More video fun!!

I'd have posted this directly in my sidebar, but thought that not everybody might appreciate the favor! :-)

I loved this music video when I first saw it in Italy! As Wikipedia says,

Ex-"Take That" Robbie "Williams' next album, 'Sing When You're Winning,' was released in 2000. The album contained the controversial single 'Rock DJ,' which reached number 1 in the UK charts and was a minor hit in the United States. Some controversy surrounded the single's accompanying music video, which featured Williams in a roller disco surrounded by ravenous female fans. In the video, Williams strips nude for the fans, then (using CGI technology) he is shown stripping off' his skin, muscle tissue and organs and feeding them to the female dancers. The video ends with Williams, now nothing but a skeleton, still dancing to the music."
Yeah, it's a bit gross. But I thought it was a really funny parody of male strippers! (Not to mention a clever dramatization of those old Rolling Stones' lyrics, "If I could stick a knife in my heart/Suicide right on the stage/Would it be enough for your teenage lust?" But then again, maybe I'm still reading too much into things...)

"Doctors' embarrassing moments"

A hoot! For example...

"I was caring for a woman from Kentucky and asked, 'So, how's your breakfast this morning?' 'It's very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly... I can't seem to get used to the taste,' the patient replied. I then asked to see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled 'KY Jelly.'"

Oops!! And others of Doctors' embarrassing moments...

(from linkfilter)

Newsflash: "Vatican may have found late pope's 'miracle'"

Vatican may have found late pope's 'miracle'

Panorama of St. Mark's Square at Night!


(from Veniceblog)

REPOST: "The Royal Navy Sings Queen!"

I'm reposting this from August 25... since the original link I put up is now dead, and I found the video (albeit with some sync problems) on

I've read more than once that sailors' lives are often filled with stultifying boredom, punctuated by periodic episodes of utterly frenetic activity. I think this video may just prove it! Enjoy!!
You've just got to love armed forces with a sense of humor!

If you haven't seen this video, you oughta!

The Sun Online - News: They're sing the Navy!: "ROYAL Navy sailors have come up with a hilarious spoof of Queen's mega hit Bohemian Rhapsody... called Bohemian Wardroom..."

What does Her Majesty's Navy think of it?

From the horse's mouth (or
website, as it were)...
"Officers from the frigate HMS Campbeltown have found unexpected fame as a result of a fun video which has attracted national media attention. Lieutenant Scott 'Stimpy' Simpson, then the ship’s Lynx helicopter Observer, assembled the video using officers serving in the ship in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and the Gulf last year to mime to Queen’s 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. The video was intended as a one-off, but the ship’s company liked it so much that they raised over £800 for the Devonport-based ship’s charities to have their own copies. The ship, which returned to the UK in December, has since been deployed to the Middle East again and is now on patrol in the Gulf . Lt Simpson and others are now in different jobs, but most starring in the film are still serving in HMS Campbeltown. Lt Cdr Nick Ryan, the ship’s Marine Engineer Officer and PRO, said: 'The video was made as something fun to do and for our own entertainment on board. Although it was never intended to distribute it, we are very glad that it has portrayed the Navy in a positive light.' The whole the ship’s company, in fact, are delighted with the fact that the light-hearted video has highlighted HMS Campbeltown’s serious role on behalf of the UK in the Gulf."

Doesn't quite live up to its press as knee-slappingly hilarious, but decidedly cute... (The bow "air-guitar" and the homage to Wayne's World in the chopper are the best parts!)

Categories: , , ,

What's in a Song: "Cornbread Nation"

NPR : What's In a Song?

For all you Southerners out there, whether by adoption, grace of God, or goodwill... the nitty-gritty on "Cornbread Nation"! (Mmmm... cornbread!!)

(Thanks again, Dale!)


"Yes'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of."

-Sarah Orne Jewett


"It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help."
(Thanks, friend!!)

More culture remixes...

After Worth1000's latest photoshop contest, want more "culture remixes"?

"Big Shiny Thing" has an entire section devoted to them! My favorite? Produced as part of a special project of art remixes for Black Book magazine, Brock Enright's "I just returned from a forest full of thieves" (at right) inspired by Van Gogh's "Bedroom at Arles". (Visible here, along with a museum that's recreated the room, which I have to admit that I find a bit more vertiginous and disturbing than even Enright's remix!)

Fun Anachronisms!

I love's photoshopping contests! The latest one to be making the rounds is "historical anachronisms":

"Your image can contain objects from the past, present and future, but it must be an amalgam of any two. The trick in this contest is to put objects in settings foreign to their timeline."

Some great ones, including FDR, Stalin and Churchill on the Tonight Show, Charlie Chaplin with Roborapter, and the Beatles crossing Abbey Road on Segways!

