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June 26th, 2011

Rome goodies

Back from a week's travel in the US for a meeting of Jesuit brothers, I've returned with a number of goodies for members of the community, including some new movies for our weekend series. (Saturdays: US blockbusters in English. Sundays: classic films in Italian. Yesterday we showed the third Narnia Movie, Dawn Treader, which was much better than I expected. Today, Il Federale.)

While I was gone, we finally got a gizmo to fix a problem with our projection system in the Specola classroom. The VGA wire we had used was not long enough to reach from the projector to the front of the room, so we had, buried in the walls and inaccessible, two such wires joined together. Result, inevitably: an impedance mismatch that left an irritating echo on the screen. We now have a gizmo that takes the DVI output at the computer, turns it into a form that can run through CAT-5 cable, and then reconverts it to DVI at the projector end. Works like a dream.

Meanwhile, other Roman bits... Saturday's readings at Mass included the story of the three strangers visiting Abram. When they arrive, according to the English I am used to hearing, Sara quickly mixes up flour and water to make some fast cakes for them, a meal that always sounded particularly unappetizing. The Italian tells us, instead, that she makes foccacia for them. That sounds a whole lot better!

This reminded me of the menu in a fancy hotel in Nairobi years ago that offered pizza, which they translated into Swahili as "Italian chapati with tomato sauce"... which isn't quite the same thing!

This morning after Sunday Mass in Castel Gandolfo, as usual David and I (David says the Mass) were invited by a few of the parishioners to stop for a cappuccino and chocolate-filled cornetto at a cafe in the square. The morning was glorious, in the mid 70s (it'll hit the 90s in Rome itself today) with a light breeze, not a cloud in the sky... looking back at the newly-restored white church of St. Thomas of Villanova, and the other yellow and pink stucco buildings, before a brilliant blue sky in a lovely medieval square, I wished I had my camera or better still an easel, a set of oils, and a large dose of talent so that I could paint this scene. Sipping a perfect cappuccino, I was suddenly hit with the most ridiculous thought... Guy... you live here! And I have, for 18 years. I'm still not used to it.

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