18 November 2011

We're all water

Benetton, scoppia caso internazionale - Vaticano minaccia azioni legali, Obama irritato
(Benetton creates international scandal - Vatican threatens legal action, Obama not amused)
Warning: the Repubblica article contains a pop-up window.

© respective owner. Upload believed to be fair usage.

In other news, violent clash between student protesters and police in Milan yesterday. The demonstration subject: We don't want a new government ruled by the banks. And i think i pretty much side with this sentiment, being how these are the same organizations that put the entire world in the position it finds itself in recent years.

After being forcibly expunged from Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Plaza Park -- that's why i couldn't place it mentally) in lower Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street protesters are now occupying the Brookyln Bridge.

13 November 2011

Eye Candy

ROSA from Jesús Orellana on Vimeo.

Evelyn Evelyn "Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn" Music Video from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.


Happy Birthday, Joey Tomorrow! “I ain't got the time/For your peace of mind!"

12 November 2011

Gang of four

Vivendi buys EMI for $1,900,000,000.00. Now all recorded music is owned, for the most part, by one of four companies (Vivendi, Sony, Warner and BMG). Almost every recording label is a subsidiary of these four conglomerates.

04 November 2011

Art imitates art

photo © respective owner

Separated at birth?

15 October 2011

BOOM!, Part II: Indignati

18:28:02 – smoke from the exploded Carabinieri van (maria?) in piazza San Giovanni, photographed from the roof of the Rome office.

26 September 2011

Whether you like it or not

Still here, still alive. Working working working... general VFX and the like for a couple of films, of which one i did the opening titles (AmeriQua), plus other dancing baloney graphic things for italian TV and not.

Be back later...

11 September 2011


Did i scare ya?

01 August 2011

DuPont Imprelis

Simple Google search for the single word "Imprelis", DuPont's chemical herbicide.

As of 1 August 2011, eight of the ten displayed hyperlinks are not marketing/product pages.

From Michigan State University: What to do with Imprelis-affected trees
Also from Michigan State: Imprelis herbicide may injure evergreens
From Mother Earth News: Imprelis, another deadly herbicide, this time from DuPont

If DuPont's EPA-approved Imprelis (aminocyclopyrachlor) is causing said alleged ecological damage (it has yet to be legally proven), what could be expected as far as clean-up goes? What could you possibly do in a contamination situation, if such a situation were to exist?

Drink bottled water and don't eat your garden's vegetables.

27 July 2011


"I'm filling up your H...ehm, SD card...heh heh heh..."
"Thanks!...and killing the battery all at the same time."

24 July 2011

Strike terror into their hearts

I realize i'm coming in late on this but...

On 18 May 2011 here at Rome's Termini Station, a statue of Pope John Paul II was inaugurated to not a small amount of controversy and various polemics. I'll leave the search up to you if yr really interested. "Google is your friend," said the idiot who keeps a blog on Google's servers.

Strangely enough, even though i pass near Termini quite frequently (i live within walking distance) i hadn't seen the statue until many weeks later, while i was on (probably) the 75 bus. And this is what i saw (click the pics for a larger view)...

...coming from Piazza dei Cinquecento onto viale Enrico De Nicola...

...and from viale Enrico De Nicola.

Well...! It seriously took me minutes to realize who this new statue was supposed to be, even though i'd seen all of the fuss on the TG and the newspapers/websites. I seriously was thinking of another equally famous personality. And after my brain made the necessary connections, i still said (like many others had), "it doesn't even look like him!" But what i wanna know is what's with the cape?

Anyway, after weeks and weeks of threatening a little guerilla art, i have been dissuaded by two things: i could never pull it off physically and even if i could it's surrounded by surveillence cameras. It wouldn't have been a simple tag-and-run. So without further ado, i present the virtual version of my little piece of urban sabotage...

Works much better in this context, don't you agree?

21 July 2011

I dreamt...

...of a song last night/this morning. Upon waking i had the phrase "...hide your madness in jar..." repeating in my head. My brain ran through its semi-vast index of songs, artists and lyrics...and nothing. For some reason i kept thinking it was something off of the "White Album," specifically Dear Prudence, but i knew that was wrong (for some reason i kept playing the Siouxsie and The Banshees version in my head). I then branched off into other territory, hoping to find the answer.


