Tuesday, October 06, 2015

When In Rome...

Me and Riley at St. Peter's Square

It’s a long way from Lovell, Maine to Rome, Italy. After traveling for thirty hours, we arrived exhausted at our rented condominium outside the Eternal City Saturday afternoon about 3:00 pm local time. We dropped our fifteen-year-old grandson, Riley, for nap, while my wife and I shopped for groceries. We cooked, ate, and all went to bed early. Sunday morning, we took the Metro (subway) into the city and learned how to get the Colisseum and the Vatican. I didn’t expect to run into anyone I knew, but I recognized a guy just outside the colonnade around St. Peter’s Square and called to him.
That's Michael Voris in the middle

His name is Michael Voris, but he didn’t know me. I knew him because does an online show called “The Vortex” out of Detroit on Church Militant TV, a web-based subscription video service for conservative Catholics and I’d seen several episodes sent to me by a fan of my column. He is a hard-hitting, Emmy Award winning journalist who ruffles feathers in the American Catholic Church and he’s in Rome covering the Synod on the Family. He told me he would be posting his first report Monday and he did, calling it the “Sodomy Synod.” He believes there is a cabal within the Catholic Church that wants to bring it around to approving homosexuality and is using the synod as its vehicle to accomplish that. It’s going to be an interesting month watching his coverage and comparing it with what is shown in American Mainstream Media.
Carly Fiorina

I had a telephone interview with Carly Fiorina scheduled for Friday morning, just before we left on the first leg of the trip. My plan was to transcribe it on the red eye flight but the recording equipment I brought to our South Portland, Maine house failed and I had to postpone until after I return to Lovell. I’m glad to see my fellow Americans are responding positively to Fiorina’s campaign and she’s moved up to second in the polls. Italy is nice, but the longer I’m here, the more American I feel, and I still keep an eye on what’s happening back home.
Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Sunday’s commute in and out of Rome was easy, but Monday’s wasn’t. Rush hour here is worse than Boston, but we arrived in time for our pre-paid tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. All were impressive, especially St. Peter’s. We had to be silent in the Sistine Chapel and couldn’t take pictures, but prior to going in our guide told us much about Botticelli, Michelangelo, and others hired by various popes to decorate. Although I paid for a small-group, skip-the-line tour, we all felt like cattle being moved along through narrow passageways competing for space and oxygen with other groups speaking different languages. It was noisy, and we were given receivers with ear plugs ostensibly to overcome ambient noise and hear our English-speaking guide, but they didn’t work well for me. I could understand only 5-10% of what she said because of her Italian accent and the static. It didn’t help that I had to take the hearing aid out of my left ear to insert her earpiece. I felt claustrophobic and oxygen-deprived throughout - even in the huge St. Peter’s Basilica.
Still, I’m very glad we went. It was the best I could afford, and now we’ve seen it. I came away with many impressions, not the least of which was that it’s all way too ostentatious and decadent. I admire Pope Francis for rejecting the palatial quarters traditional for popes and taking a simple room elsewhere. I admire him for using a small Fiat during his recent American visit. I don’t admire his comments about capitalism, climate change, air conditioning, and other things but I like that he is toning down the opulence. It’s way over the top and has been for centuries.
Taking the Metro home on a business day was more than a trip. After being moved through the Vatican like sheep, we experienced the anarchy of the Roman subway system. Many of the cars arrived covered in graffiti inside and out. Getting on and off required some muscle to hold our own against those who would elbow us aside trying to squeeze into a car before the doors closed and I had to make sure all three of us were inside. Then we rode like sardines holding on to the supports as the cars accelerated and slowed down between stops.
 Next to me in Metro subway car

It all reminded me why I don’t like big cities, but we’ll do it all again tomorrow for the Colisseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tour. More about that next week.


rhondajo said...

I loved Carly in the beginning. She is very intelligent and articulate. She is not afraid of questions and always has a good answer. However, just two weeks after 9-11 she gave a speech that extolled Islam. Apparently, she is a Muslim sympathizer. She said "There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world."

She goes on to mention some accomplishments, however, these people were not Muslims until Islam decapitated and raped its way from the east, conquering lands through violence, just as ISIS is doing today. I have since crossed her off of my list.


Laurie from Bartlett said...

my sentiments exactly regarding Carly. She is BELTWAY ALL THE WAY!!AND I TOO WAS APPALLED WHEN I READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF HER SPEECH JUST AFTER 9/11! Am also very unhappy w/ her criticism of Dr. Carson who was absolutely correct regarding the inability of a candidate who follows sharia to be able to be President. Sharia IS NOT compatible with our Constitution!! Carly is very naive!!!

Tom McLaughlin said...

I read the speech too and I will ask her about it. She said Islam was the world's greatest civilization between 800 and 1600 AD, and praised Sulieman as a wise leader. I'll ask her if she's aware that he tried to conquer Vienna, and his intention was to make Europe Muslim.

She made the speech days after September 11th and it reflected the prevailing wisdom on Islam in academia at the time. Still is for many academics, but the ones who haven't drank the Kool Aid know Islam has always tried to spread its religion at the point of a sword.

Is that the only objection you ladies have with Carly Fiorina?

Anonymous said...

" I admire him for using a small Fiat during his recent American visit."
Are you KIDDING me? The freakin' audacity of his clearly uninformed and delusional proclama .....
Oh, you meant the car?

It's been a while, I have no idea what's "safe" for tourists these days, but
Luna Park-via subway?
Pro tip: DON'T buy your switchblades from street venders. They're as crappy as the RELEX watches (or anything in Times Square)on the street in NYC.

Brian said...

"I don’t admire his comments about capitalism, climate change, air conditioning, and other things but I like that he is toning down the opulence. It’s way over the top and has been for centuries."

So you are fine with over the top opulence at the tops of corporations, with Wall Street chief executives walking away with hundreds of millions in bonuses and other compensation after driving their companies into insolvency and plunging the nation’s economy into crisis, but you didn't like the opulence of past Popes. You consistently whine about Big Guvmint wasting money, but seem just fine with the corporate culture that ruined our economy.

"Across the board, the more CEOs get paid, the worse their companies do over the next three years, according to extensive new research."

As for the Pope, Hallelujah and thank the Lord that we now have a Pope that doesn't deny the facts on climate change and is telling telling the people about the failures of unchecked capitalism!!!!!

Tom McLaughlin said...

You must believe, Brian, that government should decide levels of salary and compensation in business. If a corporation pays too much for executives who perform poorly, its business will surely decline. That's as it should be. There will be consequences in the marketplace.

As for politicians who under-perform, there should be consequences from voters. If voters keep reelecting them, whose fault is that? It's the voters' fault. We get the government we deserve. It's a reflection of us.

Brian said...

As we found out, when corporations get greedy it is the US economy and the American people who suffer greatly. You must believe that they should be permitted to cause this to happen over and over with no penalty. I mean who really went to jail for that crap? The Pope seems to be trying to let us know that we need to get out of this mindset that MORE is better, and accumulating vast amounts of wealth should be a noble goal. I think the Pope thinks that those billions going to top execs could be much more beneficial to all if used in other ways. By not fleecing their customers, for one, the money would remain in the publics hands. I don't know if I, or the Pope, would like salaries regulated, but we wish that human nature were not so glutonous.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom McLaughlin said...

Whoops. I didn't mean to delete the above comment and I don't know how to put it back. Sorry Steve.