Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ignoring the signs

The first sign came as I brought up the weather radar on my computer. It was grey outside, ominously dark, but not raining. The radar showed a thin, fierce slash of thunderstorm drawn south to north through my neighborhood. I thought "Surely this will pass by in time for my four mile walk to the University." But when I looked at the weather in motion on the radar there was a pattern in it I'd never seen before. The thunderstorms formed out of nothing south of the twin cities, then, in a weird, narrow swath, flowed like a river north, right through my walking route.

Used to thunderstorms that move through instead of endlessly generating in the same place I decided to deny the evidence of my eyes. Plus it wasn't even raining out.

The second sign came as I stepped out the door. It still wasn't raining. But the sky looked green. "It's probably something wrong with my eyes." I thought.

The third sign came after ten minutes of walking. It had started raining steadily. I had put on my poncho that I bought for three euros at a Tabacchi in Rome. It had a picture of the Colosseum on it. Thunder sounded not that distantly. The rain turned heavy. I saw someone walking on a sidewalk perpendicular to me and I thought towards them "What are you doing out here! Are you crazy? Get out of the rain!"

It did not occur to me that I was out in the rain. This was the last person I saw outside for another hour.

The fourth sign is expressed in this: It rained so hard that several times during it I thought to myself "Wow, it can't possibly rain harder than this!" At which point it rained harder. Then it hailed.

The fifth sign was when the lightning struck the thought flitted through my mind "If you count how long until the thunder you can tell how safely far away the lightning is." But I was never able to get to the counting before time was up.

The sixth sign was in the hopeful sky ahead. Looking north I could see gaps in the clouds. A couple of times I could even glimpse blue sky. But always behind me and above, the direction from which the storm came, it was black and exploding with bolts of electric fire.

The seventh sign was in the waterfalls of the river gorge. Wild, gorgeous streams and falls had formed, pouring out terrific gushes of water. I found myself curiously not admiring them.

The eighth sign was that even though the only exposed, non waterproof part of my person consisted of the area of my legs from the knees to above my ankles, that section was so saturated that it was able to spread a drenching soddenness to virtually every part of my body. A quart of water was in each of my waterproof shoes alone.

There was no ninth sign. I arrived at my car at the University. I drove it to the library and squelched in. I was a spectacle. I had defied the gods. It went about as well as that usually does.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Library temperatures

A loud group of teens has taken to ordering in pizza for themselves at the library. One might find them sitting down (sort of) to impromptu feasts at any hour of the day. Because we are still apparently haunted by a 1950s vision of ourselves as a stuffy, hushed, undynamic library where all people can do is sit quietly reading, we try to compensate endlessly with carnivals, gang wars, mentally ill people acting out, and lots of technology. We also try to compensate with an extra smidgen of licentiousness. No shushing. No cell phone limits. No hygiene standards. No one to tell you you can't order in pizza to the kids' room.

But even though we strive to give this mob of youths a free reign in the library it turns out they are not sensitive to our rare requests. "We only ask that you clean up after yourself." is met with a great scattering of greasy paper products and a lot of olives ground into the carpet.

So finally there was an uprising among a small, obviously reactionary cabal of old school librarians.

"We must have some kind of rules regarding food in the library!" They cried.

So the reference librarians gathered for six brutal hours to work out a rule they can live with. Unfortunately the reference librarians around here don't have that common practicality one finds so readily among the circulation staff. Their solution came down to this frankly bizarre dictum:

Cold food is allowed, hot food is not.

This new rule was announced without even the barest suggestion of enforcement. I think the basic idea was that all we need to do is come up with the rule. That will be enough to get people to obey it.

I picture the gang of teens ordering in their pizzas, undeterred by any "rules". Perhaps, if all the stars are aligned correctly, some fierce librarian, probably our fiercest, emboldened by our new rule, will firmly inform the kids that they are not allowed to eat hot food of any kind in our library. They will have to take it outside. 