It took the "Answerer of all questions" to relieve the nagging. How sad.

20 July 2011

Hard news

FLASH! -- This just in from the Detroit Free Press website...

Detroit bomb squad investigates suspicious garbage bag, finds it's just garbage

And just in case, as in the past, the article "Symes", here's a screenshot of the page...

DFP Staff, i'm sure that Pulitzer is being giftwrapped as we speak! I have got to stop reading the Free Press so often.

19 July 2011

Borders Group in liquidation

I just read that Borders Group has filed for liquidation in US Bankruptcy Court yesterday (via the Detroit Free Press). Which i find sad. I remember i loved going to Borders bookstore. I mean it was always a near-religious experience for me. Seriously. I can't explain why. It's not as if it was the first bookstore i'd ever encountered (that would probably be recently-defunct mall staple B. Dalton). Maybe because of its size: from my first visit to the Ann Arbor location in the early eighties to my semi-regular visits to the Southfield bookstore, it just seemed like acres of books! And it seemed as if they covered the gamut of the printed word (which they probably did for the most part). Like some kids going to the ice cream shop, that was me going to Borders. Barnes & Noble?! Why, they're just an imitation of the Borders look and feel!*

The last books i'd bought from a physical bookstore were from a Borders franchise in the Atlanta (i'm pretty sure) airport. At the urging of the cashier i'd even signed up for their emailings. But that was in 2006 and a pretty generic experience, not the Borders experience i'd remembered. Obviously, being on the other side of the world for the last 15-ish years made it difficult to visit them. I eventually found their mailings with their exclusive offers and e-coupons pointless and i eventually unsubscribed. These last few years of books came from an online presence...another online presence...not Borders. Borders without walls, without a physical presence, made no sense to me. It was to be experienced, not just ordered from like a pizza joint. And maybe that was part of the problem.

The article also mentions how changing reading habits (i.e., eBooks) played a part in Borders' closing. Whereas i think this is just management not moving in step with the times, for many years now i've had this...fear...for the future of the printed book. While i can appreciate all the advantages of delivering media in electronic form, it also raises the bar of entry, especially in the matter of books...and reading...and literacy. Not that the closing of the Borders chain has anything to do with that. But i can't help feeling how one is just a signpost for the other.

* I honestly don't know in this case who copied whose style. I was first introduced to Borders before Barnes & Noble had a presence in the Detroit area...and i'm stickin' to that! :P

16 July 2011

I did not know that!

As the late Johnny Carson used to say. According to this article on the Detroit Free Press' website, Detroit's People Mover, well, moves about 3,500 riders daily...5,000-6,000 on weekends and even more during special events. (emphasis mine)

Nine tells me (as well as our friend Wikipedia) it costs 50¢ to ride. 50 cents! That's nothing! According to Wikipedia, ...in fiscal year 1999-2000, the city spent $3.00 for every $0.50 rider fare, according to The Detroit News. That's ten years ago and it's still 50¢! I mean, would it be that big a deal to raise it to, say, a dollar? I mean, a dollar! That's still nothing! It's not as if the city couldn't use the fiscal help right now.

Nine says don't give them any ideas!

06 July 2011


Direct Hit Warning: heavy geekiness ahead.

Okay, there're utmas and phpbbs and apaches, and a plethora of others but...what the hell is this?!...

02 June 2011

(No subject)

Listening to: Pete and The Pirates...a lot!

According to the Detroit Free Press' site, today's most popular non-sports-related articles are...
...what, i gotta add one of my smart-ass comments to this?

But, just in case, like my link to Detroit's third-place national ranking in bedbugs disappeared, here's a brief rundown...

A 32-year-old Clinton Township, Rahsaan Lavonte Thedford, man could spend up to 10 years in jail if convicted of biting off his wife's eyelid during an argument.

"I find this crime absolutely heinous," St. Clair Shores Police Detective Margaret Eidt said today. "In 18 years of being a police officer and detective, this is the first time I've ever seen a case like this."

Eidt said Thedford's wife called police from her car outside her St. Clair Shores home at 4 a.m. on May 8, Mother's Day.

In the Mother’s Day incident, Thedford is accused of punching his wife in the face when: "He was on top of her, leaned over and bit her eyelid off,” Eidt said.

