Monday, 28 December 2015

Helpful People

And adventures in road tripping.

Half way between Atlanta and Charleston we discover a broken headlight (yes the sun had set) and a flat tire.

Many thanks to the owners and workers of the I20 Marathon petrol station in Batesburg and the kindly driver who happened to be present for helping us pump our tire, diagnose a problem, call their mechanic friend, host as as we waited for all our car problems to be fixed, and to the mechanic for his work and fair price.

People are good.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Busy Week

It turns out 6 people all in one house is busy and chaotic even if they are all adults.

So here's the drill.

A Friday drive with stops in Covington and Aiken - hello America - and arrival in Charleston. Saturday strolls and night at the symphony with featured R2-D2, storm troopers, Obi Wan, and Bob Gebhardt, concudcting
 

Sunday Christmas Carol service - sing along! - and Monday shopping for last minute gifts. 

Spotlight: entering the cinema to see a film you know nothing about is always fun. When the film is Spotlight it makes for quite an impact. See this film. It is important. 

Have I mentioned the food? Food, wine, limoncello, nocino. And more food. 

Some work, more errands, more food, more presents. More chocolate. Star Wars, of course. And so it goes.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Women's Awards

This leaves me perplexed. A "Best Woman Anything" award already bothers me: it is saying women can not compete on an open stage and need their (our) own special category where we only compete against ourselves.

So much for empowerment.

Take, just as an example, woman author awards. You have Author Awards, and then Woman Author Awards. Because Women Authors are not... Authors?

Admittedly I know nothing about the American "Woman of the Year" awards other than the fact that they exist. It seems to me though that the only thing that makes a "woman" as opposed to anything else (i.e. a man) is giving birth and lactating (I know, I know: Caitlyn, right? stay with me and I will get there). So Woman of the Year awards should be who gave the most birth and performed the best lactation? Perhaps?

Give me an engineer of the year award, scientific breakthrough of the year, athletic achievement of the year, book of the year, charitable action of the year, community service of the year, etc etc etc and let the best person win.


Conclusion? Base awards on accomplishments.

Based on this post Caitlyn Jenner is a very worthy recipient of the Woman of the Year award, as for her it was, indeed, quite an accomplishment rather than a fluke of birth.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Of Lions and Coffee Cups

Really guys, I'm as amused as the next guy about the Starbucks cup debacle. A crazy pastor made a video saying Starbucks is anti-Christian. It's funny. I'm not sure it has the staying power we are giving it, though.

On the other hand, this happened last week:
9-year-old Tyshawn Lee lured into alley, shot to death
And not a peep on a single one of my social media feeds.

So I will do what I now always do when I don't quite understand how people choose to place their outrage and I will ask: But are the lions ok?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Politcs of Crowds

Trump blames Mexican immigrants who can’t even vote. Sanders blames what he calls "the billionaire class," a class whose purported vast influence doesn’t seem to have done anything to prevent Sanders’ own formidable political rise. The pope blames the bankers, denouncing "usury" and what he called "oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence."


Read the rest here

Monday, 26 October 2015

Brentwood, Tennessee

Is a nice Nashville suburb. And hosts a community theatre called Town Centre Theatre. And this past weekend was the closing night of The Addams Family musical. Good fun.

Tennessee in the fall though, what a sight!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Warhol Vernissage

I am a week late in reporting a lovely opening night at the Hudgens Art Center in Duluth, for their Warhol exhibition showing pieces from the Cochran collection.

Great paintings and a fun party.




Friday, 9 October 2015

Categorising Wine

Another in-store meltdown during a recent visit to Total Wine store here in Atlanta.

I arrived with a defined list of Chilean wines.

Actually before I go too far, you tell me: how do you buy wines? Do you say "I need to replenish my light whites to have with apritivo, so I shall look for some Trentino and Veneto Pinot Grigios and perhaps also a NZ Sauvignon Blanc, plus I'll stock up on full bodied reds, maybe some Italian Primitivo or Nero D-Avola."
Or do you walk in say:
"I need a Pinto Noir, give me any Pinot Noir."

