Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hello world. Not much to report from Planet Algeo. I’m still taking Italian classes. Io studio, ma non parlo – I’m studying, but I can’t speak it. Not yet, anyway. …

Yesterday Allyson and I went to the Newseum, the museum of American journalism in Washington. They have a ton of old newspapers on display, from colonial times to the present. If anything, there’s too much too see. It’s a little overwhelming. …

At the Newseum I bought a baseball cap with the slogan “Got Freedom?” It was made in China. …

Pet peeve: I rented a car last weekend. The key ring was a single piece of wire that cannot be opened. This is understandable. However, why do they still put both keys on the ring? It’s not like I can take one off. So I have to walk around with both keys in my pocket. And if one key gets lost, both keys get lost. Nonsense. …

In two weeks, we have to move – from the 13th floor of our apartment building to the 9th floor. Seems the corporate housing company we rented our apartment through mistakenly rented it out from under us. So we have to move to a new apartment four floors down for two weeks. At least they’re giving us a good rate. …

Phillies are in town this week. I might go to the game tonight. Nice to see Jamie Moyer pick up the win last night. (He’s a pitcher for the Phillies.) Jamie is 45 years old, which makes him one of the very few Major League Baseball players older than me. It will be quite the personal milestone when no baseball players are older than me. Keep on truckin’, Jamie!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We have a new frontrunner for the coveted title of Literally the Best Misuse of "Literally" 2008. It was submitted by my friend Gary Andrew Poole (have you pre-ordered his new book yet?). Apparently Gary spends his days at the beach reading the Iceland Review, for that is where he came across this gem:

"The alley is literally crawling with bohemians and art lovers during the annual Summer Art Festival from mid-June to the end of August."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"He does literally everything."

--FOX baseball announcer Joe Buck on Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler

Friday, July 11, 2008

La nostra casa a Roma!

We finally found out where we will be living in Rome. It's a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in the center of the city, about one block north of Trevi Fountain. The neighborhood is Quirinal Hill (one of the Seven Hills of Rome). The apartment has a small terrace, and it's less than a mile from the embassy, so Allyson can walk to work. We're very excited! (Methinks we will have more visitors in Rome than we had in Bamako.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Buon giorno!

I started taking Italian language classes at the Foreign Service Institute this week. We’re in class more than five hours a day, with another hour or two of individual study. It’s pretty challenging, but also fun (so far, anyway). I’ll get two months of classes in before we move to Rome. By then I’m sure I’ll be fluent. Or at least able to order dinner. …

On the Fourth of July, Allyson and I, for reasons unknown, thought it would be a good idea to check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. We realized it was, in fact, a very bad idea almost the minute we boarded the subway, which was packed tighter than something packed very tightly. When we got to the Mall, it was so crowded that, after, oh, two minutes, we (based on my most strenuous suggestion) decided to go back home. We tried again on Sunday. It was much less crowded and, of course, much more pleasant. …

I don’t know what happened, because I used to love big crowds. In fact, on consecutive Fourths of July – in 1987 and 1988 – I attended Grateful Dead concerts in, respectively, Buffalo and Foxboro, each of which was attended by at least 75,000 people. Being part of a vast audience was invigorating to me back then. Now I just hate it. …

On that misanthropic note…

Ciao!