(via BoingBoing & the ever-fantastic Presurfer!)

With a little help from my friends...

I posted on " Ask MetaFilter" a question in order to try to find the video of the fantastic musical number from the old SNL of Joe Cocker singing with John Belushi imitating Joe Cocker. Within hours, not only did I have the answer, but also some great links to follow! Enjoy!!

With a little help from my friends... finding Belushi & Cocker?

Newsflash - "Italy's PM: No sex until election"

Considering the other recent "newsflash" that lust was real low on Italians' list of deadly sins (especially when compared to gluttony), not only do I not believe this... but I don't really get how this is supposed to win him votes in Italy!

Now, maybe if he decided to fast for Lent, that'd be a sacrifice!! :-)

(BTW, wasn't there an old SNL Emily Litella sketch something like this??)

"Which Sports Car Are You?"

I'm a Ferrari 360 Modena!

"You've got it all. Power, passion, precision, and style. You're sensuous, exotic, and temperamental. Sure, you're expensive and high-maintenance, but you're worth it."

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz

(via "Dappled Things")

Quote of the Day

I can't help it... It's a guilty pleasure! Even in spite of how inaccurately the film depicted the tale of Renaissance Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco, I just love this monologue from the movie "Dangerous Beauty." Historical or not, it just seems to nicely sum up the story of her life...

*MORE* from the "Matrix Ping-Pong" Guys!

Apparently the Matrix Ping-Pong comes from a Japanese amateur talent show called "Kasou Taishou" (if you can believe they're actually amateurs!)

There are many more of these clever and funny videos to see... Don't miss 'em!!


Insider's Guide to Venice: Forget Carnival!

Want an authentic Venetian experience? Then don't go to Carnival! As a tradition, it had largely died out in Venice until it was revived only in the 1980s, and is now primarily just for tourists! (Many locals even leave town if they can, precisely to avoid it!!)

Why does this website hype carnival then? Well, they do sell travel insurance...

Newsflash - "Venice belltower to get metal ring" - News in English - Venice belltower to get metal ring

Fastr - a flickr game!

Guess which "tag" these 10 photos have in common in fastr - a flickr game!

(from Metafilter)

Newsflash "Do the canals ever freeze?"

Somebody (a Mainer who's used to ice!) just asked me this question... Thanks to Nan for the answer!

I personally once was unable to get to Venice airport by boat because the north lagoon had frozen solid!!

Living Venice and beyond: "Do the canals ever freeze? Venezia ghiacciata"

Newsflash - "Brad Pitt may play Venetian artisan" - Brad Pitt may play Venetian artisan!

The Matrix: How it *should* have ended...

First, I sent Tom, Dale and Mark the hilarious "Do We Really Know Morpheus?" from YTMND.

Then, Tom retaliated with "The Matrix Revolutions: How It Should Have Ended" video...

(And that's not all! Hot off the Presses, it's... The Lord of the Rings: How It Should Have Ended! See more at the Official How It Should Have Ended Website!!)

Where will it all end????!
(Or should??)

2004's best Ponchorama quotes o' the day!

Ponchorama's best "citas del dia" for 2004!

Gail Godwin: “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.”

Peter De Vries: "It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us."

Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

More from the *VERY* easily amused department...

Don't ask me how I ever missed these before, but miss 'em I did! (Actually, perhaps "miss" is way too strong a word...)

"YTMND, an initialism for 'You're The Man Now, Dog!', is a website community that centers around the creation of YTMNDs, which are pages featuring a juxtaposition of a single image, optionally animated and/or tiled, along with large zooming text and a looping sound file. YTMND is also the general term used to describe any such site." (from "YTMND" in Wikipedia)

To tell you the truth, I had seen a "YTMND" before... I just didn't know it! It was the classic website, sent to me by Tom, who - as I recall - wisecracked, "Marvel that somebody actually got a domain name for this!"

As far as I can tell, "YTMND" is something like an internet equivalent of Andy Warhol, highlighting the absurd in popular culture by repeating iconic images and phrases ad nauseum. But then again, I very well may just be reading way too much into it!

Anyway, while it seems that "YTMND" is mostly just one big in-joke after another, some actually are fairly humorous under any circumstances! For example...

But the latest fad on YTMND seems to be medieval themes, using the fun Historic Tale Construction Kit for the graphics. (As one user put cleverly put it on Monkeyfilter, "Son of a gun, gonna have big fun on the Bayeux!") Like taking the loop of the famous SNL sketch "What is love!?" and making the medieval version, What doth love be?