Police caught him about a block away, trying to climb under a chain-link fence to hide in a yard, Eidt added.

By one estimate, there are about 657,000 feral cats in metro Detroit -- that's 16 cats for every seat at Comerica Park. The cat population strains animal control and animal welfare groups, which say they have limited money and space.

And as far as the Kilpatrick book...well...celebrity porn is/has been/will be what it is. Famous, infamous...

Ah, and one last link under the most commented section (and the headline says it all)...
New study: You can't live on minimum wage
...well, thanks, Captain Obvious! We love our graphics and so...


Moving right along, today is a national holiday here in Italy: the anniversary of the founding of the Italian republic in 1946 as well as the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. I will also refrain from wisecracks here as well. Here's the BBC's photo...
The link will take you to the BBC Week in Pictures. It's the fifth photo from the left.

...and live from the terrazzo of the Rome office...

And lastly, Feex got her Macbook back from the shop and has finally returned to her digital life. Feexy, i missed you!

23 May 2011

Adventures in Gardening #2

Thai peppers
Thai peppers from plants I grew from seed. They're about as big as two joints of yr pinky...but, as opposed to my Habaneros, that's about as big as they're supposed be!

22 May 2011

Is this thing on?

The Fast's LP The Fast For Sale must have had just come out recently (at the time, 1980) and Frankie says to me, "Didja know that there was a third brother?" And me, "No, really?" "Yeah," sez Frankie in his great gravelly Boston tenor, "Cal Zone!"

I pissed my pants laughin' at that one...and strangely enough, i still do every time i think about it. But i'm like that with certain jokes.

Gee, Frankie should've said he went on to be a pizza chef...! BA-DA-BING!

And i come to find out years later there really was a third Zone brother...but Armand doesn't make for laughs like Cal does.

Grasping at straws

Hey, we're still here! The mother of all idiots and madmen is always pregnant. Here's the only Rapture i know...

Just have yout party on tv

Anyway, floating around on the squinternet is a page of a collection of various punk rock records, sub-divided by regions. Well, look what's on the New York page (ya gotta jump down to Jetz...well, hell, now i gave it away!).

I would guess that the single came out May 3, 1980 because of the "catalog number" 5380 (i can't think of any other reason why we would've picked that number), but that can't be right...i would've still been in high school, ergo not in NYC.

Regardless, i do remember that Peter Crowley refused to put that single in Max's jukebox because, thanks to the song Aryan Race, he didn't want anything to do with that Nazi stuff. WHAT?!? We were outraged! April was furious. It was lyrically a piss-take on all that White Power/Nazi bullshit and he interpreted it as promoting that! He probably never even listened to it and just judged it by the title. And me, being young dumb and full of it, it never occured to me for one second that that song could be taken seriously. I remember the first time i'd heard it i fell in love with it! It's a great fucking tune and i still stand by that. I could give a rat's ass about what you think about the lyrics. I know it was a joke. It was just a stupid joke. And as Larry Flynt used to say, if they can't take a joke, I'm fucked.

Some years after my move to the Rome office, upon discovering my chequered past in New York, record collector friends of mine busted my chops about being a Nazi because of that single. But they were just pulling my chain and we all laughed it off.

31 years after the fact, i guess i could see how the title Aryan Race could give some people the wrong idea about us...!

A side note, the single was on our ficticious label Ultramodern Records, a name which i would recycle many more times, but i can't remember if this was the first mention of Ultramodern or not. It's possible that the band we had before i'd left for New York was called The Ultramodern. It certainly was after i'd returned to Detroit. Joey, help me out here!

EDIT 2011-05-23: Joey confirms! According to minutes of awakening hibernated synapses together, Joey says that we had used the name Ultramodern at least as far back as 1980 in a high-school battle of the bands! The rest is for another post.

20 May 2011

Adventures in Gardening

Before i continue i must apologize for the lousy quality of these photos.

two ripe habanero peppers
These are two ripe Habanero peppers. Or at least i believe they are Habaneros (they could be Scotch Bonnets), as they actually are imported from somewhere in Africa, and that's the most information i can glean from the Bengalis i buy them from at the world-famous Piazza Vittorio market here in Rome.

two habaneros from my habanero plant
These two babies are freshly harvested Habanero peppers from the plants i grew from seed last year, along with Locotos, Thai chiles and Bangla chiles.