But it is hard to break with our culture. And despite herself this librarian will relent and inform the youths of how to legitimately circumvent our rules:

Winter is here. A couple of minutes outside should be enough to make any pizza acceptable for library use.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Walking with my wife today I saw a house with three quotes written on its various front retaining walls. If you see these quotes it means you are in my neighborhood. Check out the open mike night at the Riverview on Thursdays. It would be just behind you and up the street a little from where you're reading the quotes. It is too late for you to go to the sing-a-long Sound of Music at our lovely old art deco theater straight back up the street from the quotes, but I'm sure you'll find something worth seeing there if you need to see a movie. It's three dollars. They have real butter on the popcorn. No, I am not being paid for this.

One of the wall quotes was by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I appreciate the regionalism and the rah rah boosterism of a famous local's quote making it on a wall. Did you know Minnesota now sports two Nobel Prize winners for literature? Did you also know F. Scott is not one of them? He's the one we keep in our pocket for emergencies. But maybe the Nobel committee was on to something since I can't remember what his quote was. I'm pretty sure it wasn't as good as the one on the wall fronting the sidewalk. It was by Cornell West: "Justice is what love looks like in public."

I'm just respectfully letting you have a second with that since it's so good. But I'm here today about the third wall quote. 

Elie Wiesel said:

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.

As much as I like that quote I skipped right over what it might teach me and immediately thought of all the impassioned things I say that elicit a shrug of the shoulders. I thought of how fun it will be to say "You know, Elie Wiesel said "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference."

We all need weapons. It's a war out there.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

The accounting firm of Barney, Barney, and Stein has tabulated all of the surveys people have filled out and I am here to read and report the results!

I am so nervous!

1. Almost all of you like or love (8%) the new clerkmanifesto points for prizes system! Although a scant, but defiant 62% of you were uninterested in it, and 29% of you took the opportunity of that question to go on a bathroom break.

2. One percent of you said "Potato Taquitos" was your favorite blog post. Only 97% of respondents said they couldn't remember any blog posts further back than "Customer Satisfaction Survey".

3. In a heartening vote of confidence 100% (everyone!) said that they either love, like, tolerate, endure, occasionally read, or are generally confused by clerkmanifesto. 

4. Almost 38% of readers first heard of clerkmanifesto when I mentioned it in this sentence! Roughly 31 percent already knew all about it and felt smug. About 30 percent still haven't heard of clerkmanifesto although it's starting to sound more and more familiar.

5. A full 42% of you blamed being in a bad mood on having to fill out another customer satisfaction survey, but 83% said they would fill out more surveys in a desperate hope that one day they will be asked a relevant question that allows them to express their feelings.

6. A majority of respondents said they would recommend clerkmanifesto to anyone who asked them directly if they would recommend clerkmanifesto, keeping in mind that no one would hold them to anything and they could not be sued or held criminally liable. 

7. Just over 98% (!) of you felt confident that Barney, Barney, and Stein was the best survey firm they ever dealt with. 

8. A whopping 9% of you are feeling sad that there are only eight result summaries, even though they're only just realizing it now.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Customer satisfaction survey addendum

Thank you so much for filling out our recent Customer Satisfaction Survey. We hope you enjoy the one hundred clerkmanifesto points we have issued to you that you can use in the clerkmanifesto store which will be going live at any moment now. Meanwhile, as the survey tabulators work to bring us our comprehensive results, a few issues have cropped up in the wording of the survey itself.

It turns out that several of the survey answers were themselves questions. We here at clerkmanifesto can hardly expect you to answer our questions if we won't answer yours! And so below we have listed the survey questions with answers that are themselves questions. Then we have provided answers to those questions that were answers to our questions. Does that make sense?


I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am.

And so:


1. How do you feel about this new "points for items in the clerkmanifesto store" thing?

(X)  I already got a late 2013 blog post for 50 points! How can I earn more points?

My answer:

Thank you for your interest in the new clerkmanifesto points reward system! Did you know you can redeem points for prizes in our clerkmanifesto store? Please hold the line and a service representative will be with you shortly, or press or say "one" to sign up for regular blog delivery in your email. I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Please stay on the line and a service representative will be with you shortly. Your wait time should be...

Less than 45 minutes.

Question (again):

1. How do you feel about this new "points for items in the clerkmanifesto store" thing?

(X)  I don't understand how I'm supposed to fill out this customer satisfaction survey? It doesn't let me enter anything. Am I supposed to print it out and mail it to you or something?

