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Joe's Book Cafe 2017 Door 13

This is a continuation of the topic Joe's Book Cafe 2017 Door 12.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: May 18, 10:15am Top

Art by Japanese artist Ikenaga Yasunari

Edited: May 26, 7:07am Top

2017 Books


1. The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham
2. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon (poetry)
3. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
4. Love Story with Murders by Harry Bingham
5. Four Swans by Winston Graham
6. This Thing of Darkness by Harry Bingham
7. Tell Me by Kim Addonizio (poetry)
8. Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love
9. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
10. The Dead House by Harry Bingham
11. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
12. Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano
13. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
14. The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Stephen Mitchell
15. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


16. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
17. City by Clifford Simak
18. Eggtooth by Solia Carrock
19. The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
20. A Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer
21. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
22. Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor
23. Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer
24. The Dry by Jane Harper
25. I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio De Giovanni
26. The Simple Truth by Philip Levine (poetry)
27. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace!!!
28. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
29. Away with Fairies by Kerry Greenwood
30. The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman*


31. News of the World by Paulette Jiles
32. My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris*
33. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
34. Nightmare in Pink by John D. MacDonald
35. The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey
36, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker (poetry)
37. The Assault by Harry Mulisch
38. Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
39. Scriptorium by Melissa Range (poetry)
40. World of Edena by Moebius*
41. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
42. The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything by John D. MacDonald
43. Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden*
44. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
45. Lucifer at the Starlite by Kim Addonizio
46. Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb


47. The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald
48. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
49. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
50. Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar
51. We Are Legion by Dennis Taylor
52. The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer
53. Just So Happens by Fumio Obata*
54. Wild Nights: New & Selected Poems by Kim Addonizio
55. I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles
56. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
57. A Purple Place for Dying by John D. MacDonald
58. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders
59. Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer
60. The Quick Red Fox by John D. MacDonald
61. Nutshell by Ian MacEwan
62. Orphan X by Greg Hurwitz


63. A Deadly Shade of Gold by John D. MacDonald
64. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
65. Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
66. Bright Orange for the Shroud by John D. MacDonald
67. Incendiary Art by Patricia Smith
68. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
69. Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
70. The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
71. The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla
72. The Nowhere Man by Greg Hurwitz

Graphic Novels and Illustrated Books

1. Jessica Jones Pulse by Brian Michael Bendis
2. The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
3. Whiteout by Greg Rucka
4. Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt
5. Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu
6. The White Donkey Terminal Lance by Maximilian Uriarte
7. Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
8. Ms. Marvel Vol. 6 by G. Willow Wilson
9. The Flight of the Raven by Jean-Pierre Gibrat
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson and Denise Mina (re-read)
11. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson and Denise Mina (re-read)
12. Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe
13. Coward by Ed Brubaker
14. Bandette Volume 2 by Paul Tobin
15. Saga Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
16. Criminal Volume 3: The Dead and the Dying by Ed Brubaker
17. Lazarus Vol. 3 by Greg Rucka
18. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larrson and Denise Mina (re-read)
19. Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan
20. Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
21. Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan
22. Black Widow S.H.I.E.L.D. Most Wanted by Mark Waid
23. Big Appetites by Christopher Boffoli
24. Lucifer Book Five by Mike Carey

Edited: May 18, 9:58am Top

One of my (many) favorite Yeats poems.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Edited: May 18, 12:03pm Top

By street artist Oakoak

May 18, 10:06am Top

Welcome back to the cafe! I thought we'd better start a new one before we left. All yours after this one.

May 18, 10:18am Top

Happy new thread, Joe. Safe travels!

May 18, 10:31am Top

Happy new thread and happier and safe travels tonight, Joe! I look forward to accounts from you & Debbi from Barcelona.

I can't see the image in >4 jnwelch:.

May 18, 11:24am Top

Happy new thread, Joe!
I already wished you safe travels ;-)

>4 jnwelch: Can't see that image either.

May 18, 12:06pm Top

>6 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Our flight got postponed 4 hours, darn it. Not the end of the world, but we're ready to go!

>7 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. Postponed, but still looking forward to it.

The image shows for me, but I re-did it differently. See whether that works for you.

>8 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. Image is re-posted - does that work for you.

We're leaving later, but otherwise all is well.

May 18, 2:12pm Top

>3 jnwelch: I love that poem too Joe.

May 18, 2:22pm Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Joe. Looking forward to all the Spanish photos.

May 18, 3:32pm Top

Happy New Thread, Joe! Love the Yasunari toppers and the Yeats poem. I have not read much of him.

What time are you heading to the airport?

May 18, 3:49pm Top

Happy new thread and happy trails!

Images in >1 jnwelch: are stunning and >4 jnwelch: is adorable!

May 18, 3:50pm Top

>9 jnwelch: Thanks Joe, it is a very nice image, now I can see it :-)

May 18, 4:26pm Top

Safe travels, Joe! Enjoy your time in Spain. I'm looking forward to sharing your trip vicariously, so take and post lots of pictures!

Edited: May 18, 4:56pm Top

>9 jnwelch: Dang. Sorry to hear about your delayed flight, Joe. IIRC yours is a direct flight from ORD to BCN, so at least you won't have to worry about missing a connecting flight. I hope that you can get some sleep on the plane; I usually have dinner in ATL's International Terminal, take an OTC medication with a sedating first generation antihistamine, such as Advil PM or Nyquil, have a drink on the plane (usually gin & tonic) and possibly one beforehand, and choose a window seat, so that I don't get bumped by other passengers moving about the cabin. I also try to sleep as little as possible on the day of the flight, and start to adjust to BST (British Summer Time) or CEST (Central European Summer Time) if I have time to do so. I'm sure that the AMA wouldn't approve of my method, but it almost always allows me to sleep for most of the eastbound transoceanic flights I take (I don't do this on the return flight from Europe to the US, though). I generally fall asleep anyway once the flight leaves the gate and starts to taxi to the runway, regardless of the length of the flight, but the antihistamine/alcohol cocktail ensures that I'll stay asleep, provided that I'm not disturbed by a seat mate that can't keep his elbows on his side or unruly teenagers or young twentysomethings.

ETA: I can see the image in >4 jnwelch: now; nice!

May 18, 5:33pm Top

>10 Caroline_McElwee: Yay! Isn't that a poem of which daydreams are made, Caroline? "And live in the bee-loud glade".

>11 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. Barcelona looks like a beautiful city; we'll be sure to snap a few pics.

May 18, 5:38pm Top

>12 msf59: Thanks, Mark. Oh, good. I wasn't sure how well the Yasunaris would go over (not a lot of colors, for one thing), but they sure seem beautiful to me. Yeats is one of the best, by far, IMO, and well worth your time when you have it.

We leave for the airport at 6:30 p.m. Could be worse.

>13 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. Ah, great that you find the >1 jnwelch: paintings stunning (I agree), and isn't >4 jnwelch: adorable? The cleverness and skill of some of these artists is impressive, isn't it.

May 18, 5:44pm Top

>14 FAMeulstee: Ah, good, Anita. I went to a different version.

>15 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary. We're getting close to going, after our flight got pushed back several hours. It's going to screw up my first day scheduling (biz) a bit on the other end, but that's okay. We'll adjust.

>16 kidzdoc: Sounds like you have a very effective routine for sleeping going east, Darryl. I'm terrible at sleeping on planes, but I am going to take some Benadryl and have a drink, and maybe I can sleep a couple of hours or so. I usually end up reading a lot, so that's not all bad.

I've got our phrase book for the taxi ride, and Debbi typed up the hotel address for the driver, after one of your many good tips.

May 18, 5:51pm Top

Happy New Thread!

May 18, 6:16pm Top

Happy new thread, Joe! Those toppers are gorgeous.

May 18, 6:18pm Top

>20 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori!

>21 scaifea: Thanks, Amber! Oh, I'm glad to hear it re the toppers. They're different enough that I wasn't sure how they'd go over.

May 18, 6:35pm Top

and off you go - I hope! Have a great time.

May 18, 6:36pm Top

Looks to be a late flight, Joe! Hope you can sleep on the plane. I am not very good at it.

Safe travels, my friend.

Edited: May 18, 7:58pm Top

I thought this one might be about a certain leader....Bright Orange for the Shroud by John D. MacDonald; it turns out not to be ;)

Happy new thread, love the berry-picking silhouette on the steps- so clever!

The toppers are reminiscent of those old Japanese woodcut images I have seen so often but cant remember where....

ETA: from the last thread.."suffer in their jocks". Here that would mostly work for boys, who wear jocks for athletics.
Here Jocks probably refers to Jockey- an underwear brand, so jocks can just mean underwear. Hence, the saying is applicable to anyone (anyone who conceivably wears underwear, that is!!).
Love the definitions of jonesing and Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Excellent!

May 18, 8:02pm Top

Happy new thread! Post lots of pics!

May 19, 2:11pm Top

>23 ffortsa: Thanks, Judy. We've arrived, groggy but happy. Looks beautiful here.

>24 msf59: Thanks, Mark. I was able to sleep a little bit, but not much. Did finish two books and get a ways into a third!

We're a bit looped, but are heading out soon to scout the neighborhood.

May 19, 2:16pm Top

>25 Ireadthereforeiam: Ha! Bright orange fits, doesn't it, Megan. There's a great New Yorker cartoon right now showing Trump getting on the plane to head to the Mideast and saying, "I bet Obama never had huge crowds like this waving to him as he leaves the country." Maybe they'll keep him in Saudi Arabia. It ain't lookin' too good for him here.

