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When in Rome


In all candor, the Tiber is not the most impressive river in the world. It's just two notches up from Hogtown Creek! But great bridges.


You know that saying about "All Roads Lead to Rome"? A total lie. On the way from the airport into town, I kept seeing signs for a place I never heard of called Firenze. Probably some hellhole.


Technically, this is an Irish Pub (and is that an American sports channel in the background?) so there are major when-in-Rome violations taking place. But it was a great place for a beverage and a quick scan of the IHT.


Guy carved in stone is saying: No, please, not another historic church!!!


Little-known factoid: Bernini's business cards said "Specializing in Feet."

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 7, 2009; 6:09 PM ET
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Sorry about snafu on blog....We got our best people working on it...

Posted by: joelache | July 7, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is lovely--and you're a proper hero, being all concerned with the A-blog when you're supposed to be on vacation.

Carry on having fun and all that.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 7, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It's time for manfood.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 7, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm jealous, of your wife, of course!

Posted by: MissToronto | July 7, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Great photos Joel, love the one of you trying to look sober. Have a wonderful time.

Posted by: badsneakers | July 7, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Joel, have you been working out?

Those arms of yours look like Popeye's.

Also, please don't forget to make a pilgrimage to Modena for me. Er, and if you happen to stop by Imola, please leave some flowers near Tamburello for me.

I'll pay ya back when you're back in town, sir.

And I'm lookin' forward to seeing the new Gen-u-wine Eyetalian gladiator sandals you'll be rockin' on your return.


Posted by: -bc- | July 7, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I think "Firenze" means "fire escape" in Italian. I wouldn't go there unless it's an emergencio.

Of course, I guess it could mean "fire sale," in which case you might find some bargains, such as giant stutues of people with no arms or legs, if you like that sort of thing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | July 7, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

An IRISH pub in ROME? That seems so, so... blasphemous. I suppose they're entitled to diversity, but jeez.

Love the picture, Joel. That's one for the ages. Did Miss Paris take it?

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Just to let you all know, when I appear as -ftb1- it means I'm using Firefox; when I'm just plain old (not that old!) -ftb- it means I'm on Safari (and don't I wish!!!).

The WaPo registration system isn't exactly to my liking.

Very nice pictures, Joel. I seem to be allergic to Italy. The two times I've been there, something always happened to lessen my enjoyment of the country. The first time (in Rome) I tripped and fell and dislocated my shoulder (and pushed it back in myself -- I'm used to doing that). Went to the hospital where they taped my entire arm to my body. By the end of the week, I expect I got a little gamey. The second time I came to Milan with a ginormous cold and felt miserable the entire time. Both were business trips, but I also was with people from other countries whom I knew, so I got the appropriate dosage of sympathy.

Enjoy your trip, Joel (and, um, don't use "trip" as a verb, like I did).

Posted by: -ftb1- | July 7, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Buddy999 | July 7, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh goodness. Italian architecture. Wine. NCAA. Man, it's like some kind of heaven place or something.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 7, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to have lots and lots of ftbs.

Joels pictures are wonderful, and pure torment; I haven't been in Italy in 20 years, and the yearning is now exquisite.

Posted by: Yoki | July 7, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Here's where inexperience comes in handy. As I have never been to Italy, I can just bask vicariously and enviously, without yearning. Thank you for sharing your vacation with us, Joel.

And remember to tell them Italians "buenos gnocchis". They are sure to be impressed by your command of their language.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 7, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Ivansdad and I had our main meal earlier today, after I did a bunch of yard work. Now I'm having a little something before heading off to sing Bach.

Beaujolais goes surprisingly well with peanut-butter celery sticks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 7, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Which bit of Bach are you singing, Ivansmom?

My own feeling is the Beaujolais goes pretty well with most things. Try it with dark chocolate. Which, come to think of it, has a similar umami quality to peanut butter.