And now, a photo of the four aforementioned chiles with two cherries for scale...
four chiles and two cherries
Try not to hurt yourself laughing so hard.

I think the Habanero plant needs more room to grow chiles of any decent size.

EDIT 2011-05-23: Nine sez they'd make great earrings...!

13 May 2011

Goodyear blimp

Do No Evil

From the BBC article...
Let's not forget we are talking about two companies [Facebook and Google] that have spent billions in positioning themselves as 'nice, cuddly, sandal-wearing, Californian surfer dudes.'

– Richard Merrin, Manging director, Spreckley PR

(...in reference to The Daily Beast article.)

In other googley news, Blogger.com is in read-only mode for the second time this week.

06 May 2011

200 Trillion US Dollars

According to an article in today's La Stampa, the price on Osama bin Laden's head cost around US$200 trillion.

For the benefit of people who can't immediately process or appreciate a number like that (namely me), let me spell that out: US$200,000,000,000,000.00. I point you to this page for comparison.

But that's not exactly fair, comparing distances and age to dollars. As of today, the ppb of WTI crude is US$99.96, meaning that same amount buys a hair over 2,000,800,320,128 barrels of oil. Why, using the amended 2010-2011 annual budget of the Warren Woods school district (PDF) of Warren, MI as a general estimate, that same amount of money would have paid for the budget of 663902 school districts in the same time span. Michigan, the fifth highest state in school districts nationwide, has 550 districts. Using Michigan as a somewhat-high national average, that means that same amount of money could have paid for the decennial budget for the 13278 states(!) of the United States of America. But that number is most likely even higher, that is, covering even more non-existant states. Dare i say it, that same amount of money could easily have paid for the entire world's scholastic budget for ten years.

In other news, today here in Italy is a nationwide strike of basically everybody. I noticed going to the market this morning that someone forgot to inform the taxi drivers. I also noticed an abundance of police helicopters flying overhead. At Termini station, an inordinate amount of riot-squad Polizia and Carabinieri were rushing in vans, cars and on foot towards the station but for the life of me i couldn't see to what they were all headed to.

Still-italian-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, in order to “resolve” the what seems like a never-ending garbage crisis in Naples, announced yet again to send in the military to act as garbagemen.

And last but not least, Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Birthday, Feexy Weexy! WE LOVE YOU! Now when i say yr 20, i won't be wrong!

Rock 'n roll!

24 April 2011

Happy Whatever-You-Celebrate

Listening to: lots and lots of Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. Go figure...!

I usually refrain from these kinds of "Hinglish" posts, being too easy a target even for me, but it was just too cute to pass up...

Phatfinder! This simple typographical error (especially in italian) just brings a smile to my face! And for those who aren't guitar-geeky as i am, this particular model is a Vox Pathfinder.

Yeah, the truth is i'm just easily amused.

13 April 2011

Lester who?

I remember a 4-or-5-o'clock-in-the-morning Max's Kansas City, downstairs, the lights were actually on and they were cleaning up, and we were at the table across from the last booth, me, April and Frankie and maybe Ruby and some drunk older guy with a big mustache and dark, wavy hair but balding and he just talked and talked and talked and talked and i think April and Frankie were talking with him or at least trying to get a word in edgewise and i was thinking, "who is this asshole?" Lester Bangs.

And me being a complete goat about certain things, i didn't even realize who he was. And i even came from the same place as he did. And i even read Creem...voluntarily too! Oh, i really was so dumb. And i guess i still am!

As for when it happened, chronologically, i couldn't tell ya.

10 April 2011

Wikipedia is my friend, but not yours

Why is everybody's photo on Wikipedia a train wreck? Oh, i realize that the photos (for the most part) are either copyright-free in one form or another or fair-usage, and that doesn't usually make for Anton Corbijn/Annie Liebowitz-shot, heavy Photoshopped photos, but it's everybody's bad hair day on Wikipedia!

30 March 2011

Secret Origins, Part II

My first week in New York i joined the Jetz. I went to the audition with my Frankenstein Vox Bill Wyman bass (which i carried around in a cardboard box...! I had no case for it). April, Frankie and Ruby. April was the leader of the band; she had a bunch of tunes written, a collection of fast and hard songs but intrinsically pop. I guess that's what attracted me: i've always been a sucker for a good pop song: under three minutes, simple and hooky. Good power-pop, i guess what you'd call it. And i'm really really picky about my power-pop.