But, then again... verily, I doth be easily bemused! :-)


"THOSE who have been
too long at their labors

WHO have drunk too long
at the cup of voluptuousness

WHO feel they have become
temporarily inhumane

WHO are tormented by their families

WHO find life sad and love ephemeral

They should all eat chocolate
and they will be comforted."

Insider's Guide to Venice: "At Harry's Bar, take a sip of Venice" 01/23/2006 At Harry's Bar, take a sip of Venice

While it is famous, personally I wouldn't call "Harry's" exactly a "watering hole" - like a good ol' fashioned Venetian osteria - myself! Want a similar menu, but a bit cheaper with a much better view (pictured at left) ? Try grabbing a Bellini cocktail at Harry's Dolci on the Giudecca!

Great Quotes of the Day from "Ponchorama" 2005!

Online since 2003, Ponchorama has just been nominated for "Best Latin American Blog" of the 2006 "Bloggies"!

Ponchorama is a Mexican blog that's a nice mix of international art and culture... Not to mention collections of great quotations from the "citas del dia," which were too good not to share! These were just from 2005 alone... Enjoy!!

“If you would be known, and not know, vegetate in a village; If you would know, and not be known, live in a city.” - Charles Caleb Colton

“A witty saying proves nothing.” - Voltaire

“The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.” - Benjamin Disraeli

“You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty.” - Sacha Guitry

“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” - Douglas Adams

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” - Sean O’Casey

“When I was born I was so surprised I didn’t talk for a year and a half.” - Gracie Allen

“Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.” - Jeff Valdez

“I am a deeply superficial person.” - Andy Warhol

“Life is a sexually transmitted disease.” - R. D. Laing

“There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.” - Robert Byrne

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” - Voltaire

Camelot?? It's only a model!!

Rome? Las Vegas?? It's a "Model World" from Metropolis Magazine...

Clockr - It's Flickr Time!

Simple, yet vaguely hypnotic... Clockr uses random images from Flickr to display the current time. (There's apparently even a screensaver!)

(from linkfilter)


I know that "The Simpsons" are not long for this world anymore... But it's been both the longest-running animated series on television and also the longest-running sitcom ever!

Not to mention that this little cartoon has had some of the best writing in television history. While teaching, I once said, "Yeah, I think there was a Simpsons' episode about this..." and a student replied, "There's been a Simpsons' episode on everything!"

Seeing the Simpsons go to Italy this season was a really guilty pleasure! Sample quote...

Homer: "Why can't you people learn to speak my language? I learned to eat your food!"

More framegrab images from the hilarious episode "The Italian Bob" here!!

What's more, there are a lot of fun Simpsons links out there... Enjoy!

Newsflash: Whale-o-gram!!

When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight!!!

Whole dead whale delivered to Japanese embassy!

"Communion Wafers sold as diet snack food - Quebeckers find nostalgia in 'Host Pieces'"

A snack in really questionable taste, eh?? (All I can say is thank God, though, they didn't call 'em "Jesus Pieces"!!!!!!)

Fun! Subtitle your own Bollywood Movie!!

Yay! Pick your scenes from a sample updated daily, enter in your subtitles... and bingo! You've got your own Bollywood Bombay TV!

(from linkfilter)

Google Video of the Day: Nickel Creek Covering Britney Spears' "Toxic"

Nickel Creek Covering Britney Spears' "Toxic"

Nickel Creek is a young neo-bluegrass (or "newgrass") band, and their video cover of Brittany's video seems, oddly enough, written for them!

And I can't say that I miss too much Ms. Spears continually trying to adjust her vertical and horizontal hold (one of the lamest moves in choreography I've seen in a long time!!)


Newsflash: Vatican denies reputation remake planned for Judas

I thought this didn't sound legit!

No reputation remake planned for Judas: Vatican - Yahoo! News


Doing some spring cleaning. I prefer to think of it as being a couple of months early, instead of 10 months too late! That goes for my files, too... Paper everywhere!! I am so rapidly getting sick of paper!! And, wouldn't you know it, even my email's now over its storage quota, so somma them gotta go, too!

Hence, the following quote that I sent to Dale this past fall... It was too good to delete forever!! Enjoy!!

Back to (in)vernal cleaning! Blech!!

"Your friends will know you better in the first moment you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a lifetime."
-Richard Bach

"Hot Squad"!

You've got to love Maine reality shows! First, there was "Maine Model," in which 12 young female Mainers competed by belching on live radio and posing with dead fish. And now, there's going to be "Hot Squad"!

What could possibly attract a traditionally reserved Maine family to participate in reality television? Fame? Fortune??

How about a new burner, doors, windows, insulation and home heating oil??? Whoo-hoo!!