Isn't that berry picker on the steps clever? Love that one.

You know, I bet you're on to something with the Japanese woodcuts and the toppers. This artist supposedly is giving a modern take on an ancient technique - sounds like you're spot on.

Ah, got it, suffer in their jock{eys}.

Now you can amaze your friends with references to Monday morning quarterbacking and jonesing!

May 19, 2:19pm Top

Our hotel, the Catlonia Barcelona Plaza Hotel, is in the background of this shot. In the middle of next week, we'll move to an airbnb.

Off to explore!

May 19, 2:23pm Top

Glad you made it, Joe. Knowing you two, I am confident you'll have a great time.

Edited: May 20, 7:13am Top

Yay for arriving safe and sound.

>28 jnwelch: - I can't remember where I saw it but in the past week or so, I saw a cartoon (it may have been a cover of New Yorker or some such mag), that spoofed the United airline fiasco of not too long ago. It showed trump dragging Comey backwards by the arms, off a plane...

I think the entire USA (if not the rest of us, too) will need a huge dose of detox or de-programming or de- something, after trump. It seems it's non-stop trump all day, every day, everywhere. Enough!

Now, for some Espana!! :-) Ole!

May 19, 4:41pm Top

I am a little late to the party, Joe, as I was having some internet issues at home but Happy New Thread still just about applies, buddy.

I am sure that you will both have a splendid trip to Catalonia and I shall be one of many looking forward to your updates.

May 19, 7:14pm Top

>31 jessibud2: That picture of Comey being dragged off the plane was the New Yorker cover this week.

May 19, 11:17pm Top

Happy new thread and looking forward to hearing all about your adventures.

Edited: May 19, 11:53pm Top

Happy New Thread, Joe!

(so envious of your trip -- enjoy!!)

May 20, 3:15am Top

>30 weird_O: Thanks, Bill. So far, so great. We wandered around our area last night - lots of good restaurants. We had delicious paella de marisco (shrimp) and tapas, our favorite of which was a sort of bruschetta-one recommended by the waitress. Beautiful weather here, so we sat outside in a kind of open sidewalk tent. I also had an "Estrella Damm" pale ale, nutty and good. Finished off with helado (ice cream) - avellana (hazelnut) for me, and a kind of cookie dough one for Madame MBH.

Today I go to my conference for a few hours, and Madame MBH wanders Barcelona on her own. I'll be business-like (but not too serious, if I can help it) for the next few days, but relaxing at night.

Edited: May 20, 3:20am Top

>31 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. Yes, it will be good to be away from the Trump craziness for a while. It does permeate everything. That Comey-being-dragged cartoon was a New Yorker cover - the New Yorker has taken a dim view of the Orange one from the get-go, and has had a number of great covers already. Here's another:

Now for some España!

May 20, 3:23am Top

>32 PaulCranswick: Hey, mate. Glad the internet is treating you right again. Thanks re the thread. We're having a splendid time so far, and Madame MBH posted a few photos already over on Facebook.

>33 ffortsa: Yes, exactly, Judy. I hope Comey testifies in the Senate. It ain't gonna be good for the Orange one if he does.

May 20, 3:24am Top

>34 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. I'm going to try to touch base here at least once a day. Off to breakfast and work-ish stuff now. Frivolity will follow.

May 20, 6:24am Top

Have a great time, both at the work-ish stuff and the frivolity. I can definitely see how it is nice to get away from the WH drama. It's one of the joys of holidays, less politics! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures once the work is finished.

May 20, 7:05am Top

Thanks, Jenny. It is good to get away from the WH drama, and Orange Voldemort's ability to harm the U.S. (albeit not its world image) is limited while on his trip among Muslims he didn't put on his ban list.

I'm looking forward to joining Madame MBH in complete (as opposed to partial) goofing off soon.

Edited: May 20, 7:13am Top

I liked this idea that came up in a NY Times review of Men Without Women, about the courage it takes to improvise in jazz, and the role of that in the short story "Kino": "'Don't play what's there', as Miles Davis said. 'Play what's not there.'"

Can we apply that to writing? "Don't write what's there. Write what's not there."

I certainly like that as applied to poetry.

What the heck does it mean? As Jay Fielden says in his excellent review, what Miles Davis said "sounds like a Zen koan".

May 20, 7:11am Top

>37 jnwelch: LIKE!

Hola, Joe! Is that the proper greeting there? Hooray for getting far away from the WH drama, which spews continuously, like a septic drain.

I am sure you are having a terrific time. I am heading off to work.

May 20, 7:19am Top

Hola, Mark! Yes, you got it. "Buenas Dias" (good day, good morning) would work, too. I use my pretty pathetic Spanish to start, and then people here happily speak to me in much more proficient English.

Yeah, it's hard to turn off the dismal spew in the States, isn't it. He's certainly doing his best to self-destruct.

Have good workday, buddy. We're 7 hours ahead, so I'm in the middle of it here.

May 20, 8:45am Top

Buenas dias, Joe! Have a fabulous time goofing off!

May 20, 11:01am Top

Coming to the end of your workday Joe...time for the big decision of the day: where to eat? Yesterday's paella looked yummy. Buen provecho!

We've never been to Barcelona. Our girls went there a few years ago, their choice being to go somewhere in Europe their parents haven't been! (We lived in Amsterdam - pre-children - and covered a lot of territory.) They adored it and you're reminding me that we've GOT to get there. Thanks for letting us live vicariously for now!

Edited: May 20, 2:10pm Top

>41 jnwelch: Orange Voldemort ROFLMAO. Can't breath, that's so funny.

Hope you are enjoying Barcelona Joe.

Edited: May 20, 2:23pm Top

>45 scaifea: Buenas noches, Amber!

I've been sharpening my goofing off skills for years. It's finally paying off. Well, soonish it will. I've had a slight relapse into work wonkiness. It wears off at night.

>46 NarratorLady: Your timing is impeccable, Anne. We were just discussing where to eat. It's hard to go wrong here. Keep an eye out for FB photos.

I can't believe you got to live in Amsterdam, pre-children. What a great place to be. And I'll bet you got to a lot of countries. That's like the ease of crossing state lines in the U.S. Envious I am, said Yoda.

Your daughters found a good 'un you hadn't been to. We were the opposite. We hadn't been here either, but were determined to get here before our dratted children. They outdo us too often as it is. Ungrateful wretches. Delightful apples of our eyes.

P.S. I'd better hope seasonsoflove isn't reading this. She can get pretty steamed up, that one.

May 20, 2:26pm Top

>47 Caroline_McElwee: Ha! I'm glad you enjoyed that, Caroline. We've got to take the humour where we can get it these days, or we'll all start weeping.

Thanks re Barcelona. It seems built to defeat any attempt to have a bad time, as far as I can tell.

Edited: May 20, 4:14pm Top

>48 jnwelch: We lived in A'dam for three years and I worked in the travel business so discounted airfares and hotels were available to us. I'm happy to report that we took full advantage.

Nah, I'm sure seasonsoflove will never read this. But on the off chance that she does, you'd better plan your next trip around a school vacation!

May 20, 5:22pm Top

>50 NarratorLady: That sounds like a little bit of perfect, Anne.

Ha! Seasonsoflove would join you in that recommendation, I'm sure. As far as I know, she reads this thread, so I'm probably in trouble. Although we just got her some nice birthday presents, so maybe that'll help.

May 20, 6:22pm Top

What? No photos yet? :-)

May 21, 2:15am Top

>52 EBT1002: Hiya, Ellen.

Probably no photos until we get back, unfortunately. It's a clunky process to get them from my phone to here, plus I'm reluctantly working during the day. Starting next Thursday, that'll change. If you friend me or Madame MBH on Facebook, she's posting there.

We had an amazing dinner last night. It culminated in a garden-looking square of cheesecake for two that was the best "cheesecake" we've ever had - light, with berries and a crumble topping, and melon balls of ice cream.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go.

May 21, 2:17am Top

This former bullfighting arena is across the street from us. It's now filled with restaurants and has lots of popular nightlife outside.

May 21, 6:32am Top

>54 jnwelch: That's beautiful, Joe. Have a wonderful time!

May 21, 7:38am Top

...oh, I like the bullfight arena.

Hola, Joe! I am sure you are having a wonderful time. Glad you are enjoying the cervesa. Sue wants to go to a brewery today to celebrate a late Mother's Day. Twist my arm, right?

I finally started Tell Me: Poems. I like her style. Looking forward to reading more of it.

May 21, 8:21am Top

Happy Sunday, Joe. I'm glad to hear that you have a great time so far.

May 21, 9:20am Top

Morning, Joe!

May 21, 1:24pm Top

>55 DianaNL:. Thanks, Diana. Isn't that a cool-looking structure? We're having a wonderful time all right.

>56 msf59:. Hola, Mark!

You and Sue are kindred spirits all right. Enjoy the brewery. Si, the cervesa here is muy bien.

I've probably said this, but Tell Me is my favorite of her collections. Chock full of good ones. Her daughter is an actress. How interesting to be raised by KA.

May 21, 1:28pm Top

>57 Ameise1:. Thanks, Barbara. Happy Sunday to you. I'm much closer to matching your time of day than usual.

We head out to eat soon. It's been an adjustment to eat so much later. Most restaurants around here open around 9 pm for dinner.

>58 scaifea:. Morning/Evening/Buenas Noches, Amber!