Do you know what I am getting at here?

Wine stores: do not stock your wines by grape. It makes no sense and does not actually help guide a buyer through flavours and aromatic varieties or subtleties.

So I got to spend 35 minutes running between all grape sections and reading every. single. label to find the wines I was after.

It wasn't fun.

On the other hand: the selection is impressive and agreements with numerous wine producers cut out two levels of middle men, providing good wines at good prices.

So giant rant aside, I will probably be back.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Anniversary & Opera

This year our wedding anniversary coincided with the opening of the Atlanta Opera Season, so we got to celebrate 6 years with La Bohème.

Because when I walk down the street all alone, people stop and stare at my beauty.

I love that waltz.

Another fabulous night - it always is - at the Atlanta Opera. I apologise to the organisers for being less than enthusiastic about the videos and photographs. Oddly enough I don't enjoy cameras, however I have a soft spot in my heart for your organisation and I will do what I can to help promote you to the city.

Rodolfo - Gianluca Terranova
Mimi - Maria Luigia Borsi
Marcello - Trevor Scheunemann
Musetta - Leah Partridge (always a pleaure)
Schaunard - Theo Hoffman
Colline - Nicholas Brownlee

Monday, 5 October 2015

Papal Woes

There is a reason we do not hero-worship. There is a reason we do not put people on pedestals. And it is the same reason I take issue with the structure of the Catholic church: people are people, with all the same flaws and virtues as everybody else.

We have the current pope who made a couple great comments about not judging people's lifestyles and potentially reforming IOR and women's pay inequality and then sent the world in to a tizzy of adoration with his quips on the evils of capitalism. So what we can confirm is that - like successful politicians - he has a gift for soundbites.

He says we should not judge people's life choices, while he presides over an institution that refuses to legitimise relationships between same-sex couples, or anybody who has been divorced, to name but two groups.

He says women should receive equal pay as men, while he presides over an institution that disqualifies women from any participation in its own structure.

He is currently hosting a family synod, while he presides over an institution that requires celibacy of its (all male) employees.

The Catholic church at grass roots level does mountains of good, both in financial and spiritual support. As a charitable institution it is extremely active and successful around the world. For this I respect it a great deal.

It is also a sovereign state. And a bank. Which is "being reformed" in as much that a report has been issued and accepted. That took 4 years. In other words: nothing has happened.

My Facebook feed has gone from hatred for the Vatican to blind love. Would that life were quite that simple: let's continue to praise the church for the good it does in the world and hold it to account for the antiquated and discriminatory ways it has to reform.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Toxicity

It amazes me almost every day how many well-read, informed, progressive people become absolute Luddites when it comes to biotechnology and food.

Just because you can pronounce it: it still might kill you (and vice versa)


Friday, 18 September 2015

Marijuana

If you are a small-government advocate, then you do not have to prove a reason for legalisation; quite the other way around.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Cappelletti Aperitivo

Rather excited to have found this retailing in Atlanta

Cappelletti being a Trentino-based family business, currently run by a friend

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Childless, Funfull

Stemming from Kim Cattrall, Nina Steele writes:

"How often do we expect men to account for not becoming fathers? You only have to compare the very public tick-tocking of Jennifer Aniston’s biological clock with the scant mention of George Clooney’s to see this blatant double standard in action. Jane Garvey, in conversation with Kim, admitted it makes her shy away from the issue altogether in interviews."

Yeah, I remember the last time somebody asked my husband about his childlessness, and... no, wait... that literally has never ever happened. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Riding a bicycle

You know who I would like to meet?

I'd like to meet the guy or gal who is hanging around one day and says "You know what would make bicycles better? No brakes!" And then removed the breaks and put a stop gear in your pedals.

You're a genius, you are. And by genius I mean you are mean.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

On-line Dating

Was I wrong all along?