What can I say? Mainers are a practical lot! :-)

Newsflash: "EU Warns Italy Over Venice Flood Dam Plan Risk to Bird Habitat"

Planet Ark : EU Warns Italy Over Venice Flood Dam Plan Risk to Bird Habitat

Beautiful animation...

Lovely animated video of "a pilgrim who comes to the Cathedral on the border of the known world. He wants to find the answers... He finds calmness."

(from linkfilter)

Fine Muppet Literature Online!

Along the lines of our "Manamana" mood music video from last week...


The very latest from the "I'm easily amused" department...

Whatever you do... Don't Press!

(Tech's answer to Grover! From Metafilter)

Newsflash: Squirrel thinks he's a puppy...

Today's dose of TCFW at Cute Overload!

Video of Olympic Flame in Venice

Exclusive video footage of the Olympic Flame going down Venice's Grand Canal last week! Enjoy!!

Ode to Prosecco!

Fairfield County Weekly: Wine of the Future

More fun quizzes of questionable utility:
"Which Foreign Guy Should You Date?"

Oh, here's a "newsflash"! Good thing I've already got one!! :-)

You Should Date An Italian!

You love for old fashioned romance, with an old fashioned guy.

An Italian guy is the perfect candidate to be your prince charming.

If your head doesn't spin enough, just down another espresso with him.

Invest in a motorcycle helmet - and some carb blocker for all that pasta!

Newsflash: "MoMA showcase for Italian movies"

Here's the schedule for the Italian film exhibition Medusa: Films from an Italian Studio, 1995–2005.
(I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for the Italian comedies La linqua del Santo and Three uomini e una gamba! Don't miss 'em if you're in the City!!)

Newsflash: "Olympic Flame Carried Up Venice Canal"

Olympic Flame Carried down Grand Canal

Breakin' for Pope JP2

Google Video of the Day: Breakin' for the Pope!

Newsflash: "Scientists discover most fertile Irish male"

This is one of those science/history news stories that wouldn't get half as many clicks with a more accurate - but less sexy - title...

Scientists discover most fertile Irish male - Yahoo! News

Google Video of the Day: Dog Threatened by... Himself

Another quality video from Google! Enjoy!!

Dog Threatened by... Himself: Funny Videos

Tain't no such thing as a blogger...


"I’ve been thinking of what I am -- about what any media person in the digital age is -- since having coffee last week with a 30-something newspaper editor who bemoaned the fact that newspapers keep on setting up blogs as these separate, exotic add-ons to their Web sites, instead of integrating blogging into their usual newsgathering operations. There’s simply no good reason to segregate the functions, he insisted.

And it occurred to me that there is no such thing as blogging. There is no such thing as a blogger. Blogging is just writing -- writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology. Even though I tend to first use Microsoft Word on the way to being published, I am not, say, a Worder or Wordder. It’s just software, people! The underlying creative/media function remains exactly the same..." [more]

Fantastic Hassidic Reggae Rapper tonight on Letterman!!

When was the last time you heard music with soul?

Check out the sound of Matisyahu, who mixes influences from reggae and hip hop to create music which sings to his Hassidic spirituality!

Like what you see and hear? Don't miss Matisyahu on Letterman at 11:30 pm EST tonight!

BTW, his new album "Youth" will be coming out March 7th! As Matisyahu himself says,
"The song [Youth] is about making the transition from being an angry teenager, to actually becoming a grown man or a woman, changing yourself and the system around you... Youth is the engine of the world."

Great "when workers get bored" Video!

Also known as "Experiments in Propulsion"...

A big hoot! Enjoy!!

(Thanks, Huf!)

"Is Maine a Healthy State to Live In?"

Is Maine a Healthy State to Live In?

The "Seven Seas"?

Were the "Seven Seas" Venetian?

More on Venice's new "Palazzo del Cinema" (and the fate of "the Phoenix"?)

An update from last week's newsflash about Venice's plans for a new "Palazzo del Cinema," this one from "New nest for Venice fest"!

I understand better now the motivations... Although the lack of national funding may continue to plague their plans, considering that the city likewise spent millions (at least some of which was privately raised) to reconstruct the eighteenth-century La Fenice (meaning "The Phoenix") opera house, burned to the ground in 1996 because of a really stupid case of arson (recounted in the new bestseller by John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, called The City of Falling Angels... not to mention the catastrophic urban planning which drained most if not all of the canals nearby for dredging, effectively cutting the structure off from emergency services, as you can see here in this incredible photo!)

But the current lack of Italian national government funding for the arts has caused the opera company there to cancel two productions scheduled for the upcoming season, so you have a splendidly-reconstructed building which is often standing unused! A protest banner hanging from the front of the Fenice puts it something like this: "From the ashes you can arise. From ignorance, no."

