OTHERS SHOW YOU SLIDES OF TUSCANY; I SHOW YOU THIS.

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When you lead the kind of thrill-a-minute, devil-may-care life I do, you can become jaded. If you've seen one lush, sun-dappled Tuscan landscape, you've seen them all. But how many shaved Persian cats do you see in Tuscany, on even the most luxurious tours? Not a whole lot, I'll wager. And though these may look like garden-variety tongs, if you knew what they had been up to, your face would turn a sun-dappled Tuscan red. So have a care, Mr. and Mrs. Scoff-at-Sparky! And besides, the last laugh is on me, because I happen to remember that there was a little war just a few years ago, where the Slerbs invaded Bosnia and Tuscany and like that. So what kind of place is it going to be anyway? If I want to photograph fine old buildings reduced to rubble, all I have to do is trot down the street.

By the way, my e-mail seems to have been malfunctioning this weekend, so if you are among the many who have been eagerly seeking my advice on the Lebanon situation, be patient.