Category Archives: literature

M&M Enterprise Cooking, Vol. XVI

not bad for being landlocked

Two dishes today. One is a variation on the previously-posted risotto-in-a-bag dish. It was “Mexican night” at the cafeteria Wednesday and I was generously given by the server a large quantity of cooked shrimp, presumably for use in shrimp tacos. Having lived not too far from the Sea of Cortez recently, I can’t imagine why anyone would turn down a shrimp taco, but it suited my purposes well. Not a lot to write about in terms of cooking.

Pasta gorgonzola e noci, November 11

What better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War than with a typically Alpine northern Italian dish? This dish comes not from the old battlegrounds of Caporetto and the Piave but from further west, in Piedmont and of course Lombardy, where one remembers that Gorgonzola has its own stop on the Milan metro. This dish is a sort of variation on that old standby that got my wife and I through our impecunious post-student years.

How to do this one: the cafeteria has passable crumbled bleu cheese daily, so I grabbed a couple of containers of that and a container of shelled walnuts (known in Italian as ghergli di noci). I basically followed this recipe from Giallo Zafferano with a few modifications.

Say ghergli five times fast.
  • Finely diced the nuts, or ghergli thereof.
  • Put on the water to boil, salted it.
  • Substituted a bit of whole milk for cream, let it heat and added the cheese. Let the cheese melt and added pepper and a dash of these herbs de provence (which appear to be mainly thyme). Stirred.
  • Put in the penne (no trofie here).
  • Took pasta out a minute early from water, strained pasta and added it to the mix. Added the finely chopped nuts. Let all the moisture cook off, stirring rapidly to prevent sticking.
  • Stirred well and topped with parmigiano reggiano, pricey ($10) at the PX.
cooking down

It wasn’t gorgonzola, needless to say, but it was passable. Sweeter, stickier, not as creamy, but plenty ok for conflict zone cooking. (A colleague who knows war zones well has corrected my use of the term.)  I used lactose-free milk, which maybe have contributed to the sweetness.


Sometime back, I promised to do a literary lunches series, and mainly failed in that regard. Let me try to amend that almost three years later with a quote from a writer who loved the north of Italy.

—Have you a cheese sandwich?
—Yes, sir.
Like a few olives too if they had them. Italian I prefer. Good glass of burgundy take away that. Lubricate. A nice salad, cool as a cucumber, Tom Kernan can dress. Puts gusto into it. Pure olive oil. Milly served me that cutlet with a sprig of parsley. Take one Spanish onion. God made food, the devil the cooks. Devilled crab.
—Wife well?
—Quite well, thanks … A cheese sandwich, then. Gorgonzola, have you?
—Yes, sir.

Keeping in mind that nothing in any work by this author is an accident, let’s consult his pre-eminent biographer for a gloss of what this meal means.

“Besides serving as a parable that life breeds corruption, Gorgonzola is probably chosen also because of Dante’s adventures with the Gorgon in the Inferno IX. Bloom masters the monster by digesting her.”

Reference here.

Next up: Brussels sprouts with bleu cheese, nuts, clarified butter and bread crumbs.

Sorry, Charlie: Deep Parables of Consumer Capitalism

charlie tunaThere’s no age quite as awkward as the semi-pubescent 11-14 age range which corresponds to what we now know as the middle school years. My own awkwardness at that age can probably best be encapsulated by a rundown of my lunchtime eating habits: every day, a can of StarKist albacore tuna, some saltines, and a can of V-8. (The excess of sodium was probably what caused terrible cankers, I managed to figure out later.) My schoolmates called me “Charlie Tuna,” and I carried in my first grown-up leather wallet a picture not of family, cat or some braces-ridden, underdeveloped girl I had a crush on but rather a magazine cutout of the hipster fish. I dropped the diet after awhile — good taste, indeed, prevailed — but the habit persisted: in post-college years of impecuniousness, I loved a tuna melt under the broiler at home, or a tuna on rye with lettuce and tomato from one of Baltimore’s many fine delis. And in Italy, my British friends, also used to subpar canned fish, and I were awed at what we called “supertuna” — excellent Italian tuna, canned in olive oil — perfect for adding some protein to a fresh salad or plate of pasta pomodoro.

