Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

Miscellany #82
started in early July 2021

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1.  July 4 — The Opus Continuum exhibit at Lake Fusaro has opened.
(The last reference here was a week ago. It has a complete program.)

rear terrace Lodge
the island of Ischia is in far background

the Lodge at sunset

     The Lodge from the bridge
       (details of the Lodge here)

3 photos above-Opus Continuum-top aerial photo-comune of Bacoli                
Eros is Loose! -- Armed & Amorous!                
A few scenes of the goings-on at the Eros exhibit — The Roman name for the Greek 'Eros' was 'Cupid'.

                                              8 photos - Opus Continuum              
                                        The Facebook link for Opuscontinuum

July 6
The Torch Has Passed to a New ...what? .... You Dropped it...?!
Last Saturday (June 26) the Greeks re-opened post-pandemic Naples as the never-never semi-functional city (mayor, Don E. Brook) of yore and evermore by holding a Lampadedromia (Torch Race) starting at Cuma. That is just north of the Gulf of Naples and was founded by the Greeks as a colony by other Greeks from Pithecusa (now Ischia). It's all Greek. If Greek is Greek to you, go read all about it in some fine translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer and Homer, respectively. (Back then, you got only one name; it made phone books much thinner.)

The runners finished at a square (image, right) on the sea-side of the Chiaia section of the city, not far from the small port of Mergellina. If they ran the whole way, they're still in good shape, those old-timey Greeks. At the finish they were met by a local actress in the guise of siren, Parthenope. (And by yours truly in back of Parthenope. Space-Time travel really makes you younger!) All of this was meant to revitalize the memory of Naples as part of Magna Graecia, Greater Greece, the many Greek colonies spread beyond the Aegean, yea, even unto the pillars of Hercules  (Herakles). Indeed, the mayor of the province of Matera way down yonder in the land of palm trees wants to rename the Ionian Road, also known as highway SS 106 . (Don't worry. It's not German. It means strada statale [state road]. He wants to call it The Road of Magna Graecia. The current road crosses the entire Ionian Arc, stretching 500 km (300 mi) along the Ionian coast from Taranto to Reggio Calabria (image). (Note: Reggio Calabria [a semicircle with no label] is on the mainland. Messina is on the island of Sicily,  a strong swim across the Straits of Messina. Problem? No. Modern Italian mumbo-jumbo covers them both as the Straits of Messina Metropolitan Area, not a single city, but wishing and pixie dust can make it so. Cue music. Cut.)

(The main page on Magna Graecia is here.)

3. July 12 
Post-Pandemic San Carlo

The San Carlo theater has a new artistic director, Stéphane Lissner. He has plans for the current 2021-2022 season (Yes, it has started!) It will be difficult, but he says he can do it.

Here is a very good interview with him on the Bachtrack website

“I'm no stranger to controversies: they make me laugh,” he says.

July 14
Some boats are back!

This little sweetie, Fleurtje, was here in Naples in August 2015. I don't know if she was here in the 6 years that have passed until til this week. Looks exactly the same: sleek, good looking vessel. A real sailing ship amidst the steel and plastic yachts. What a pleasure to see. Nothing has changed.
"Wait... that's odd, Holmes. Why...the call sign is different. So are the vessel ID numbers.
You don't suppose..."
"I'm afraid so, Watson. When you elimentrinate the sublime, what remains must be ridiculous. She has gone over to the dark side."
Indeed, we note that 6 years ago Fleurtje was sailing under the flag of Malta, the glorious historic island Republic not far from Sicily. Now? How dark side can you get? Panama.
O the humanity!

July 15
They sure are. If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

That is, how much is this and that? This one came in last night under cover of darkness, stealthy and sneaky cowards that they are. This thing is never a "she". It's an "it". This is the RISING SUN, a luxury motor yacht built in 2004 (currently sailing under the flag of the Cayman Islands (of course!).

IMO / MMSI:    8982307 / 319011000
Call sign:    ZCII7
Length:    138 m (452 ft 9 in)
Beam: I don't know. Plenty of Jim Beam aboard, though.
Installed Power:  4 × MTU 20V 8000 M90 diesel engines 36,000 kW (48,000 hp)
Propulsion:  4 propellers
Speed:  28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
          powering in from the  right on an earlier visit in 2005                     
Rising Sun is owned by David Geffen. He doesn't know his aft from his elbow, but he sits at the head of the captain's table. Starboard shmarboard — how many stars are on board is what counts. The guests are housed in 8 cabins that hold 16-18 guests comfortably. With chromium-plated hawseholes and onyx countertops, I should hope they're comfy!) Rising Sun has a crew of 45, housed in 30 cabins. No, you, celeb, don't pay extra to use the gym, basketball court, pool, sauna, wine cellar or watch a movie that you are maybe starring in. There are 82 rooms. Geffen is a real piece of work. We both went to Santa Monica City College. Same year. I remember him. He dropped out, but when asked to show his college degree, he forged bum papers from U.C.L.A. He was very good at making money. A select band of scuba-scugnizzi (street kids) are planting magnetic mines on Rising Sun as we speak. Stay tuned. 

