I have been re-reading Donna Leon's "Willful Behaviour". (She's a terrific author, btw)
The scene - as mostly always is Venice - and the central character - Commissario Guido Brunetti - at one point muses:
He recalled, then, something he had seen with Paola, it must have been four years ago. They'd been at an exhibition of the paintings of the Colombian painter, Botero, she drawn to the wild exuberance of the portraits of fat, pie-faced men and women, all possessed of the same tiny rosebud mouth. In front of them was a teacher with a class of children who couldn't have been more than eight or nine. As he and Paola came into the last room of the exhibition, they heard the teacher say, "Now, ragazzi, we're going to leave, but there are a lot of people here who don't want to be disturbed by our noise or talking. So what we're all going to do," she went on, pointing to her own mouth, "is make la bocca di Botero." Delighted, the children all placed single fingers on their lips and drew their mouths into tight imitations of those in the paintings as they tiptoed giggling from the room. Since then, whenever either he or Paola knew that to speak might be indiscreet, they invoked "la bocca di Botero", and no doubt thus saved themselves a great deal of trouble, to make no mention of time and wasted energy.
Paolo is his wife - a Professor of English at the University.
I had not heard of Botero but the reference to a tiny rosebud mouth did resonate somewhat:
According to wikipedia, Botero "is considered the most recognized and quoted living artist from Latin America and his art can be found in highly visible places around the world, such as Park Avenue in New York City and the Champs-Élysées in Paris."
A quick interweb search this morning suggests that Botero has anticipated current affairs rather nicely:
The painting is titled Adán.
Adán is the Spanish for Adam (as in Adam & Eve)
But this reminds me more of the Emperor with no clothes. Right down to the very small fingers!
This all happened a week ago. It's a far better story than the political turmoil gripping the world these days so let's take a minute to salute three sailors in the Vendée Globe solo round the world race who finished last Wednesday within three hours of one another. 25,000 miles or more and it was as near a photo finish as you could imagine. Think about that. (That's equivalent to 0.015 secs in a 100m race.) Sure the boats are highly automated, and they use high tech computer tracking to figure out the best course and predicted winds. But, the sailors must still go out there, alone, and sail their boats around the world.
If there was one small downside to their achievement, it was they all just missed finishing in under the 80 day mark. Jean Pierre Dick (St Michel-Virbac) finished fourth in 80d 01h 45m 45s; Yann Elies (Quéguiner-Leucemie Espoir) finished fifth in 80d 03h 11m 09s, 1h 25m 24s behind Dick; and, Jean Le Cam (Finistere Mer Vent) finished sixth in 80d 04h 41m 54s, 1h 30m 45s behind Elies.
There are still a dozen sailors to finish, all now "climbing" their way up the Atlantic. And, even among them, there are some close races - two are just 19 nautical miles apart.
Before the election, Enrique Krauze, a Mexican essayist and publisher, outlined with venom the parallels he saw between Trump and Latin American populists: It's in "his extreme self-inflation, his call for unthinking acceptance of the supposed power of his personality; his ability to keep America safe from the dangers of terrorism, Mexicans, the Chinese, whatever straw man area he can use to generate hatred and support for thoughtless economic proposals that in reality can only benefit the very rich; his promises that under his guidance, America will 'win so much, you may even get tired of winning."
Trump is moving forward on his signature issues. If you watched his rallies, or you read the transcripts, you know what issues he kept banging on about, which those who voted for him have every reason to believe he meant.
He is, so far, doing those things. This matters one hundred times more than when he tweets delusional bullshit about inauguration numbers. The people who voted for him will forgive those lies if he keeps his promises to them. And, frankly, that’s how it should be.