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                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

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Naples Miscellany 10 (mid-January, 2008)

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  • What is this strange power I have over garbage?! They picked up the mountain of rubbish in front of my building this morning for the first time in six days. I have no idea if that reflects a general bettering of the condition in the city at large or whether a bolt of good luck just happened to hit where I live. Whatever. I’ll take it. Strange, though —I had a dream last night about that. I saw a big empty space out in front, sidewalks clear, and the rubbish bins empty, all clean as a whistle (a grimy whistle, to be sure. I mean, you don’t want to put your lips anywhere near it, but as metaphors go, I’ll take that, too.) Skeptics will call my dream coincidence; after all, garbage was on my mind and they had to pick it up sooner or later, right? Mystics will say I had a prescient dream. I choose to think that my dream actually caused the event. The Germans call this Traumkraft. (They really don’t, but it's a lot better than Blitzkrieg or Lebensraum.)

  • Perhaps connected. I see that they are going to have to cull thousands of mozzarella-producing buffalo from the herds in Campania due to disease. Just in case they are looking for a convenient place to stack the carcasses, I’d better get some serious dreaming done tonight. (Also see update.)

  • There used to be a joke that someone in the Vatican had the job of putting pin-holes in condoms in keeping with the Roman Catholic stand against birth-control. Well, it’s not that bad. It’s worse. Containers full of defective condoms have just been seized at the port of Naples. Technically, no one really knows if they are defective; they were all made in China but bore counterfeit labels indicating that they were made in Italy. Still, it sounds like a plot to me.

  • If you keep your glance above eye-level as you walk around the streets, you might step in some…no, I mean you might notice that there is a small army at work constantly plastering new ads over old ones on the many bill-boards set up by the city for that purpose. The billboards are set between metal supports and have to be worked on from ladders; workmen may have to climb as high as 12 to 15 feet to get the job done. Legitimate ads are licensed by the city, and part of the job of the guys on ladders is to go around the city taking down ads that have been put up without permission. It now turns out that almost no one in that corps of municipal employees works within the official and well-established safety guidelines; that is, they don’t wear helmets or safety belts.

  • Jan. 23They've just found an unexploded 200-pound bomb from WW2 in the excavations for the new subway station at the port. Square blocks, including most of the passenger port, the city hall, hotels, and apartment buildings have been evacuated and will remain closed and empty for a week while they "observe" the bomb and call in a squad with a robot to remove it. (If you are interested in just how a WW2 bomb got there in the first place, see "Air raids on Naples in WWII.") 
END of Misc. p.#10

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