Thursday, December 30, 2010

Whirlwind gorgeous afternoon (it's a long one: forewarned is forearmed)

Thwarted in my afternoon’s bureaucratic errand (they won the battle, but not the war! another skirmish is planned for tomorrow!), with about an hour to kill before another appointment, and favored by the return of cold, but clear, weather, I whipped out my beloved camera, and snapped away happily and so successfully—at least I think so!—that it’s hard to choose just which one, or two, to share, so here’s a whirlwind tour starting in Piazza Cordusio and ending behind the Duomo...More......

As we rev up the engines ready for the sprint, I’m sure you all will remember a hint I’ve dropped in previous posts: swathes of style also are indicators of bursts of personal and civic wealth, and here’s an excellent example, the Eclectic style building by Luigi Broggi for the bank Credito Italiano in 1901, a handful of years after recovery from a fierce nation-wide financial crisis (1880-1883; after changing hands, the building now houses UniCredit). What better way to boast of financial solidity and stability than to plant a sturdy elaborate building on one of the city’s central piazzas, surrounded by other banks and right across the piazza from the city’s first modern stock exchange (now hosting post office functions)?

Behind the façade, the building later was united by the architect Giovanni Muzio with the flanking one in via Tommaso Grossi, also by Luigi Broggi, which, besides being a delightful example of Milanese Art Nouveau (called “Liberty,” after the name of the London store from which goods in that style arrived in Milan), expresses an important development in modern architecture seen also in France. Constructed in 1901-03 to store the Contratti family's business goods (which included enameled objets d’art), it is an “in-your-face” use of what before had been considered low class materials suitable only as structural, not external and decorative, elements: cast iron and reinforced cement. (There are two other nearby examples on via Spadari and Corso Vittorio Emanuele.)

I ask you: how can architects and clients be so insensitive to the surrounding buildings to tack something so horrible onto such a delightful little building, even if considered “dated” at the time?! No news about it in my handy dandy “Milano” by TCI-Touring Club Italiano, the source for my info in this post. May the architect’s name come to light, so it can be covered in shame.

Onward and upward to a possible art historical scoop! The light finally was right to capture the façade of this delightful structure on via S. Margherita (…get ready for this, folks, it runs over the original “cardo massimo” of the ancient Roman version of Milan, no kidding!!!) probably from the 1930s built for the Banca di Sicilia. Couldn’t find any info about it in my usually resourceful TCI “Milano”. How disappointing. The pictures came out great, though, and luck was with me, my hand was steady enough for close-ups of the four principle relief sculptures. May I have a drum roll, please?

Under the second figure from the right, a female figure carrying a sheaf of wheat, the sculptor’s name is clearly visible: GIGI SUPINI F. (the “F.” is for “FECIT,” Latin for “did/made it”). Since it’s so late, libraries are closed, and I’m so lazy busy, anyway, I hunted about on the internet for some reliable information about him. Didn’t find much, but did find out that he also was responsible for the relief sculptures on the “Toro” building on Piazza S. Babila, so he was no small pickings. Calling all art and architectural historians, remember to cite me, when you note this in your next best seller!

A hop down via S. Margherita, and we arrive at Piazza della Scala, with two more examples of post 1880-83 economic fiasco bravado: the Banca Commericale Italiana (1905-1911) by Luca Beltrami and …

… his façade (1886) on what was originally the unfinished back side of Palazzo Marino, a fascinating story in and of itself (this self-aggrandizing and literally bankrupting project for Marino, a transplanted banker from Genova, was begun by the top notch architect Alessi in 1553, and the original façade—Beltrami’s inspiration—on piazza S. Fedele was completed by 1572). It’s also a great shot of one of Milan’s 1920s trams, for you public transportation fans.

The bizarre public “art” currently sprinkled around town does include this illuminated swing in front of S. Fedele. What it has to do with Palazzo Marino, S. Fedele, or even Milan, is anyone’s guess, as is the case with lots of this Christmas’s equally surreal decoration. At least the swing is entertaining. I mentioned the church, begun for the Gesuits by Pellegrino Tibaldi in 1569, in an earlier post, when talking about the monument dedicated to Manzoni.

