Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fiddling While Rome Burns

First, apologies and explanations for my absence: it was the Italians fault. Their hotels, you see, have a bizarre sense of what the internet represents, treating it like the way hotels-of-old treated telephone access: with unimaginably large mark-ups, byzantine security firewalls that restrict access, in distinct opposition to informations burning desire to be liberated. Not that my drivel represents a security threat, but apparently the Italians are more abusive than the NSA in this regard, with the most prevalent eavesdropping and surveillance of all NATO members. Of course, one might question whether Mr Berlusconi's intention is National Security or personal security, though I reckon its closer to the latter.

Second, though my market sensibilities feel guilty about vacationing while proverbial Rome burns, I have no regrets, having spent a decidedly magical couple of weeks at altitude in the Sudtirol with family, pursuing vigorous hikes and climbs with all the requisite libations. And it felt doubly-liberating since this was the first time in nearly nine years that I am truly free - unburdened with a so-called risk-position (more on this later). Up there, away from Bloomberg, newswires, cell-phones, email & dingleberries, the world appears just fine. Farmers make hay, with cows eating the excess grass; Dutch people still tow their camper vans anywhere and everywhere, and Belgians have yet to learn to drive in the mountains. Expresso's (always short - and never burned) are consumed frequently and with aplomb, while aperatifs and digestives flow freely. Change still comes slowly there. But if one looks with but mild astuteness, there are plenty of signs of the post-millennial, post-dollar-hegemony which I will share with you in a later post.

Third, sorry about not requiting replies to my observations on Bob Dylan’s latest tour. My brother (a far more informed critic than I) sympathized with my thoughts and pointed to “Live at Budokan” as 'the beginning of the end', with his brontosaurus-like mastication of “Maggie’s Farm”, to which I agreed. To the commenter who was looking for exemplary evidence of his manglings, I sadly cannot do justice as I fear I do not have the musical lexicon, but his destruction-through-bizarre parsings of nearly every line, in every tune, reminded me of the difference in meaning that a transposition of a single comma makes to the hypothetical phrase “…she was french, kissed by sun…” versus "...she was french-kissed by the sun....". The meaning is, of course, altered irreparably. That is a mere comma or pause. In musical vocalizations, there are multitudes of opportunities to inflect, emphasize, intone, change the pace of the cadence, whether overtly or subtly, that imbue (or not!) a song and lyric with meaning and hence poignancy. Not all changes of course impact the meaning or poignancy, but at it happened, most of Mr Dylan's THAT night, did, and did so for the worse. That is just my opinion. All the same, thanks to all to who've wrote and commented. Quiet alpine nights were perfect for conjuring and distilling musings - despite my technical inability to launch them into the world. They will hopefully re-emerge during the coming week.

7 comments:

Sally said...

So glad you're back.

martin said...

Amen

And welcome back

jm said...

Sounds like a _very_ nice vacation.

Linda Margaret said...

Europe is somewhat infamous for its Internet access. Belgium is a patchwork quilt of security codes, and they charge by the download. All ISP providers are somewhat nervous about the opening of the market and the competition promised by the EU.

Glad you had fun in Tyrol!

Charles Butler said...

No surprise, Italy. Silvio's eye is quiet clearly trained on the re-establishment of the dictatorship.

Welcome back.

CV said...

Welcome back Cassandra ... looking forward to the continuation of your writing.

Nice to hear that you had a good time in Tyrol ... after having spent one summer there (and countless winters) I am of the firm belief that both seasons do the region equal justice.

Claus

Macro Man said...

Welcome back! I look forward to the time (a year or two from now) when my kids are big enough/good enough on bikes that an Alpine summer holiday becomes a realistic proposition. I'm curious to hear how the world looks from the perch of a flat book and a ruddy mountain complection....