So it was with a mixture of delight and fear when I came across the following passage in Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, which I just finished this week, deconstructing the meaning of the cartoon fish and his desire to sacrifice himself. Doc Sportello, the book’s stoned out-private investigator, is hearing an earful from his conspiratorial, and no-less-stoned-out, lawyer, Sauncho Smilax (p. 119 of the Penguin paperback):

“It’s all supposed to be so innocent, upwardly mobile snob, designer shades, beret, desperate to show he’s got good taste, except he’s also dyslexic so he gets ‘good taste’ mixed up with ‘taste good,’ but it’s worse than that! Far, far worse! Charlie really has this, like, obsessive death wish! Yes! he, he wants to be caught, processed, put in a can, not just any can, you dig, it has to be StarKist! suicidal brand loyalty, man, deep parable of consumer capitalism, they won’t be happy with anything less than drift-netting us all, chopping us up and stacking us on the shelves of Supermarket Amerika, and subconsciously the horrible thing is, is we want them to do it. . . .”

“Saunch, wow, that’s . . .”

“It’s been on my mind. And another thing. Why is there Chicken of the Sea but no Tuna of the Farm?”

“Um . . . ” Doc actually beginning to think about this.

“And don’t forget,” Sauncho went on to remind him darkly, “that Charles Manson and the Vietcong are also named Charlie.”

Dark reminders, indeed, and one of the book’s few mentions of the Vietcong, which, has caused some Pynchonites, who’ve very accurately tracked the chronology of the novel to the spring of 1970, to raise an eyebrow or two. The Cambodian Campaign would have been getting underway about a month after the book’s start date of March 24, 1970.

Back to the topic at hand, the idea of the animal who wants to be consumed is a familiar trope in advertising: at least 15 years ago, friends and I chuckled at the image outside Señor Chicken’s in Northern Virginia — a cartoon bird serving up a plate of, guess what, Peruvian-style chicken. Billboards near the old Fischer’s pork-processing plant in my hometown used to feature pigs serving up bacon from “the bacon makin’ people,” and ads of cows serving burgers seem ambiguously ubiquitous somehow — now cleverly riffed on by Chick-Fil-A. And what about the Kool-Aid man, who invites us to drink him with his basso profondo “oh yeah!”?

What Saunch’s rant adds to the adman’s trope is the notion of “suicidal branch loyalty” and intense paranoia. We must like, even desire, late capital’s endless conquest and consumption; everyone is to be chopped up and stacked up for ease of consumption: “not just any can, you dig, it has to be StarKist!” I vividly recall in the mid-nineties hearing about college students from MacLean voluntarily getting A&W and other brand logo tattoos. (At least this company is offering their bod-mod-willing employees a raise for it.) And as always for Pynchon, there’s a nefarious They, and the flesh that They intend to extract from their unlucky creditors will be far more than a pound. Everyone will be caught, thrown aboard, dredged out of safety and fed into an all-consuming mouth — to what ends, we humble prey are not to know.

But far from being the fantasy of a man whose greatest work contains a series of Proverbs for Paranoids, tuna harvesting in 2014 is deeply controversial and linked to all sorts of unsavory effects of late capitalism: floating canneries in Southeast Asia operate under heated controversy and allegations of slave labor, the Mediterranean’s tuna stocks are rapidly depleting, and Mitsubishi is apparently hoarding a vast amount of the world’s dwindling stock — a fact explained to me in hushed tones and over tuna sandwiches by a lawyer in an office in the City of London a few years ago. Not only is StarKist not American-owned anymore, its Korean parent company seems to be up to funny business.

Pynchon’s metaphor — Charlie as spokes-fish for an all-consuming, self-destructive life cycle — looks right, and so the tuna of my early adolescence is to be stuffed into an ever-fattening file labeled “is nothing sacred?”. Perhaps, as he put it, using another excellent culinary metaphor, “paranoia’s the garlic in life’s kitchen, right, you can never have too much.”

As an antidote to the depressing reality of Charlie Tuna as the ultimate symbol of industrialized, exploitative, tastes-bad and in-bad-taste food I give you Anthony Bourdain and his Catalonian guide rhapsodizing over some excellent, locally-canned, and non-exploitative seafood in the home of Cervantes — who, incidentally, knew that there was such a thing as too much garlic.

