After their recent holiday in Kiyv, SecDef Lloyd Austin and SecState Anthony Blinken actually told us the real reason for the war. And it isn’t to promote independence, freedom, democracy and liberty in Ukraine. The Ukrainians, dying by the tens of thousands, are just pawns in their game. So are the Russian troops also being slaughtered.
I share the gentle reader’s annoyance at the newfangled spelling of place names, and on coming across “Kyiv” or “Turkiye” it always seems to me that, like Rip Van Winkle, I had fallen asleep for many years and woke up in another world, bizarre, irrational, and just plain irksome.
Florence, over the weekend, seemed unchanged. The hordes of ill-dressed people are still shoving each other to get into see the Baptistery, cafes and restaurants are overcrowded, and prices even higher than in previous years. After our required visit to San Marco to see the Fra Angelico frescoes and breathe the spirit of Savonarola, we make our way to Fonticine, which a half dozen websites assure us is open. They lied, but who expects anything but lies from online sources (except this one, of course). Walking back by way of the Mercato Centrale, my wife spots a restaurant she remembers....
With the war not going well for the government of Ukraine, even the U.S. media is starting to inject a little realism into its over-the-top Zelensky boosterism. CNN just reported, “What happens to weapons sent to Ukraine? The U.S. doesn’t really know.”
The initial auspices for an endurable trip turned out to be justified. Most people were unmasked at O’Hare and on the plane, we left Chicago and arrived in Rome on time, and, although we arrived early at the Azeglio on Via Cavour, two blocks from Stazione Termini, the hotel had one of our rooms ready so we could stash the bags, take a walk, and eat a lunch that, while it was not offensive, was nothing to write home—or this website—about. Rome has changed in two years but the signs are not dramatic. A significant minority wear masks on the...
I heard that before the war and the concomitant impoverishment of the Russian oligarch, wideboys from Moscow and points east used to rent whole villages in Sicily for parties, which they had learned from their betters to call corporate entertainment.