Friday, July 2, 2010

From Michelangelo to Michelle Malkin, From Botticelli to the Blonde Bombshells of Fox News

Since my last post, my wife and I have been on vacation in Italy. Rome, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Florence, Siena, Venice, Verona. I had thought about doing a post or two from an Internet cafe or something, but drinking local wine and seeing the Renaissance masters won out over blogging every time. The trip was fantastic and mind blowing on so many levels. For one thing, when you see 2,000 years of history in layers right before your eyes, you can't help but think long and hard about the human experience on this planet, about what changes and what remains, and about your own place in it all.

We walked into the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, a church from the early 12th century, to look at the medieval mosaic behind the altar. In 1857, they discovered that beneath the church, is an older church founded around 392. An archaeologist basically punched through the floor and found it. We climbed down the stairs into the cool damp to see faded frescoes from the fifth or sixth centuries. Then more steps led down to a first century A.D. Roman house that was converted into a temple to Mithras, god of a late-Roman mystery cult that was popular among Roman soldiers.

And this was just one place that we easily might have missed.

We got back to DC on Sunday night, and the next morning I was starting work in a new office, where I'm on rotation for at least a year. There's a lot of new stuff to adjust to, but let me tell you the worst. I'm working in a big room with 40 or 50 other people sitting at computers, and all around the room there are TVs. The boss picks which channel they're on. My boss likes Fox News. So this week I watched over 40 hours of Fox. I think I could file a workers' comp claim for that. Even worse are the conversations that Fox inspires in the office. Yesterday I listened to a couple of guys nearby talk for half an hour about "the myth of climate change." I wanted to walk over and say, "Let's name some other areas where conservatives have ignored science for their own political gain."

Anyway, something's going to have to change, or this year will feel like 20.