Miscellany 10 (mid-January, 2008)
Links to all Naples
to the bottom of this
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
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. 23—They'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.")