My answer:

I am not clear. Are you unable to input into the questionnaire or are you unsure on the process of inputting?

( ) Unable to input
( ) Unsure on process


2. What kind of posts would you like to see more of here on clerkmanifesto?

(X)  Excuse me. I am looking for the Google website? Do I go right or left from here?

My answer:

Oh, no, you're here. This is it. Different than you expected, isn't it? 


5. What's your favorite clerkmanifesto post of all time?

(X)  Oh, you know, that funny one? About that thing at the library. You remember. Oh my stomach hurt from rofling! So funny! What was it about again?

My answer:

Thank you. Yes. I totally know the one you are talking about. It is pretty funny, isn't it. We are now linking to it in the clerkmanifesto store for only 125 clerkmanifesto points!


6. Why have you stopped reading clerkmanifesto?

(X) Um. I'm right here. Hello?

My answer:

Oh, hi. I didn't see you there, I had to turn the lights down for the survey to show up properly. So nice to see you!

Question (again):

 6. Why have you stopped reading clerkmanifesto?

 (X) I was briefly "Off-planet", if you know what I mean? But I'm touched you noticed I was gone and devoted an entire question to me!

My answer:

No, I don't know what you mean, but I do want to.

Question (again again):

6. Why have you stopped reading clerkmanifesto?

(XUm, because the day's post is over?

My answer:

Yes, that's right.  


Friday, November 25, 2016

I consider this part of my job

I really do consider this part of my job. It's a true story.

I went out to our CD collection to look for something for a patron. I knew it wouldn't be there, but I'd promised I would look, so it was a matter of keeping faith. The CD wasn't there. So I began to return to the back room where I was loosely engaged in supply ordering issues. On my way back I saw that our front desk was occupied by three of my co-workers. They weren't busy because it was raining ice outside, and since I enjoy the fresh perspective of approaching the desk as a patron I went to the higher of the two stations.

"I would like to register for a crybaby card" I said calmly.

Then I burst into tears.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Customer Satisfaction Survey

As you know, every two or three days I like to pay consultants thousands of dollars to gauge how my readers are feeling about clerkmanifesto. We at clerkmanifesto are strongly reader driven. I listen carefully to what these surveys have to say only to find I am constitutionally unable to do any of the things the surveys recommend. But I never stop trying, and no sooner do I fail than I commission another survey. Is this too many surveys? We have commissioned a survey to find out!

But in the meantime we would deeply appreciate it if you would fill out the following customer satisfaction survey. And to show that we don't expect you to labor in our baking hot survey fields for nothing, we will be giving each of you who fills out this survey 100 clerkmanifesto points, redeemable immediately in the clerkmanifesto store for, well, old blog posts that no one can find because the Internet mostly just hides things. Maybe we can get some T-shirts or something in the store eventually (you know, like "The cream rises to the top and dead things float"), but they'll probably cost a ton of points.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

(Please punch all the way through on your answers or your choice may be voided even if your intent was obvious)

1. How do you feel about this new "points for items in the clerkmanifesto store" thing?

( )  You can't fool me, I know you're kidding! Kidder!

( )  I already got a late 2013 blog post for 50 points! How can I earn more points?

( )  I don't understand how I'm supposed to fill out this customer satisfaction survey. It doesn't let me enter anything. Am I supposed to print it out and mail it to you or something?

2. What kind of posts would you like to see more of here on clerkmanifesto?

( )  Anything where I can get more points!

( ) Anything is fine. All of your blog posts are equally nice.

( )  Excuse me. I am looking for the Google website? Do I go right or left from here?

3. What stops you from demanding that everyone you know read clerkmanifesto?

( )  I mean, I like clerkmanifesto. Really I do. I just don't think other people, anywhere, would, you know, get it.

( )  Hey! Some credit here! I recommend it all the time! Or, I mean, I did, until it got all pressury and self promotey! 

( )  I'm planning on doing this soon but want to build stronger relationships with everyone I know first so I have more leverage.

4. What improvements would you like to see in the clerkmanifesto customer satisfaction surveys?

( ) I would like to see more options of multiple choice answers during the clerkmanifesto customer satisfaction survey questions.

