About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Television In Italia

So there are the usual suspects: an Italian version of that wife swapping show on Fox, things like that. But what really blows my mind here is the show "Pesce in Faccia!", or "fish in the face." It consists entirely of very brief skits of a large pompous psychoanalyst listening to a patient, getting impatient, and then slapping him mercilessly in the face over and over again with a fish. That's it. One example: He is giving his patient a rapid-fire word association test.
SHRINK: Pesce?
SHRINK: Pesce?
PATIENT: Mangia.
SHRINK: Pesce! Pesce! Pesce! Pesce! Pesce!
PATIENT: Salumeri.
SHRINK (Slapping him repeatedly in the face with a fish): Pesce in Faccia! Pesce in Faccia! Pesce in Faccia! Pesce in Faccia! Pesce in Faccia! Pesce in Faccia!
And that's it. Magnificent.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pope O' The Times

DATELINE: ROME. It's official: now you can email the new Pope. Says AP,
"In English, the address is benedictxvi@vatican.va. In Italian: benedettoxvi@vatican.va.

Vatican spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment on how many messages Benedict may have received already."
Gotta love it.

On the street today, more German heard being spoken than Italian. And I'm afraid no gelato was had--too busy tracking down Bernini sculptures and drinking white wine in the afternoon sun.

More as it happens.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Gelato Update

Today's flavors (4/20): Zabaione & Cioccolata
Gelateria: Giolitti.
Score: Three mmmmmmmms.

Flavors: Stracciatella & Nocciola.
Gelateria: Artigianale #2.
Score: Two mmmmmms.

Favors: Nocciola & Melone.
Gelateria: Monte Fiore.
Score: Two and a half mmmmmmms.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Wine No One Has

In Orvieto, we drank a beautiful and memorable wine, a Lago di Corbara from Castello di Corbara; so nice that months later, returning to the same restaurant, we had to have it yet again. But here in Rome, shop after shop has none of it. they've got Sagrantina di Montefalco up the wazoo, and Torgiano too. But Corbara? nada.

A quick search shows a stock of Castello di Corbara 2002 in a shop in Boulder Colorado. As far as I can tell, that's it for anything west of the Mississippi. And tomorrow I hit the streets, in an attempt to visit every enoteca in Rome. But if you know of a California shop that carries the label (or for that matter, one in Rome), let me know. This stuff is great.

Castello di Corbara Lago di Corbara DOC (rosso). Drink some today.
Benedict XVI

So it's to be Ratzinger of Germany, now Pope Benedict XVI, and not Jean-Marie Lustiger of France. So the Pope's still not Jewish. But he is the Vatican's official guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy. And the first German Pope in 1000 years.

Not a radical choice, but an interesting one. And outside, the party is starting to go in the streets. All of Rome has squashed into St. Peter's Square and along Via de la Conciliazione. Yeehaaa.


Best quote: (lifted from AP):
"We consider the election of Ratzinger is a catastrophe ... We can expect no reform from him in coming years"...said Bernd Goehring, of the German ecumenical group Kirche von Unten.
This from a guy named Goehring, about a pope who was a member of the Hitler youth??? Gotta love this stuff.

P.S. sorry for the "Pope Clement" slip earlier. It's that Benedict XVI is the first 78 year old since Clement XII, 250 years ago.

Black smoke! New Pope!

Monday, April 18, 2005


It was just minutes ago that the Sistine chapel chimneys across the river puffed out the inevitable black smoke of the first pontifical vote; all day the cameras hover around the perimeter of St. Peters, waiting for the first glimpse of the white smoke and the new Pope. It's a bit creepy.

As for me, aside from a walk up to the Vatican to take pictures of the people taking pictures of the television crews waiting to take pictures, it is all sunshine and walking about from church to café to gelateria to piazza to fountain. The streets crawl with tourists and pilgrims, and spring is in the air. The pizza bianca in Campo de' Fiori is still delicious, and the coffee at Tazza D'Oro is still the best in Rome.

Coming up next: The Search For The Mysterious Umbrian Wine That No One Has Ever Heard Of.