Admittedly I have never tried this, having been in the same relationship for something like a gazillion years.

My view was always in favour of online dating, as it gives an opportunity to communicate a little before you meet somebody in person and get over the initial who are you and why are you here part of a conversation. It seemed safer and easier than meeting in a bar, for example.

But what if it gives you too much time to think it over? You build up this idea of what the other person is, go through your checklist of what you want and don't want, and nobody lives up, of course. Or they do in your head but they don't really. And are you going in to that first date already thinking about the long term possibilities, with all this time to over-think things? Because that's just going in too fast.

So maybe the spontaneous meet in a bar or at a party is, actually, the more genuine experience. You don't have to time to build somebody up - or down - before getting to know them?


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Self-Respect

Is not equal to Self-esteem.

My view on the latter has been expressed here before.

Theodore Dalrymple writes on this subject matter as well:

"people who claim it are inclined to demand of others that they take them at their own estimate

...

Perhaps I can illustrate the difference between self-esteem and self-respect in the seemingly superficial matter of mode of dress. In this matter I have changed my mind over the years: I used to believe in the virtues of slobbery, but I no longer do. This is because the slob is in effect saying to you, and to everyone else, I am not going to make an effort just for you. You must take me as I am, and not think the worse of me for that. Slobbery is not absent-minded, as when, for example, a learned professor, absorbed in the textual problems of Aeschylus or some such abstruse matter, puts on socks of different pairs. On the contrary, slobbery is militant. It demands simultaneously that you notice it and take no notice of it. It is self-esteem in the sartorial field. Note, however, that while the slob demands something of you, he demands nothing of himself. It takes no effort to be a slob: to be a slob is to indulge in unconditional self-regard."

Read the whole piece to understand his point.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Lungs

A 1-act, 2-man play with a minimal set can really be one of two extremes: a brilliant production or a complete waste of your time.

Lungs, performed at the Woolfe Street Theatre in Charleston, is the former.



A young couple considers having a child. They are rather annoying, at least to begin with. Their over-analysis seems childish, almost self-righteous.

The play is a spoken musical: the dialogue is beautifully rhythmic, the stage production meticulously choreographed. Fishburne and Haden gave an almost perfect interpretation and held my interest for the full hour and a half.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Hiking Stone Mountain

The walk up trail to the summit, followed but the Nature Trail

View from the top

A G in a tree


Monday, 10 August 2015

Getting worse

"Two things have been true for the last 15000 years. And that is: things are always getting better, and people always say they are getting worse".

- Penn Jilette

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Humility

An arguably over-used concept. How many times this week - especially, I suppose, if you watch a lot of TV or read magazine interviews - have you heard somebody say they were humbled by something or had a humbling experience.

Well.

I am just going to leave this here:

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Entrepreneurship

Why people do it. As expressed by Raffaele Colella, founder of Cannonball.

Advice for aspiring or new entrepreneurs

I will tell them that whatever they
decide to do, to stick with it for some time,
not to give up, because things are never easy at first.
But if you persist, and you really
strive to bring that concept further, you become better,
you become faster.
You also open up yourself to serendipity
and to chance that sometimes is very important.
There is a Nobel Prize in our school
that often says that, it's better
to be luckier than to be the smartest in the room.
And it's amazing.
And I'm enjoying the journey.
And that's the most important thing.
If you want to make money, you do something else.
You go to Wall Street, or you do certain things.
It can go well, and maybe you can become wealthy.
But in reality you do this, because you're
passionate about trying to find your way of doing things--
of hammering problems, of giving a solution, of doing
something of which is customized.
I have an amazing quality of life in this moment,
even if I'd been bootstrapped for a lot of time,
and I work a countless number of hours,
and thoughts are always on the back of my mind.
But I enjoy it.
And when it's at the moment, I want to go outside to breathe,
I'm not in an office always.
And it's not about being in an office,
because somebody in the company is in the office always.
But I go out to speak with people.
I can be an ambassador of what we are doing.
I feel I-- also how the responsibilities that
are starting to be allocated in the company, that everybody
is putting value for what is best for what he is best at,
the best you can contribute to the team.
So this means that basically I am asked to do,
by my partners, what I am fit for.
And so I'm basically expressing myself.
I've never expressed myself more than in this period of my life,
in my adult life.
I couldn't have asked anything more
to this American experience.
This is amazing.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Nationality

Do you feel more... American? Italian? Swiss?