Two Competing Visions

From Per Petterson’s remarkable I Curse the River of Time, two visions of death. He seems to think that the first, and not the second is inevitable, yet he spends considerably more effort describing the second, more pleasant alternative, so which can he hope for?

…when it came to dying, I was scared. Not of being dead, that I could not comprehend, to be nothing was impossible to grasp and therefore really nothing to be scared of, but the dying itself I could comprehend, the very instant when you know that now comes what you have always feared, and you suddenly realise that every chance of being the person you really wanted to be, is gone for ever, and the one you were, is the one those around you will remember. Then that must feel like someone’s strong hands slowly tightening their grip around your neck until you can breath no more, and not at all as when a door is slowly pushed open and bright light comes streaming out from the inside and a woman or a man you have always known and always liked, maybe always loved, leans out and gently takes your hand and leads you into a place of rest, so mild and so fine, from eternity to eternity.

On the Unremarkable Processes of Life

I had a relatively minor surgery last week and thus had more than the usual amount of time to sit around reading, especially about healthcare, medicine, and most of all its incredible rising cost.

From Craig Bowron’s most recent article in the Washington Post comes an excellent meditation on dying in the 21st century, on par with Atul Gawande’s work in the New Yorker.

For most of us living with sidewalks and street lamps, death has become a rarely witnessed, foreign event. The most up-close death my urban-raised children have experienced is the occasional walleye being reeled toward doom on a family fishing trip or a neighborhood squirrel sentenced to death-by-Firestone. The chicken most people eat comes in plastic wrap, not at the end of a swinging cleaver. The farmers I take care of aren’t in any more of a hurry to die than my city-dwelling patients, but when death comes, they are familiar with it. They’ve seen it, smelled it, had it under their fingernails. A dying cow is not the same as a person nearing death, but living off the land strengthens one’s understanding that all living things eventually die.

Somehow the quote ties together a number of disparate threads on life and death in the media recently, from Teju Cole’s comment that drone strikes have given us an empathy gap to the death of a young woman in a lion cage this week and the salt-of-the-earth farmers in John William’s brilliant Stoner (who should get credit for the title).

Bowron has another excellent piece from 2009 online here. Brought to Heel by Levi Law

Hon. Levi

While trying to research publication information on the Italian guidebook that profiled my home state, a visit to, which just opened this year, revealed the following warning:

Dear Customer,

It now seems certain that by September 1, a law on the price of books in Italian will come into effect. The main article states: “It shall be allowed that, on the sale of books to the end consumer, by whatever means or method, including mail order, even if such is brought about by electronic commerce, will have no discount to exceed 15 percent of the cover price.”  In compliance with this law, we will continue to offer great prices on our selection of millions of titles in foreign languages. Soon we will offer you the opportunity to choose from a catalog of hundreds of thousands of used books.

Please be assured that you will continue to find very low prices on Music , DVDs and Blu-ray ,Video Games , Electronics , Computers , Gardening and Garden , Home and Kitchen , shoes and bags , watches and many other categories in the future.

Thank you for your trust in Amazon and we reaffirm our commitment to continue to offer not only competitive prices and free shipping, but also the best buying experience.

The team at

PS Till August 31, we will be offering one last opportunity to purchase up your favorite books at prices never before offered. See, for the next few weeks, more than 235,000 books in Italian that we’re offering at a discount of at least 40% cover price.

The law in question is the Levi Law, named after the 52-year-old Democratic Party senator who also introduced a law to gag bloggers in 2007 (the “Levi-Prodi” law), which hasn’t passed yet. (Prodi, darling of the Anglo press for his liberalist views, gave his name to law by virtue of being Prime Minister when it was introduced.) According to Corriere della Sera, over 1000 people signed a petition against the law and sent the petition to Italian President Napolitano.

Back home, where Wal-Mart rules the roost, I miss my neighborhood book and music vendors. There is an argument for small stores and the specialization that they provide. Transactions can transcend mere consumerism and can be a learning experience and create community. Anyone who’s ever had a favorite book or record store knows this feeling. (I can cite Hawley-Cooke and ear X-tacy in Louisville and Normal’s in Baltimore as contributing heartily to my current ethos and worldview.) Italy’s small stores, when they provide this experience, are to be valued and appreciated. But at a time when Italy’s economy continues to stagnate, for the 40th-odd quarter in a row, with low growth that is the fault of too many small businesses and low international investment, this doesn’t seem like a particularly savvy move.