Power-pop is a genre that, in my worthless opinion, is a fine line to walk. It took me a long time to warm up to Big Star or Alex Chilton. I never had time for The Replacements. I never really liked Gary Valentine or Paul Collins, Greg Kihn, The Shoes (ai yi yi, the weakest of the weak, nothing personal)...oh Jesus, the list (unfortunately) goes on and on. These bands to me are hopelessly twee and anemic. The Records fall short. Cheap Trick while not always succeding* do a better job. The Posies when they are on they are on 112%, but they're not always on. The Beatles get it right. The early Who peg it. Blondie, The Ramones (yes, The Ramones), The Knack (yes, The Knack)...these are among a few who get power-pop right.

And April Lee, 5'0" of peroxide California dynamite, got it right too. After i had been accepted, i went to another audition i had already scheduled, just to see...y'know? No comparison: no pizzazz, colorless, more of a jazzy-type proggy thing. Strangely enough, they liked me too! But i'd told them i had another thing lined up so i couldn't accept. I think the guy was a little perturbed. But it proved to me that the first choice was unquestionably the right one.

April was great! She was always coiled and tense as she sang and played her little black Musicmaster, intense little black eyes, always dressed up in Spandex...come to think of it, so was Frankie! But i think April dressed Frankie. April and Frankie were girlfriend and boyfriend at the time.

Oh, geez...just as i was getting into it...more another time!

* at the risk of incurring the fury of Nine. And i love Robin Zander!

28 March 2011

Secret Origins, Part 1.6

Nine, you rule...what else is new?

According to Wikipedia, Madonna's last band, the one i remember, is called Emmy, with Stephen Bray playing the drums! Fuck Google, they're just your nosy neighbor, helping you out only because they wanna know yr bidness! Wikipedia is your real friend!

Unfortunately, there isn't a Emmy entry on Wikipedia. Breakfast Club, sì però.

EDIT 2011-03-29: Thanks to my friend and yours Wikipedia, i found this page with photos of Emmy! And there's Brian the guitarist, Stephen the drummer, Madonna and...and...who's that guy? That's not who i used to rent my bass amp from! Hmmmm...(not-so) precocious Alzheimer's setting in? The stranger thing is that i remember Madonna's Rickenbacker (which i thought was so cool)!

Secret Origins, Part 1.5

plannine said...

was the band the breakfast club?

And instead of burying this in the comments section...

Nine, are you saying that Madonna's band was called The Breakfast Club? I mean, as far as i can remember, it could have well been. But i seem to remember a one-word name. Entropy?...Empathy?...Entity? Something like that. I do remember the red-headed guitarist's name was Brian and he was from Virginia...or was that West Virginia? He and the drummer (whose name escapes me) were really nice guys.

After a few weeks, we changed rehearsal space from W. 10th Street to the Music Building on 33rd Street. Frankie the drummer's brother, Bobby Savage, played in a group called The Kidz The Gentz (yes, also with a Z...i've always hated that gimmick) that rented a space there. April (who somehow funded the band) split the cost with them and we split the space. It was there we met Madonna and her soon-to-be ex-band.

At this point in our illustrious career, Ruby was no longer in the band. She had started hanging out with the Heartbreakers crowd. It was then that Joey (who was visiting) and I met Ty Stix, the Heartbreakers' drummer at the time. Chilling. In fact, i remember gigging only once with Ruby, and that was at a Battery Park open-air gig. It had to be only a few weeks since i'd been there (again, i've got the pictures somewhere). But i digress.

EDIT 2011-04-12: Not The Kidz, you moron, but The Gentz! Yeah, still with that stupid Z at the end. And they're still around! Look, they even have a (self-created) Wikipedia page, as well as their own website!

27 March 2011

Secret Origins, Part I

I better get this down before i forget it all. All that is to be recorded is (obviously) from memory.

June 1980: instead of going to art school (Center for Creative Studies was the most likely choice) i informed my parents i was going to New York to play bass guitar in a band. That would be my career choice. I remember seeing my father's heart drop...well, his face reflected that anyway. Nevertheless, calls were made, tickets were booked and so i went.

I joined a band the first week i was there: The Jetz. I found their ad in the Village Voice. I liked them, they liked me, it was love at first sight. April Lee, guitar; Frankie Wilde, drums; and Ruby Rand, keyboards.

And me, Frank Anthony Di Mauro...hmmm, small problem. There was already a Frankie in the group. So, at CBGB's one night after one of our first band practices, lots of names (and drinks) were tossed around and i became Grey Tomorrow.

We did play CBGB's but just once. I have the photos somewhere. But we played Max's Kansas City several times. I only wish i could remember exactly how many times, and with who. It seems to me that we spent evenings regularly there at Max's. I remember seeing Cheetah Chrome play there more than once. I remember seeing Von Lmo play there, again more than once. I saw Madonna and her group (!) perform there just before she would jettison the band and become the Madonna. For the life of me i can't remember the band's name. I even used to rent her bassist's amp for gigs...Tony? I also remember seeing a butterscotch Telecaster being played by some skinny forgotten guitarist in some long forgotten band. Funny how the Tele sticks in my mind though. I loved how it sounded.

More on this later.

20 March 2011

Back in the USSR

Listening to: John Cale (the Island "trilogy" + Sabotage/Live).

When we were kids in the pre-Russian-Federation USA, we would been shown films every now and then (probably not unlike today). Sometimes in the classroom, sometimes in assemblies in the cafeteria or auditorium. I remember seeing Nanook of the North and Future Shock (women with green and orange hair!!) back in junior high. I also vaguely remember a documentary on everyday life in Soviet Moscow. Oh, i'm not talking about they're-coming-for-your-children, McCarthyist blatant anti-communist propaganda in black and white. I'm not that old, to begin with. No, i'd guess it was a relatively recent snapshot for the time (mid-1970s). It was less a propaganda piece than a cultural exchange on film. I remember stereotypical big peasant women and wizened yet smaller peasant men in colorless, heavy clothing, all threadbare suits, babushkas and shawls.

One scene i remember was people in some city square around a public water fountain (not unlike the disappearing nasoni here in Rome), but the fountain's structure allowed a drinking cup to be perched on the stand...and everyone shared that same glass.
Another scene i remember was shot in the GUM department store, with the famous long line of clients hoping to get one of whatever necessity it was they were queing up for. I remember the narrator implying that they were lucky to get what they came for, due to rationing and shortages and whatnot.

All this set-up and for what...? Well, welcome back to the Soviet Union 2011!
Na zdorovje!

This is yesterday, circa 9:15 am at the Ins supermarket off of Piazza Alessandria here in Rome. Ins is a discount supermarket, carrying a limited supply of (mostly) only their own store brand of products. They open at 9 am. There is only one cashier open. There are around 13 people in front of me.

The cashier is oblivious that the line goes almost all the way to the back of the store, me being equidistant to the front or the back. I am not the last person in line. Nevertheless, she is asking for exact change. Suspicion leads me to believe that the till has enough to make change but she finds a certain disdain in making change.

A paper grocery bag costs 15¢.

The employees stock shelves at all hours. The aisles are roughly 70cm wide.

The prices are heavily discounted while maintaining a certain quality but that is the sole reason to shop there. It is an exercise in subliminal masochism, a study of anti-feng shui, 180° of ergonomics, a mosquito hovering in front of your nose that refuses to be shooed away. It is as if Dr. Yen Lo and his team had designed a chain of discount supermarkets. Every time i go there, to quote Bukowski, i feel raped nine times over.

Yet i still go. I must be a masochist. A cheap masochist, to boot.

05 March 2011

Atlas and me

I'm still reading Rand's Atlas Shrugged and it's still less three-dimensional that the pages it's printed on. Coincidentally, i'd discovered this quote...actually, i wished i had said it...
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

-- John Rogers

27 February 2011


Heather from Montreal. She has long dark hair cut in bangs a la Tura, collarless biker jacket, and knee-high boots. T-shirt with some kind of tattoo-ish art. She has a 13-year-old daughter. She says she's a linguist even though she speaks no italian (but she does speak spanish and being from Montreal, canadian french).

She even has a fiancee...or is that fiance? Fiance.

It was an immense pleasure meeting you.