None of the above. Or better: I don't know what that means. I just feel like me, I don't really know how else to put it.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

To Tintoretto, with love

Coming across your Masters dissertation.

I opened this with trepidation: I remember glancing through my undergraduate thesis paper and throwing it away in horror. This was not quite so bad, though there are stylistic weaknesses throughout.

What I remember of writing my dissertation, other than the feeling of "let it be over already", was frustration towards what I felt (at the time) was a hijacking of my subject matter. I had wanted to write about Tintoretto and curate a show of his works to demonstrate how he stands out as a complete individual in his own time. Nobody was making art like his, and dare I say nobody has done since.

This was turned down. What was this, a retrospective? A chronological re-telling? No no no, it would never do: I had to cover large periods of time, cross-over references, and please do not even try to leave out at least some element of Modernism.

Shame on me for not having the skill to argue my corner. Or maybe a single artist show would really never have worked.

However the joy in reading my thesis now is remembering how much I loved the original subject matter. Yes my citations could have been better, and I could have elaborated various points to strengthen my argument, but boy did I love those paintings. Boy do I.

Not a huge fan of the softness of Titian, and amused but not awed by the rendering of El Greco or Parmigianino, I still have great love for the classical robustness of the high renaissance, and Tintoretto alone brings the best of all in to one.

What is also clear, in reading my thesis, is how little I enjoyed the modernist references. Those sections are almost all citations and quotes and weakly elaborated. Clearly Stoicism failed me in those times.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Another: Atlanta Weekend

It still surprises me how many things we manage to do in a weekend in Atlanta. It never seemed that we could get through quite this much before.

Such as a night path walk, casual dinner out and movie (Expendables 3: again), a morning park and beltline bike ride, afternoon coffee/drink with friends, home cooked meal, cinema with friends, drive to Charleston and oh hai Charleston, we are here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Philadelphia Dining - Diario di Bordo

Because each dining experience was so pleasant, these deserve their own post. Although note: I never made it beyond the city centre. Such is the life of business travel.

Caribou Cafe is a lovely small bistro with a very pleasant happy hour. In particular the Salad Scandinave was a pleasant surprise.

The Dandelion has to be a city highlight. You can't miss it: it's a preserved brick building on an otherwise modern street, with a corner door entrance. An equally good choice for dining or for a drink at one of the several bars.

Vintage Wine bar has a fairly varied selection, and El Vez is a winner both on decor and food. Have the de la hoya guacamole. Seriously. Just have it. I don't link to the site because it is a silly flash site with music playing.

And last but not least, Village Whiskey for a cozy meal and a great cocktail, whiskey and bourbon selection.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Philadelphia - Diario di Bordo

Day 1 in Philadelphia.

Impressed by the ease of arrival to the Airport - City Center train, I was less impressed by the fact that this particular train does not take credit cards.

Note: there are no signs at the stop to this effect. I asked somebody about tickets who told me to buy it on the train. Once on the train I was told cash only.

At an airport.

An international airport.

And a surcharge for buying the ticket on the train. There are no ticket booths at the airport.

Septa: you are running a scam.

Out of principle I do not accept kindness from strangers, but long story short: I broke my principles and was assisted by an unemployed gentleman who - though I was on my guard - turned out to be entirely honest and kind, and got me out of a frustrating situation. Don't worry, he made a profit.

It has taken me a couple of days but I am starting to get a lay of the land here now. I have still only seen the city center area but it is growing on me.