For whatever reason, Hon. Levi seems particularly harshly opposed to the internet as a means of facilitating communication and commerce in Italy. That he is a typical figure of the Italian left should help explain why Berlusconi has held reign for most of the past decade and a half.

But, Italy’s parliament’s slowness this time may be to the market’s advantage. As the iPhone and various tablets take over e-reading, the law may not have much effect.  Amazon has already signed an agreement with Mondadori to distribute ebooks, and Edigita, a consortium that includes RCS and Feltrinelli, will distribute 1000,000 books from 30 different publishing houses.

I wonder what Tim Parks, who spoke eloquently about the rising costs of publishing to the Foreign Press Association in Milan, might have to say about this.


The Washington Post reports that even in a weak economy, there still is a niche for small, independent booksellers:

The small, independently owned bookstore is staging a modest rebirth in the midst of a bone-killing economy and the exponential growth of online retailers and e-books.

I wish someone would tell Italian lawmakers that you can actually have Amazon and good, small bookstores too.


Update #2:

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the closing of mega-stores like Borders. I’ll never forget being at the flagship Barnes & Noble store in Baltimore‘s Inner Harbor shopping district, watching a clerk tell a customer over and over again that Invisible Man was in the science fiction section. The customer stood his ground and said, “no, not H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man — Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.” Assured by his computer monitor, the clerk told the customer that that book didn’t exist.  I’m sure that up in Washington Heights, Ellison did a series of half-gainers in his grave. And you shouldn’t have to guess the races of the characters in this story.

So you want to write a book?

Getting an Italian Education

Tim Parks stands out from most expatriate writers on Italy by choosing to write about the daily realities of a life lived among regular people. Lesser writers are enchanted into irrelevance by the cultural, gastronomic and sartorial consumption opportunities afforded to them by the bel paese, but not so Parks, who divines trenchant observations on family, class and modernity from the ephemera of ordinary experience.  Given our mutual experiences in the small towns of the Veneto, I was excited to hear that he would be speaking to Milan’s foreign press organization last week.

Despite it being a paid event, Thursday’s talk was not open to the public.  I managed to make it by dint of good graces and good luck, but was ultimately disappointed for more than one reason.  Parks is noted, perhaps above all, for his work in translation, and has also written 20 works of fiction (which I mention simply because among Italian expatriates they are often overlooked in favor of his four nonfiction works about Italy).  He has also penned numerous essays for the New York Review of Books and most recently (April 11), wrote an essay for the New Yorker on the unshakeable disease of berlusconismo that seems to run through the veins of the Italian body politic.

However, Parks’ talents were somewhat constrained by having to stick to the topic of how to write a book.  In the Italian title, the verb “realizzare” was used, which is rendered equally poorly by both “write” and “publish” but perhaps that is evidence that it was not well thought out.  Parks himself seemed lukewarm on the topic, writing that afternoon on his Facebook page “So, tonight I’m speaking to the Foreign Press in Milan. They want reflections on how to organize writing and publishing a book. It should be about time for me to get some ideas together…” (Original in Italian here.)

I didn’t get the sense that members of the foreign press association had a much better appraisal of the topic.  Chatting beforehand, a resident journalist asked me, “so… are you here to learn how to write a book?” with a wry grin. Over the din of several interviews being conducted I tried to tell him that the title reminded me of Glenn Gould’s “So you want to write a fugue?

So what do we talk about when we talk about writing a book?  For all but the most starry-eyed, the advice can only center on agents, publishers, deals, fellowships, teaching opportunities and other practical considerations.

Some of these practical considerations include the problems of writing from outside one’s own culture, and Parks addressed these concerns.  It was interesting to hear from the author himself what I had read in the introduction to An Italian Education about how he had come reluctantly to write about living in Italy, and about how his manuscript for Italian Neighbors had been rejected for not being the kind of Tuscan-travel-porn that the British seem to have effortlessly passed on to a certain class of American.  (I had not known that he specifically was entreated by an editor to try and ape Peter Mayles’ A Year in Provence, which I will happy admit that I have not read.)  Parks made astute observations about knowing one’s audience, drawn from his long experience of writing from a foreign country. He also noted the creative efforts that go into a work of pure nonfiction such as his 2005 examination of the Medici’s banking system, Medici Money, and whether one needs to gather all the appropriate evidence first. (Short answer: no.)