Considering that the arts and culture are practically like ubiquitous "natural resources" for Italy, we can only hope that the national government realizes that any economic recovery should include considered maintenance of the country's ancient belle arti, before they fall into oblivion!

What's Up in 2006: 365 Days of Skywatching

The entire viewing schedule for 2006 from the What's Up 2006 - 365 Days of Skywatching column in Universe Today (available also as a free, 400+ page downloadable ebook. 13.5 MB PDF file!) Enjoy!!

(from linkfilter)

"The World's Best Quotes in 1-10 Words"!

Pretty good ones!

(Especially number 1!!)

The World's Best Quotes in 1-10 Words

Love letters...

Looking over the long course of my romance with my once-fiance'/now-husband, I realize that "love letters" largely went the way of the "lovEmail," written in abundance in those seemingly interminable periods when we were separated on two different continents because of our professional lives. And that went off and on for a good six years!

For these last six years, however, we've finally been thoroughly blessed to be together for our professional lives. As a result, as is the fate of most married couples, I imagine... I've realized that those "loveEmails" (fruit of so many terrible hours of pained longing) have largely disappeared from our relationship now.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you! It's not that I am thinking these days that I need to receive more love letters from my better half, but rather that I really ought to be writing them... putting down in words (not to mention for posterity, should posterity ever care) all those little things I adore about him which flash so continuously through my mind that I hardly register them consciously any more (although each and every time they do still bring a smile to my lips!)

So, I've decided to work on a constantly-evolving love letter, in perpetual progress, to my husband. After 12 wonderful years of being together and nearly 6 years of marriage, I feel like it's the least I can offer in return! We'll see if I can manage to generate some missive worthy enough by our anniversary next month! (No pressure!)

P.S. Hey, now I'm curious.... (and not just because I want to steal other people's ideas!)

In ya'll's opinion, what is indispensible for the love letters you give and/or receive? What makes the most impact, do you think? What makes you feel most special and loved?? (It's time, I think, that I need to reevaluate and celebrate the genre as a whole!!) Thanks!! :-)

"And on a clear day, you can see the Dolomiti!"

Nan McElroy's blogged about one of my favorite serendipitous sights in Venice: the mountains!

So far, I personally haven't been able to take a photo which does this marvelous scene justice...

What I love is that there are several birds-eye view antique maps which show the nearby Dolomite mountain range. (As you may or may not be able to see in background of the image below of a 1486 map from the Centro Interdipartimentale di ricerca sull' Iconografia della Città europea in Naples).

So when the mainland's smog clears enough to reveal those marvelous peaks once again, I feel like I'm looking back light-years through the mists of time! Breathtaking!!

Newsflash: New Palazzo del Cinema for Venice

Seems that Venice is going to replace its famous "Palazzo del Cinema," home of the annual Venice Film Festival on the Lido barrier island of the Venetian Lagoon.

The modernist masterpiece (pictured above) was built between 1937-38 and designed by Luigi Quagliata.

According to, the Veneto region has apparently approved the construction of a new complex for the film festival in the precincts of island's relatively recently closed hospital, the Ospedale al Mare.

Too bad, considering that they've also closed Venice's former summer casino on the Lido, right next to the current Palazzo del Cinema, and it would have been perfect for expanding the venue. Right now, it largely stands unused...

Newsflash: Genetic Engineers create Glow-in-the-Dark Pigs!

If this is true, then I'd say that it's the most excellent science news of 2006!

(And we're only 2 weeks into the new year!!)

BBC NEWS: Taiwan breeds green-glowing pigs

Newsflash: Roller Derby Rollergirls' Literary Tastes

Not only do we know now that roller derby is back, but we even know what their literary tastes are! Hoorah!!
(from Metafilter)

Matrix Ping-Pong!

I am self-admittedly easily amused, but, while silly, this "Matrix Ping-Pong" video is very humorous and clever! Enjoy!!

Another fun quiz of questionable utility!

Your Life Path Number is 3

Your purpose in life is to express your unique self.

You are a creative and artistic person with an interesting view on life.

Witty and outgoing, you enjoy sharing your crazy ideas with anyone who will listen.

A total social butterfly, you're the life of any party.

In love, you inspire and enchant your partner. You are often an object of fantasy and desire.

While you are very talented, you sometimes lack the ambition to put your talents in play.

And while your wit carries you a long way, you occasionally use it to mask your true feelings.

Your natural abilities can bring you all the success in the world ... if you let them

What makes a great prank??

Interestingly enough, it's The Economist that wants to know in Pranks: a competition From Hermes to bonsai kittens!