We’re on the home stretch, folks! Here is via S. Radegonda, not very inspiring, a bit narrow and claustrophobic, but the store “Rinascente” has constructed a fun neon bridge connecting their original structure to its adjunct, and the street is profoundly important for Milan’s history: Piermarini, the favorite architect in Milan of the Austrian Hapsburgs (a lot of northern Italy was part of their humongous empire), snapped his fingers in 1783, and down went an ancient Benedictine monastery and hospital dedicated to that saint, and up went a street. Less than twenty years later (1801) up went a theater. Almost exactly a century later (1882), Thomas Alva Edison snapped his fingers, and in the shell of the ex-theater up went Europe’s first thermal plant for the generation of electricity; business boomed with the upswing in industrial activity, and plants popped up like mushrooms all over northern Italy. In 1923, Edison bought and transferred its offices to an 1892 building on Foro Bonaparte.

Since the Odeon cinema was created by Giuseppe Laveni and Aldo Avati in the general area also in 1923, I’m halfway remembering that I read somewhere that the building is one and the same. Take it with a grain of salt.

What would a post be without taxis, lately? Here’s the taxi stand in Piazza Fontana, created by Piermarini in the late 18th century between two late 16th century witnesses of continuing Milanese importance: the Archbishop’s palace (at our backs in this photo) and the captain of justice’s building begun in 1578 by P.A. Barca (just barely visible in the back left), which figures in Manzoni’s “Promessi Sposi” for you Italian literature fans. Piermarini’s favorite sculptor, Giuseppe Franchi, translated his design into reality for the fountain (1782). Who was responsible for this year’s public “art” and the horrible Christmas lighting covering the fountain (thankfully, not very visible during the day) and…

…these horrible things, like multiple Daphne’s on acid? I need to remember to pass by, and look for a plaque with information about the ‘artist.’

Time to quit this rush, so I’ll close with the clock added in 1865 by Giuseppe Vandoni to the cornice of Pietro Pestagalli’s 1841 building in the area behind the Duomo, over the area known as the “campo santo,” or “holy ground,” which all over Italy served as a work yard for churches in construction and as a cemetery.

After these last photos, I headed a skip away to a delightful afternoon of tea (and, ahem, a couple of cookies) with two lovely ladies.

My hands were frozen stiff, despite the gloves, and I hope I haven’t worn you out!

I took these photos on December 29, 2010, from about 3 P.M. to 4 P.M.

For a great blog on taxi driving in New York City, see:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear Chris, this one's for you

Chris posts marvelously poetic photos and succinct phrases about her life surrounded by nature in northern New England, USA. (

Today, while walking around town with my own trusty camera, I spied a bit of insistent nature almost hiding on the flanking-a-construction-site-fence side of a tree trunk.

It looked like something that Chris might enjoy, so, Chris, this one's for you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa Maria Podone: a mysterious beauty

I love languages. Today, we have a church of mysterious beauty (mysterious because I haven’t seen the inside, yet, it has been closed for restoration since 1999, with—apparently—no end in sight) with what seems an equally mysterious name: Santa Maria Podone.

“Santa Maria” is clear, but “Podone”?...More......

Usually for my names and dates I refer to “Milano” by the Italian version of the Automobile Club of America, the TCI-Touring Club of Italy. Being too lazy busy to get up and find my copy, I hunted on the net, and found some good stuff on the official site of the diocese of Milan (

The church was founded before the year 871, the first time it appears in documents, by a fellow named “Vuerolfo.” If it sounds like an ancient Germanic name, you’re right, first the Lombards from the other side of the Alps and then—by this time—the Carolingians (heard of Charlemagne, right?) had been in control of large swathes of Italy, including Lombardy (get it?), for centuries and centuries. So, this guy Vuerolfo founds a church on a piece of his property once covered by houses, and, as often happened/happens, the church was named after its founder (huh?...keep on reading!).

Fast forward to the mid-15th century, and the ancient, noble and rich family (gee, life must have been hard for them) the Borromeo had a house in front of the church, so in 1440 Vitaliano Borromeo tore down the houses between his mansion and the church, created the piazza between the two (and a strong psychological connection, as well as a pretty darn good view) and built a family chapel onto the church. Within two years, the Borromeo had obtained a kind of official patronage over the church, making changes in it, building chapels, adding a porch, and generally maintaining the church to the glory of God (and the Borromeo).

