Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD Steel Mill Legend & (141c) ARTSY Barcelona and Gaudi

JEAN SHEPHERD Steel Mill Legend & (141c) ARTSY Barcelona and Gaudi


I say, “Okay, you want me to clean out the file cabinet, huh?”

He says, “No, just bring out the stuff.  That’s your stuff.”

“This is my stuff?”

He says, “Yeah, bring them rat traps over here.  I want to show you something.”

And so I take the rat traps with the big rubber band around them and some big cans of stuff.  I put the rat traps on Gotch’s desk.

He’s chewing away on his first salami sandwich of the day.  He says, “Alright now.  You ever work a rat trap?”

“No.  I’ve messed around with mouse traps once in a while.”

“Works the same way.  Here, give me one of them.”  He puts the sandwich down.  He takes that trap and bends a piece back.  “Now here, you take this little metal tongue here and hold it down, it’s stronger than hell.  Be sure to hold it tight or it’ll get your finger.  Put it in the little ring there.  Now that trap is set.  Now watch.”  He takes his pencil and puts it on the trap.  Bam!  It busts that pencil in half.

I jump back.

“If the rat comes over and touches the little tongue here, he’s gonna get trapped.  What you do is put the bait on that tongue.  That’s what you’re gonna do.  You’re gonna catch the rats around here.”

“I’m catching rats?”

“Yep.  And I’ll tell you this.  If you’re good as Stanley was, you’re gonna be damn good.”

I say, “Stanley?”

He says, “Stanley was here this spring catching rats.  Best rat catcher we ever had.  Fantastic.  Got promoted to the main office.

“Stanley got promoted to the main office?”

Herman in the back chimes in, “Listen, kid, if you catch rats half as good as Stanley, you’re gonna be damn good.”



Sagrada Familia

Best known of Gaudi’s works is the Sagrada Familia, a short walk from the Casa Mila. (The church is still in-process after being started over a hundred years ago.) Of course I’d visited it on my first stay in Barcelona. (The more traditional looking portion on the right front, was designed and built before Gaudi was put in charge.) I even climbed the narrow, winding stairs in one of the steeples to the point where one can see, far below, the entire city, and close up, another of the steeples.

When I was there, the exterior walls and the four main steeples were built, but the interior was still without a roof, so that it looked like a bombed-out building. Now it’s enclosed.

While in Barcelona I also visited the downtown older section with its gothic cathedral, Picasso Museum, and nearby elegant promenade with its stores, restaurants and vendors down the middle selling everything including small, colorful caged birds. This is the pedestrian street, Las Ramblas.

August 25, 2017 News Report:

Chilling moment tourists flee as van that killed 13 innocents,

speeds through bustling Las Ramblas on deadly terror mission.

I read the other day (early December, 2017) that the terrorists had been making explosives to strike the Sagrada Familia! However, the explosives accidentally detonated in the house where they were being prepared. I mentioned it to my wife, who wondered how many people would have been inside the church–and injured and killed. I had no idea. And realized, shocked at my mental glitch, that I hadn’t thought of the human injured but of how the explosion would have damaged Gaudi’s architecture.





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