If there are things better than waking up on Saturday morning next to your warm and loving spouse, knowing you have nothing to do all day but get a facial and usher for a dance concert, well, I’m up for them.

Reading Barbara Grizutti Harrison’s Italian Days as prep for the trip. I’ve long loved BGH. She had a column in Mademoiselle that I read in my 20s, long before I ever thought I’d write anything at all, and I fell in love. Spouse has provided the two books of hers that I have in my collection, her autobio and a novel called Falling Bodies, I think. I need to reread both. Italian Days is lovely, of course. Take a subject like Italy and throw a thoughtful, descriptive, and curious writer at it, and I think it’s probably hard to go wrong. Unless of course the writer’s not so good. BGH doesn’t go into the precious territory of all those Under the Tuscan Sun/Eat Pray Love books. Hell, she just ate lunch with a guy trying to start a creepy neo-Fascist movement back by Socialist Party money. Go figure.  Anyway, lovely book.

Also have probably a dozen guidebooks to Rome and Venice piled around the house. I read guidebooks anyway. I’m always planning a trip in my head. Now that I’m actually going someplace….whee. Giddy = a good word. I’m loving the Blue Guides a lot; less dry and earnest than Michelin, but more exhaustive than just about anything else. Funny that with all the stuff available online, good guidebooks are still irreplaceable, at least I think so.

Saw Michael Keaton’s directorial debut this week, The Merry Gentleman. Keaton also stars. He’s good. As spouse has remarked, funny guys simply dial back hugely when they try to play it straight. Keaton doesn’t do that. He gets the power of silence and of a long take. The movie’s not perfect, but it’s good, in large part because Kelly MacDonald is just wonderful, and gets to use her natural Scottish accent. Girl has a hell of an ear. She’s the wife in No Country for Old Men. You’d never know she wasn’t a Yank.

Plan on reading a little bit of The Week with the Youngest. The kid is sharply perceptive about the world around him, and has his old man’s fascination for the flaws in systems. We’re currently loving the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and he’s completely into the satire, especially the fact that the President of the Galaxy wields zero power, and only exists to distract the masses from the real machinations.

Also have Abel Gance’s La Roue, the Wheel. I was dreading this 4.5 hour silent epic, but reading the jacket copy piqued my interest. Gance said that cinema introduced a new kind of sound, a music of light; people listened with their eyes. Paraphrasing possibly, but struck by the beauty of that statement.

See ya.

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