Another Borromeo, Carlo, Archbishop of Milan from 1565-1584 (eventually made a saint for his fundamental role in the reform of the Catholic church after the Protestant Reformation, it's probably to this time that the sculpture of Dionigi Bussola dates), had the bell tower moved to the place where it is, today, while his cousin, Federico, Archbishop of Milan from 1595-1631 (also a cardinal, and more famous for founding the “Pinacoteca Ambrosiana” and its library), redid the church, and made it a “home base” for charitable activities (yeah, Federico!). The family’s religious motto was “humility” (“humilitas” in Latin—see my needlepoint blog for a diagram of its original form in Gothic-style letters:

Centuries of family interventions later, in the late 18th and early 19th century the church was deprived of independence by the government—twice—, and it was handed over to the larger nearby church Sant’Alessandro, as part of complex official attempts to eliminate corruption and fill empty civic coffers. In 1999, S. Maria Podone then passed under the direct control of the diocese of Milan, and restoration began… I’m still waiting to see the inside of the church…one day…sigh….

Oh, and the name “pedone?”

“Pes” is “foot” in Latin. “ “Pedis” is “of the foot, and “-one” in Italian indicates “big” in a negative way.

Remember Vuerolfo? His knickname was “Pedone”…I’ll bet that, in that period of mixing up Latin and local languages in development, "pedone" meant “Big clumsy feet.” And by the end of the 18th century, “Pedone” had been changed into “Podone,” so there you have it.

I snapped these photos on the 12th of December around 4 P.M.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More taxis in Milan (this is turning into a fixation) and the first "Porta Nuova"

More taxis in Milan...this is turning into a fixation...they also don't need blue skies to be interesting, or to show aspects of the city...I'll get back onto other kicks when the weather improves (should be next week)...More......

Here, a taxi is exiting out of one of Milan's oldest still standing gates, which is very hard to photograph because it faces north, and is in a position to get neither morning, noon, nor afternoon light well, so a cloudy day, with evenly distributed light, is just as good as any.

To enjoy the gate and the walls, here are a (very) few necessary words about Milan's history and urban development for those, who have not (yet...grin...) had the patience to read some of my back posts.

Because of a central position between east, west, north and south and the relative ease of movement on the nearby rivers and lakes(ancient highways), the area around Milan was populated in the 5th century before Christ ("B.C.") by the Celts (yes, you read right, the Celts, in this case, the Insubri). Life puddled along until the early 4th century B.C., when other Celtish tribes, who had OTHER invaders pressing at THEIR shoulders in the vast area to the north of the Alps, started pushing their way in.

Then a couple of centuries later, Hannibal (you know, the one famous for having ridden elephants over the Alps) tried to expand Carthage's power, irritating the heck out of an up and coming, but still relatively small tribe, the Romans.

Bad move.

The Romans got their act together, building alliances and, when that didn't work, breaking heads. It was touch and go for awhile, but they finally sent Hannibal back home with his tail between his legs (aided by a recall from his fellow nobles jealous of his power and prestige...bad move, guys...), and Milan had its collective hands spanked for siding with that dark handsome stranger.

Another couple of centuries later, and a lot of boot-licking diplomacy later, Julius Caesar (yes, THAT Julius Caesar) pushed Milan even farther along the road to full Roman citizenship because he needed to protect his back on this side of the Alps before heading to conquer the ancient French and Germans on the other side.

Either he, or his successor, Augustus, built Milan's first stone city walls in the late 1st century B.C., or the early 1st century A.D. ("Anno Domini"/"The Year of Our Lord") around the ancient Celtic center and the one the Romans built flanking it (nothing like an imposing example of who's really in charge).

Those walls ran in a kind of circle running through Piazza Missori towards the south and via Filodrammatici/Piazza della Scala on the north (look them up in Google Maps), and the space for houses, gardens, streets, fields, garbage dumps, warehouses and stalls lasted through a few more centuries of upheavals (let's just say, had I been a life insurance agent, I would not have issued a policy for anyone becoming emperor) until Diocletian (THAT Diocletian) appointed Massimiliano assistant emperor in 287 A.D.

Having been general on this and that side of the Alps, Massimiliano established his capital in Milan, and slapped on two lumpy additions onto city's circle of walls. (Here are some bits believed to be of this wall--waste not, want not--used a few centuries later to build a Romanesque church, itself now engulfed in later structures.)

One of these additions used to run down today's via Montenapoleone (Milan's "Rodeo Drive"). (Well, a few yards UNDER where the street runs, today, anyway.)

THIS medieval gate and circle of walls--FINALLY HERE WE ARE BACK AGAIN--runs a short block beyond, encompassing bits of the city grown up in the meantime. The gate and walls were put up--in typical cantankerous Milanese style--in the mid 12th century A.D. AFTER having taken a sound beating at the hands of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Hohenstaufen, nicknamed "Barbarossa/Redbeard," and having promised him never to rebuild the city's defensive walls.