May 21, 3:10pm Top

I adore the late eating of Spain. It fits right into my lifestyle and I love the chilled out vibe of 10 or 11pm when it's still warm out. I'd happily move to Spain if I could earn a living there :). I'm sure you'll adapt quickly to the late eating.

May 21, 3:10pm Top

>60 jnwelch: Hope you have a great time in Barcelona Joe. The only time I've been there was is 2003 when we had a long weekend. J was only three at the time and I remember struggling to find a restaurant for an evening meal that combined our wanting some characteristic Catalan food and J wanting to be fed sometime earlier than 9pm. We found somewhere eventually that opened at 8pm, but I think he fell asleep over his pudding!

May 21, 3:52pm Top

>60 jnwelch: You have the same time as I have. I love eating late but when getting up early we have to eat earlier.

May 21, 4:32pm Top

>61 lunacat:. It is enjoyable to relax outside in this balmy weather, Jenny. We just had another great paella dinner at an outdoor cafe. The late hour is odd-feeling, but part of that is it's 7 hours earlier back where we live, so clockage feels a bit haywire generally.

I can see why people consider living here. There's a charm and a peaceful feeling where we are. I'm looking forward to getting to know more of the city this coming week.

>62 SandDune:. Ha! Yes, we found one tonight that opened at 8 pm, Rhian; luckily, neither of us fell asleep over our food. :-) It would be tough to only be here for a long weekend. I'm glad we're going to be here for a while. We're already talking about coming back to see more of Spain.

>63 Ameise1:. I thought we might be in the same time zone as you, Barbara, but I was too lazy to check. Yeah, I've been getting up early for the got-to-do stuff, so that's made it a bit tougher. Luckily their espresso drinks are mighty good.

May 21, 6:53pm Top

>54 jnwelch: Restaurants at the bullring? The beef dishes must be great not of course that you'd partake.

May 21, 7:36pm Top

Sounds like you're having an awesome time!

May 22, 2:17am Top

>65 PaulCranswick: No, Paul - but we did chase a paella and wrestle it to the ground.

Actually, Madame MBH ate at a good tapas place on its outside, and we're going back at some point so I can try it.

>66 drneutron: We are, Jim! Off to breakfast now, and then I head off for a bit of responsible behaviour (such a challenge for the likes of me).

May 22, 2:18am Top

This isn't one of our pics, but this gives you an idea of the street cafes we've been frequenting.

May 22, 6:25am Top

>68 jnwelch: Oh, that looks lovely! I'm glad you're enjoying your trip!

May 22, 6:34am Top

>69 scaifea:. Thanks, Amber. We are- and we haven't even started the non-work part!

May 22, 6:48am Top

>68 jnwelch: I sure wish I could join you guys at one of these cafes. Looks lovely.

Hola, Joe. When do you start the non-working part? I am on vacation next week, so my anticipation should carry me through these work days.

May 22, 12:49pm Top

Tim Spaulding has started a group thread for those attending ALA. Here is the location for that thread.

May 22, 1:20pm Top

>71 msf59: Hola, Mark. Que tal?

I wish you could join us at one of the cafes, too. You'd love it.

The non-working part starts Wednesday afternoon. Tomorrow will be long, including a night event.

Great to hear you're on vacation next week. Hope the work week zips by for you.

I finished The Someday Birds and talked to Debbi about it. I could tell she did a lot of research, and she did an excellent job of weaving together her major themes while causing us to care about the main characters (Gram, Charlie, the boys, Davis, Ludmilla, Dad).

>72 benitastrnad: Thanks, Benita. Fingers crossed. And thank you for your efforts in connection with trying to get passes for ALA. I've starred Tim's thread, and let him know we're in on Sunday if passes can be had.

May 23, 2:17am Top

I'll be gone for a lot of today, but should be able to check in.

I hoped to post a street art photo I took, but the pc isn't cooperating this morning. We'll be going on a street art tour later in our stay.

Hope everyone has a good one today.

BTW, The Someday Birds was very good, as Mark and Nancy (alphaorder) said. My favorite read so far this trip is The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon. Now I want to read her Everything, Everything.

May 23, 2:18am Top

Ah, here we go. This is near our hotel, and has lots more. Notice the hidden one on the top right.

May 23, 6:47am Top

Morning, Joe! Good luck on your long work day!

May 23, 6:56am Top

Buenos Diaz, Joe! Hope the day goes smoothly. Back to cool and rainy here. Sighs...

May 23, 7:10am Top

>76 scaifea: Thanks, Amber.

I'm aggravated already by Google Maps, but otherwise all is well.

>77 msf59: Oof - sorry about the return to cool and rainy, Mark. What a weird "spring" it's been.

So far so good today, aside from the dratted Google maps. How can this be a Google product? They do so well with everything else.

May 23, 7:26am Top

Just FYI, from the Green Dragon Hot Bargains thread:

"The U.S. Amazon site has several SF&F Kindle choices on today’s daily deal.

Some of the more familiar ones are:

Armada by Ernest Cline - $2.99
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - $2.99
In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente - $1.99
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins - $2.99
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - $2.99
Uprooted by Naomi Novik - $2.99"

May 23, 9:42am Top

Good news for Chicagoans: Condé Nast just named Chicago the number one restaurant city in the U.S., ahead of LA, and UrbanMatter just named it the number 4 U.S. vacation spot, after Las Vegas, LA, and Orlando.

May 23, 3:03pm Top

Not surprising Chicago beat out LA (I took it to mean Los Angeles, or did you mean Louisiana?. Because I've had some of the best food in New Orleans!). Many restaurants in L.A. are okay, but even the expensive ones have nothing like the great food and variety you can get in Chicago.

Love the street art!

May 23, 3:05pm Top

Happy Tuesday, Joe. It looks like you have a great time.

May 24, 5:55am Top

>81 Storeetllr:. Hi, Mary.

Yes, Los Angeles. I'm so used to saying LA, but if even a USA-ian isn't sure, I'd better change to the full name!

We loved the food in New Orleans, too.

One of our Los Angeles (ahem) nieces and her boyfriend of the time actually flew to Chicago to go to the restaurant Alinea- and incidentally visit us. Major foodies.

>82 Ameise1:. Hola, Barbara.

Yes, great time. Wonderful time last night at Restaurant D'Olive. Unfortunately, today Madame MBH is under the weather, and I'm back laboring in the salt mines.

But I'm done with work for the duration starting mid-afternoon today, and I'm hoping Madame MBH will start feeling improved.

There is lots of great street art in Barcelona. Can't wait for our guided tour!

May 24, 6:27am Top

Morning, Joe! How much longer will you be abroad?

May 24, 6:57am Top

>84 scaifea:. Morning, Amber! We're back June 2. Please take care of the country while we're gone.

Your BFF is living in our house while we're gone, rather than living in her smallish apartment, so she keeps urging us to extend our stay. :-)

May 24, 7:27am Top

>85 jnwelch: I wonder what books Sherlock is reading at your house Joe. Glad you are enjoying Barcelona.

May 24, 7:51am Top

Hola, Joe. Sorry to hear Debbi is not feeling well. Hope she improves quickly, so you can enjoy your free time together.

I am finally starting Binti. See? Never give up hope. Grins...

May 24, 7:54am Top

Hurrah for being nearly done with the work stuff, and I hope Debbi begins to feel better in time for you to make the most of your leisure period! I'm looking forward to seeing photos of your street art tour when you get to it.

May 24, 9:46am Top

Sorry to hear Debbi is under the weather.

May 24, 11:34am Top

>75 jnwelch: Thanks for sharing, Joe, yes I noticed the hidden one, lovely!

>83 jnwelch: Sorry to read Debbi isn't feeling well, that is hard especially when far away from home. I hope she will feel better soon.

May 24, 11:45am Top

>86 Caroline_McElwee:. Hi, Caroline. Becca reports that Sherlock is most likely reading the inside of his eyelids or the belly of his kangaroo toy.

She's thinking she'll read The Cellist of Sarajevo, which I thought was really good.

Beautiful day in Barcelona. Tomorrow we've got a Picasso walking tour and the Picasso museum if Debbi is up to it. We're also going to move from the hotel to our airbnb flat.

May 25, 3:16am Top

>87 msf59: Hola, mi hermano, que tal?

Debbi is feeling much improved this a.m., I'm glad to report, although we're going to take it slow. Although "slow" is going to include moving from the hotel to an airbnb flat and going on a walking tour and seeing the Picasso museum. I may end up working on my fireman's carry.

Binti?! You're right, never give up hope. I didn't expect to hear that from you!

Good pick - she's doing something different, imaginative and fascinating in the two so far.

You'll be done quickly, I'm sure, so I'll watch for your comments.

>88 lunacat: Work stuff done, Jenny, so I join in your hurrah! Madame MBH is feeling much better, although still recovering. I'll post a street art photo or two after we do that tour (likely more once we get back), and post one this morning of a cool cafe view.

Edited: May 25, 4:28am Top

Cool view while sitting at a cafe in Placa d'Espanya near where we're staying:

May 25, 3:27am Top

>89 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. Debbi's much improved after a lot of sleep. We're heading down to breakfast soon. She's eaten very little in the last couple of days (some bananas and bread), so I hope the kitchen staff is prepared.

>90 FAMeulstee: Ha! You're welcome, Anita. I'm glad you enjoyed that hidden one.

There's way more of the "tagging" (graffiti signatures) here than I'd choose (it bores me, doesn't look good, IMO, and doesn't really add anything beautiful except, I guess, in the eyes of the taggers). But there's also lots of beautiful street art like the >75 jnwelch: one.

