Yes, I’m finally back, not exactly tanned, rested, and ready, because jet lag, a run-in last night with an exceptionally moronic TSA crew at San Francisco (where for some mindless reason you have to clear security again before catching a connecting flight), and also because this is a great time of year to visit Europe as its ancient cities look much more interesting in late fall light, but that means you don’t get much sun tan. In any case, I am dispatching a relief expedition to Scott at the Alamo before the firewall is breached.
Lots to catch up on, starting with a podcast I hope to have produced and ready this afternoon with Alvino-Mario Fantini, editor in chief of The European Conservative, recorded in a Viennese cafe, because where else would you have a such a conversation?
A few loose ends from the travelogue. First, three observations about Florence:
• OSHA would shut down the entire town. They would never allow stairs like this, at the top of the Duomo:
Speaking of the Duomo:
• Where are all the rooftop solar panels? Oh that’s right—this city is devoted to beauty and rejects ugliness.
• All those naked Greek and Roman guys in all the classic sculptures (David, etc): they obviously did at least 100 crunches daily, and never skipped leg day at the gym.
A few odds and ends, starting with me at the tomb of Nick at the Basilica de Santa Croce (Dante’s tomb is nearby), wearing a Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars polo shirt with esoteric meaning on purpose, as Stag’s Leap founder Warren Winiarski wrote the chapter on Machiavelli for the first edition of the indispensable Strauss-Cropsey History of Political Philosophy reader, before he quit graduate school and went into wine making, and later winning the famous “Judgment in Paris” wine competition in 1976.
Finally, just when you think Europe is finished, you run across something like this—a paper placemat, of all things, in a Florence bistro I stumbled into randomly. The waiter was especially proud of its English-language message, and happy that an American approved of it: