18 December 2009

Reversal of fortune

I was not watching the TV, as usual, when a promo came on for Reversal of fortune...with Yello’s Liquid Lies as the background music...!

Who's responsible for that? Is it the same person who did the “Buone Feste” promo: three love story movies with Janis Joplin’s Piece of my heart?

14 December 2009

Meanwhile in Milano…

Last night in Milan, the italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was hit in the face with a souvenir of Milan’s Duomo (irony of ironies), suffering lesions to the face and a broken nose, by a man with a history of psychological problems.

In english (BBC)…
In italian (La Repubblica)
...and pictures too!

Yesterday afternoon (almost anticipating that evening’s events) on Sky Cinema X they ran The Boondock Saints. For those of you not familiar with the film, it’s about two brothers, deeply devout catholics, out to rid Boston (you gotta start somewhere) of all evil, evildoers included. In the end, it’s a philosophical question of “the ends justifying the means” and vigilantism.

My point is regardless of where you stand politically, or what your opinion is of Mr. Berlusconi, violence is never the solution.

I repeat: violence is never the solution.

That said…it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

08 December 2009


I just heard from the other room the latest TV spot from Calvé (no link, find it yrselves). It ends with the tagline…

Che Natale è senza Calvé?
(What kind of Christmas is it without Calvé?)

…because, God knows, the first thing i think of when i think of Christmas is mayonnaise.

07 December 2009

Happy Birthday, Louie!

You'da been ninety-eight wild years old today!

(Edit 2010.08.24: The original YouTube video was removed.)

31 October 2009

Baby Parking?

Subway ad for the upcoming MoaCasa interior design show...

Yeah, yeah, nothing really to see here. It's just...well, let's take a closer look at the information block at the bottom left...

Baby parking???
What's that all about? With activities (con animazione)?! Okay, so it's basically a "kids' area" where parents can leave their children to play while they peruse the furniture. It's just the choice of wording that is so...blunt. No euphemisms here. And in english too. Or maybe that's just enough to make "parcheggio bambini" sound euphemistic. It's just that i'd imagined hundreds of toddlers with bits subsituting pacifiers tethered like horses all aligned like so many cars in the Ikea parking lot.

29 October 2009

Girls, girls, girls

I'm been on assignment in Trastevere and during lunch i like to walk around the area. The sun's out, it's still not cold out and i've always liked that neighborhood.

Two days ago, i ran into an former AE student of mine, Marta. She was walking her dog (i'm assuming it was her German Shepard). She's a very pretty girl and seems to have become even prettier since i'd last seen her last year. The girl told me on the last day of classes last year she thought i didn't like her, that i have something against her. Which is completely untrue. In fact i was taken aback by her comment and to this day i have no idea why she thinks/thought that. I even remember complimenting her on her work. She actually showed a bit of talent.

She says she and Ilaria (another former student of mine) are taking a regione-sponsored class in "open-source graphics." "Open source? Like GIMP and Blender," i asked. I asked because italians are famous for adopting english words or phrases and tacking on a different definition. But she confirmed it was exactly what i thought. I asked how she was getting along with The GIMP and she politely answered just fine. I confessed i've never gotten along with The GIMP (for production purposes). We then said our goodbyes, quite stiffly.

Yesterday, while taking my lunchtime stroll, i ran into Marianna, a girl i'd met last year while she was working for the same Trasteverian production house i'm freelancing for these days. She used to speak english with me and spoke very well, sometimes not even revealing an italian accent. And she didn't speak to show off, which is a common defect here. She was always very sweet and was just as same yesterday. So, that was very pleasant! She was with two colleagues of hers; she's working at an advertising agency somewhere around there. Of course i didn't think to ask the name or where exactly it was. Typical of me.

Today on the bus, i saw Mo Tucker. No, it wasn't actually her, it was the girlfriend of a friend i haven't seen in a few years. In fact, the girlfriend's the reason i haven't seen this person in years. I'd just had enough. From then on it seemed as if the day was filled with unmade-up women with undyed hair wearing flat comfortable shoes (thank you, Annalisa: sometimes i am just blind to certain things). No familiar faces during my lunchtime stroll -- a nigerian selling socks accosted me following me around for meters -- but later that day, who should show up at the office but Franci and Laura with their new puppy.

I go back tomorrow to finish the assignment.

19 October 2009

Flatwounds are for pussies

I was stinkin' about some of my favorite guitar sounds...

Well, there's Ronnie Wood's Dan Armstrong through his Ampeg 4x10 (what is that, a Rat pedal?)...

Then, there's always John armed with his Casino through a Fender Twin...


17 October 2009

Where is my mind?

Jesus, it's been a while! What's been happening since i last reported in? Well, not much!

I played bartender for about a month. No, wait...that was in July....

Feex came and went. No, that was July/August...hmmmm.

Ah! I did The Perfect Bun's website.

I'm thinking of opening something. Something not graphic/design-related.

I worked on video for RAI Sport, BNL, Caccia e pesca, and Studio Universal.

And now i'm cleaning up and out my font collection of over ten years. And what timing, as i read that OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard is having major problems (as of this writing) with legacy PS Type1 fonts. That, plus the fact that the rewritten-from-scratch QuickTime X is as of yet little more than a movie player, guarantees that this time around i'll let the others be the penguins closest to the water.

And in more Macintosh news, i (certainly one of thousands) am trying to learn all there is about the iTunes LP format (.itlp). Effectively, it's just a HTML4 and javascript bundle, but it's heavy-duty javascript with calls to the iTunes app itself. Interesting. Hope it's not too out of my league.

Next week, i'll be working on Boing!

And now i'll leave you all with a photograph by Phoenix Sky Di Mauro...

16 August 2009

Creative usage of fat

500 lb (226,8 Kg) inmate hides a gun between his rolls of fat.

Yes, it was on the AP wire. Has the Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas ever heard of metal detectors? Have the guards there ever conducted a frisk before? You have to wonder.

And just to press the point about the intelligence level in that part of the world, what the hell kind of title is Obese Texas inmate hides gun in his flabs of fat?

What are flabs anyway? Maybe not only are metal detectors unknown in Texas but also copy editors?

Thanks, Feex!

15 July 2009

Still here

After missing opportunities these past weeks on various polemics on The Beatles' Rock Band game, how the late Farrah Fawcett is the Groucho Marx of her time, and others topics, i'm finally back. Didja miss me? Let's go with a Reuters link today...

Ex-GM CEO Wagoner retires with only US$8.6 million.

See previous post on the subject here.

That's all...for today. Feex minus 13 days.

07 May 2009

Happy Birthday, Feex!

Oh my God...it's Feex's birthday!

Happy Birthday, beautiful...now go and do great things! XOXOXOXOXOX

(It's still her birthday in her time zone so this post still counts! :^P )

23 April 2009

Delusions of persecution

21 april 2009: Giovanni told us that earlier that morning he'd seen a RAI mobile unit outside with the beloved "farfalla" logo decal mounted in such a way that he couldn't even describe. All he knew was that it was wrong.

Later that day, heading back to the office, on via Alessandro Farnese at viale Giulio Cesare, right there...

No...take a good look...
It's...er, upside-down! An Italian state television mobile unit van tooling around with an upside-down logo.

But, wait!

23 april 2009: i'm in the "Rome office" and (like all creatives and windows) i'm looking out the window, and what do i see parked out front across the street...?

GAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! It can't be! Zoom in!

It's the RAI upside-down logo mobile unit van! What do they want from me???

Okay, paranoid fit over. Actually the more observant of you will notice that we're looking at (what's considered in Italy) the driver's side of the van. The van shot on the 21st is taken from the passenger side. In fact, this van is larger than the van photographed on the 21st.

This means that the RAI has more than one MU with RAI butterflies mounted upside-down.

22 April 2009


Interview (supposed) with a Somali pirate (BBC).

And in unrelated news: sigla "Divieto d'accesso".

20 April 2009



Sept. 11 planner Khalid Sheik Mohammed "waterboarded" by CIA interrogators 183 times (Reuters).

As of 25 January 2009, the United States of America has classified "waterboarding" as torture. Because, you know, before...well, it wasn't.

And regarding whom it was performed, i can hear some of you rationalizing.

06 April 2009


At 3:30 am today, the cat, her ears standing up and her tail puffed out, woke up Roberta who in turn woke me up to discover the entire apartment swaying! I'd say roughly an oscillation per second judging by the one sliding door banging against the hanging brass oriental bowl. Ro immediately led us under the apartment's main archway and we stood there embraced for what seemed minutes but probably only lasted 30 seconds or so, certainly under a minute.

Afterwards, Ro insisted on seeing if the news was saying anything about it, and about five to ten minutes later the scroll on Sky TG24 was carrying news about the quake in L'Aquila, reaching 6.7 on the Richter scale.

L'Aquila is roughly 100Km from the center of Rome and the entire building shook. Frightening. Serious damage has been done there, with as of this writing more than 90 dead. My condolensces.

It took me an hour or so before i could fall back asleep, reading To Kill A Mockingbird. Today i'm perceiving other small tremors but they could be psychosomatic.

02 April 2009

(Some of) The Men Who Sold (Out) The World, Post Scriptum

Now that i think about it, isn't a broker's fee around 20%, possibly more. Then Mr Cassano's $300,000,000 seems awfully low, somewhere around 5%...?

Venezuela's GuantanaMANIA

Yesterday's Venezuelan love affair with Guantanamo Bay. This was #8 in the BBC's round-up "10 stories that could be April Fools' jokes but aren't."

Today, Venezuela's amour for the Guantanamo detainees.

31 March 2009

(Some of) The Men Who Sold (Out) The World

Ex General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner goes home with a $20,000,000 pension package. High Five! But if GM does go under, he may only see $1,000,000. Tough break, Rick.

From the same ABC website, AIG executive Joseph Cassano "made more than $300,000,000 at the insurance firm he virtually bankrupted." Way to go, Joe!

Just wanted to remember these names.

27 March 2009

Cheapy "vintage" guitars

My brother's first guitar was a Gibson ES-125TDC.

My first bass guitar was a used Danelectro-made Sears Silvertone. $20.

This is the same model as mine, found on eBay.
Many thanks to the original photographer and BCR.

It had a neck that only Paul Bunyan could love. I can't even say i liked its lipstick pickups so beloved by Danelectro fans, but i believe this was an isolated case as i do generally like lipstick pickups. It was a crap guitar.

I later found at the flea market a Vox Bill Wyman bass with its original body replaced with a Phantom-esque slab of clear lucite. $10. No photo, sorry. Now this bass i fell in love with. Short scale neck, crappy Italian single-coils, exposed wiring, Bill Wyman's name on the teardrop headstock (apparently Bill had next to nothing to do this model! HA!). But i'm the first to admit that it was also a crap guitar.

Many years later, i found this exact Teisco Del Rey EV2T at the defunct Guitar and Drum Center in St Clair Shores. $200 (i probably paid $150 too much for it).

This is the same model as mine, found on the Squinternet.
Many thanks to the original photographer.

I just loved it for its body, not its mind. I can be so superficial. Cheap Japanese single-coils, Vox Phantom rip-off design, knobs, switches and a whammy bar...what's not to love? I've even recorded with it! Eventually i had replaced the tuners, bridge saddles and had the pickups potted (they made Rema-Rema or Sonic Youth sound controlled). Say what you will, but yet another crap guitar.

Which brings me to this recent eBay auction...

Buy It Now: US$890?!? Are they kidding??? Nostalgia and "vintage" aside, it's a crap guitar!!! We're not talking non-uniform Quality Control; all these Teiscos, strangely enough, were uniformly crappy! Let's call it for what it is: a knockoff guitar just this side of a toy that because of demand created by the 1960s "British Invasion" were mass-produced very cheaply in Japan, then today's equivalent of the Chinese manufacturing juggernaut, because they couldn't produce them fast enough or cheaply enough in Italy (the original source for cheap imported guitars into the American market).

A conversation between me and my brother about this very guitar up for auction had me wagering that the highest bid for that guitar would be around $300, $350 max but that's because the seller had found his patsy. Well, ever optimistic, i never thought that someone would offer almost half of the Buy It Now price.

Believe me, i understand that whole "look" thang, hence my ongoing infatuation with 1960s "fetish" guitars. But for my money, that same $405 could get you a MIM Telecaster or Stratocaster or maybe a Gretsch 5235 Pro Jet. Cheap guitars but with a whole other level of quality.

18 March 2009


$165,000,000 in contractual bonuses is to be subtracted from the $30,000,000,000 of a total $180,000,000,000 to be loaned to AIG by the U.S. Federal Government.

Let's lose some zeroes, shall we?
- $1.65

In the big picture, that's chump change. Peanuts, really. It's more about the perception of rewarding the people who put, not only the United States, but the entire world in the economic climate we're in now.

You can add the zeroes back now, for that added sting. Owwch...

09 March 2009

But, but, but

Last post i'd said that Watchmen was the graphic novel that'd made me stop reading comic books. That's not exactly true. Let's say "made me stop reading contemporary American comic books," from 1987 onward. But much as i love them, i can no longer read those beloved golden- and silver-age classics in the same light or with that same innocence anymore. Alan Moore's work is always a pleasure, though. And i'm still reading italian comics, but except pretty much for Carlo Ambrosini's work, that's purely to pass the time on the bus, per se. Ambrosini's Napoleone was the absolute best Italian mainstream fumetto and his newest, Jan Dix, is high quality as well.

08 March 2009


Saw the Watchmen movie on opening day (something i haven't done in time immemorable) with Marina. Being how she'd read it semi-recently (within a year or so, i believe), we spent most of the movie congratulating Zack Snyder on how many details he'd gotten right with quick glances and knowing smiles at each other the entire film.

Yeah, i'd say that i liked the film. I'd say i liked it lots. But i'm biased: i loved the comic book.

I'm almost wondering if Snyder wasn't pandering to the book's hardcore following, myself being one of them. I mean, Watchmen was the comic book...ermm, graphic novel, that made me stop reading comic books. Afterwards, everything else just seemed so...silly. Snyder, in my opinion, translated quite successfully the densely detailed comic book into film. No mean feat: how many times have you heard the old chestnut, "the film wasn't as good as the book"? Hard to say, in this case. Yes, one of the things that the film has going for it, from a fan's point of view, is that it almost uses the book as its storyboard as well as, to a slightly lesser degree, its script. Nevertheless, the chasm between media has been traversed.

Even so, i can't help but wonder if the impact or level of success would be the same for someone who hadn't read the book before going to see the movie. For all i know, as i'd said later that night at dinner with friends, it could just have been close to three hours of self-congratulatory pippa-fest.

My only other lament is that i went into the cinema already knowing the joke and that's sad for me. Most of my favorite movies are those that trick you: Fight Club or Psycho, for example. Watchmen falls into this category but the joke was already ruined for me.

If anything, i can finally say there's a movie based on a work written by the great Alan Moore that...well, doesn't suck!

09 February 2009

Hair on fire?

Accuse me of being polemic, but i just read this headline and article on the Reuters RSS feed...

SEC chief says agency to act like "hair is on fire"

I ask you: what is that supposed to mean?! Is the SEC is now going to run around aimlessly, shrieking in a blind panic?! “Somebody put it out! SOMEBODY PUT IT OUT!”

08 February 2009

eBay.it Eko

I have a...“thing” for eBay. Guitars, specifically. I like to watch 'em come and go on eBay. I don't actually buy them (well, just once i did). Does that make me an eBay voyeur?

Never buy a guitar you can't touch first.

I also have a thing for “guitar boom” guitars: guitars produced during the 1960s, when American guitar makers couldn't keep up with demand created by the Beatles after the first Ed Sullivan appearance. I've always had (much to Joey's chagrin) a thing for cheesy guitars. I personally was too young to experience that first wave of British Invasion (i grew up during Kiss', Alice Cooper's and Donny Osmond's respective musical reigns and the beginning of punk) so i'm not sure where this fetish came from. Everyone was pretty much playing (not unlike today) Stratocasters and sunburst Les Pauls. Maybe it's just the aesthetic? Or as i discovered later on, that unmistakable single-coil sound? Probably the aesthetic.

During my daily eBay hunts for old...errm, vintage Ekos, Hagströms and Kliras, i come across this...

Chitarra EKO Ancient Vintage Guitar |No Hofner - Framus

...and i mark it to be “watched”. And i'm lookin’ at it...and lookin’ at it. And my fifth-and-a-half sense is itching. It doesn't look like any Eko i've ever seen, not like i'm some great expert. Look at these other photos...

The above photos link to the Auctiva-hosted large size photos, and may not be available in the near future.

I've never seen a logo nor pickups like that on an Eko. And if i'm not mistaken, Eko didn't offer a natural finish at that point in time (1960s). And isn't that a Hagström vibrato? Again, i'm no expert.

So let's go to the experts, www.fetishguitars.it! What a site! I always have to have a roll of paper towels with me when i visit...just kidding. Anyway, after a much-shorter-than-expected search of this vast site, i found this page. The page's title says it all.

So, there's one born every minute, so the saying goes. As the above graphic shows, it sold for €200,05. Maybe the new owner just liked it, actual pedigree be damned...?

Remember, kids: never buy a guitar you can't touch first!

07 February 2009

Lux Interior, R.I.P.

Most every day i peruse the BBC and Reuters RSS feeds (to assure my day doesn't start out too brightly) and amidst all the usual signs pointing to the end of the world (i jest), nowhere was there anything pointing to Lux Interior passing away last Wednesday, which i inadvertently discovered from Allmusic.com. After a search of the both sites, i found their articles...

Lux obituary from Reuters

Lux obituary from BBC

Call me exaggerated but how was this not “first page” material? Seriously! Or did i simply miss it?

My condolences to the surviving family. Thanks, Lux, for all the madness and laughs.

24 January 2009

Ogni maledetto sabato...

Since i'm writing about my students (i've been teaching a class in After Effects at Cine-TV for a couple of years now), i'm going to have to write this entry in italian, them being a paranoid lot...hee hee!

Allora, ogni sabato, invece di dormire fin tardi, devo svegliarmi presto e andare a scuola a fingere "professore" per una ventina di studenti dell'Istituto Roberto Rossellini/Cine-TV, insegnando un corso di Terza Area di After Effects. Lo faccio ormai da due anni. Quest'anno però, mi sa che la scuola ce l'ha con me perché mi hanno passato proprio il top...del bottom! E da come si comportano, la maggior parte dei miei studenti correnti la pensano come me: pure loro vorrebbero starsene al letto. La loro canzone preferita? Quella lagna di andare via una mezz'ora in anticipo. Quest'anno è come gestire una mandria di gatti! Permettete di presentarveli...

Giada: simpaticona, no? È di bassa manutensione...seeee. Se non le faccio dei complimenti ogni minuto, piange! Povero futuro marito.

Silvia: l'altra meta del cervello della prima postazione. Soffre di insonnia durante l'anno scolastico perché studia sempre (così dicono). Leggermente più simpatica della sua compagnia di banco, ma solo perché parla meno di Giada.

Alessandro: un ragazzo tranquillo con talento. Disegna e suona anche la chitarra.
È sorridente e simpatico...c'è ovviamente qualcosa che non va, povero ragazzo!

Ed ecco per voi...Alessia...no, anzi...

Ecco per voi, Alessia (qui in versione il topolino della morte)! I suoi hobby preferiti sono di nascondere qualsiasi cosa che metto giù e suonare il suo basso elettrico color salmone.

Robertina: è così dolce, potete metterla nel vostro caffè. Però ammetto che anche lei ha dei momenti di surrealismo.

Le altre scimmie mie: le ragazze sono (da sinistra) Emanuela, Ilaria e Giulia. I ragazzi sono (da sinistra) Federico, Mirco e Ilario. Strano...alcune di queste facce non mi sono nuove...?

Manca qualche scimm...ermm, studente dall'appello e spero di documentarli in un futuro momento, come fanno nella National Geographic.

Scherzo, naturalmente. Per ora, basta.

And Happy Birthday Edie and Nine! I love you both! XOXOXOXOXOXO

07 January 2009

New Year

Ron Asheton is dead?!? And i was there, just scant miles away when it happened (i was in Saline, MI, a suburb of Ann Arbor)...as thousands of other people were, i suppose. Still, it creeps me out a little.

My return to the Rome office from the fatherland was as always traumatic. Unlike last year, when TSA marked me as suspicious (i was stopped twice before embarking), this year it was the staff of Northwest Airlines who considered me a threat. Fuck you, Northwest Airlines. Never again will i fly with Northwest Airlines, by choice or otherwise.