I concur with... "Abbie Hoffman, a 1960s radical-cum-trickster, [who] said most pranks fell into one of three categories: 'good' pranks were amusingly satirical, 'bad' ones gratuitously vindictive, and 'neutral' ones surreal and soft on the victim (if there was one)."

Give me good, surreal pranks anytime!!

(from Metafilter)

UPDATED: Mood Swings - Surfing the web by mood!

"Wild Mood Swings is a simple game. You select a mood from a pull-down list, click on 'take me away' and it'll whisk you away to an appropriate site. Each time you reload the page or click the shuffle moods link, the moods are sorted into a different order."

UPDATED: Just for the heck of it, I've added a mood icon to my sidebar. Right this very moment, I'm "domestic". (I'd better enjoy it while it lasts!!)

You can also use automatically updating iMood "mood indicators" on your own blog, on your homepage or in your email signature, not to mention that there's a quick and handy little bookmarklet you can easily add to your browser which makes changing your iMood a snap!

(Want to see what mood the Internet has as a whole? Turns out that right now it's "tired"!)

In addition to letting you find other users, books, films, etc. by moods, the service also offers surfing via "Moody Links," which gives you sites submitted by those who've had the same mood as you do.

(Wouldn't you know it? There's nothing under "domestic"! Actually, can't say as I blame them...)

"Televideo": An Italian Blast from the Past!

Before the World Wide Web, there was "Televideo" on Italian tv, which broadcasts over antenna and gives you a menu of information choices, from news to weather to the tv guide to the lotto to recipes. There's a little bit of everything here!

And I just noticed that Televideo's also available online! Enjoy!! (Particularly the "old school" updating live screen shot on the center of the page!)

More pointless but fun quizzes:
"Girl-Only Blogthings"!

Your Alias Should Be:

Kaylin Dylan


You Are Boyish Sexy

You're the kind of girl who gets along with all the boys whether it's holding your own in a game of touch football... or kicking some major butt while playing Xbox.

You hang with the guys easily, while still keeping your girly sexiness.


Your Passion is Red!

You've got that spark - a good dose of intensity, power, and determination.

You do whatever you want in life ... to hell with what anyone thinks!

With so many interests and loves, you're always running around doing something new.

You have fire in your eyes, and it shows. Bet you're even wearing something red!


Your Inner Muse is Thalia

You are most like this playful muse of comedy.

Life is all about laughter to you, and you're a natural comic.

You make people laugh until their sides split.

And you're always up for some play time!


How Well Do You Understand Men?

You Have Your PhD in Men

You understand men almost better than anyone.

You accept that guys are very different, and you read signals well.

Work what you know about men, and your relationships will be blissful.

Great news! is back!!

After months of server problems, one of the greatest blogs - - is back!

What kind of topics does this blog cover? A little bit of everything interesting, incl. history & archaeology, religion, books & lit, food, etc. Enjoy!!

Insider's Guide to Venice: Coffee in Piazza San Marco

Napoleon called Saint Mark's Square the finest drawing room in Europe. And it is lovely (if you don't count the pigeons!)

But if you sit outside at Florian's or another cafe' in the piazza, expect to pay through the nose for the view!

(Just a note: on those very rare occasions when I've gone to Florian's, I prefer to spend the money soaking up the ambience in the same eighteenth-century coffee shop where apparently Casanova decided to grab a quick coffee just after his escape from the prisons of the Republic, just before he high-tailed it out of town...)

An alternative? Facing St. Mark's Basilica is the Correr Museum, perfect if you're an afficionado of Venetian art and history (because there's a little bit of absolutely everything there about Venice), or else enjoy museums but are only visiting Venice and don't plan to see other places in Italy (precisely because, in everything about Venice, there's a taste of a lot that's Italian!)

Within the museum is a little cafe', and the coffee will cost you nearly twice as much if you sit at a table than if you drink it standing up at the bar, but for something like four or five euros, you'll be paying a very small fraction of what you'd pay down in the square!

Not to mention that you'll have an even better, breakthtaking view (pictured above), and be out of the elements and away from those nasty pigeons.

(And, yes, they are nasty!!)

Insider's Guide to Venice: Osterias

For years, I contemplated writing an "insider's guide" to Venice... and now that blogs make personal publishing easy, I've got to try to remember all those hints I would have given in the first place! :-)

A couple that resurfaced in my brain yesterday as we were out and about...

There are bizillions of "traditional" Venetian wine bars or osterias. Every year, "midcentury-modern" plastic and chrome snack bars close here, and reopen as osterie with wood interiors that look like they've seen the passing of centuries, but by now I'd say the majority of them are fake! (BTW, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're not good, though...)

Want to know if you're in a "real" Venetian osteria, one that should be fairly cheap (as long as you don't sit at a table, which will often get you a hefty cover charge) ?