23 February 2011

My Top Twenty-Five

Who knew? And, more to the point, who cares? According to iTunes, here are my 25 most listened-to songs as of today...
  1. Ain't Misbehavin', Fats Waller
  2. Honey Pie, The Beatles
  3. Before They Make Me Run, The Rolling Stones
  4. That Thing You Do!, The Wonders
  5. All Of Me, Louis Armstrong
  6. Dance Like A Monkey, The New York Dolls
  7. How High The Moon, Glenn Miller's Uptown Hall Gang
  8. For You Blue, The Beatles
  9. Cry Baby, The Waldos
  10. In My Life, The Beatles
  11. Jack The Ripper, Link Wray
  12. Who Loves The Sun, The Velvet Underground
  13. Rock & Roll, The Velvet Underground
  14. Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Louis Armstrong
  15. Sweet Jane (Full Length Version), The Velvet Underground
  16. Better Days, The Wolfmen
  17. Dig A Pony, The Beatles
  18. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, George Harrison
  19. Sour Milk Sea, Jackie Lomax
  20. Teenage Lust, MC5
  21. Whiskey Man, The Who
  22. Heat Wave, The Who
  23. Back In The USSR, The Beatles
  24. Sour Milk Sea, Jackie Lomax
  25. Let Me Out, The Knack
Oh my...that's almost embarassing. I can explain Nos. 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 14 and 18...they're all songs i learned to play on the ukulele, therefore the repeated listenings are understandable -- although following that logic, i don't know why Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody and/or I Wanna Be Like You by Louis Prima don't show up.

But discounting the ukulele songs, the real #1 on the list isn't Before They Make Me Run, but Sour Milk Sea because it's on there twice (duplicate songs) and their total listenings is 29 while the Keith Richard composition's total is 23.

Regardless of any "cool" gained by repeated Velvets, early Who and Link listenings i guess you can tell i have a soft spot for The Beatles. And what's up with #4?!

12 February 2011

Whatta tomato!

I just saw my ex mother-in-law in…

"Carnival Rock!"

Naww, just joking, Susan Cabot is not my ex mother-in-law. Maybe there's the slightest of resemblances, maybe it's just the mannerisms...?

In any case...Whatta tomato!

An aside: great title sequence. I just may have to appropriate it someday!

Hope springs eternal

Listening to: Richard Hell and The Voidoids.

According to Forbes Magazine's article America's 20 Most Miserable Cities, half in are in...California! But of course, at number 15 (drumroll) -- Detroit, Michigan. Citing the same tired but legitimate reasons as always: crime, unemployment and foreclosures, plus school closings. Strangely enough, they don't mention the awful weather!

Chicago, Miami, Memphis (TN), West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale all have higher misery rankings than the Motor City. Surprising, at least to me. On the other hand, how many cities are there in the United States? Thousands?

Let's try to remember that this is, like any other Top Ten list, totally unobjective.

I leave you all with this photo of a roman street corner i shot (i'm pretty sure in San Lorenzo)...

11 February 2011

We are all onions

Everyone, but everyone, is an onion. Maybe some are only four layers deep, some are 12, some are eight, but we are all tridimensional (some even being quadradimensional!).

Dumb it down, Grey: everyone is deeper than they seem/they let on.

Good night, everybody.

07 February 2011

Tura Satana, R.I.P.

Tura Satana passed away February 5th.

Condolensces to the surviving family of this wonderful lady and cultural icon of the late 20th century and beyond.

03 February 2011

Lost glasses

Compulsion (Richard Fleischer, 1959) [imdb.com]

Io non ho paura (Gabriele Salvatores, 2003) [imdb.com]

01 February 2011

Obsessions of love

Manji (Yasuzo Masumura, 1964) [imdb.com]

La Noia (Damiano Damiani, 1963) [imdb.com]

...compare and contrast.

Note: any synopsis you may read concerning Manji will be superficial as the film goes beyond any sensational orientations. Far beyond.

Funny...whereas any synopsis regarding La Noia will give that film more depth...!

31 January 2011

John Barry, R.I.P.

John Barry passed away yesterday (courtesy Reuters) from a fatal heart attack at age 77 in New York. (courtesy BBC)

My condolensces to the surviving family. Maximum respect for one of the greats.

30 January 2011

Booklist 2011

Books devoured for 2011 so far...
  1. Please Kill Me, tenth anniversary edition, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
  2. Black Hole, Charles Burns
I loved Please Kill Me. Between that and Punk: The Definitive Record of a Revolution (oh my god, what a prententious title!) by Stephen Colgreave and Chris Sullivan, you have a, dare i say, complete idea of what was going on both sides of the Atlantic during that period. Punk, being another oral history of the period, even borrows passages from Please Kill Me. Add the Punk Magazine collection to the list and, if you couldn't actually be there for the party, it's the next best thing to seeing Cheetah Chrome with tennis sweatbands on his arms at Max's, or actually playing Max's, or playing CBGB's wearing black lipstick and a Vox Bill Wyman bass, or meeting the various junkies, transvestites, hanger-ons and Madonna and her band...ermmm...or maybe not. Then again, i got to the party a little late. Geez, maybe i should start writing this stuff down.

I also loved Black Hole, but it's Charles Burns and i've always been a sucker for Burns. Hey, does a comic boo...err, graphic novel count as a book?

Working on Damp Squids: The English Language Baid Bare by Jeremy Butterfield. This book was on my Christmas list because i was under the impression from the description it was more about the etymology of English language words and phrases but it's actually more about the English language as a living entity, its corpus: where it's been and where it's going. It surprised me that for an offering from Oxford University Press there are typographic errors and an error i wonder if it is typographical: Edgar J. Hoover! The other thing that put me off, being an non-British speaker of English, is that it is more from a British English point of view. Somewhat disappointed, all in all. Finishing it up just to get it out of the way.

I had started Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged during my flight to Detroit, but that got put off (almost happily) when i received the other books. Oh my God, i'm in only 50ish pages and i find Rand extremely melodramatic and two-dimensional. "Who is John Galt?" I almost wanna say "Who cares who is John Galt?!" I've read Archie comics with more depth. Maybe i'm jumping to conclusions...? I'm also trying to factor in when it was written...but...

27 January 2011

26 January 2011

Modern-day Pharoahs, Part III

From my various RSS subscriptions comes this interesting tidbit/rant about our modern-day Pharoahs from, surprisingly enough of all places, the animation-news site, Cartoon Brew, entitled...

The Obscene Pay of Viacom Execs

Here's a teaser: three men alone earned a total last year of $164,200,000 (Philippe Dauman, chief executive: $84.5 million, Tom Dooley, chief operating officer: $64.7 million, Sumner Redstone, chairman/controlling shareholder: $15 million). Earned...what exactly does one do in a similar position to earn that kind of money?

Equally interesting are some of the comments on the article.

In other unrelated news, i discovered using Back In Time backup software for GNU/Linux takes roughly two-and-a-half hours to back up the netbook's 64GB HD to an external 320GB USB2 HD. That's a long time, doncha think? No, it's not the first snapshot. And it's only 16GB backup, the rest of the disc being free. I can only compare against my Core2 Duo iMac and Time Machine: a 350-odd-GB backup doesn't take half that long...but i will document the time next backup.

EDIT: reflecting on that slow backup situation...could it be that the drive is formatted NTFS is slowing things down?

24 January 2011

Happy Birthday, Beautiful!

(Photo by Phoenix Sky Di Mauro)

22 January 2011

Nostalgia moment

Awwww...it's my first bass guitar!

I paid $20 when i was 16 years old (money obviously given to me by my parents), bought from a high school friend. I immediately set out to compose songs on it! I and my brother (who plays guitar) immediately put a group together. Oh, that bass guitar was just the beginning of the chaotic adult life i call mine.

But it was/is a crap guitar. I'm snickering to myself that they're asking $895 for it. It sucked so bad i don't even remember gigging with it. I remember finding my first real love, a modified Vox Bill Wyman bass, at the Sunday flea market at Martin and Frazho. But now i'm just repeating myself...

Anyway, i personally wouldn't hand over more than $100 for it...but what do i know?

19 January 2011

Pecking order

Moron: IQ of 51-70
Imbecile: IQ of 26-50
Idiot: IQ of 0-25

(Courtesy of Wikipedia.org)
In case you were wondering...

17 January 2011

Still here...

...just don't have a whole lot to say.