His comments on contemporary writers also reflected his against-the-grain piece on Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and other literature in Italian translation published in il Sole 24 Ore that same day, where he wrote that it was disheartening that Europeans anoint Franzen simply out of some vague and anxious need to understand America. (Parks asserts that Franzen, for his part, writes about America for some Americans — and with scant regard for non-Americans.) At the talk, he tied in the world’s fascination with Freedom (published in Italy this spring) with the world’s fascination with America – welcome comments on both the state of writing in English in Italy and in the world.

Parks also delved into what the implications of technology are and will be for translation, writing and teaching in the future, noting the power of the Kindle and how his students now can use its built-in dictionary application to immediately look up words.  He recalled, not without some nostalgia, the slightly obsessive and entirely necessary habit that learners of foreign languages used to have of scribbling down all unknown words in a notebook or in the margins of the work being translated.  He also praised the Kindle for allowing readers to electronically annotate their e-books’ margins. On the business end, he noted the extraordinarily low cost to a publisher of an e-book as compared to the extraordinarily high cost of an actual paper book, not to mention the associated expenses of publicist and agent that an author might be expected to pick up.

I wouldn’t have minded hearing a bit more about the increasing role of technology in the art of translation.  Web browsers already come with built-in translation features for most world languages, and their translations, although still inelegant and riddled with errors, are much more reliable than similar programs of a decade ago.  The language is often refined by online collaborators, and innovative programs for smartphones that translate text from photos and non-Latin characters are being developed.

By way of answering audience members’ questions about publishers and agents, Parks was able to heave a few shovels of scorn on an out-of-step publishing industry.  Such a remark could’ve raised the question of what value publishers add in the days of blogging and e-books.  Not every writer can expect self-publishing success like 26-year old vampire writer Amanda Hocking, but with paper publishing costs up and potential gains down as Borders exits the market and remaining mega-retailers Barnes and Noble and Wal-Mart consolidate their market positions, e-books fill more than just a technological void.  That publishers offer little more than a brand imprimatur in a world where Amazon controls distribution is obvious.  Of course how important that imprimatur really is was subtly underscored by Parks himself when he momentarily confused his own publisher, Harville Secker, an imprint of Random House, with HarperCollins.

One complaint: the event started at six.  The only reason I was able to make it was that I had made a massive amount of deadlines earlier in the week and felt like I could reward myself with one evening off.  But for most new organizations or even desk jobs, six o’clock in Italy is a bit too early.

Parks was kind enough to stick around and make small talk and hand out advice to those who wanted to hang around afterwards.  But a hard week coupled with me trying to squash my body into seats designed for much smaller people (with presumably much bigger posteriors) conspired against my original vision of me swapping notes on the rural Veneto with someone who’s written three books on the subject, and I left, offering only a wave and a thanks with my wallet ten euros lighter.  I might have better luck seeking him out in his office in IULM some day.

On Wrestling with Angels

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Have you ever wanted to do something difficult, perhaps out of frustration, or to beat fear?  Maybe you ran a marathon, or took up biking, or read a long book or worked out a difficult puzzle.  What you in all likelihood did not do was have men ten years your junior punch you in the face and break some of your bones, while you — of course — were trying to do the same to them.

But this is precisely what J.D. Daniels — pictured dragging a tire to train — did for over two years, and he writes about it in the fall edition (not the winter edition, which is just on the stands) of the Paris Review.  His account, with the decidedly understated title of “Letter from Cambridge” is well worth your time, and I’ll break my non-commercial policy to encourage you to buy the magazine.  As Lorin Stein somewhat refreshingly reminds us, it is not meant to be surfed.  Daniels’ piece you’ll have to shell out for.  You can get a Houellebecq interview for your dozen clams, too.

But most importantly, you will get the sense that you are at home, instead of having someone who puts “Big” in front of his name with zero sense of irony dislocate your shoulder, break your nose and arm-triangle you into submission.  You might be relieved about this at first, but then you might wonder what it means that you are sitting at home.  You may find yourself pondering the words of the Brazilian dojo-master who asks Daniels in one of several explanatory asides, “without fighting, when you feel this in your life?  […]  Two, three times?  It make you a more major person.”