Yes, Debbi is feeling much better, thanks. We dodged a bullet (American expression?) - I thought we were heading to the infirmary at one point.

Edited: May 25, 3:46am Top

>94 jnwelch: All graffiti used to be tagging, Joe, as I remember from when I was young(er). I suppose a way to show off where the tagger had been. It was illegal, so the taggers needed to move quickly. The graffiti art/street art came much later and when I remember correctly it was used over here on spots that were popular among taggers, to prevent them from tagging there... I think the taggers still are no fans of (most) street art.

Glad to hear Debbi is feeling better.

May 25, 4:28am Top

>95 FAMeulstee: Yes, I remember that, too, Anita. Our son had a friend who was a tagger for a while (and teaches art and writing now!) We were worried about the illegal part. Chicago banned the sale of spray paint (so taggers buy in the suburbs!) and created "permission walls", where it was not illegal to tag. I'm not sure what all the factors helping have been, but tagging has decreased a lot in Chicago. I think they also stepped up policing along the train lines, where much of it happened.

That's interesting about the possible role of street art and the taggers not liking it. I suspect vice-versa is true, too, that street artists don't think much of taggers.

We had a former house (in Bucktown in Chicago) tagged on the concrete support for our porch stairs. I realized it happened there because at night the streetlight shown on that spot, highlighting where the tag was. They'll tag garage doors here (ours has a special coating to make any graffiti easily removable), but usually not houses. I painted over the tag beneath our stairs immediately, and they never showed up again. It's usually high school age kids and younger who tag, as (I guess) they are more inclined to show off like that.

May 25, 6:32am Top

Morning, Joe!

I'm sorry that YBH wasn't well, but so glad that she's on the mend!

I'm enjoying the discussion of tagging vs. street art - can you really not buy spray paint in Chicago? Interesting. Also interesting that kids would travel to the suburbs for the stuff, then. Seems like a lot of work for a bit of vandalism. That's dedication.

May 25, 6:38am Top

>93 jnwelch: LIKE!

Buenos dias, Senor Joe! Sweet Thursday! I am sure it is nice to have the work part of your trip wrapped up. May the fun begin.

Funny, I have read very little sci-fi so far this year, if any, but suddenly I have 3 going- The Wanderers, Binti & Descender and all 3 are good. I will wrap up Binti today and the Lemire really caught me by surprise. I have the next 2 volumes waiting nearby.

May 25, 6:39am Top

I'm glad to see that Debbi is feeling better now. Hopefully some good food and gentle exercise will restore her completely.

Edited: May 25, 1:57pm Top

I'm sorry to hear that Debbi was sick, and I hope that she's back to her usual bubbly self. I was wondering why she hadn't posted anything on Facebook the past few days. Please give my best wishes to her from her favorite fedora-wearing pediatrician!

May 25, 5:17pm Top

Rotten to be under the weather when on vacation. But good timing in that you were working. Now that you're free I hope Debbi's "free" of whatever ailed her.

Have a ball rubber necking and cafe sitting.

May 26, 5:23am Top

>93 jnwelch: Nice view ......

May 26, 5:30am Top

>97 scaifea: Hi, Amber.

Yeah, that's the status re spray paint in Chicago. Some aldermen have proposed that people over 18 be allowed to buy it. This article from last year discusses that, and the state of the law: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-spray-paint-ban-rec...

I was thinking that son #1's friend is unusual, because he was (I understand) a tagger, but he's also a talented street artist. We have one of his creations on our chalk board wall in the basement. And now he teaches writing, performing (he's a terrific slam poet) and visual art. So there is some crossover.

Edited: May 26, 6:43am Top

>98 msf59: Buenas Dias, Mark!

That's some view in >93 jnwelch:, isn't it. We're now in a different part of town, in a flat, but plan to go back to explore that area some more, now that my schedule has freed up and Debbi's feeling better.

Oops, I've managed to slip right by Sweet Thursday, but I say Sweet Thursday anyway. It was! We went on a walking tour of some of Picasso's favorite haunts and where he lived. (He was born in Málaga, Spain, but spent his formative years in Barcelona).

I'm a pushover for the narrow windy streets here from the old days, and we saw a lot of them, as that was where many of the artists and writers hung out back then (in/near the Gothic quarter, which we'll be exploring more).

(Disclosure: none of the photos in this post are mine! All are off the intergoogleweb).

He was friends with Joan Miro, and for a while with Salvador Dali, although they parted ways when Dali supported the dictator Franco. Picasso was a Communist, and lived in Paris - Franco wouldn't let him back into Spain. When Picasso and a friend donated lots of Picasso's paintings for a Barcelona museum that opened in 1963, Franco allowed that, but the museum couldn't be called the Picasso museum - it had a name based on his friend, something like "The Collection of Jaume Sabartés". Ridiculous. Now it's the Museu Picasso.

The tour got us in "free" to the museum, meaning we skipped the long lines, and we certainly recommend that to anyone visiting Barcelona. The collection was fascinating. It has many paintings from his youth, a period you're not going to see, for the most part, in museum collections elsewhere. He was a prodigy, of course, and the collection is from his young days. At 14 he was accepted into the Barcelona art school (16 was the earliest permitted age, except for him), and his paintings at that age are traditional and astonishing. His talent at that age is stunning.

This one's a self-portrait:

One of our favorites was his painting from a later period inspired by Velasquez "Las Meninas".

Here's the Velasquez painting:

Fascinating, right?

He did a bunch of related paintings, too, with very different approaches. All of this happened in one year, 1957.

BTW, the museum is in a cool old medieval building - actually, five adjoined "medieval palaces", as they called them. (Not really palaces as we think of them - large houses).

We also loved his 1950s Matisse-esque dove/balcony paintings.

But I digress! It was very cool.

Go sci-fi! I'm so glad you're reading Binti. I've read the first two Descender books and liked them. Very different for Lemire, but then again, he gets into all sorts of different stuff, doesn't he.

Edited: May 26, 6:52am Top

>99 lunacat: Food made a huge difference for Debbi, thanks, Jenny.

She'd eaten very little for more than two days. We had an excellent meal of pintxhos last night (those on FB can see the photos), kind of northern Spain tapas, with toothpicks. Woo, were they good. She felt way better after getting some in her. Still feeling a bit slow today, but able to enjoy the city. We're going on a self-guided walking tour later, so I'll report back.

>100 kidzdoc: Wow, was Debbi back to her usual bubbly self last night after those pintxos, Darryl! Her body and psyche were very happy to have some fuel after two days without. She also talked with Becca on whatsapp for a bubbly half hour when we got back to the flat.

I saw you took an enthusiastic gander at those pinchos on FB!

Debbi says hi to her favorite fedora-wearing pediatrician, and wanted you to know she now has a favorite fedora-wearing slam poet, i.e. son #1. Photo on FB.

Here, you know what, that photo I can bring over here via a different route.

Here's our Jesse:

Did I ever post one of Debbi and Becca hosting the Mom's Day story session at the City Winery? I think I did, but if not, here it is:

Edited: May 26, 6:31am Top

Well, I'm really not a Picasso fan in the slightest, but on the other hand, that Velasquez painting is my very favorite painting of all time. And Foucault's essay on the painting is one of my favorite things, too.

May 26, 6:34am Top

>101 NarratorLady: Thanks, Anne. It was frustrating for Debbi (who wants to be sick while on vacation), but you're right, all things considered, that was pretty good timing. She's recovering just in time for us to enjoy Barcelona together.

We're up by the Plaça de Catalunya now, and what a lovely area. The whole Catalonian nationalism thing is intriguing - I don't know much yet, but there's a sentiment that this part of Spain is really its own country.

We're rubbernecking and having a grand time. More to come.

>102 roundballnz: Isn't >93 jnwelch: a nice view, Alex? There are lots of 'em here. Not nature at its finest like your hikes, but for urban hiking, it's primo.

May 26, 7:01am Top

>106 scaifea: Hiya, Amber.

You know, in my mind, Picasso had about five art careers to everyone else's one, so there's treasure to be had from him however you might dislike Cubism or whatever. On the other hand, he was a slut, some might say, which doesn't bother moi, but what does bother me is he was often cruel to his paramours and children. So he poses that dilemma of a talented artist (or writer) who wasn't so great personally. I do like his Communism a lot more than I like Dali's support for Franco.

I haven't read the Foucault piece, so I'll have to look for that.

The hardest "dilemma" writer for me is Knut Hamsun. I used to love his books, especially Hunger and Mysteries (can't find the touchstone for the latter, here's Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Mysteries-Penguin-Twentieth-Century-Classics-Hamsun-ebook/dp/B001R11CQW/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495796337&sr=1-3&keywords=knut+hamsun). Then he turns out to have been a Nazi sympathizer. Arggh.

May 26, 7:56am Top

>108 jnwelch: I think it's his attitude about so many things that I just can't stomach, as you point out. Plus, that cubism stuff really sticks in my craw for some reason. I get that other people like it, but, well, blech.

Here's the Foucault piece, if you're interested:


May 26, 8:50am Top

Glad Debbie is feeling a bit better!

Edited: May 26, 12:07pm Top

>109 scaifea:. Ha! Got it, Amber. You're sure not alone on that.

As you can tell, I'm awed by his genius. Kind of an Einstein of art. Except Einstein was a much better man. What i'd give to see the whole enchilada the way Einstein did.

Thanks for the Foucault link. I'll circle back when I'm off the phone and on my pc.