5. What's your favorite clerkmanifesto post of all time?

( )  Oh, you know, that funny one? About that thing at the library. You remember. Oh my stomach hurt from rofling! So funny! What was it about again?

( )  I'm here by accident and I don't understand anything that's going on. I'm so confused right now.

( )  I really feel that clerkmanifesto is a work in progress. Though I have read all 1,400 of your posts I haven't exactly liked any yet. I read it based more on its potential.

6. Why have you stopped reading clerkmanifesto?

( ) Um. I'm right here. Hello?

( ) I was briefly "Off-planet", if you know what I mean? But I'm touched you noticed I was gone and devoted an entire question to me!

( )  I don't know, when you don't talk about Grape much my attention starts to wander.

( )  I hate to have to say it, but I guess it's because it sometimes feels like you're starting to repeat yourself here.

( )  I hate to have to say it, but I guess it's because it sometimes feels like you're starting to repeat yourself here.

( ) I don't know. I really like it, usually, but then there's a joke like the "repeating" one, above, and I feel like I just need a little break. So tired. So very tired.

( )  Um, because the day's post is over?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What to do if mildly inconvenienced

The printing went down in our library this morning. I could give you a nuanced explanation of what happened so that what was once three working public printers became zero working public printers, but from the safety of clerkmanifesto I'd prefer to simply say: our computer services department sucks.

It was incumbent upon me to explain this to the people arriving at my library so I wrote a large, colorful sign on our six foot tall A-frame whiteboard. It said:

"We're sorry, but all printing is currently unavailable in the library. Except that which you can do with a pen."

I managed to refrain from adding "The computer services staff has gone into hiding." Even though this was true. We suddenly couldn't find them anywhere.

This is just as well because the patrons did not take the inability to print gracefully. One woman said that she would not leave the library until she could print her document. This was a curious threat as it was only about noon, we were scheduled to be open for another nine hours, and we like it when people are in the library. It's kind of the point. Of course, I have had other dissatisfied patrons threaten to never come to our library again! We like that too, we don't particularly need people in the library, especially difficult ones. So you can see how we're in a win win situation here.

One woman, it remains unclear whether it was the same one as the barnacle approach lady above, was so upset that she couldn't print that she called 911. That's a true story. The police never showed up so I guess they decided it was a more minor emergency. I guess they did something though because our printers seem to be working again, at least one of them, barely. I'm not sure because I haven't been out in the library for awhile. I've been in the  back work area, here, typing this. I hope you've enjoyed it. But if you haven't, just call 911. That should sort this out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Getting the job done

One of my not very good at all co-workers came to me while I was manning the phones at my library. She handed me an envelope. It was an open piece of mail from an insurance company. The envelope said it was very important. 

My not very good at all co-worker said "This was found in a book."

"What would you like me to do with it?" I asked.

"Merlion (Another not very good at all co-worker) found it and gave it to me. I thought you could call the person it belongs to."

"I don't usually call people." I said. "But I'll take care of it."

I looked in the envelope. It was a bit of meaningless information from four and a half months ago. I threw it in the recycling.

I guess that's why so many people from all over the library route their problems over to me. I'm always willing to take on these extraordinarily complex issues.

Monday, November 21, 2016

President Trump

I'm not going to let it go. Why would I let it go?

First there was a flurry of opinion pieces published across the country that were all, more or less, "Whose fault was it?"

Then, as those essays were exhausted, we got all the opinion pieces that said, again more or less, "Now is not the time for blame. Now we must move forward."

And sure, we can move forward, though the eagerness to do so is suspicious. Nevertheless there are famous quotes about how we must, at our peril, remain cognizant of our history. I won't employ those famous quotes here because my spotlight is so dim I am reluctant to cede it to others for even a moment. But I think you get the idea anyway. So before we "move on" we must absolutely, authoritatively know what just happened. There is not one simple answer to the question of who was to blame. The darkness we have called down upon ourselves through strange, misguided occult rites (Democracy being merely the black kettle we made it in) was only possible through a collusion of factors. I have assembled these into a list, going from least impactful to most impactful. Yes, we can go forward, but only if we keep this list at the forefront of our minds each step of the way. Otherwise, we will simply walk in circles.

