What are you doing during the lock-down?

What are you doing during the lock-down?

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

Frankly the lock-down is a pain in the ass. Like everyone I’m tired of it all but at the same time I dread the prospect of getting sick and maybe even dying. So I go outside the house almost strictly to go grocery shopping, see a doctor every once in a while or go to the pharmacy for stuff. I also always wear an N95 mask. So probably like many of you I read, watch films or series on Netflix or Amazon prime and cook. Fortunately both Laura and I are pretty good cooks so we have been eating well. In the last week we’ve had polenta with baccalà, orecchiette with broccoli and anchovies and octopus with potatoes. By the way, octopus is really delicious, relatively easy to prepare and readily available here. Many Americans are put off by the tentacles but it took them awhile to enjoy calamari. So I suggest that you give it a try.

We’ve now watched two miniseries on Netflix:”The Queen’s Gambit” and “The Liberator”. We also watched the most recent season of “The Crown”. All of those were excellent and we always choose Italian as the spoken language and also subtitles in Italian (for me). I can understand some of the spoken dialog but not enough yet. The interesting thing is that the subtitles often don’t match the spoken (usually dubbed) language. I suspect that is because different people do the dubbing from the original language and someone else does the subtitles from the original language. So I’m making progress since I can usually at least tell the difference.

Films: “Our Godfather”, the story of a Sicilian mafioso that became an FBI informant, the latest Borat movie and most recently “The Right Stuff”. We also watched “The
First King” which I would definitely NOT recommend unless you enjoy a lot of gratuitous bloody violence.

I always read books in Italian (my form of enjoyably studying Italian) and almost always mysteries. An interesting aside is that mysteries are called “gialli” (yellows) because when a major Italian publishing house started publishing a series of mysteries (starting in 1929) the covers were yellow. I read mysteries because I generally like them and they use more common words than “literature”. I did however read a Hemingway book. Hemingway felt less inclined to show off his mastery of the language then many other authors of literature. Maybe I’ll get an Elmore Leonard book translated into Italian.

The recent books:

  1. Three books by Gianrico Carofiglio – my favorite Italian thriller/mystery writer. “Un Mutevole Verità” (A Changing Truth), “L’estate Fredda” (The Cold Summer). By the way a large number of his books are available in translation through Amazon and I highly recommend them.
  2. One book by Marco Malvaldi – he tends to run hot and cold. Some of his I really like and some, well, not so much. This one is “Il Gioco delle tre Carte”, (Three Card Monte)
  3. One Hemingway “Il Vecchio e il Mare” (The Old Man and the Sea)
  4. The John Grisham book “L’uomo della Pioggia” (The Rainmaker).

And now another two quotes from Perugina Baci:

Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.
Qualsiasi uomo può sbagliare, ma solo un idiota persiste nel suo errore.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
Alcuni causano felicità ovunque vadano; altri ogni volta che se ne vanno.

Oscar Wilde

Let me know how you are passing the time while being mostly stuck at home.

4 Responses to “What are you doing during the lock-down?”

  1. Helen and Abby Says:

    Thanks for your recommendations! We are doing much the same as you, minus the Italian. We also loved Queen’s G and the Crown. Now we’re revisiting Foyle’s War (excellent). You must see My Octopus Teacher- beautiful documentary though it may make you think again about eating them. Stay safe and well, and keep writing. We count the (months?) until we can travel!

  2. Joe Says:

    I’ll check out Foyle’s war – it may or not be available in Italy. Octopus is an interesting critter. They live a short time and have a distributed brain (the head of an octopus is almost empty) but it seems that the intelligence is somehow in the arms. I eat other animals so octopus gives me no qualms just as octopi (or octopuses) have no qualms about eating anything that crosses it’s path.


  3. Abby Pollak Says:

    Joe —
    Love all your Italian offerings & only wish we could’ve with you both.
    Happy holidays, as it were — have you tried Borge??
    Baci a tutti

  4. Joe Says:

    Thanks Abby, hopefully by next fall you can come to Italy again. By the way what is Borge?


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