Some people wrestle with their demons.  By his own admission, Daniels wrestles with angels.

Post-Holiday Post

Happy Epiphany everyone. I’m just in from an utterly exhausting holiday trip to Rovigo, Louisville and Washington DC, and after yesterday’s 24-hour trip home, I’m too spent to do much other than post this ridiculous 1951 Warner Brothers cartoon featuring Charlie the Dog.

Ah, crude stereotypes of Italians and Ed Butz-like linguistic appropriations! Still, I knew that WB’s typing had to extend beyond Pepé Le Pew and Speedy Gonzalez. Someone obviously had a deeper understanding of italianità, because there’s an obvious homage to the pre-WW1 greats of the Scala in the cartoon — the sign up in the restaurant (“Melba Tetrazzini Gadski Martinelli”).

Otherwise: see the Social Network, if you’re one of the few people that hasn’t already. I fully believe it took large liberties with the Truth in all senses (is Harvard still so good-old-boyish; do programmers really spend so little time coding and so much time partying — these have been thoroughly debunked elsewhere), but it’s good storytelling, and I think must hit on some basic kernel of truth in that Zuckerberg is a brilliant, slightly amoral geek with powerful driving ambitions — much like the world’s last true uber-geek, Bill Gates. (This ascendancy is broadly hinted at in the film — and those who incredibly don’t know who Gates is are those who miss out, although I sincerely doubt that there was one person at Harvard in 2003 who didn’t actually know of Bill Gates.)

Totally unrelated: why does Hemingway, who dealt with the problem of bilingual conversations rather elegantly in A Farewell to Arms, stumble so hard in For Whom the Bell Tolls by using ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ for tu? It seems so basic. I’m not the only one who noticed, of course.

More after I’ve caught up on sleep.

Italian Neighbors

For what do we live?

It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up late to finish a book. But Tim Parks, with his impeccable rural Veneto credentials, has long fascinated me, and I finally got hold of his Italian Neighbors. To his credit, I could not put it down, although I was at times unsure what to make of his detachment — whether it boded well or poorly. Given that he’s still here, and now in Milan, I must assume the former. Doubtlessly the Veneto has changed even more in the quarter century between when he was writing and when I was living in Rovigo — his descriptions of rural rituals from a bygone era reminded me much more of my experiences in rural Macedonia than in Rovigo. But his descriptions of the sundry habits of the proper Veneto bourgeoisie, from obsessive cleanliness to worry about health, from state employment and its attendant security to the enterprising, and presumably-tax cheating small businessman, were spot-on. What mystified me, however, was what often seemed like a confusion over habits and attitudes that, although deeply different than those in the Anglo-Saxon world, I would have thought obvious, such as the pious Catholicism of the Veneto region or the great premium placed on eating well over the holidays. These are great differences, but I found myself keenly prepped for them — possible due to the amount of Italo-Americans and the habits they’ve imported? But that doesn’t seem right; London had its fair share of immigration, too, although one can reflect that perhaps a melting pot culture was less lauded there.  Also, too, I think I would have appreciated perhaps a bit more comparison of Britain to Italy.  Parks touches on it but I find that comparison of America to Italy informs a large percentage of my daily thoughts — and usually ends up in balance.  One must reflect, is anyone truly 100% content with their own culture when they come to live in another?  Parks criticizes the Italians for the self-assuredness of their own culture, but doesn’t he do just the seem with regard to Britain’s?

These quibbles don’t take away from the general enjoyment of another Anglo-Saxon displaced to the Veneto, though.  And, politically, there are the early rumblings of Lega Nord mentioned in a chapter on elections — and the few lines make for a trenchant and still-accurate profile of your likely LN voter in Veneto.  Personally, it’s refreshing to read about someone actually trying to hack out a living in the belpaese, and experiencing the pain of cancelled private lessons and mind-numbing boring translation material.  And stylistically, I enjoyed his use of the second person as well — because, if you live in the Veneto, you will indubitably experience most things just as he has. I’m eager to explore the rest of Parks’ Italian oeuvre. Maybe I’ll run into him when I start a new course near IULM next week.  One can hope, anyway.