>110 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. Debbi's feeling way better. We're out on Las Ramblas (the Rambles), a big long walking stretch in the Plaça de Catalunya part of town. Beautiful day. I'm drinking a "Cerveza Magnum" (a huge beer) at a cafe, and we're people-watching. She's feeling much better.

May 26, 10:44am Top

I'm with Amber on Picasso, Joe. Just not a fan. In high school I went on a spring break trip to France and amongst our many museum visits was one to the Picasso Museum on the Cote d'Azur. Lots of triangles and circles that were always naked women. *eyeroll*

That said, I have a mild soft spot for "Guernica" as it was the cover art for my high school history text book and I loved that class.

May 26, 11:02am Top

>111 jnwelch: Didn't Einstein abuse his wife, though?

>112 MickyFine: Micky: "Lots of triangles and circles that were always naked women." *SNORK!* Exactly.

May 26, 11:19am Top

>104 jnwelch: Love Picasso's take on Las Meninas. I have not seen that in person so I am envious. I was surprised when I first saw of Picasso's early work that he was a talented conventional artist as well. I had only known him from art history class and didn't really appreciate cubism so it was a bit of a shock for me to see work of his that readily looked like the subject he intended to paint.

May 26, 12:07pm Top

Hi, Joe! I loved your description of the Museu Picasso, which I've visited twice. I didn't realize that it was originally named after his friend and sponsor Jaume Sabartés. I love its setting in those 13th-14th century "palaces" in La Ribera. His portraits and still paintings as a young teenager were fabulous, although I was far less fond of his later work from the 1950s.

I completely agree with your recommendation to avoid the lengthy general admission line for tickets at all costs. I've purchased an ArTicket BCN the past three years when I visited Barcelona, which permitted me to enter a much shorter line of a half dozen people or less, rather than the 50+ people who were in the general line.

As you said, Picasso, who is my favorite artist, is best thought of as a series of artists, with different styles and themes. I've seen hundreds of his works at the Museu Picasso, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which featured an outstanding exhibition of his work in 2010), Museum Ludwig in Cologne (Bianca & I went there, as it has one of the largest collections of his work in Europe), MoMA (particularly the superb sculpture exhibition that closed early last year), Tate Modern and elsewhere, and he continues to fascinate and astonish me.

I'll spend part of a day in Guernica (Gernika) next month, as it's less than an hour away from Bilbao by train, and later in the month I'll see Picasso's masterpiece in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. This is the 80th anniversary of the horrific bombing of Guernica, which took place on April 26, 1937, which I just read about yesterday in The Basque History of the World. I'll take and post plenty of photos while I'm there.

BTW, there will be a major exhibition of Picasso's work at Tate Modern next year, titled The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy, which is the first solo exhibition of his work that will be shown there. It's on from March 8th through September 9th. I just purchased a one year Tate membership, after I realized that I would spend more money buying individual tickets for exhibitions at Tate Modern and Tate Britain this year and next than I would for a membership with unlimited free entry.

Here's one of my favorite works by Picasso, The Three Musicians from 1921:

Edited: May 26, 12:57pm Top

>112 MickyFine: You know, Micky, if you can ever get to the Picasso Museum in Paris, you might like his work better. Lots of his witty sculptures, and it's an attractive museum.

Each to their own - Madame MBH and I tend to make quick work of abstract art in museums, although Mark Rothko, for example, is an exception we like.

Guernica is an amazing painting; one of the most amazing, to me, of the 20th Century.

>113 scaifea: Yes, Picasso did physically abuse his wife, Amber, from what we're told. Both of them, as I understand it. (He had lots of affairs and mistresses, and at least four children by different women. Paloma is still alive). So there's that, for sure. There's that dilemma. We know a lot of acclaimed authors were horrible people or had abhorrent inclinations (like Hamsun's Nazi sympathies). I still haven't figured out how to handle all that.

His niece, Mia (something like that) Picasso, a niece I think, wrote a biography of what he was like to the family, which apparently spells out a lot of his bad behavior.

May 26, 12:25pm Top

>116 jnwelch: I'm usually not one for abstract art but I also like Mark Rothko. I think mostly because I saw a production of Red several years ago, which gave me a level of appreciation for them that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Those were one of the few paintings I was excited to see when I went to the Tate Modern.

Edited: May 26, 12:51pm Top

>114 Oberon: Hi, Darryl. The Three Musicians doesn't show up for me in your post, unfortunately, but I know the painting. Great stuff.

The energy and creativity of Picasso packs such a wallop; I can see why he's your favorite artist. How great that you've been able to see so much of his work around the world.

His sculptures are so interesting (I particularly love the "found art" ones), but seem much lesser known compared to his paintings.

Yes, I know a little bit about the bombing of Guernica; like many, I'm sure, mainly because of the painting. What a brilliant, scathing, heartbreaking painting that is. I thought his painting when young of the horse impaled in the bullfighting ring (circa 1917) (displayed in the Museu Picasso) presaged the screaming horse in Guernica 20 years later. But our guide pretty much ho-hummed me on that one.

(That guide also ho-hummed my pointing out the Matisse influence on the last painting in >104 jnwelch: and ones like it; I've since looked it up and other art critics have noticed the same thing. He needs to stow the ho-hum and listen up, if you ask my opinion).

You're smart to get that Tate Membership. We may just miss the Picasso exhibition you mention that ends on the 9/9 next year, but we'll see. We caught that wonderful Matisse exhibit at the Tate Modern a couple of years ago, pushing ourselves, as we had just arrived, to get there on its last day.

Looking forward to those photos, buddy. Somehow I suspect you're going to have a heckuva good time. I'm particularly envious of your getting to see the Bilbao Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Gehry, the outside of which looks mighty cool on paper.

Edited: May 26, 2:05pm Top

>93 jnwelch: Ah. Somehow I missed that photo, with the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in the background. I love that museum, which has a wealth of medieval art.

I love the narrow streets in La Ribera, El Raval and the Barri Gòtic. One of my favorite experiences was walking through La Ribera, looking earnestly for the 14th century Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar, and suddenly coming upon the massive church around the corner of a medieval street. I remember audibly gasping when I saw it, and I'm sure that thousands if not millions of other people had identical responses the first time that they saw it.

There are similarly narrow medieval streets throughout Spain, including Girona, Sevilla, Granada, Ronda and especially the Pueblos Blancos (White Hill Villages) in Andalucía such as Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera, as you've probably seen from my photos last year, and Jenny's last month.

I'm glad that Debbi is feeling better; I suspect that pintxos and good Spanish wine would cure most ills! I've never tried pintxos, so I am eagerly looking forward to having a week's worth of them when I visit Bilbao and San Sebastián next month. There is a stand that sells pintxos at Southbank Centre Food Market, so I'll look for it when I dine there next weekend.

Nice photos of Debbi & Becca and Jesse! I see that Becca's birthday is tomorrow, so I'll be sure to wish her una Feliz Cumpleaños.

BTW if you're going to Montserrat be sure to visit the Museu de Montserrat, especially since the admission price is included in the all purpose ticket. It may not look like much, but most of the museum is underground, and the artwork within it is very impressive.

Edited: May 26, 12:53pm Top

>118 jnwelch: We're simpatico on the narrow streets, Darryl - I can't get enough of them, and wish I'd been on as many as you have. I can't wait until we go back to the Gothic quarter and explore more of them tomorrow. I can easily imagine that experience you describe of turning the corner and being confronted with the massive church on the corner of the medieval street. We had gasps akin to that on yesterday's Picasso tour through the narrow streets.

Thanks for the tip on the Monserrat Museum. We think we'll do Monserrat and Sevilla next time (I've wanted to get to Sevilla for ages). As with London, we're focusing on the city for our first visit.

Becca would love to get your fleece couple of años tomorrow (that's my lame humor, not auto correct). She's having Beccafest over a period of days, starting yesterday with a new friend of hers, but tomorrow is the day of days.

You're going to love pintxos. Can't wait to hear.

Edited: May 26, 1:05pm Top

>117 MickyFine: Ah, took me a minute to find your post, Micky. Yeah, I don't know what it is about Rothko's paintings, but I'm glad you share our affinity for them. They aren't made of flat, laquered paint for one thing; there's a softness and depth to them, some "soul" that comes through.

It's hard to capture on a computer, particularly since we can't really convey the size or the atmosphere they create.

Edited: May 26, 4:13pm Top

I just finished looking at Debbi's latest set of photos on Facebook. That certainly is a "Cerveza Magnum"! Are you still standing?!😎

>118 jnwelch: I'm sorry that you can't see The Three Musicians, Joe, but I'm glad that you're familiar with and also like it.

Yes, Picasso speaks to me more than any other artist does. I spent a good 5-10 minutes gazing at and appreciating the two The Three Musicians, which appeared side by side at the exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2010. I was impressed with how many of his works were on display at Museum Ludwig, and what we saw was only a fraction of the ones that the museum owned. IIRC Ludwig was a wealthy chocolatier and a huge fan of Picasso, which is how he acquired so many of his works.

Ah. That was good of you to notice the comparison of the impaled horse in his 1917 work and the unforgettable one in "Guernica". There is a replica of the actual work in town, so I'll certainly look for it while I'm there. Since it's so close to Bilbao and the Euskotren ride from Bilbao to Gernika station is so cheap (3-4 € each way) I may actually make two half day trips there. Guernica is known for its market, which is open on Mondays and is supposed to be one of the best in the Basque Country, but at least once of the museums I want to see there is closed on Mondays. The Germans intentionally chose to bomb the town on a Monday, as they knew that the market hall would be filled with sellers and customers from Guernica and neighboring towns and that most people would be outdoors, as most of the rest of the town shuts down on Market Mondays.