Stendhal Syndrome is assured, however, when you visit the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. I spent no less that 20 minutes staring at Tintoretto's young self-portrait. The rooms are quite bare, but allow concentration on the works. Fine arts are displayed along side woodwork, maiolica plates, statuettes and more.
In the medieval galleries, the doors between rooms are actual abbey, monastery and church doors. The display is just brilliant. Again the walls remain quite bare other than the works, so taken as a whole the white space is noticeable. The focus goes straight to the works, which have to be admired in their own right.
There is an entire medieval courtyard displayed, complete with running fountain. And the Barberini tapestries are just hanging on the walls of the grand staircase. Without a care in the world.

All this, and all I actually visited were the European medieval and 1500-1850 galleries, with a quick tour through half of the Asian Art Galleries.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Food Faux Pas

This weekend I paid somebody a compliment which it turns out came across as an insult.

So, for the record: if I say your food is simple and delicious, I mean that as praise.

Not for nothing I did not grow up with a complex, hours-of-preparation, dozens-of-ingredients and drown-it-all-in-sauce French cuisine. Not that this option can not taste good as well. However if I am impressed by your few ingredients with a simple but perfectly executed preparation, that is high praise from me. I like to taste every ingredient in a dish, so it justifies its presence.

Ingredient selection, proper cooking method/timing and taste-as-you-go. Keys to a perfect dish. It's more than I can do.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Congratulations #USWMNT

A belated congratulations to a great team who play beautiful soccer.

To everybody else: note that they are the USWNT - the US Women's National Team. Women. Not girls, not children: women. Strong, athletic, determined, ambitious and powerful women. Ok thanks bai.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Atlanta United FC

When we joined the Atlanta MLS Founders Club we were allowed to vote for preferences on the team name selection.

Both G and I voted for making it Atlanta-centric, and my preference was for a city-focused name, rather than a mascot-focused name. The latter always makes me feel like it's a team that could be anywhere, and I am more accustomed to supporting the team of your city. My vote was for FC Atlanta.

I almost won.

I bring you the unveiling of Atlanta United FC.

Atlanta started as a city called Terminus, as it was a railroad end and then change point. It remains a transit city, with the busiest airport in the world and a moving and diverse population. Thus they justified the name. I'll take it. 

#BringYourAGame

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Rome, the other one

The one in GA, to be specific.

It has seven hills, a Forum, and a Capitoline Wolf.

The latter is an exact replica of the ancient original. Which is a great piece or artistic history. It sits in front of city hall, alongside a dedication plaque direct from Benito Mussolini and featuring a fasces. Which, I can not help but think, would be better placed in a museum.

As much as the statue itself was fun to see, the presence of the plaque exposed as as it is made for an uncomfortable experience. On the other hand, it is part of local history. Does it really make it difference if it is behind glass in a display case with an accompanying description? In my opinion: yes.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

So much Pinot

But that's what you expect at an Oregon wine tasting.

A restaurant refurbishment, some pre-opening events and a text from a friend means a Saturday afternoon double date at an Oregon wine tasting. 6 tables, each offering 6-8 wines, you do the math.

There was one tempranillo, one viognier, maybe tow Chardonnays, one Riesling and one Gewurtztramminer. Everything else was Pinot, be it noir, gris or blanc. The latter had a nice option on offer. The rest were Pinots. So, you know.

Of interest: a Pinot Noir Rose, which was a first for me. Not unpleasant, I could drink that on the patio on a hot day. For more see my Vivino profile

Friday, 26 June 2015

Marriage Equality

It's about time, America. 





Citizens are affected by federal regulations which are determined by marital status, so yes: this should be a federal law. 
 
Now everybody get married, get green cards and lets make this country the diverse, exciting, innovative and productive place it should be. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

France Loves Uber

I absolutely love it when taxi drivers strike in protest over Uber so Uber demand surges like crazy.