Look for where the gondoliers go! While the city has of course more than its share of gondolieri, they don't eat and drink just anywhere...

Just don't expect to be charged gondoliers' prices or receive the same service they do (more on that later...)

But whether the place is new or old, you will be eating and drinking just about as "authentically" as it gets!

Canaletto: "The master of imagination"

Canaletto : The master of imagination

Notes on "La Befana" from Eliana!

Thanks, Eliana!!! :-)
Buon capodanno anche a te!

Just wanted to remind you of the very important 'Festa della Befana' tomorrow. I am particularly fond of it, since today it is my birthday, and my nickname for my entire childhood was 'befanina'. Have a very happy new year and thank you for your great blog.

Saluti, Eliana Marsella
"La Befana"
La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte,
Col vestito alla romana,
Viva, viva la Befana!
The Befana comes at night
With her shoes all broken,
Dressed in the Roman style.
Hurray, hurray for the Befana!

The name "Befana" must take its origin from a corruption of the word "Epifania" - Epiphany - but somehow has come to mean an ugly old witch. On January 5, eve of the Epiphany, she flies around on her broomstick delivering sweets to the good children and lumps of coal to the bad ones: they find them by their beds when they wake up in the morning on January 6. (As there are no bad children nowadays - or more likely because coal fires are no longer in use - a black sweet takes the place of real coal.)

But the real meaning of Epiphany is still celebrated on January 6, which is a national holiday in Italy and a feast-day of the Catholic church. There are processions in many towns, where people act out the arrival of the Three Wise Men at the stable in Bethlehem.

In Rome, one of the traditional processions takes place around Piazza del Popolo, ending at the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, which every year hosts an exhibition of cribs from all over the world. Another procession makes its way to St. Peter's Square, arriving in time for the Pope's Angelus blessing at noon on January 6.At Sutri, a small town on the Via Cassia less than an hour's drive from the capital, tableaux are staged among tombs and monuments dating from Roman times, which are lit up with torches all evening. In the village of Ostia Antica, which boasts a Renaissance castle as well as an archeological site, the Wise Men arrive on horseback while carols are sung in the church of Sant'Aurea.In Florence a procession takes place from the church of Santa Croce to the Duomo. "La Befana" marks the end of Christmas festivities: Epifania tutte le feste porta via. The following day the children return to school and their parents go back to work....but it won't be long till Carnival time!
--Posted to *Michelle's Mental Clutter* at 1/05/2006 11:51:14 AM

Newsflash: Oldest Western Map Discovered in Italy!

Discovery Channel : Oldest Western Map Discovered

The real "Narnia" is Italian - News in English - The real Narnia

More on Resolutions!

A good chat with a good friend yesterday made me realize that some admirable folks don't just have one or two New Year's Resolutions, but a whole list! And he's not alone! There's an entire website which helps these valiant people track their goals, projects, and progress... It's the famous 43 Things! Enjoy!!

Holy Cow! The "Holy Grail" is *Venetian*?!

Last night, we enjoyed on Italian television one of the bizillion of those documentaries these days on the Holy Grail. Apparently, one of the claimants to the title is a glass bowl found in an ancient holy well at Glastonbury in England. The glass seems likely to be Venetian, however, and therefore too young to be the real thing! (And, interestingly enough, a picture of it doesn't seem to be available on the web!! Hmmm...)

My Venetian husband was particularly amused by that. "Can you imagine?" he laughed, and then shifting to Venetian dialect to make fun of the city's many, many once-and-future hucksters, "Sti' inglesi! I finally managed to sell that worthless piece of glass!!"

The documentary followed with an examination of a couple of the other "grails" about Europe, including the one in Genoa (picture at right) which was apparently brought back during the Crusades and is supposed to be the platter on which they served the Passover roast lamb at the Last Supper. With all our own recent Christmastide feasting in mind, my hubby jokingly wondered if you could eat however much you wanted from that miraculous platter, and never get indigestion! :-)

"Painted Dreams," or...
"The Pain-Free Way to Achieving Your Naked Ambitions"

La Repubblica's monthly XL magazine has a great story on a new book by make-up artist Joanne Gair called Sogni dipinti: Come realizzare senza fatica le vostre più intime ambizioni. It seems a really fun and clever romp through illusions created by body painting! (Look very closely at the photo above!) See more of Gair's marvelous images, and then be sure not to miss how'd she do it, explained!

Don't necessarily need the Italian edition? Luckily, Gair's book is also available in English as Paint A 'Licious: The Pain-Free Way to Achieving Your Naked Ambitions!

Want more incredible body art that really makes the most out of the "human canvas"? Check out the links here (although be warned that some, while certainly artistic, may be NSFW!)

