Nice headline in . . .

today's International Herald Tribune: "French in streets, but it's not '68; Protesters seek to 'keep what we have'." That sums it up pretty nicely -- the student protesters (who I'm sure consider themselves great radicals) are, this time, protesting for the status quo, in the face of the government's efforts to change French labor law so as to allow employers to fire young workers without cause after two years. [The inability of employers to fire workers is, in much of the E.U., a primary cause of perpetually stagnant job growth statistics -- though it looks like the French government is losing its battle of trying to persuade people about that].

Incidentally -- I'm reading the IHT because I'm spending this semester over in Bologna, Italy, a truly magnificent city and a fascinating place to spend some time. I'll have postings here on the VC from time to time -- but in collaboration with a friend and colleague, David Castronuovo, who teaches in the Italian Department at Skidmore College, I'm keeping a running record of my adventures in Italy over at a blog we've set up here. I don't know if VC readers will find it to be of interest, but feel free to check it out if you do.

Nazim (mail):
I always felt that Bologna was one of the friendliest cities to walk in. The Porticos that cover most of the center make it nice to take a walk, rain or shine. There's a building that was assaulted centuries ago just east of the center (about halfway to the walls) that still has crossbow bolts stuck near the roof of the portico. And the mix of liberal administration and academic civitas really makes the natives an interesting counterculture.
3.17.2006 8:27am
Happy St. Patrick's Day V.C.
3.17.2006 9:47am
SenatorX (mail):
Confused Socialists, what a surprise...

"Is it because these ur-verbs are used so much that, in effect, they deform because they're being used for so many purposes?" Yeah I think that's a decent theory. I would be interested to know what the all the official theories are on that as well. Maybe some sort of "natural instinct" to diversity? In opposition to the childlike/primitive instinct to regularity? The longer/older/more used something is the more differentiated "it" becomes to us.
3.17.2006 10:22am
Mark L (mail):
The most irregular verbs in latin, as I remember, were the oldest. It could make sense that these words are quite literally relics of old conjugations which have remained in the current language because of their frequent use, while other verbs/verb forms have died off and been replaced by new, more 'regular' conjugations.
3.17.2006 12:45pm
BobH (mail):
What a great blog that is -- and how lucky you are to be able to spend so much time in Italy!
3.17.2006 12:52pm
James Lindgren (mail):

I for one would like to see you post here more often.

Jim Lindgren
3.17.2006 3:04pm
David -

Il mangiare in Bologna e il migliore di tutto l'Italia.

If you don't put on 10 pounds in your semester there, you haven't availed yourself of all the culinary opportunities in Bologna. Enjoy your time there! And I'm jealous reading of your soccer experiences!
3.17.2006 7:13pm