The (Only) Authoritative List of Who or What Was Responsible For the Election of Donald Trump to the Presidency

10. The Cubs

By winning the World Series they briefly upset the fabric of probabilities in the nation, making the absurdly unlikely into the probable. 

9. Early supporters of Hilary Clinton for President

Don't feel too bad if this is you as you are only a bit more guilty than the Chicago Cubs, who simply and reasonably tried to and succeeded at winning the World Series! 

Nevertheless, voting for someone slightly right of center is not an effective strategy for combating the far right. In a binary system it just drives the conventional rhetoric over to where the center-right is considered the left, causing you to slip in a small puddle of blood while voting in the primaries and accidentally punching the slot for Hilary as you twist your ankle and fall to your knees.

8. The Rich

No, seriously, there is something wrong with you people. Even Jesus thinks you are all going to Hell. He even put it in his little bible!

7. Our hunger for entertainment

Mea culpa. I look at traffic accidents. I understand the impulse to see what was the crazy thing that lunatic just said. I know what it's like to feel the heat and the decades of political disappointment and say "The hell with it. Let's just let the whole goddamn building burn the fuck down!"

And then I remember that my cat is inside.

6. The Schools

Seeing as everyone in this country had to go to school for 12 or 13 years and then came out the other end with a quarter of them voting for an opportunistic bully and with half of them not managing to vote at all, I'm pretty sure we could've just let all the children stay home and watch Get Smart reruns and have done at least as well.

Ah well, we almost won. Missed it by that much. 

If only he would have used his magic hair for niceness instead of evil.

5. God

The cards on the table look pretty bad, God. Your bluff has been called. You're going to have to have something amazing in your hand. Even aces won't do. You will need magic cards. Yes, you heard that right: It is now or never for your "magic" cards.

And if you say one more time "I'm just the dealer." I will seriously call an end to all religion on this planet forever.

4. Rising to the bait.

That's right America, we have been trolled. Our fingernails dug marks into the hardwood of our table tops. Veins throbbed in our foreheads. We cried out "Did you hear what he said? Everyone must see that it's terrible what he said! Can you believe he said something so terrible?"

It turns out the appropriate response was "Did you hear something? No? Me neither."

3. Taking it seriously.

Silly things like joking about Trump's remarkably small fingers (how does he hold a pen!) were amazingly effective, and though a part of me can see that there is nothing funny about a President Trump, there is another part of me that finds it hilarious when he tries to pick up a glass of water, but it's just too wide!


2. The Fair and Free Press

In as much as you can blame something that does not actually exist, the press, with it's false equivalencies, terror over change, fawning relationship to power, and billionaire owners might even belong in the top spot here. As the left clamors about fighting on, maybe the lot of them could get together and make one single decent independent real (online and print) newspaper, not another breathless site for a million leftist opinion pieces, but a primary news source produced by paid, resourceful open eyed reporters writing the cruel and truthful news, hammering it into the daily discourse like a stake into a Vampire's heart.

1. The people who voted for him.

Then there are the actual votes. That's how it works. Among the "Jews for Hitler" crowd, more than a quarter of Latinos voted for him and almost half of all women. Some blacks voted for him, and even Muslim immigrants voted for him. Poor people voted for him in droves, and, famously, white men voted heavily for him

Not a single one of them will accrue any advantage from it.

And so, not being willing to be torn down into name calling, or into the incivility that has been horribly crowned in this country, I will say to all these people, the most culpable in this sad event, that which must be said. I will remain respectful, and though what I say will be challenging and complex for them to follow, I will also speak to them in a language they can understand.

Respectfully then, to you who voted for Donald Trump:

"Well, like duh." 


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Raining cats and dogs

After a few weeks of freakishly pleasant November weather, dry, 60 degrees most days, the rain came with a sudden bewildering vengeance, like it had been saving it up for awhile. Fat bolts of lightning pounded the far horizon, evoking visions of exploding farmhouses. My wife and I were racing along, nearly blind on the freeway, to my job. Gusts of wind pounded heavy blobs of rain ferociously into our windshield and I wondered why they couldn't make a faster speed for my wipers. They were not keeping up, though I will grant that they did seem to be trying.

