Over 2,000 years ago, the comic playwright of ancient Athens, Aristophanes said: “Let each man exercise the art he knows!” We think he had it right.
Yesterday, we were having lunch in Fiesole. It was balmy in the shade of the street-side cafe. We were fascinated, watching the installation of a new sculpture, a colorful contraption, on Piazza Mino. Made of hundreds of small brightly enameled pieces, all fastened together into a collage; much like one of those erector set creations of 50 years ago—wheels, gears, nuts and bolts, angles and edges. The sun really made this one pop! It was playful and riveting. We liked it. (more…)
After he returned from 3 weeks in Lyon, France, Emerson offered me his journal to read. As I read, I wondered about the whys of his ways. He chatted with Marina on the first day. He struck up a conversation with Rosina and Stephan at dinner. He accompanied Romain to his workshop. Talked with Sid and Jean Pierre in the park—just to name a few local folks. Why? After walking all over the city, why did he continue going back to Place Sathonay, rather than other compelling spots? (more…)
One empty bench beckoned us from across the park. We had been hiking a bit, so we were ready to sit down and relax for a few minutes. All the other benches were occupied, so we felt lucky to find the last available seat in the “house.”
As we approached the bench, Em said, “Oh, there’s the reason this one’s empty!” He was referring to the paint that had been drizzled across the wood slats. But, to me it looked like dried, glossy enamel, which can often give the appearance of being fresh. So I took my right index finger and lightly touched the paint. “Argh! It is wet paint!!” I declared. I then took a tissue from my pocket and wiped my finger. To my surprise, the wetness came off, but the violet color remained. My finger was semi-permanently dyed. I went into a nearby restroom to wash my hands. Nothing phased the stain. I examined more closely. My finger made it look as though I’d recently voted! I showed Em. And suddenly, I felt pleased with my dyed finger. (more…)
Illusion is a distortion of the senses.
The brain picks up visual cues that are recognizable, instantly fitting them into familiar patterns. In a flash, it issues a report about what’s going on. The brain fills in the blanks. Normally, we “believe” what we see. However, sometimes we’re reminded that our brain isn’t infallable and that our perceptions aren’t necessarily reality. In fact, we can have an “ah-ha!” moment when we realize that what we see is an illusion. (more…)
Duct tape. The miracle material was invented in 1942.
Since then, it has been acclaimed as the perfect solution to fix just about anything, from a broken pipe to aircraft. More recently, its versatility has brought it to the forefront of fashion design, bizarre costumes, competitions, and even sitcoms. We thought we’d seen it all with the complete construction of a sailboat and the functional cannon, but we were wrong. There was more questionable “creativity” in store for that ever-popular item we either call duct tape, or duck tape—you choose. (more…)
Unfortunately, it’s true.
One year ago I visited family in Indiana. Strolling from the plane to the baggage claim, I admired the Weir Cook Terminal at the new Indianapolis International Airport. I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture, the open spaces and the great environment that had been created. It was functional yet beautiful. Nice! Job well done! But above all, I was thrilled to see the artwork that was included at key locations. A commitment to the arts has always been a sign of civility and appreciation. It speaks of broader perspectives—leadership and vision. The Arts bring a much needed reflective quality, a sense of playfulness or a nudge of provocation—while they speak of the unseen currents that animate our lives. Powerful stuff! (more…)
I sat down at the computer—completely in the moment, and a word unexpectedly popped into my head—spontaneity. “Why not write about that?” I thought. “Okay!” You are now reading the words that flowed onto the page from that stream of consciousness.
The word spontaneity triggered an image of my friend from 40 years ago, Jed Free. Yes, that’s a real name! I have no idea what ever happened to him, but he was clearly a “free” spirit, so to speak, an unusually independent person, a loner of the nth degree. He only spoke on rare occasions, and when he did it was in a rather cryptic but meaningful way. Mostly, he just silently shuffled along with shoulders rounded, as if clutching his latest Bob Dylan album to his heart—always looking down in the vicinity of his frayed gray sneakers. I can’t say that I ever really made eye contact with him, but in some strange way, I have to admit that the guy actually changed my life. (more…)
Italy has an impressive system of roads that range from the strada bianca, white road (gravel), to the autostrada—which is the equivalent of the interstate in the US. You pay your way in Italy (in more ways than one). Actually, it’s not a bad idea. Those who use the autostrada the most, pay the most. It’s sort of like the state-owned and operated toll bridges in the Bay Area. Both systems provide quite a few permanent jobs, so in these economically challenging times, there’s nothing wrong with that! And by the way, every autostrada comes fully equipped with more than a few autogrills! (more…)
In the Ligurian town of Rapallo, along the northern coast of Italy, three brothers are making a name for themselves and their restaurant.. They attract a diverse crowd at their popular place called K2—but that’s only the beginning. More than a mere meal, what really happens behind the driving beat, the flashing big screens, the delicious food and great conversation is a real Italian experience—Sicilian style!
While visiting the famous and beautiful coastal towns of Portofino, Rapallo and Santa Margherita, we discovered that the main attraction for us was the restaurant, K2 (Rocco e i Suoi Fratelli, Rocco and his brothers). Here the brothers Costanzo charm your socks off, and give you a first-class lesson in following dreams and values. Our first dinner was a magical evening that made the visit not only fun, but memorable—perhaps even life-changing. (more…)
We like to play a little game called Follow That Thread. It’s really simple and great fun because we never quite know where things are going. It’s also good exercise for slowing down, paying attention and trusting the process. It leads to the most curious things, but to make it work, judgment has to be suspended—accepting whatever shows-up. It feels like wandering through back streets and alleys to discover new places and things.
Here’s an example of a thread I followed a couple of weeks ago. (more…)