So much for that promise.

Pole-vaulting across centuries of turbulence, peace and growing Milanese power (being in the middle of roads of commerce does have its advantages) we arrive at the absolutely fascinating Visconti family, which managed to become the (first unofficial then official) Big Cheeses in town, and slapped the (still original) Gothic sculptures by Giovanni di Balduccio and his workshop onto this very gate...a pretty obvious hint of who was then in charge.

Who knew a taxi ride could be so exciting?

For a great blog on taxi driving in New York City:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas: panettone

Ahhh, panettone. I *adore* panettone. I'd eat panettone all year long.

Thank goodness for my waistline, this typically Milanese "fruit cake"--not too sweet, not too many bits of candied fruit, like Goldilock's porridge, it's "just right"--is offered only around Christmastime....More......

It's not easy to make, either.

Just like any yeast egg bread, it has to be kneaded and punched and raised and kneaded and punched and raised. Any home bread maker knows two cycles of this probably will suffice for regular bread. Not for our Mr. Panettone. It gets kneaded and punched and raised for three whole days.

Then just the right amount of plump raisins and small bits of citrus-based candied fruit are scattered in. Word to the original-recipe-fans: NO sugary bits, or almonds, on top! (Save the sugary bits for the Milanese Easter time "colomba," or "dove," sweet bread, which has a similar consistency, but the eggy bread has been slightly flavored with orange, and the candied bits are only orange...though I brush the sugary bits off...they're really too much.)

Don't like fruit cake? I adore it, so I think you're crazy right from the start, but I'd suggest that you at least try panettone ("big bread") before turning up your nose. Really. There is so much sweet bread and so few candied fruit bits that even you might like it.

In fact, if you're brave enough to try to make it, here's the web site with a recipe (which I haven't tried...*I'm* not that brave) AND the photo I used for my accompanying needlepoint design (my own photo was too big, and just wouldn't upload into my StitchPainter needlepoint design making program):

THE RECIPE, by "paola77":

Oops, I just realized that the recipe will be in Italian. If someone asks for it in English, I'll translate (this also is an encouragment to read my blogs, and comment...silly I may be, but not stupid!).

Don't want to make it? If you're in Italy, the variety of brands is confusing. What to choose?

I love doing taste tests, so a few years ago, I surprised my wonderfully patient, adoring and adored husband with a panettone taste test.

I bought one of the cheapest I could find (a "house brand" of one of the less expensive supermarkets in town), a middle price range, but still produced on a large industrial scale kind (I'm even going to tell you the brand and kind name: "Motta," their "Ricetta originale/Original recipe" kind), and--the catalyst for the taste test--the supposedly superior kind--costing five times as much as the Motta one (YIKES!)--supposedly baked by the local upscale bakery.

Rigorous taste test methods were applied.

Equally sized slices placed on exactly the same kind of plates, with the name of the brand taped to the bottom of the plate. I closed my eyes, and mixed the plates around until--even if I had wanted to keep track of which was which--I couldn't tell one from the other, then brought them to the table.

Mr. Smirky thought he'd be able to identify HIS most expensive one right away.

The least expensive one stuck out like a sore thumb to both of us, even just to the eye: such unappetizing pallor, such paucity of raisins and candied bits, so greasy, while the taste was definitely not worth the calories (and panettone is choc-o-bloc full of them, so choose wisely, I say!). It was even a bit yucky.

The other two--may I have a drum roll, please?--were EXACTLY ALIKE, in appearance, consistency and taste!

Even I had expected the really expensive one would be at least a teentsy bit better, but I craftily hid my surprise, and thoroughly enjoyed my "I told you so" Home Economics lesson.

So, from that time on, and I've tasted other brands at other people's houses (eh, just not up to snuff), ours is a "Motta Ricetta originale" house. (Remember, folks, I get no kick-backs of any kind...this is honest freely offered praise; the only payback is sharing the exquisite tastiness with you.)

So, just where did this marvelous gift from the Cosmos come from?

There are conflicting stories about the origin of panettone, and bread was broken and shared around family tables and fireplaces everyday and for special occasions, such as Christmas (various Christian allusions are evident), for centuries (millennia), but the birth of this kind of "big bread" as a Milanese Christmas desert is commonly believed to have taken place during the reign of Ludovico "il Moro" Sforza at the end of the 15th century. (He's a fascinating mix of cunning, treachery, ineptitude, courage, culture, beautiful eyes and one of the biggest honkers you've ever seen in your entire life deserving of posts all his own...yet another promise for future posts.)