Thank you France's taxi drivers for the laughs.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Quote of the week

"Le noir est une couleur indécente... quand on le porte bien"

- Sonia Rykiel

And who is going to argue with this:
 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Worldwide Atlanta weekend

Including Vietnamese Pho, a Korean bakery, a Brazilian churrasco and a pizzeria.

This was the upward view during our barbecue, brilliantly salvaged from a tremendous storm and downpour.

Sunday was all-American, with a hike around Lake Miller and through Little Mulberry Park. 


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Having survived Boston

But only in the evenings.

A wonderful Albariñ at Sip Wine Bar and lovely cocktails at the Drink speakeasy.

Also, arriving just before the Gay Pride parade made for a wonderful welcome committee.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015

This post will only make sense if you are bilingual Italian/English

Traduzione sopraffina

Pius 6th, prime minister of Vienna, repentantly and cyclically and never in his edibles, spent the night majestically with an excellent priest, in the room on the right, oscillating with the people and Simona watching a plasma screen TV. He managed the peaceful rite. Unfortunately Horatio and John Jacob are small brothers, but very lucky guests which we remember.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Quote of the Week

"Journalism...is perhaps the purest thing we have. Honesty has a way of creeping into it even when it is not intended.

- John Steinbeck

Friday, 12 June 2015

Geneva - Diario di Bordo

BACK IN SWITZERLAND, even if it is the flat French part.

We took a train from Rovereto, going across northern Italy and then up through Domodossola, Brig, Sierre on to Nyon. This last bit I mention is in beautiful Switzerland, it was nice to be home. Plus: that moment when you transfer from an Italian to a Swiss train, joy.

And then Gio went and got married so that was a good time. In a castle. In France. So grand.
   
Chateau de Coudré

Geneva is what it is: it is pretty and worth a view, but as Swiss cities go it is not all that. The Lac Leman is attractive of course, as lakes tend to be when nestled in the alps. It was nice to be back, after 10+ years, walking through the old city and visiting St Peter's Cathedral. Birthplace of Calvinism. No fun to be had beyond this point.






And of course my reunion with my favourite Simona in the whole wide world.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Rovereto - Diario di Bordo

FOOD! Everywhere and all the time.

I have the fortune of having a mother in law smack in the historic downtown of this lovely town, so my time is mainly pedestrian and everything is at my fingertips. Though don't be fooled by that "everything", it's not a big place.

It offers enough to keep us a few days though - the coffee is not the full on Italian glory but it is better than most. The pastries deserve merit - la bionda in particular. And one can buy underwear in sets - huzzah.

There are now vineyards everywhere in Trentino: every free bit of land is covered in vines, no matter how small the space. I tried some new reds: marzemino, teroldego, lagrein, and a fascinating local-only new grape made from marrying Merlot with Lagrein. A Trentino GMO grape making for a good red wine.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Verona - Diario di Bordo

And in Verona I got my pizza fix. Though to be honest I was underwhelmed.

But Verona remains a lovely city, with the most effective public parking I have seen anywhere in a long time.

Lunch in Piazza Brà - maximum touristy, I know, possibly accounting for my mediocre pizza - and a walk down Via Mazzini to Via Cappello, with the obligatory stop at Juliette's fake balcony. Back up to Piazza delle Erbe where we bought cigars and a straw hat for me, strolling through Corso Borsari, back to Piazza Brà.

Piazza Brà is everywhere

Piazza Brà Pano

Via Giuseppe Mazzini

A vintage Bally poster

I can has a hat

Riva del Garda - Diario di Bordo

So.Windy.

And so much like Lugano or a Swiss lake town. So welcome home.

I got my spritz - when in Rome and all that jazz. Dancing in the square - you're welcome Riva for teaching you the Electric Slide - and singing in the Square - Lasciatemi Cantare, after all.

2 Brizis, 2 Gebhardts, associated partners, and dinner at Mamma Lucia's complete with in depth examination of all Chinese statuary.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Trento - Diario di Bordo

Arrived in Trentino, where the weather is fairer and the sun says hello.

