19 February 2008

Don’t I get a Lapidus Durus Romae T-shirt?

It looks as if Fidel Castro is so upset about HD finally surrendering to BluRay in the DVD format war that he decided to retire from running Cuba. (However, I have heard rumors that he wants to work more on perfecting his split-finger fastball.)

In personal news (and I know I don’t report on a lot of this): my mother returned from a trip to Italy, where she spent some time sight-seeing with my sister and her husband, and helped with my sister’s pregnancy and baby-planning. Mom ardently wished I had been along on the sight-seeing, since I’m the humanities guy in the family—the only member who isn’t involved in medicine—and can lecture endlessly about history. You don’t even need to ask me, I launch right into tour-guide mode the moment I’m in Europe. I also can read Latin, which my mother said would have been a huge help in Rome. I would have spent all my time reading inscriptions, probably to the eventual annoyance of everyone else. (But even I have trouble with lapidary shorthand, the Roman tendency to turn everything into an initial so that some sentences on buildings are nothing more than a parade of letters and periods, like: C.I.V.AD.L.T.V.E.) Mom was disappointed with the trip to Pompeii because the tour guide rushed them through the sights and for a hefty load of money (equivalent to USD 150) showed them nearly nothing except some gift shops, complete with “Vesuvius Blew her Top and And All I Got Was This Cheap Toga” shirts. She did love the time spent at the Colosseum, but was amazed to think that crowds could enjoy watching people kill each other in gladiatorial combat. I told her that is much less gruesome and appalling than American Idol, and she understood.

But why didn’t she bring me back a Lapidus Durus Romae T-shirt? (That’s the Julio-Claudian franchise of Hard Rock cafe, by the way.)