Some of you nice imaginary readers have asked in the comments what kind of camera I use to take the little pictures here, which is nice and funny because I don't pretend to know what I'm doing with a camera. An answer, too late: For the past couple of years I've had a Panasonic Lumix DMC FX-10 (above) which I really loved and which last Monday died in the line of duty when I let it drop from my pocket onto the pavement, somewhere in Bellagio near Lake Como. I'd flown into Milan that morning and stopped for lunch on my way up north to do a story on Ticino, the mountainy Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland. [I just like saying "canton". I could say "part" or "region" but I am just going to keep saying "canton." Or typing it, I guess. I'm not actually sure how to pronounce it out loud. In my head I have an great accent.] But the camera — why was I talking about the camera? I liked this camera for a lot of reasons some of them even rational. It was easy to get along with. It went with me to a lot of places and remembered them better than I did. So I was sad to see it go, though it had been in ill health recently. It had developed black spots, cataracts of the lens. Sometimes it would jam up and refuse to do any work for a couple of days, usually after I'd stored it in a pocket where I was also keeping a lot of sand. Anyway, I took a ferry to Bellagio, dropped on the way to lunch and, as a result, have no memory of what I ate. Sardines were involved. On the walk back to the ferry I watched a large yellow helicopter land in a clearing in a field. Paramedics (also in yellow, I believe) exited, carrying a stretcher and ran behind the tall grasses where I couldn't see them. I didn't wait around to see if they had an actual patient or if it was some kind of practice run or performance art. There was something strange and dreamlike about the whole depressing scene. I felt melancholy for my lost camera and, of course, I've got no pictures. You'll have to trust me it happened. Once in Lugano, fortified by polenta—which I do remember because I've been eating it for a week—I searched and found a replacement, the warmly familiar yet subtly flashier more wide-angley DMC-FX35. So far, so good, but here's to the old guy, RIP.