Mort Report is a labor of love by old-style correspondents with lifetimes on the road and young ones with fresh eyes. Our philosophy is simple: we report at first hand with analysis based on non-alternative fact, not opinion. If we get something wrong, we fix it.
WILD OLIVES, France — When Redcoats landed at Boston to quell an upstart revolution, as the poem goes, Paul Revere galloped from Lexington shouting, “The British are coming!” A militia mobilized swiftly, and today Americans don't have to drink tea every day at 4 o'clock.
Imagine that now. “Fake news,” a mob mutters, piling sticks at a stake to burn a Rachel Maddow ancestor. “Quiet,” guys shout, watching the Patriots' Jedediah Brady heave a leather ball. Others fight over who gets to play the fife. A merchant raises the price of Union Jacks. Kids wait for someone to invent smart phones so that they can exchange selfies when the fun starts.
For what they're worth, here are some real-news observations from an old-crocodile reporter after what may be the most ignominious five days the United States has seen since the Civil War.
ALASSIO, Italy - If you hate those salted fishy slivers on pizza, Giuseppe Cormaci has encouraging news. Mediterranean anchovies tanked this year. But that means you won't find much succulent sea bass, branzino, let alone bluefin tuna. Try, perhaps, linguine alle jellyfish?
“The anchovy catch is down by half,” Cormaci told me. Adjusting his battered hat, he continued, with the rueful smile of an unconvinced optimist: “It might get better again. Then again, it might collapse entirely.”
Like the name on his 24-foot boat — Lupo — he is a lone wolf. His son helped for two seasons but quit to tend bar on the beach. With the few euros' profit left after fuel, repairs and nets during a 90-hour week, he can't pay a crew. At 50, he belongs to an endangered species: the artisan fisherman.
The sea he knew so well is now full of surprise. Warming water brings jellyfish plagues, including the venomous Portuguese man o' war. A great white shark just cruised the Spanish island of Majorca. Mostly, he sees high-tech foreign trawlers scoop out whatever they find.