Posted by: Yoki | July 7, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

"Umami"?? You're speaking Inuit now, Yoki?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | July 7, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Mudge. I think we've had this discussion. The five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami. It's Japanese for tasty but is also translated brothy, meaty, savory.

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"Tomatoes, apparently, now serve as tools for diplomacy."

The boole influence is incredible!

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

We're a two-kit boodle now.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 7, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC boodle,

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Very discombobulating, this dual kit business.

Ivansmom put it well for all of us who haven't been to Italy.

Absolutely perfect weather in Our Fair City this week. Highs 76-78, lows 48-54, sunny and dry.

Watched some highlights of the MJ memorial on BBC World News, heaven help me I started to giggle. Just have a hard time taking a gold plated casket seriously.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 7, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

We're rehearsing the motet "Jesu Meine Freude". I sing with a small chamber choir. We performed this a cappella (I think that means without heads) in March and are reprising it in September. This means summer brush-up rehearsals.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 7, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I think you MIGHT find this funny...

Posted by: russianthistle | July 7, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Just sayin...

Posted by: Yoki | July 7, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

'morning all. Oh, I want to be on vacation now. Even for a bit of fish'n'chips in Italy or pasta in Ireland.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 8, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Wow, things must really be tough all over if Ivansmom has to rehearse in a motel.

At least this is the last day of contractors (hopefully), so much vacation fun is on the horizon. Although NukeSpouse is inclined to take NukeSpawn elsewhere today and I can't disagree with that plan.

Should I be posting this in the next Kit?

*confused-as-always-even-with-proper-caffeination Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Repost from (two?) kits back when I got kitted just as I posted

I think I'm pretty high up on the marriage list. 49 3/4th continuous years, less one day. Of course spread over two wives. The first turned out not so great. Married the second wife the day after the marriage first was finally legally settled.

I owe Mr. McNamara about three years of employment. When I got out of the Coast Guard 1-'65, I landed a job at McClellan AFB, Scramento, CA as a 'management engineer.' A job category Bob invented I think at Ford, where we would go around and work sample people and try to tie the labor requirements to some function of the volume of responsibility so if the volume responsibility changed the work force would be porportionaly adjusted. There were five air force logistical bases at the time but no correlation could be statistically linked to such things as acreage, miles of runways, number of building etc for the base civil engineer and the number of busses, truck drivers, etc for base transportation (the studies I worked on) between the five bases. Anyway, I parlayed my job there to one I Hawaii with the air force, first as a 'management engineer' trying to make air freight to and from Vietnam more efficient and then got into HQ PACAF as a manpower planner for the civil engineer. While we applied Mac's formulas to add base civil engineer forces as squadrons were deployed around Vietnam and Thailand, we also accessed all the other base functions 10% of their manpower to build houches. While the army was living in tents the air force was to housed in air conditioned houches and even multi-story concrete apartments. After a while I was invited to top secret briefings to prepare for the 'long haul.' There I lost confidence I what I was doing. My son was only three and plans were being discussed that would have still had us in Vietnam when he would be eligible for the draft. Also the powers to be didn't like my suggestion on how to end the war. We were getting daily reports on the tons of bombs dropped, which didn't seem to deter the Viet Cong much. The Vietnamese are very entrepreneurial, so I suggested we drop dollar bills. That way the Viet Kong would all be walking around looking at the ground to find the dollar bills and not be looking up to shoot down our planes. And in a few months they would have enough money to go back home to start a noodle shop and the war would be over. Some smart officers reminded me of the military-industrial-complex and suggest I go back to San Francisco and join the hippie movement.

Posted by: bh72 | July 8, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Joel. When did you get all sexy?

Posted by: mfigiel-krueger | July 8, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Y'know, Dave Barry is in Barcelona, just down the road from you...

Posted by: wiredog | July 8, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

If Rome is the antechamber to Heaven, it seems appropriate that pubs would be Irish.

Inexperience might be a good thing in Rome. There's Stendhal Syndrome to worry about. The great novelist was overwhelmed in Florence.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 8, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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