An afternoon in Trento allowed my first Italian ice cream in a couple of years, and I shall dream of the joyous moment for months to come. Classico: cono stracciatella e cioccolato fondente. You just can not go wrong.

The city was vibrant with the Festival dell'Economia and brightly painted pianos placed throughout town being played by children and teenagers.


Bretagne - Diario di Bordo

The tip of the world - or a world anyway.

The weather is much like the UK, with a strong humid wind from the ocean. The architecture in the villages we visited looks medieval to an Italian eye, but in fact is from the Renaissance period.

We went to a wedding. In a castle. With no heating.

And danced Bretons dances.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

FIFA

Once again I find myself agreeing with Captain Renault and shocked, SHOCKED, to hear there may be corruption in FIFA.

As Blatter wins another term as president. What I love about this association is that they keep us guessing.

"Neither Blatter nor Jordanian opponent Prince Ali bin Al Hussein received the necessary two thirds of votes in the first round, with Blatter securing 133 votes against 73 for Prince Ali. However, Prince Ali swiftly conceded."

This, also, I had neither expected nor predicted.

*Please note, the entire post above may be sarcastic.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Activities over the last week alone


  • Luncheon with comedy guest speaker
  • Boat day at the lake (1st time)
  • New farmer's market
  • About a dozen pre-trip errands
  • Birthday party at Top Golf  (1st time)
  • New restaurants: 3
And it was a quiet week

Another one for my series of "Atlanta Living Is Fun".

Thursday, 21 May 2015

From Instagram Again


Invitation to the vineyard in #Impruneta? Check. Lovely evening at the #Collazzi #WineTasting. Alla prossima in Toscana. #instablog via Instagram http://ift.tt/1IO5czc

Limerick Emails 1

I have decided all emails to my family shall be henceforth written in limerick form.

The first exchange.

Me:
For a wine tasting I soon will be hosting
Of an Argentine feast I am hoping
To learn new ideas
From my parents memories
To assist me with my menu scoping.

Response from Ocean:
Now "hoping" and "hosting" don't rhyme
And it ain't as bad as "thyme" and "time"
Or "Villas" And "Tortillas"
But rhyming "ideas"
With "memories" is just a crime

Monday, 18 May 2015

Grizzly Man

I did not enjoy this film. It felt voyeuristic. My impression was one of taking a man's maladjustment to society and placing it on stage.

On the other hand, Treadwell filmed himself with the express purpose of a film being made, so perhaps I am wrong. But I can not shake that feeling.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The most important instrument

in the orchestra

When this plays, the rest is almost or complete silence. Miss the beat by any fraction of a second and the entire performance is lost.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Bocce World Cup

I know what you are thinking: it's bocce. How tense can it be?

Very.

Picture it: last game of the season. The weather is warm with a pleasant dusk cooling of the air. The red wine is deep and rich. We start our game as any other: giggles with a little bit of effort. Our opponents are players, they know what they are doing and they know how to win.

We score the first point, laugh at our secure technique of one point rounds all the way to victory.

The game proceeds, the scores grow.

Suddenly, we break ahead in points, with a strong clear lead. We start to feel victory is a real possibility, we can take this game. As the pressure gets to our heads we allow our opponents a 4-point round, causing us some loss of faith. But we continue to creep forward and stay ahead with points.

Next thing you know: we are one point to victory, our opponents trailing about five points behind.

We lose the round.

We lose the next round.

Points are neck and neck, we are closer to victory but they are only one point behind us. Teams that have finished their games start following us up and down the bocce court, cheering, heckling, yelling suggestions.

Lexie is trembling, Bex is frowning, Maria is saying "It's just a game" and takes another sip of wine.

And next thing you know: point to us.

We win.

The most tense game in bocce history.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Morality

I, myself, am not an atheist. But I agree with this nonetheless.

Penn Gillette:

"People who say 'if I don't believe in God what stops me from raping and killing everybody I want to'. And the answer is: I have raped and killed everybody I want to. And the number is zero. I want to rape and kill no one, because it is morally wrong.

