Monday, September 17, 2012

Zurich Notes

/We idled away a few happy hours Sunday afternoon at the Zurich Art Museum. I had been reluctant: the building certainly didn't look impressive and how much good art could there be in s city of a million or so?

Hoo boy, did I get that one wrong. Grsnt that they are a bit heavy on Giacometti (the whole family) and Maillot--still the Museum has dazzling strength in the moderns and a respectab;le presence in almost every period from the early Renaissance forward (no ancient: a command decision or is the ancient tucked away some place else?). The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist stuff seems to be the happy result of the Museum's having bet on moderns early (and whose good idea was that huh?). A lot of the other stuff is named donations, bearing the heady reek of sleekly elegant modern money.

It's still a kick that the exterior is so unprepossessing, though. I can't think of another major museum so well stocked behind so modest an exterior.

Now, for extra credit:
  • The trains running east downhill out of Switzerland down into Germany--they're loaded up with tankers. Containing what? Italian olive oil? Pasta sauce? Cocoa? Afterthought, I remember the old New Yorker cartoon showing the highway truck bearing the inscription "cheap Italian wine." But that was 40 years ago, back before we realized that Italian wine is actually pretty good, eh?
  • And while we are on the subject: why are so many trucks idling on the uphill route just east of the Swiss border? Surely not paying bribes? But taxes? Paperwork? And who is picking up the tab for all that wasted fuel, and wasted time. You feel like you could be going into Goa.
And finally, something I learned yesterday, don't know how.    You don't stuff money into the underwear of the pole dancer.  No; you buy house chips, and stuff the chips.  That way, I assume, the house is empowered to extract its cut.  Life planning note: do not choose a career where you paid by getting money stuffed into your underwear, whatever the form.  Of the money.

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