I'll have four full days in Bilbao (June 18-21), followed by three in San Sebastián (June 22-24) and three in Madrid (June 25-27). I may make two trips to the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, depending on what's on and how large it is. I've spent far more time making plans for the first half of this four week trip, which I'll spend in and outside of London, but I'll start making more concrete plans for Bilbao, Guernica, San Sebastián and Madrid this weekend and after I arrive in London next Friday.

May 26, 1:48pm Top

>120 jnwelch: Good idea to focus on Barcelona on your first visit there, Joe. You won't come close to exhausting all that there is to see and do in a two week stay! My work partner who was just there a couple of weeks ago stayed in the city, and I did the same thing the first time I went there in 2014. I didn't go to Montserrat, Girona or Figueres until the following year, and last year Bianca and I traveled by train to Sevilla after we spent a week in Barcelona.

I'll certainly post birthday greetings on Becca's thread tomorrow. It may be none of my business, but IMO it's cruel that her parents are on holiday in Barcelona, while she has to stay in town and work (although there aren't many, if any, better places in the United States than Chicago to live in).

Hopefully I can become somewhat familiar with pintxos in London before I go to Bilbao.

Edited: May 26, 1:51pm Top

>117 MickyFine: Ha! I didn't fully appreciate how magnum that cerveza was going to be, Darryl. Wow. Yeah, we went walking all the way down to the water after that, and I did find the wind to be pushing me about a bit. I asked Debbi to help me hoist the glass while I was drinking the cerveza, but she insisted I do it myself. They probably should supply some sort of electronic glass lifter to customers who order it.

You know what, I'll post The Three Magicians, too, so anyone else who has trouble seeing it in yours will have an alternative.

Oh, man, the Germans intentionally bombing Guernica on Market Day to get more people makes me think of that Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. What the heck is the matter with our species?

Great Flying Frisbees, that sounds like an amazing trip, Darryl. Four weeks? All those places? And you know how we feel about London. Wow. You work your tail off, so I'm glad you're getting to do that. I still wish we could've somehow gotten you to Barcelona while we were here, but maybe another day.

Edited: Yesterday, 2:14am Top

>123 kidzdoc: Yeah, sounds like you approach it the same way we do. We're already starting to list things in Barcelona that we probably won't get to this first time.

Did you see that Eurostar is doing a London-Amsterdam train? Should be perfect for us, maybe next year. Both of us had been to Amsterdam while young, but never together.

We're not as cruel to Becca as you might think - she's enjoying the run of our house and watching her favorites on the big TV screen. In fact, she could hardly wait for us to go. She's entertaining friends at our place every day of BeccaFest, I'm pretty sure. She's also done with work for the year, as of today. A teacher's life is a hard one, but at least she gets to change things up during the summer. She still works a good bit of the time, but it's easier.

ETA: She's not done with work, I just found out. Nine days left. Darn. I like it when she gets a break.

I had no idea what pintxos were just a few days ago, and now I'm a big fan. Let us know what you think.

May 26, 2:29pm Top

>124 jnwelch: You should get at least a wrist brace or a straw if not some sort of electronic pouring device for that Cerveza Magnum.

The painting you posted is the other version of The Three Musicians, the one I don't like nearly as much. Hopefully you can see my favored painting below:

Right about Guernica, and Manchester, and Nice, and NYC, and Paris, and... . Our species is often a sorry lot compared to others on this planet.

This is the fourth year in a row that I will be off for the entire month of June, and won't have to use any vacation time. These days off are truly ones that I've earned, as they consist of days that I would have off based on my work status (0.8 FTE (full time equivalent), or 80% of full time) and the extra days that I worked from November through February, when I was chugging along at a 1.0 to 1.1 FTE status. The five week stretch in February and March when I worked every week day and two weekends was brutal.

However, I found out a couple of weeks ago that I still have five weeks (25 days) of vacation remaining this year, which completely blew me away! I can only carry over five days into the new year, so I have to figure out what to do with four of those weeks. Fliss, Margaret (wandering_star) and I will be "together" (more or less) in late August (18th-25th for me) for the Edinburgh International Festival, and I'm contemplating what to do beforehand or afterwards. I'll probably request three weeks off, with perhaps a week in London at the beginning, followed by a week in Edinburgh, and a week in Amsterdam and/or Berlin, schedule permitting. I'll take the other week in November, and hopefully be able to combine it with a week off during Thanksgiving week, and carry over a week into 2018.

Oh...I also need to look into mid September. I'll go to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago from September 16-19, and I want to spend time with Bilkis, my beloved classmate from residency, who lives in town with her husband and young son. She posted suggestions for meeting up, which I need to look at. Hopefully I can catch you guys then as well.

Edited: May 26, 4:08pm Top

>125 jnwelch: I did see that Eurostar would be finally extending its service from London to Amsterdam in December. That was supposed to have happened several years ago, but the timetable for the start of this service has been pushed ahead at least twice. I took that trip in June 2015, as I traveled from St Pancras to Lille on Eurostar and transferred to a Thalys train from there which terminated at Amsterdam Centraal. As you've seen from my posts there are several lovely LTers in the Netherlands, particularly Anita, her husband Frank, and Connie, who I've met multiple times, and although I enjoyed being in the city, I liked our day trips to Utrecht, Rotterdam, Leiden and Maastricht even more.

Just joshing about your (mis)treatment of Becca. 😎 Despite the prodigious world class eye rolling her love for both of you is very obvious.

I'm eager to get my fill of pintxos, but since I'll probably be by myself I may not do much of the night time bar hopping that is the proper way to eat them, especially in San Sebastián.

May 26, 4:54pm Top

>116 jnwelch: Oh, no, I was talking about Einstein - he was arrested on domestic abuse charges more than once, I think.

Holy moly, there's a lot of Picasso going on in here... Yoicks. Also, I am *so* not surprised that our resident cilantro king claims Pablo as his favorite, since he's my *least* favorite. Sounds about right.

May 26, 4:57pm Top

Hola, Joe! Loving all the artwork. I should study Picasso more. So much interesting work. Not familiar with Rothko.

Edited: May 26, 5:46pm Top

>128 scaifea: Resident cilantro king (of LibraryThing)...I like that! I'll add that title to my C.V.

Amber and I could not be any more similar. We like to read. We both like Indian food. We're both good liberals. And...did I mention that we like to read?!

I'm also completely in sync with my buddy, and can read her thoughts like a book written in Arabic. Clearly she's asking for more Picasso to appear on this thread, and I'm more than happy to oblige. This is my photo of Little Girl Jumping Rope, 1950-1954 that I took when I saw the Picasso sculpture exhibition at MoMA in 2015:

ETA: Thanks for the reminder; I'll buy more cilantro, and a few avocados, when I go grocery shopping at Publix tomorrow morning. 😘

May 26, 6:53pm Top

>130 kidzdoc: Darryl: *SNORK!!* Thanks for making me giggle right out loud, buddy.

Also, that sculpture is absolutely creepy.

May 26, 8:07pm Top

I hope that you get a full experience in Barcelona. I was there several months ago on the day that they had their vote for cessation. It was a peaceful line at the voting sites with many flags hanging from the Windows.

Barcelona has a very lively street scene especially at night in the district's where vehicles are prohibited. I was told that it is the most densely populated city center in western Europe with so many living above the street level shops.

Be careful around the cathedral construction. The rats are as large as New Orleans!

May 26, 10:09pm Top

Count me as another person who favors Rathko over Picasso. The only Picasso I have ever seen that I liked is the sculpture in Daley Plaza.

You can never underestimate the importance of a good docent at a museum. They can help you to appreciate things that you may not like. That happened to me when I visited the I.M. Pie East Building of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The guide there took time to lead me to an appreciation of the Picasso works in that building. Most of them were from his Blue Period. I can't say that I love his work, but a basic understanding of what he was trying to do helped me to appreciate the works in a way that I would not have been able to do on my own. Without that guide it would have been very easy for me to just skip over those works and go right to something that appealed to me more. It was a small group of tourists - I was there in January - and the docent had time to spend with us that would not have happened in a larger group.

The same thing happened to me in Berlin this spring. The guide to that gave the Underground Berlin tour was very good and enabled me to have a deeper understanding of what life was like in a city that was constantly bombed for four years.

I love the National Park Rangers as guides as well. They are so knowledgeable and often passionate about what they are doing. These are all cases where taxpayer money is well spent in cultural education.

Yesterday, 2:23am Top

>126 kidzdoc: You'd think my lovely bride would help me hoist that Magnum Cerveza, Darryl, but no. She seems to think it's good for me physically and mentally to hoist my own. This won't surprise you, but Mark Freeburg is happy to see I'm getting some exercise that way.

Oh, gotcha on The Three Musicians. Yes, that one shows up. I like the blue in the one I posted, but otherwise I like the personality in yours.

Your job is so different than most. I'd get worn out and bleary-eyed during your on-duty times, but the days off certainly would be sweet. Back in the day I'd have loved the problem of how to spend an extra five weeks off. For most of my career pre-retirement, the longest vacation I ever took was 10 days. Going to Australia for two weeks was a really big deal.

You'd better catch us in Chicago when you come! We'd be happy to join you with Bilkis if that would help.

