cute.

Seana

I dont know. You come up with astronomy, metallurgy, literature, music, even a type of basketball but no one thinks a wheel might be a good idea for putting on those skid carts everyone has?

BTW I wrote a YA novel about the Mayan prediction of a catastrophic end to the Earth on Dec 21 2012. In my book called The Lighthouse Keepers the Mayans are actually right. I hope they're not though.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Adrian, can't you just cut the Mayans some slack? It's not like they had the internet, or lived close to NYC. Maybe the terrain was a bit too hilly for them to find wheels useful. Personally, I think coming up with metallurgy is quite impressive.

Personally, I don't believe a word of the whole 2012 catastrophe scenario.

I actually think it happened toward the end of 2008 and we just don't know it yet.

Oh, I do have the first of the Lighthouse series. Just haven't gotten to it yet. But if it's some sort of Mayan bashing tract, then I'm not going to read it.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, there is a charming old baseball expression, the Hot Stove League, that refers to long sessions of talking about baseball. I presume these old-time discussions took place in the off-season when the weather was cold -- and hence around a hot stove.

In any case, in honor of Marco's penchant for sparking discussions about baseball, I name him president of our very own Lega del Forno Caldo.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Peter, I feel sure he will be very honored. But still, in his heart of hearts, bored.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Bored? I'm hoping he'll get steamed and launch another diatribe against baseball. And if he does, I'll remind again of the baseball field I saw in Arezzo, home of Piero della Francesca's great frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross.

"Dalle stelle alle stalle," he wrote the first time I told him this, "From the stars to the stables" (or pig sties, too, I think) -- complimentary to Piero della Francesca, less so to baseball.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I'm impressed that Teixeira can speak Spanish with reporters. In re Portuguese speakers' being able to speak Spanish, I once travelled with a Brazilian girlfriend to Buenos Aires. She said she was surprised how much Spanish she remembered and how well she was able to get along.

Those Mayans carved some pretty good art, too, and I have been curious about their Popul Vuh, at least since Werner Herzog used music by the band Popul Vuh on a soundtrack.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, in re wheels and the Maya's failure to use them, these people used to pull burred ropes through their tongues. Perhaps they never did things the easy way. And those mammoth stone calendars? Try hanging one of those on your wall. Keeping track of time was a sacred task then, a way of communing with the higher powers, I suppose.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

I don't say they were geniuses of trapnsportation. It just doesn't indicate their lack of genius in anything else.

I would never hang a stone calendar over my bed in earthquake country. Unless, of course, I'd offered my bed to someone I hated and there had been a lot of recent seismic activity...

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Geniuses of art, they certainly could be. I have wanted to see more of their art since I saw the collection at the British Museum. One stone relief panel there showed a woman undergoing that ritual trongue-piercing. The figures on the reliefs are all pretty blocky, which made the woman's graceful pose of ecstatic submission all the more impressive.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger marco said...

I thought that New York Yankees, just like Liverpool, were the team of expatriate micks seeking some sort of compensation in life. But you showed me that, just like Juventus and Milan, they are the team of immigrants and poor inner-city people who seek some sort of compensation by rooting for the team whose budget and payroll are far above the rest of the competition.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

You know when I used to go to Yankee stadium, it was a dollar .25 on the subway and 5 bucks for a bleachers seat. I'd have paid six bucks just to see Bernie Williams's swing the bat.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger marco said...

Changing the subject, have you ever seen a match of Calcio Fiorentino?
(from wikipedia: the modern version allows tactics such as head-butting, punching, elbowing, and choking, but forbids sucker-punching and kicks to the head) I hear there have been complaints because this year's competition sees mixed teams instead of traditional contradas, and the matches have become so friendly it's indistinguishable from rugby ;)

v-word:hoots

June 18, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I saw a little bit of that once on a show called Globetrekker. When it was too rainy to play rugby we used to play an indoor game called Murder Ball where the object was to score a "try" on mats at the opposite end of a gym. The only rules were no gouging or choking. Apparently its a real game played in a lot of schools in Ireland. I have to say I always enjoyed it very much.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Actually, I don't think you did have to say it. I think we all could have pretty much guessed.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Marco: Thanks for that interesting bit of soccer sociology. I have had it in for Juventus since I attended a Juventus-Fiorentina game in 1997 and saw the pictures in the newspapers the next day of a big anti-Semitic sign that Juventus fans were holding up.

I'm unsure there are any real counterparts in American sports to, say, the ugliness that surrounds Lazio and it history and fans. And for all the legacy of racism in America, one does not hear here of the sort of ugly race-baiting of opposing players that happens occasionally in European soccer.

The New York Yankees are the supreme American example of a team with a payroll greater than everyone else's, which is probably one more reason for the joy in some cricles at their recent (relative) lack of success. But the Yankees have also not gone the way of many American teams and fallen into the hands of some faceless corporation that accepts money for naming their stadiums after yet another faceless corporation.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

nd I used to pay a dollar for a bleacher seat at Jarry Park in Montreal. Of course, in the Expos' early years, five dollars would buy the best seats in the house. I believe that the cost of prime seats at Yankee Stadium, to cite just one among many examples, has risen faster than the rate of inflation since then.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It sounds as if softer contemporary mores are taking the edge of calcio fiorentino.

As a child, I played a game called murderball. It was really not even manslaughter ball. I don't remember the details, but the "murder" probably involved nothing more than hitting the other players with the ball.

June 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Marco, I forgot to say that if I ever propose a meta-meme -- if I ask readers to pick their favorite response to a meme -- this will be my choice:

"4 simple flour/corn-water-salt variations that taste much better than tortillas

-Sgabei
-Focaccette
-Panigacci
-Testaroli"

June 27, 2009  
Blogger Book Bird Dog said...

I would just so love to do this meme. Would you tag me? I have a new meme up as well that you might get a laugh out of. It involves creative lying.

Thanks so much in advance!!

Harvee Lau
http://www.bookbirddog.blogspot.com

July 18, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I like to think of a meme as public property -- do it whether you're tagged or not. But, just for fun, consider yourself tagged. Thanks for reading.

July 18, 2009  

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