Sunday, August 28, 2005

First time out blogging. Main purpose: post pix and travel comments from an upcoming three months in Italy and other points far east of here. Activity: teaching in a study abroad program for Pasadena City College.

Origin of the name "Molloy," for those disposed to wonder: Samuel Beckett has a novel by that title. The main character is apprehended by the police for leaning on his bicycle the wrong way. At the station house, he has trouble remembering his name, until it comes to him in a blinding flash of self-discovery: "Molloy! My name is Molloy!" It's a very funny scene, full of Beckett irony; for me, it's also a tribute to instinct, clumsiness (on Molloy's part) and intellectual agility (on Beckett's part). You will want to have a look at that novel, in which there is also a very funny parrot, and some probably offensive, but very funny, remarks about Molloy's first sexual experiences (those don't apply to me).

As for wisdom, I don't pretend to much, but what I have I'm happy to share: from the Mahabharata, I gleaned this, which is posted on my office door: A fool must be told something 10,000 times; a wise man only needs 2500.

As for more wisdom: Wynton Marsalis, speaking in the last episode of Ken Burns' history of jazz: words to the effect of (i.e., I put them in quotes, but the quote isn't exact): "Life has a board for everybody's backside. It's not the same board--it's always tailored especially to each individual. And you never know what it will be. But you're going to get it." This is not posted on my office door.

By the way, if you're interested in buying either or both of my CDs, Morphology and Live at the Balzac, go to I have a third CD, Inadequate Adult Supervision, which was actually my first--all original music. Since it was never actually In Print, it's safe to say that it is currently Out of Print. But I will be more than happy to print a special, personalized copy for any interested party. The price is meager, and it's a great investment: $15 (including postage). In a thousand years, you'll at least double your money. Just e-mail me for an address to send your check to. But not until next December, when I'll be back in town. This music, being all original, I still like, maybe even at times better than the music on the other CDs, which, of course, I also liked, or I wouldn't have played it. You might also be interested in my own, for-real, personal website, set up by my wife, who is good at such things (I'm good at typing--just turn me loose and watch me go), and under has quite a few useful writing and grammar materials, not to mention some materials on other courses I teach at Pasadena City College.

So, I'll probably give some opinions and things here, but look for those more likely in the future at another site.

But this was supposed to be about My Trip to Italy, which begins September 4 and lasts until Nov. 28, when I will be dragged kicking and screaming back to Burbank. I will be a terrible embarassment to my wife, who may, when she hears me kicking and screaming, head for the opposite side of the airport and read a book until I am calmed down.

What do I have to say about Italy at this heat-drenched point in time: well, I've been there before, planning to find the romantic place of literary works by English and American writers--Merchant of Venice and Death in Venice come to mind--not to mention the visuals of soft-lit, soft-focus movies--Under the Tuscan Sun is so . . . so . . . so--well I'm not sure what it is so, but it really is. But what to my wondering eyes did appear? Not a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer, but traffic, congestion, heat, etc etc. It was a modern country. I could buy aspirin there. Then I went again a couple of times, and I'm looking forward to this more extended stay.

Right now, preparations are proceeding apace: had to get a lot of never-before-owned class materials, trying to figure out how to pack everything and still have room for a few clothes.