Yesterday, 2:29am Top

>127 kidzdoc: Yes, we hope to see some LTers when we go to Amsterdam. I doubt we get outside the city much, but we'll see.

Becca is such a world class eye-roller, isn't she? She claims it's because she got lots of practice with her father growing up.

>128 scaifea: Oh no, Einstein and domestic abuse, Amber? Our peace and love guy? Man, I wish so many of our heroes didn't have feet of clay. How about feet of feet for a change. I'll have to read up more about him. I wonder whether the new National Geographic series gets into that.

I know, isn't it great to have all this Picasso going on? Oh, maybe I mis-read your post.

Yesterday, 2:41am Top

>129 msf59: Hola, Mark!

Yes, Picasso's art has a lot to offer; you'd enjoy the boundless creativity and energy, methinks. Rothko is a lot more subtle, but a standout.

>130 kidzdoc: The Cilantro King - now there's a throne to aspire to. Debbi could come up with a good story for the Cilantro King, I'm sure.

I had no idea you and Amber have so much in common, Darryl. And you both like to read! Remarkable.

Sweet of you to post another Picasso for her. I'm sure she'll curse you up, down and sideways love it.

Yesterday, 2:55am Top

>131 scaifea: Ah, the *SNORK*!! Now you've got me cracking up.

I'm sure "absolutely creepy" is your way of saying how sweet that Picasso sculpture is. Jumping rope - what a lovely way to capture it. Although the high heels are hard to figure.

>132 Forthwith: Hi, Michael. The experience here is feeling very full, although we both feel we're going to have to come back for more.

It must have been exciting to be here for the vote to secede. My understanding is there'll be another vote in September. Our Picasso guide described it as an "ongoing debate". Knowing nothing about it before we arrived, I have a lot to learn on the subject.

The night street life sure is lively, although they don't stop vehicles around the Plaça d'Espanya where we were staying, or the Plaça de Catalunya where we're staying now. That didn't matter in Las Ramblas last night, of course, as it's a huge pedestrian thoroughfare.

Ha! We'll look out for the NOLA-styled rats around the cathedral construction. :-)

Yesterday, 3:04am Top

>133 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita.

We love that Daley Plaza Picasso sculpture in Chicago, too. You probably heard that the populace wasn't so sanguine when it was first unveiled. Today "WTF" would probably describe the reaction. It took some time for it to get appreciated like it is today. The Bean ("Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor), on the other hand, was an immediate hit.

I completely agree with you about docents and guides. It makes a big difference to have someone explain what the artist's intentions are, the nuances of the composition, the context of its creation, and so on. I'm glad you had a good one to help you better understand Picasso's works in the National Gallery.

We also love walking tours, with someone explaining the history behind the area you're in, the architecture, and so on. That Picasso tour happily combined both, with the guide taking us through some relevant areas of the city, and then being our docent in the Museu Picasso.

Edited: Yesterday, 3:08am Top

Joe and Debbi in front of an elaborate monument by the waterfront in Barcelona

Yesterday, 5:27am Top

>139 jnwelch: Nice picture of you two :-)

I didn't like Picasso until very recently, only his Guenica. We saw a TV series by Jeroen Krabbé (Dutch actor and painter) about Picasso and learned a lot from it. Now I appriciate his works more.
The Spanish Civil War was a dirty war, on all sides. I never understood why the the US and many other countries backed Franco after he won in 1939...

Yesterday, 6:40am Top

Morning, Joe! Yes, those shoes on the jump-roping, um, 'girl,' are mostly what makes it so creepy. Yoicks.

>139 jnwelch: I *much* prefer this type of photo, please. Very nice.

Yesterday, 9:47am Top

>131 scaifea: You're welcome, Amber! Your comments in >128 scaifea: made me snicker as well.

Isn't Picasso's sculpture of the little girl skipping rope adorable? I knew you would like it.

>134 jnwelch: I'm sure that Mark would have gladly joined you for that Cerveza Magnum. I don't think I've ever tasted a Spanish beer, despite spending at least four weeks in Spain over the past three years. The wines are so good (and cheap!) that it's hard to pass on them, as are the varieties of sangria made in local restaurants and bars.

Yes; the version of The Three Musicians that I prefer is much more lively and playful than the other one.

The best thing about my job is the flexibility of my work schedule, especially since I work part time (80% of full time). My partner who makes the work schedule knows that I love to travel (as does essentially everyone else I know at Children's!), and for several of us she concentrates our schedules as best we can, which makes for tough work stretches but also means that we have large blocks of time off from work. My next big break will come in the second half of July, as I'll be off from the 15th-28th after I work 12 of the first 14 days of the month. We have become progressively busier over the past two years with considerably more patients on our service; at 6 am today we had 72 patients, at least 1-1/2 times the number we would normally expect to see over Memorial Day Weekend, and my group had to scramble to find another doctor to round on patients today and tomorrow. This business means that all of us have to see a maximum number of patients, if not one or two extra, which means we really have to hustle and have tougher call days. Not that I'm complaining, though; these long holiday stretches certainly make up for those hectic days!

I am certain that you, Debbi & Becca would love Bilkis, and vice versa. She is very personable, funny, and quite feisty! We've had a very warm and affectionate relationship since we first met on the first day of orientation for residency, and have kept in relatively close contact since we completed our training in 2000, even though she moved to Chicago that year.

Edited: Yesterday, 2:15pm Top

>135 jnwelch: The nice thing about going to other major cities from Amsterdam is that most of them are easily reached by the NS (Dutch) trains in less than an hour, and Haarlem, Leiden and Utrecht are roughly half an hour away or less. I found the system to be easy to use, with frequent train service from Amsterdam Centraal, and using the NS Reisplanner app on my mobile phone made things very smooth.

>139 jnwelch: I'm pretty certain that is the Monument a Colom, the Christopher Columbus Monument, which sits at the southern end of Las Ramblas:

>141 scaifea: I agree; those shoes are a bit over the top!

Edited: Yesterday, 12:27pm Top

I have said it before and will say it again. If the US had a train system like that of Europe, Japan, or even India, we would have half the cars on the road and half of the airplanes in the sky. Think of all the problems that would solve! Not to mention that riding in a train is so much more comfortable than it is in an airplane.

Yesterday, 12:33pm Top

Hi Joe, I can see from the pictures that your enjoying your time in Barcelona. I'm not sure where I stand on Picasso, but he sure gives you lots to both look at and think about in his art.

Edited: Yesterday, 3:54pm Top

>139 jnwelch: waving at Joe and Debbi.

Yesterday, 5:15pm Top

Been absent from the threads all week, so I'm doing some catch-up. Jealous that you are in Barcelona. Having been tussling with a report on Spain in Our Hearts, that nation has been in the forefront of my mind. Hochschild did report that Picasso was livid about Franco; I don't recall him mentioning Dali's support support of the villain.

Just yesterday I tumbld on this photo of Picasso masquerading as Popeye

Yesterday, 8:18pm Top

>139 jnwelch: Looking good!

Today, 1:51am Top

>140 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita.

As Darryl explains in >143 kidzdoc:, that's taken in front of the Christopher Columbus monument at the bottom of Las Ramblas near the water. Another beautiful day in Barcelona!

I'll never understand the U.S. backing of Franco either, but I'm sure it somehow benefited U.S. "interests". Awful. They're still protesting the Spanish Civil War and Franco's dictatorship here - in fact, we just saw such a protest yesterday. Why? From what our guide told us, records of who died where from those times are still sealed, and the families want those records and justice.

I can imagine a tv series giving context to Picasso and what he sought to do would increase your appreciation of his works.

>141 scaifea: I'm sure there's a deeper meaning with those shoes on the jump roper, Amber, than there would be otherwise. :-) Post more Picasso art, you say? I'll leave that to Darryl, although I can understand your wanting more. Or did I not hear you right on that?

I will post more trip photos later today. We're off quite soon to tour the Sagrada Familia, the famous Gaudi church.

Today, 2:00am Top

>142 kidzdoc: I'm not sure, Darryl, but Amber may be loving the Picasso posts so much that she wants more. If I'm wrong, I figure it's better if you get in trouble for it. (I used this theory with my sisters growing up, too).

There is great wine here. I've had cava a couple of times, and I'm going to try more of the local reds and whites given the opportunity. Our guide recommended those from the Monsant region in Catalonia.

You and the schedule coordinator have worked it out well for concentrated working periods and then longer vacation breaks. But when you're in one of those work periods, it sure can be tough from the sounds of it. It's a trade off that's worth it to you, I can tell.

We look forward to meeting Bilkis some day.

>143 kidzdoc: You nailed it with the Christopher Columbus monument, good eye. Man, is that one ornate. Yes, it's at what I think of as the bottom of the Ramblas, near the water. (BTW, we're going to visit the Bouqueria market in the next couple of days, off the Ramblas in the middle - did you recommend that one?)

That sounds good re trains to towns near Amsterdam. We'll definitely be consulting you before we go.

Today, 2:04am Top

>144 benitastrnad: Yeah, I'd love a better train system in the U.S. We dedicated a lot of government transportation money to cars. It is much more comfortable on a train than a plane. We take the train from Chicago to Ann Arbor and back frequently, and have talked about taking longer cross-country train trips, especially to the Pacific Northwest.

>145 DeltaQueen50: We're having a blast in Barcelona, thanks, Judy. Off to the Sagrada Familia today, after a wonderful tour of the Gothic quarter yesterday. I expect to post photos later in the day.

