Thursday, February 26, 2009

I recently had a dentist’s appointment here in Rome. Since it was my first visit to this particular office, I was handed a clipboard with a small pile of forms for me to complete. Or so I assumed. The first page was my medical history. I filled it out and flipped the page. The second page was another patient’s medical history. The third was another’s, the fourth another’s...

Apparently, as each new patient came in, the receptionist simply placed a new blank form on the top of the pile. So, there’s a lot less paperwork involved in health care in Italy. But a lot less privacy, too!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dumb criminal news from the pages of my hometown paper.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AP's Ted Anthony has written a very nice article about ex-presidents in general, and Harry Truman in particular. Click here to read it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

If, like me, you are interested in unusual and interesting events in American history, then you should definitely check out a new podcast called the memory palace. It’s produced by my friend and former Marketplace colleague Nate DiMeo, and each two-to-three minute episode is devoted to telling the story of a wonderfully forgotten or obscure person, place, or thing of the past. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A few people have asked me if I’m still working on the Rome Bus Project. The answer is, yes, I am, though not as diligently as I should. With the book coming out in May, I’ve been busy preparing for the book tour and building a website (it hasn’t officially launched yet, but here's a sneak peak). But I’m hoping to get at least one full day of bus rides in this week, so stay tuned. ... I was watching a DVD of WKRP in Cincinnati the other night when I noticed something funny. In the episode “Fish Story” (the one where Herb dresses up as the ’KRP carp), Venus Flytrap is wearing a Cincinnati Reds jacket with a very obvious typo! ... Best wishes to Chris Squire, the bass player in Yes, my all-time favorite progressive rock group. He’s been hospitalized due to “an unspecified medical emergency [that] required surgery on his leg.” (Rumor has it that it was a blood clot.) In any event, I hope Chris is back on his feet soon: I was hoping to see Yes in Rome this summer!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


After five months in Rome, we finally visited the Colosseum today!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Here's an interesting article about the last active-duty draftee in the U.S. Army.
One afternoon last week, the sun finally inched above the building across our courtyard and, for the first time since disappearing below that building last November, it began shining directly into our apartment.

This has made our cat very happy.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Birthday to Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, who turns 108 today! According to this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Frank may be America's last living World War I veteran. Not only that: He was in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded in 1941 and ended up spending more than three years in a prison camp!