A Taste of Venice in the U.S.!

Venice's very own Caffe' del Doge (pictured at right) has just opened a shop in Palo Alto, California!

There, you can enjoy not only their fine "fair trade" espresso, but they're apparently serving other local specialties, like the famous Venetian cicchetti (or antipasti), tramezzini (finger sandwiches), and panini.

Now, if only they'd come to Maine!! :-)

In Vino Veritas!

Top 100 Wine Blogs

Best Wishes from MMC!

A hoot!

A particularly literate and agile little penguin wishes you a good 2006 officially on my behalf!


Buon Capodanno!

“Christmas with your family, New Year’s with whomever you want,” goes the Italian saying.

New Year’s Eve is a huge tradition in Italy, with the obligatory cenone ("mega-dinner") and a traditional brindisi ("toast") at midnight… not to mention the fireworks!

As for the dinner, frequently people eat out at restaurants that have put together enormous (and usually enormously expensive!) menus. My mother-in-law says she heard that the evening’s menu at Harry’s Bar was going for 900 euros!

Needless to say, with the exchange rate working against us, we joined the ranks of the apparently record number of Italians (who have massive inflation working against them) having their cenone at home!

There’s so much regional diversity of traditions in Italy that, as far as I know, there’s only one dish that everybody agrees that you absolutely have to eat on Capodanno. That’s lentils! Eating lentils is supposed to bring you money in the New Year, kind of like how eating black-eyed peas in the south of the US is supposed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. (Luckily, not only did I eat the requisite lentils, but I even found black-eyed peas here for once, so maybe this year will really be a lucky one!)

As for the rest of our feast, my husband was the chef du jour and, to his credit, the meal was fantastic! Antipasti galore, fettucine with smoked salmon in a cream sauce, not to mention the long-awaited (or dreaded, as the case may be... more on that later, together with his recipes, if he lets me post 'em...) cotechino! And our toast at midnight was accompanied by French champagne. Mmm!!

But this New Year’s in Venice was without fireworks. For years, the city apparently hasn’t had the funds to offer, like nearby towns do, an official fireworks show.

Official fireworks or no, Italians frequently fire off their own, like the famous private ones around Naples every year (like in the picture at right). Big 'uns, sometimes to their own detriment. I remember not too many years ago that there were over a thousand people injured and several killed, particularly in the region around Naples. Even this year, that region topped the list for its share of the nation’s nearly 600 fireworks-related injuries, and the only fireworks-related death was linked to a malfunctioning homemade one. (Some of these, among the several metric tons of illegal fireworks confiscated by the police in the days immediately preceding capodanno, were appparently even given fake “tradenames,” like that of Brazillian soccer hero “Maradona,” or –my favorite! – “Ratzinger.”)

But fireworks, legal or otherwise, were out of the question in Venice last night, particularly in Saint Mark’s Square, the ceremonial center of the city. Rightly so, because of the potential damage they could cause to the basilica or renaissance monuments…

Too bad there was not any public celebration to take the place of the forbidden fireworks, though… such as that of cities like Verona which organized festive concerts for residents and visitors alike.

But this is a long-standing beef I have with Venice, love the city though I do… Always forbidding visitors to do things like *gasp* eating in Saint Mark’s Square! I understand the reasons why they don’t want folks to do it, but they just put up little signs and then fine people when they do, rather than taking the effort to educate people about, or even provide them with, alternatives.

Still, I guess we'll see whether or not, as the French say (and the Italians heartily agree), "the more things change, the more they stay the same"! In the meantime, my greatest wishes to all for a fortunate and peaceful 2006 (including, not least, Venice, the city's relatively few remaining residents, its many, many visitors, and those who love it no matter where they are!)

"Immerse yourself in Venice"

"Immerse yourself in Venice"

State of the Blog

Well, "Michelle's Mental Clutter" has been in existence for a bit more than 6 months.

Considering I recently read somewhere that the average life-span of a blog is 9 months, nice to know that I'm two-thirds of the way there toward beating the average!

Since June 18th, the counter lists that we've had at least 15,000 visitors! Granted, other sites attract that many in a matter of hours, not months, but I'm gratified nevertheless!

(The world map above shows the location of our last 500 visitors...)

Thanks again and the happiest of new years,
gentle readers!

"Global Voices"

"Global Voices aims to 'call attention to conversations and points of view that ... will shed new light on the nature of our inter-connected world.' And boy does it. From India to Russia to the Philippines to China, Global Voices tracks and summarizes the blogosphere nation by nation."

HAPPY NEW YEAR quote o' the day!

"Things ain't what they used to be and never were."

-Will Rogers