"Being an atheist does not mean not having morality. Being an atheist means having morality. Because if you are doing something for reward or punishment, it is not morality. It is fear, or it is greed, but it is not morality.

"When we are raising children, do we want them to say 'I do not want to do this because I will be caught', or do we want them to say 'I do not want to do this because it is wrong'".

Monday, 20 April 2015

The King Must Die



Renault appears to have written Theseus' Apologia with this work, at least that is the impression. This weakens the story.

However it still entertains overall, giving the legend of Theseus an almost historical setting.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Defining Beauty

An exhibit at the British Museum:

The Greeks were truly revolutionary on their approach to the human form in art. They showed the nude body, idealised and perfect. Many works we have are, of course, Roman copies. This show is stunning.

Before even entering, I saw through the door the marble of Aphrodite bathing, a bronze warrior and the Discobolus.

It's emotional, people.

Gorgeous show. Go see it. Then walk through the antiquity galleries by way of comparison. Organic learning.

Friday, 17 April 2015

From Instagram Again



#tbt or #flashbackfriday depending where you are to last Thursday #SpaghettiWestern #instablog via Instagram http://ift.tt/1NVf4uf

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Adventures in Babysitting

... me. Babysitting myself.

6AM in my London aparthotel. I have a 6.30 call with an Australian client, and am prepping a proper breakfast to get me through the day.

This includes toast. I turn the timer down to 1.5 minutes and, well, toast my toast. Only I have an over-ambitious toaster. And next thing I know smoke is pouring out of the toaster. Once switched off, and as I frantically try to open the double glazed windows, the fire alarm welcomes me with a GOOOOOOOD MORNING.

I eventually get through to the emergency phone number, who direct me downstairs to the entrance where the control panel is. By this time people are congregating in the entrance. I follow the phone instructions and turn off the alarm and direct people back to their apartments, deciding to play it cool and pretend i didn't start the alarm at all: "There's no fire, right?" Luckily everybody seems too tired to question why I would turn off the alarm if I were not sure of the fact.

Drama over.

Almost.

6:23, I'm prepping my online meeting space, and there is a knock at the door.

Two firemen.

With all the grace and confidence I can muster, I say: "Oh my God. You're here."

I'm on a roll.

Good morning all!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Happy, yes

But that does not equal proud.

I am happy to see my alma mater, Vassar College, recognised for its admission of low-income students.

Well done, you won a million dollars. Spend it wisely.

What would make me proud, would be to see the school be a real leader in innovation and change, and use a real economic model based on what people are able and willing to pay, providing a clear and demonstrable return on those funds, and not allowed to run rampant based on artificial input and support.

Be a rebel: Make college affordable.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Exodus, Leon Uris

My 5-star review overlooks some stylistic choices I personally do not enjoy - and the character of Kitty Fremont was often grating. Again: a subjective evaluation.

This book - even allowing for the author's "partito preso" - is important. A devastatingly informative read.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Le Nozze di Figaro at #ATLOpera

The season concludes with a Mozart classic and masterpiece.

At interval we were commenting on the excellent stage direction, only to return to our seats and strike up a conversation with our neighbours who turned out to be Uncle and Aunt of Tara Faircloth: the stage director of the show.

Excellent comedic staging and display, with the high quality singing we always get at the Atlanta Opera, and it was another night of fun. The shortest three hours music can bring.



Susanna - Lauren Snouffer
Conte Almaviva - John Moore
Figaro - Craig Colclough
Contessa - Katie Van Kooten
Cherubino - Naomi O'Connell - stunning performance

#Rosé #WineTasting chez @perrineswine introducing me to the wonders of #Calcu #instablog



via Instagram http://ift.tt/1GkoE5k

Monday, 6 April 2015

Beezy Beezy

Bocce, Rose wine tasting, Wine study group, 2 hair appointments, Beltline Boil festival, Opera, Easter Sunday Mass, lunch, COLOMBA!