6. July 16
Friday the 16th!
Don't worry. Nothing happens on Friday the 16th. It's not lucky. Not unlucky. It's nothing. Well, there  is this one thing. All the real boats have gone — nice sail-boats, ugly super-yachts, what have you. All gone and left us with this (image). It's a motorized gondola. I don't think it came down here from Venice (not Italy and not the real one in the city of Los Angeles, California, although that would be quite a tale to tell. I have never seen this thing before. Never. It has to be a ploy, a gimmick, a really good bad idea by a local beach or hotel somewhere not too far away. Take the clients for a little sea stroll, get to Mergellina harbor (150 mtrs to the right of this image) and then put  them into a mini-van where they drive to  wherever and  ... wait .... more likely they brought them here for a further adventure by sea via the "water taxi" service that runs the whole length of the Campania region and... ok, it's intriguing, but I still don't like it.

7. July 18
The Children's Hour
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

Here's how the wee ones in Naples enjoy their pause in the day's occupations
enjoying the view of one of the many lovely lighthouses we have in the area. Really.
Tumbling babies remind us,
     When mommy sees what you've done,
She'll moan and groan and grumble
      Till you make another one.


photo by
a wonderful website!

8. July 21
You've Heard of the Double Eagle?
That's a very rough comparison — unpolished, even crude, maybe vulgar. The Double Eagle was a metaphor of the dual nature of the Roman Empire, east and west. OK, we haven't got quite that. Ours is more like one is a pigeon and the other is a sea-gull. Pigeons can hurt you (especially your car) but they can't kill you. Nietzsche said what doesn't kill you just gets your goat and Nietzsche looked a lot like an old goat. (I can't explain that.) Sea-gulls, on the other wing, are nasty, ruthless, rapacious killers. Now that boats and tourists are back in the Bay of Naples, a lot of people are out strolling and wandering by the seaside and beaches. Lo, there are sea-gulls all over, cruising above, searching, scanning for food. So if you are a concerned parent, you'd better be throwing pieces of bread up for them or, better, pieces of fish. Better, whole fish. Or they may just decide to take matters into their own beaks. That's what happened in this image, and I personally heard about the guy who says he read about it!
photo by

9. July 23

These are the Voyages of the Starship Oliva O. ...

They are boldly going, and they're in Naples for a while. Luxury Yacht
cum Air Conditioning, Swimming Pool, Helipad, Cinema, Gym, and Spa. The Oliva O. 
Here are the specs: Length  88.5m / 290'4 —  Builder  Ulstein Verft (Norway) — Ext.& int. Designer  Espen Oeino — Built 2020 —  Beam 16.3m / 53'6 — Draft 5.1m / 16'9 — Cruising Speed  14 Knots —  Top Speed 15.8 Knots. I had a color painting of
it in a copy of Mediterranean Science and Fantasy Fact or Fiction. Sadly, that copy was nabbed by a sea-gull.

Designed to take up to 20 guests overnight in 8 cabins. Can carry 30 crew. Is not available for private charter. That means the owner is on board right now. That would  be Eyal Ofer, a Monaco-based billionaire, active in shipping and real estate. He was born in June 1950. His father Sammy Ofer was Israel’s richest man

10. July 25

Opus Continuum has released its catalog of photos relating to "Eros of the Passionate --we who have stained the world with blood." Selene adds that "This is the real revolutionary little red book! Mao had no idea!" The book is on sale at the exhibit at the Vanvitellian Lodge on Lake Fusaro (see top of this page). They want you to buy a copy. It costs €6. That gets you and your lover 1 book plus admission to the exhibit (open Friday 30 July an extra hour, until 2100). The book (catalog) has 28 pp. with images on most of them. It measures 15x21 cm (6" x 8.25"). Buy one. The proceeds go to restore and maintain the lodge, this splendid little jewel. If you are in Naples, this is one of the most enjoyable sites you can see and certainly an unusual exhibit. It's for a  good cause. (Oh, the keyhole on the cover is a clever dirty pun. You "fools rush in where angels fear to tread." There is no verb from the noun chiave/key) but it would be chiavare. It means what you think and is vulgar. There is a town near Genoa named Chiavari, which is close enough to be very funny except to those who live there and have heard every joke you can imagine.

11. July 30

There is a new entry called "Rosina Ferrara, the muse of Capri." It focuses on Capri as a great magnet for foreign painters in the late1800s, the likes of John Singer Sargent, and on one particular woman who inspired them
(image, right, is by Sargent). The article is at this link.

12. Aug 2

They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore

Maybe just for the few and fine  filthy folks like yourselves. The Atena (or Athena) was built in 2004 and showed up in Naples shortly thereafter, at which time I was unable to identify her. Here. She was built in the Netherlands.
Length: 90.00m (295' 3"); beam:  12.20m (40' ); crew: 18   charter guest: 10;  max speed: 18.9 knots+;
cabins: 5; engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3516B; builder/designer: Royal Huisman .

ATHENA is the largest private sailing yacht of the modern era. If you're wondering what kind of "action" you can expect on this tub, the last major naval battle with sail-powered ships was the battle of Sinop between the Ottoman and Russian empires during the Crimean war in 1853. It depends on what you men by "sail-powered" (and what you mean by "action"). Many steam ships still carried full sail rigging. If you mean ships that had only sails and nothing else (well, oars), that is sometime in the 1820s. You can always watch the Naval History Channel aboard the Athena. She has more TV and stuff than you can shake a Tesla hand-puppet at.  More electronics than the Starship Enterprise. There is also a Navel History Channel.

13. Aug 7 
The "Artistic Cartography" of Heinrich Berran

Heinrich C. Berran (1915-1995) was from Austria and is known as the "father of artistic cartography". It's a very
small family. He may be the only one in it. On-line and print publications around the world use his maps. Here is a map of his of our Island of Capri. It is stunning.
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