The phrase "raining cats and dogs" came into my mind. It was raining cats and dogs. And then, because I'm literal minded, I suddenly wondered "What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?"

The answer is:

We would end up with a lot of dead dogs and a lot of irritated cats walking among them.

This afternoon the rain turned into the first snow of the season. It does not snow any animals that I know of. Fortunately.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Gelateria awards

After 35 flavors of blog posts about Roman Gelaterias, starting way back before my trip with a discussion of my dazzlement over the sheer plenitude of raved over gelato places in Rome, running through my cracking the code of Internet gelateria reviews (even the worst gelaterias get pretty good reviews because, well, it's Rome, and it's still gelato!). I wrote imaginary posts before my trip about gelato that posted up on the Internet while I actually was eating gelato in Rome (a device that caused much confusion among my readers). I came back from Rome, heartbroken to have left, and found that all I could really write at first about Rome was gelato. I wrote about my methodology for studying the gelato of Rome. I gave an overview for the gelato of Rome. And I talked about the limitations of any comprehensive Roman gelato study. 

I hinted at my favorite gelaterias, my ecstatic experiences in Roman gelato eating, and my favorite flavors of gelato. Then I promised I would finally get down to it. I would finally talk directly about the gelaterias of Rome, naming names and talking about their flavors.

And then for a few days I couldn't do it.

Was I trying to build up suspense?

No. I really don't think anyone out there cares that much.

Was there something more vital for me to discuss?

I am sure you could answer that for yourself by perusing my brief posts from the past few days concerning local county initiatives.

Was it too much of an ending? Was completing my study of Roman gelaterias a kind of closing a book on this trip and putting it sadly into history?


And I'm not happy about it. But there's nothing else to be done.

Unless maybe I can split this into two blog posts. Yes, yes, I'll split it into two blog posts!

But I won't keep you in suspense about it, and I won't split it by putting in a bunch of filler, except in the normal sense of how here on clerkmanifesto, the filler is the point.

So later I'll do my best at a complete rundown of the gelaterias I explored, but today I'll hand out my awards. If you are going to Rome for a day or two or three, my awards should be all you need to get you to the best gelato in Rome.

Best Gelateria in Rome

Come Il Latte (Silvio Spaventa, 24)

Come Il Latte is not in the very center of things so one has to make a little trip to get there, though it is at least still a walkable trip from the center of the city. They specialize in an absolute creaminess and their smooth Pistachio was a surprise and revelation to me. But there is a purity to their gelato that inched them (ever so barely) above everyone else, ever, anywhere. Oddly this best manifested in the whipped cream I got on top of my cup. I've never tasted anything like it. It sang. It was better than delicious. Did you know there was a "better than delicious"? It's a very interesting discovery to make.

One month, dozens of gelatos, and if I had to pick the best, and it turns out I do, this was it.

Best Gelato flavor in Rome

Lavender at La Strega Nocciola (V. D. Vite, 100)

It may just be me but I really took to the flower flavored gelatos in Rome. But regardless of strange flavors, normal flavors, complicated flavors, mixing flavors, or simple flavors, this, the lavender at La Strega Nocciola, was the single most enjoyable and delicious gelato I had in Rome. If taking a bit of a walk out of the very center of Rome is not going to work for you, this agreeably located gelateria, near but not too near to the Spanish Steps, will be  nearly as good a one to try as Come Il Latte. Its relatively quiet street (for the area) means there's usually not too bad a line either. Grab one of their bookmarks too, they have the best gelateria logo in the world.

Neighborhood Awards:

Pantheon area

San Crispino (Piazza Della Maddelena 3)

Many years ago when we first went to Rome we ate gelato every chance we had at the San Crispino near the Trevi Fountain. At the time it was easily the most popular and revered gelateria in Rome. At some point this second branch opened. And at some point as well San Crispino's slightly snooty perfection alienated people at the same time as other comparably perfect places opened up in the center city. Their star fell. Now just one small lovely Piazza up from the Pantheon there is a virtually always uncrowded San Crispino that is as fantastically good and perfect as ever, outclassing all but a few Roman gelaterias, but now to a more modest acclaim. 

