The Sting of Truth (or, Shanks for All the Fish)

Despite appearances from this blog, I’m not over in Rome by myself; I’m with a group of students on my university’s ASA Italy program. I won’t usually be blogging about them, because they or their lawyers might not like it. But one of them said something at lunch the other day that was too awesome not to launch into the blogosphere, even if someone’s said it before. (I didn’t google it, because sometimes information just gets in the way of truth.)

“Sometimes,” she said ruefully, “I feel like I’m getting shanked by education.”

The phrase was immediately acclaimed universally awesome, and we decided the university’s logo should be a sharpened toothbrush, with a slogan along the lines of “Get shanked by education!”

The rest is pix.

I know I’m in Rome when I start seeing graffiti everywhere. Some people hate it, but I think it’s wonderful. Here’s an image suggesting someone agrees with me:

Here’s a kind of tourist-poster pic, the Vatican against the evening sky, as seen from Ponte Umberto I:

Here’s the front of the Pantheon by night, angled to make it look like the hideout of a villain from the 1960s Batman TV show.

Another night shot: here’s a ghostly look at the temple of Castor & Pollux, through the Arch of Severus.

From a monumental sarcophagus carving in the Palazzo Altemps, here’s a cornicen, a Roman horn player–clearly a solid sender inventing bebop about 1700 years early. (You kids can google those references.Forget what I said earlier about information and truth.)

There’s a controversial new statue of John Paul II down by the big train station, Stazione Termini. It was unveiled the other day on the 90-somethingth anniversary of his birthday. I went down to look at it. From the side it’s not so bad–maybe a little comic-book-villainous.

But from the front…

… it just looks sort of dumb. What is it with that big hollow area there? This might work as satire (it reminds me a bit of Cabell’s “Thin Queen of Elfhame”), but not otherwise. Maybe the ugliest artifact of JohnPaulolatry I’ve seen so far, and there’s a lot in Rome these days, as he was just beatified.

I tweeted/facbooked these next two, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t be here, too: the Boxer from the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

and a sleeping Fury (or part of one) from the Palazzo Altemps

That’s all I got. Actually, I have some pictures of the scar from my last operation, but the browser keeps failing when I try to upload them–some sort of built-in safety factor I guess.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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