Today, 2:05am Top

Madame MBH feels much better. She appreciates all the good wishes, and wanted me to say hi to everyone for her. OK, off we go!

Edited: Today, 2:33am Top

Madame MBH at Plaça de Catalunya before we leave for the Gothic Quarter tour.

Edited: Today, 2:58am Top

Good to see you area having such a great time in Barcelona, Joe, especially now that Debbie is feeling better. The photos are great, the Picasso, not so much.

Today, 3:56am Top

Glad you're having a good trip Joe and Mme MBH. The pictures of your adventures make me want to go discover Spain. Hope the rest of your trip goes well.

Today, 9:21am Top

>139 jnwelch: LIKE!

Hola, Senor Joe! It sure looks like you both are having a fantastic time. My vacation starts today, so I am a Happy Camper too. We take off for Mammoth Caves tomorrow. I will check in, when I can.

Continue to have a wonderful time.

Today, 10:11am Top

Morning, Joe! I must really like you, to brave this thread even though I know how much Picasso there is 'round here.

>153 jnwelch: Another great photo of YBH - she always looks so chic and fabulous.

Edited: Today, 11:05am Top

>146 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. Wish you could join us. It's not the theater and bookshop experience we have in London, but it's awfully good. Lots of Gaudi today.

>147 weird_O: What the hey? That's one weird photo, Bill. We'd be woefully under-weirded if you didn't help out the way you do. Thanks.

Good for you for reading up on Spain; I'm getting it a bit piecemeal, but it sure is fascinating. One thing I can tell you is that Catalonians are VERY proud of Catalonia. We're learning a little bit of the Catalan language, which our guide said is closer to French than Spanish. Other tips: the locals don't drink sangria, that's for tourists and teenagers. The locals like cava and vermouth, and Catalonia has several excellent wine-growing regions (he recommended Monsant to us).

>148 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Today, 11:16am Top

>154 Familyhistorian: We went 6 hours nonstop today, with a churro and chocolate stop sauce stop, Meg, so you can tell Debbi's feeling better. She was a warrior on our Thursday Picasso walking tour and museum; I'm not sure how she did it. She felt much better yesterday when we toured the Gothic Quarter and wandered about afterward, and today she plowed ahead until we finally both needed some sustenance - chicken paella for her, cod for me.

The photos are great, the Picasso, not so much. Ha! OK, maybe we'll just go with the photos from here.

>155 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. I'll tell you, we're really getting sold on Barcelona. This is our first trip to anywhere in Spain. Our daughter was in Granada with a friend and loved that (the Alhambra is there). I'd like to get to towns around Barcelona, like Monserat, next time, and we want to get to Madrid and Sevilla. Darryl's going to the northern Basque country quite soon, and will be reporting back on that. It just seems like a great country. I'm glad we started with Barcelona; we're loving it here.

Today, 11:21am Top

>156 msf59: Hola, mi amigo! Congratulations on starting your vacation! We've wanted to get to Mammoth Caves for ages. I'll be watching for your reports.

Today was another wonder-filled one. I'll try to post some pics.

>157 scaifea: Ha! Morning, Amber! Thank you for braving the straits (and thread) of Picasso.

Thanks re my MBH - I'm of the same mind re her chicness and fabness. Don't you love the white sunglasses? It was her first time wearing them. I said I needed to find a convertible so we could drive around town with the top down and let people see her.

Today, 11:38am Top

It really is great for YBH to soldier on. On my trip to Berlin this last spring, I was sick the first night that I was in town. I decided I would go until I dropped rather than give in, because I had some reservations for early in the trip that I didn't want to loose out on. I did sleep on the train to Lubeck and that helped. I also napped that afternoon. Two days later I couldn't talk. I felt alright, but I simply could not talk. I would like to think that being without my voice caused me to have to shut up and listen, therefore, I learned more on my trip than I would have. But it was a handicap on the Berlin busses and subway.

Today, 1:56pm Top

>144 benitastrnad: If the US had a train system like that of Europe, Japan, or even India, we would have half the cars on the road and half of the airplanes in the sky. Think of all the problems that would solve! Not to mention that riding in a train is so much more comfortable than it is in an airplane.

Agree 100%. I enjoy taking trains in Europe, even the British trains that my friends often complain about. I'm a bit spoiled by growing up in the Northeast, especially in metropolitan NYC and Philadelphia, which both have serviceable commuter and national train services, although they are considerably slower than comparable European trains. I particularly love the long distance services I've taken (Virgin, Eurostar, Thalys, SNCF, Deutsche Bahn and Renfe), especially the high speed trains from London to Amsterdam, London to Edinburgh, Amsterdam to Cologne, and Barcelona to Sevilla, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the 5+ hour ride from San Sebastián to Madrid on Renfe next month.

Joe, I know that you've been on medium distance trains, when we traveled from London to Weston-super-Mare two years ago; have you taken any of the high speed trains, e.g. Eurostar from London to Paris?

>149 jnwelch: I'll never understand the U.S. backing of Franco either, but I'm sure it somehow benefited U.S. "interests". Awful.

The Basque History of the World, the book I finished reading and reviewing this morning, does speak about this topic. When the Spanish Civil War began in 1936 President Roosevelt declared that the United States would remain neutral, because the US was still in the midst of the Depression and he wanted to devote the country's resources to its struggling citizens, and because the majority of Americans preferred to stay out of European affairs, especially since World War II was barely two decades in the past. Once Franco became the country's leader in 1939 the focus of the US government was primarily directed towards Hitler, and the threat he posed to the rest of western Europe. Franco worshipped Hitler and wanted to join forces with Hitler. However, the Führer found the Generalísimo to be an incompetent commander, whose tactics were more suited to 19th century combat than modern warfare fought with airplanes and tanks, and he was frustrated and enraged by Franco's difficulties in defeating the Basques despite overwhelming advantages.

Hitler and Franco met in Hindaye, France, just across the border from San Sebastián, Spain, in October 1940. Franco pledged his support to Hitler's war effort, but Hitler rejected this proposal, due to Franco's problems with dealing with the resistance in his own country, particularly in the Basque Region and Catalunya, and his outdated methods of battle. At the conclusion of the meeting, Hitler reportedly commented "Mit diesem Kerl ist nichts zu machen," "You can't do anything with this character." He later commented to Mussolini about his meeting with Franco, "I would rather have three or four teeth pulled, than go through that again." As a result of Hitler's rejection Spain was a neutral observer during World War II, and as a result the country avoided being attacked by the Allies in 1944-45, which undoubtedly would have led to the end of Franco's reign as dictator.

After the war the United States did not actively oppose the fascist regime in Spain, mainly because it wasn't a nuclear threat, and especially because Franco was an avowed opponent of communism:

The policy of President Franklin Roosevelt, stated in 1945, was that the United States would not interfere in Spain as long as it was not a threat to world peace. On the other hand, he said, "I can see no place in the community of nations for governments founded on fascist principles." Ostracism but not intervention.

Today, 2:02pm Top

>159 jnwelch: If I had anything to do with your decision to visit Barcelona that would mean that I've influenced two couples, you & Debbi along with my work partner Jennifer, her husband and mega adorable daughter, to travel there this month (Jenn was there at the beginning of the month, and although she's spent more time in Spain and seen more places there than I have she did give me credit for wanting to explore Barcelona in more detail). If this is true then I think I deserve a free or discounted trip there in the near future.

I'll definitely take lots of photos when I visit the Basque Country in three weeks!

Today, 3:55pm Top

>161 benitastrnad: Woo, that would be tough while traveling, Benita, to be unable to talk due to illness. I'm glad it all worked out okay.

We were lucky in that Madame MBH got sick while I was working, so she just laid up in bed for a good while. But she was still feeling submerged when we started vacationing together, and soldiered on at that point. Not easy, but the timing was pretty good, and now she's feeling tiptop again.

>162 kidzdoc: I haven't taken any of the high speed trains yet, Darryl. We took an overnight one from Paris to Rome, but the speed wasn't anything to write home about. Looking forward to it.

Amtrak is working to speed up the Chicago-Detroit line a lot, but there are obvious limitations on how much they can do. Still, it should lop about an hour off of our Ann Arbor trips.

I feel better about the U.S. and Franco after what you shared with us. Thank you. I'm not one who believes in the U.S. intervening everywhere, so I have some sympathy with the way that played out.

>163 kidzdoc: Although I'm all in favor of your getting discounts, free fedoras, and special treatment, Darryl, we picked this trip and its timing because I could have it paid for as a business expense. We are so glad to have finally gotten to Spain, and are loving Barcelona. Your pre-trip tips have contributed a lot to that.

I can't remember, for example, whether you or someone else advised us to get our Sagrada Familia tickets early (in our case, two weeks before), but that saved our butts on that one. No way it would've worked to try to buy them the day we were going, and we came across people who were disappointed and having to change their plans. Someone also advised us to go early in the day, and that really paid off, too. We were in there by 9:30 am, and there was lots of room to wander and be amazed. As time went on, it just filled up more and more with group tours and the like.

Both Debbi and I posted photos over on FB of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and La Pedrera. What a day it was!

It's so much clunkier to get the photos posted here, but I'll try to catch up a little more with our Gothic Quarter adventures, and then our Gaudi day.

Today, 4:18pm Top

>54 jnwelch: What a beautiful structure. Happy Travels Joe!

Today, 5:34pm Top

>162 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl for the explanation on Franco.

Hi Joe, haven't been on FB today, will go and see your pictures tomorrow.

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