Want to needlepoint a design for your personal non-commercial purposes of a panettone with Xmas-y bits thrown in? Here's my needlepoint design based on the image I found on Paola77's recipe page:

I snapped MY picture for you, yesterday, 24 December 2010....There's no beautifully arranged slice because I ate it!

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Here My Are! (05)

Here My Are! One of the Three Goddesses (no hubris intended, Gods of Olympus!, just making fun of myself!) in a window not far from Milan's version of L'Arc de Triomphe located in Parco Sempione on the far side of the Visconti-Sforza castle, the beginning (or end, depending on your point-of-view) of the road Napoleon imagined from Paris to Milan, one of the principal cities of Italy, which he had liberated from the Austrians, then changed himself from youthful disinterested general into paternalistic emperor.

For the origin of the "Here My Are!" theme, see my:

This photo was snapped for you on December 11, 2010, at about 1:45 P.M.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Break from Christmas: a delightful Art Nouveau border

Break from Christmas: an Art Nouveau border sculpted on one of the many anonymous, simple, but delightful late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings that sprang up in Milan in the prosperous, but turbulent, years after the Unification of Italy, not just replacing buildings in town, but creating whole new areas, which had been open fields until then....More......

Here's a delightful example located on a small side street perpendicular to Viale Certosa. I snapped the photo with you in mind on the 11th of December at 12:15 P.M.

To see the needlepoint/cross-stitch diagram I created out of this photo, see my blog dedicated to needlepoint:


Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 18, 2010: a special afternoon to honor a special day and an extra special person, cont.

An impromptu skip through the Piazza del Duomo to snap the tree and sparkling interior of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele netted a plus: the reminder of Italy's big "national birthday" next year....More......

Piazza Diaz's Martini Tower (1956 ca.) bubbling for the holidays. I've got a hunch that this was for Mr. Martini of the Martini & Rossi line of Italian liqueurs.

A view down via Paolo da Cannobbio, which follows in the footsteps of the ancient Roman walls (or, should I say, hovers over them, since the original Roman street level is a good three yards down), past the not-very-exciting Xmas lights to the bell tower of San Gottardo in Corte by Pecorari, one of Giotto's pupils.

Not so far away, the Velasca Tower, with the full moon peering over its shoulder.

The white blur of a rushing taxi, and we're almost home.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December 18, 2010: a special afternoon to honor a special day and an extra special person

Lunch at my house with a friend dear to us both: fresh baked pumpkin creamed then sauteed in a splash of virgin olive oil with a bit of red onion, a dash of salt and pepper, a secret ingredient, and over the steaming pasta it went. Speck. Yoghurt and apples. Nespresso.

Chatting, tea, then a chilly, but invigorating and delightful walk up Corso di Porta Ticinese toward the outward facing façade of Porta Ticinese in Piazza XXIV Maggio....More......

And Christmas lights on the Grand Canal

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas lights in Milan

Christmas lighting in Italy is a big disappointment for those, like me, accustomed to more. The street decorations are paid for by the merchants on the streets and/or by the city, I'm told. There are the electric bills, too...pretty darn high in Italy. Results? Especially in lean times, leaner street decorations. This one, one of my all-time Italian favorites, was in Piazza Missori a few years ago, so here it is for you to enjoy. Since I'm out so little in the evenings, and never with my camera, they're downloaded from the cell phone, hence the less than brilliant resolution. I'll try to get myself out after dark--that's a sacrifice!--to get some snaps this year, just for you. (I said "I'll try....")

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Taxis, angels and ice cream

Angels, taxis and ice cream are today's themes. Angels just because and taxis because I'd like to share snippets of Milan's taxis with the author of that great blog about the life of a NYC taxi driver, and ice cream because I promised to report on Milan's ice cream, and a promise is a promise....More......

Sunday's (Nov. 28) blog entry was dedicated to Milan's taxis and a great NYC cab driver blog I follow ( The light wasn't the best--cold cloudy day with a few snow flakes--and, since I use the automatic settings on my camera (I've learned some of the manual settings, but get a chance to use them so seldom, that I's easier to keep the limitations of the automatic settings in mind, and use them as "light painting" techniques, rather than seeing them as hindrances), any movement became a blur.