Trastevere area

Gelateria Del Viale (Piazza Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, 9)

My wife and I have long had a chip on our shoulders about Trastevere and on this 30 day trip we did not spend much time there until the end. Then I realized a crucial key to Trastevere: I love Trastevere, but during the day and not at all at night. It's like it's a werewolf or something. Go figure. And I'm glad we did figure because Gelateria Del Viale, just over the Ponte Garibaldi in Trastevere, is within all but meaningless inches of being as good as any of the above gelaterias. Which is to say that if you go here and to none of the others you'll be fine. I got a lot of flavors that weren't really made to go together, but it didn't matter. They were pure and smooth. The rose flavor sticks in my mind and won't leave. I would like to try it again and think about it for a long long while.

Spanish Steps 

La Strega Nocciola (V. D. Vite, 100)

See above award for best flavor. Easy choice. 

Bonus interruptive comments:

These were the four great gelaterias of Rome for me, the ones on the same, highest level: Come Il Latte, La Strega Nocciola, San Crispino, and Gelateria Del Viale. I am sure I missed some that were on this level, and there are also a few that I would have liked to give another chance to, feeling I might not have made the best flavor choices or gotten them at their best or remembered them quite so well. So I will continue with the neighborhood awards with the understanding that these following places are great, but on a level just a little below the highest tier above, at least pending more investigation:


Gelateria Del Teatro (Via dei Coronari, 65-66)

Super popular, watch out for those lines at peak time. They had beautifully made gelato and interesting flavors (half a dozen chocolates!). They were clearly great, but my truffle ice cream was full of stuff and not a clear enough experience and taste for me. I needed another stop here (that I didn't manage get) in order to know for sure what I really thought of them.


Gelateria Dei Gracchi (

Strangest Gelato flavor in Rome

Parmesan at Origini Gelato (V. D. Gesu 73)

I was really interested in odd gelato flavors, including savory flavors. I read about a famed gelato maker named Claudio Torce who specializes in this field. Unfortunately I did not get to the proper Claudio Torce shop, rather just to one that sold a collection of his more mundane flavors (I think that's what it was- see below). So I'm saying there are surely odder flavors out there, but this was the best of it as my encounters went, a pretty tasty, very textured organic gelato made with Parmesan cheese. It was, okay. Origini, across from the art store back behind Sopra Minerva (wander in for the Michelangelo that's just----fucking----sitting-----there!!!!) makes a very nice gelato and I appreciate their getting funky when they didn't have to.

Worst Gelato in Rome

Il Gelato Di Claudio Torce (Piazza del Risorgimento, 51)

No doubt there are hundreds of places worse than this. I was only seeking out the best in Rome. I really wanted to try Claudio Torce whose name gets bandied about a lot in Roman Gelato discussions. Unfortunately his shops have a ragged history about town. I think the main one, the real one, is near the Circo Massimo, and though I should've fairly gone there, I didn't make it. That one is probably fresh and full of his famed unique and savory flavors. But I found reference to this one near the Vatican and it turned out to be easy to track down one day and try as an alternative. It seemed more like a mildly unpleasant shop that was carrying his gelato, perhaps delivered in once or twice a week. The flavors were traditional. The gelato dense and too hard and full of icy bits. It was my worst gelato in Rome. 

So, was it really bad? No, it wasn't that bad. It's gelato.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Funnier than me

I was looking at my work email and saw some more news from the County (my employer) about some racial equity initiative they've got going, or maybe it was about some racial equity award that they'd given to themselves, or maybe it was both. To tell you the truth since the recent election of a racist to the Presidency I've noticed an uptick in our local government commitments to racial equity programs and diversity.

This made me think of a joke. I like to share all jokes that I think of with my co-workers. The jokes don't have to be funny. That would be setting the bar too high. It's more about inclusivity, or rehearsing, or something. So I raced over to an amenable co-worker and said "I have noticed that we are cramming in, since the election, every racial equity and pro diversity thing we can think of in preparation for the new President. I think we're trying to pedal as fast as we can to get up to speed so that we can simply coast for four years."

My clever co-worker wryly replied "That should work. It'll all be downhill."