Good light yesterday and today,
so yesterday I snapped the yellow taxi stand phone thingamajig especially handy for independent drivers not belonging to a consortium. Calls go straight to this phone/intercom thing, the next cabbie in line answers, and is off to pick up the caller. Less handy for clients, though. If there are no cabs waiting, the phone just rings, and rings, and rings, whereas the consortiums are able to radio all their cabs, to see which of their available drivers is closest to the caller. Can't remember if the independent drivers cost less--they should, if there are no network costs--, but I doubt it.

Today, an equally chilly but lovely day, I snapped two taxis waiting at a stand just behind Milan's brand new museum dedicated to 20th century art. Retrofitted into a pre-WWII structure, it is so new that it literally has been open only a few days. More on it in a later post.

And now, the ice cream. I've passed this fairly new shop a few times. "Hmmm, are they trying to be clever?," I wondered to myself,"what could they mean by 'side G?' Is it a funny take on the Italian way to refer to the derriere, especially of a woman ['side B'/'lato B']?" My only excuse is that I always was passing on the tram, too fast to ponder it, and then forgot. Til I passed on foot the other day, and finally got it (I'm not usually this slow, honest): "G-Lato"...gelato...aaahhh. There's also the catch phrase in discutable taste (no pun intended).

The inside of the store is modern, but the sidewalk seating is delightfully kitschy, something that has only just started to catch on in Italy, at least in Milan. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and lots of people might find it difficult to attribute beauty to these little guys, but they sure are lots of fun.

Now for the important bits...the ice cream is spectacularly delicious.




A bit pricey, but worth it.

Oh, the sacrifices of a gelato critic.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photoless Friday (07)

I've been thinking some very uncharitable thoughts, lately.

Call them the result of some cosmically sized Curve Balls of Life.

No excuse, it's not even like me, I'm just explainin'.

So, on this Photoless Friday, let me count some more blessings to put my head and heart back onto the right track....More......

--I'm deeply grateful for the flash of the intense father-little son mutual adoration that whipped past me (rather I whipped past it, since I was the one on the tram) a couple of weeks, ago. It was a "life is worth living, humanity is good, and it just might survive" moment that was much needed in that split second, and continues to well up with the comfort it brings. Both were totally focused on each other, giggling happily with the "mere-ness" of each others' presence and playfulness.

--I'm deeply grateful for today's crisp clear blue sky and happy bright (if not warm) sun, after dayzzzzz of rain and gray.

--I'm profoundly and sincerely grateful for a warm, dry and clean place to live (I may be less enthusiastic about the "warm" part come summertime, but by then there will be lots more other blessings to count).

--Even on Photoless Friday, I'm also profoundly grateful for my digital camera. It gets me outside, walking, and sharpens my senses, my attention span. It gives me a purpose, and liberates me to snap away without the fear of wasting film. Pure joy.

--I'm grateful to Blogger and Google (no, really I am) for making it possible for me to do this blog, free-of-charge.

Will save others for a (literally?) rainy day.

And you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010


When it's Wordless Wednesday, I have to hold back a flood of words.

When it's Photoless Friday, dozens of photos tippy tap on my heart.

When I'm away from the computer, or (supposed to be) doing other things, loads of things to share with you and to ask you press, press, press.

Here's one of them.

What's this?...More......

Scattered around town are these marks on the stones delimiting the sidewalks.

Sometimes they are just upright marks, like Roman numerals.

Sometimes these upright marks have a strike through them, as if someone were double-checking a list. These strikes sometimes end up looking like "X's."

Sometimes there's an "O," which could be a letter, or a number. The first examples I noticed, in fact, looked like a series of "O's" and "X's," which can be used to signify "Hugs" and "Kisses" at the ends of letters, but then the more Roman numeral looking examples starting cropping up, too, followed by this example in which the diagonals were carved even before the uprights.

Though it's possible that these stones are not in the places in which they were when the marks were made, it's very unlikely.

The marks don't seem to be related to anything that can be seen in the vicinity.

Though, by now, I consider myself a "local," I have no idea what these are, and even those, who are longer term locals, whom I have asked, don't know. In truth, they'd never even noticed them, before.

The difficulty of sculpting these marks, as crudely cut as they are, would rule out extemporaneous marks, for whatever reason.

If you start looking for them, they're all over town.

What are they?

I snapped this photo for you on the 7th of August 2010 at about 4:30 P.M.

P.S., the pock marks on the sidewalk are the result of something, even ladies' high heeled shoe heels, being set on the tar during summers so scorching that the surface softens disconcertingly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Here my are! (04)

Too good to pass up. Calvin and Hobbes in a stationery store window, at just the right height.

I snapped this photo for you on the 19th of September, 2010, at about 2 P.M.
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