Sunday, July 31, 2005


Friday, July 29, 2005

in between

Photo by Steph

It started with Dutch boys in wooden shoes: Kreta 2005. What could be cuter? The girls were tall and thin. Overdressed, most of them. Their buses were waiting. I was sitting on a bench (next to a German at first and then a cop), in teacher clothes, writing sad but expectant thoughts in my little book. I was waiting for someone, who was not on any one of those multiple flights from Stuttgart or Amsterdam or Brussels.

I walked in and out. A guy kept trying to give me a brochure for Aqua Splash, or whatever it’s called. How would he know? My teacher clothes may have meant something else to him, or nothing at all.

Airports are great equalizers. Rich or poor, coming or going, everyone has to stand in line, to carry bulky baggage, to share spaces and words and breath, to remain on one side of the glass or the other. To expect delays. To be neither here nor there.

Only in a place like that could I have met Marcello. Or the person I was waiting for, for that matter, προχθές. I watched the clock in agony, but the plane arrived on time. Sometimes everything goes like clockwork, with or without delay.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Whatcha lookin' at... punk?

... but he can be sweet too...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Flirtation with a Handkerchief

I read online...:

"On a cold damp Dallas sidewalk in the Fall of 2001, several boxes of old books were rescued from the steel jaws of a trash truck. Found inside one of these boxes was an old dusty ledger. The ledger contains entries signed by a "Capt. W.B. Blair", San Antonio, Texas, covering the years 1856-1858.
Approximately one third of the pages in this ledger are covered by newspaper articles dating between 1866 and 1871."

Page 172 had this attached to it:

Flirtation with a Handkerchief

The Philadelphia Star, after discussing the language of the fan, thus gives the "vocabulary" of Handkerchief:

Drawing across the lips - Desirous of acquaintance.
Drawing across the eye - I am sorry.
Taking it by the center - You are too willing.
Dropping - We will be friends.
Twirling it both hands - Indifference.
Drawing across the cheek - I love you
Drawing through the hands - I hate you.
Letting it rest on your right cheek - Yes.
Letting it rest on your left cheek - No.
Twisting it in the left hand - I want to get rid of you
Twisting it in the right hand - I love another
Folding it - I wish to speak with you
Over the shoulder - Follow me.
Opposite corners in both hands - Wait for me.
Drawing across the forehead - We are not being watched
Placing on the right ear - You have changed.
Letting it remain on the eyes - You are cruel
Winding around the for finger - I am engaged
Winding around the third finger - I am married
Putting it the pocket - No more at present

I know someone that this may appeal to, for more than one reason...

Spot the differences

I see the hippo, the hands, the red handkerchief... what else?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Circus acts

When i was a small boy, like 12 years old or something, we used to spend about a month every summer at my grandma's house in Venice. One time a circus came to the island (we stayed on the island of Lido, where the film festival is held, very prestigious!), and so we went, my mom, little brother and me.

As we entered the circus, they gave to every little boy (including me) or girl a piece of paper with a number on it.

About halfway through the show (i didnt enjoy it much because i felt sorry for all the animals), they filled up the lion's cage with some big cuddly toys. One of them was an enormous puppy, bigger than all the others. I immediately set my heart on it.

As it happens, the papers they had given us were lottery tickets. They started calling out numbers, and every little boy or girl would check their number, and if they won they would go in the cage and choose their toy.

They called numbers until only my puppy was left. And guess what! They called my number!!! I was so excited, but there was a big problem. I had just swallowed an enormous chunk of ice cream (lemon granita, still my favorite) and my mouth was all full and frozen, and I couldnt shout that i won! It took me a few seconds to swallow, catch my breath and proudly shout "Io, io!" (me, me!). Then i walked to the cage and picked up my toy.

In those few seconds that elapsed, between almost having and really claiming my toy, i unexpectedly found myself thinking of only one thing. Not the big lovely puppy waiting for me, but all the other little boys and girls, looking at their numbers, hoping that i'd be unable to collect so that they could claim the toy, since another number would obviously be called if I didnt respond.

Friday, July 22, 2005

distant, and blue

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Blue Ridge(s) by Darryl

We treat desire as a problem to be solved, though I wonder whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance. Something of desire will only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them, and the blue instead tints the next beyond. Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories. Something is always far away.

--Rebecca Stolnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


A week or so ago, I saw some papers scattered in the street. As a teacher, I’m always eagle-eyed for σκονάκια (cheat sheets): these papers had the characteristically condensed wordage, no white or wasted space, and not one word that seemed desultory or disposable. I picked one up. I love to see what the kids are studying. It wasn’t what I thought.

(click thumbnails to see details)

I was red-haired. I had nice teeth, and a thousand. I can make out quite a few words, but none of them make any sense. There are many misspellings and no punctuation of any kind. The name that traverses the photo, at least, seems to be Anna Raptaki.

(actual paper size 10x10 cm, approx.)

I thought they were photocopies, some kind of self-promotion -- an ad for her art, perhaps, or a cry for help (“I’m a Serb with four sick children...”). I tried for a long time to make heads or tails of it. What at first glance seemed so orderly and controlled is actually impenetrable, indecipherable. Again, it wasn’t what I thought.

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I picked up one more on some other street. I realized then that they were not photocopies; each one is hand-written and hand-cut, meticulously, obsessively, but not exactly unique. Some of the ravings that appear on the one appear on the other.

I can’t understand much about this woman: who she is, what she wants, the exact nature of her communication. I find myself increasingly awed by her, touched, and disturbed.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Meet Polychronis, and his three (yet unbaptized) little offspring!

Cute little guy, isnt he?


I don’t read much (and I write even less). So when in 1984 our English teacher at school announced we would be studying a book entitled “1984”, my first thought was “oh, brother…” Little did I know then, that I was right on!

George Orwell’s book left the biggest impression on me. ThoughtCrime and the Thought Police… The Ministries of Peace, Love, Plenty, and Truth…

“Truth is relative”…

And reality can sometimes be a point of view, or a matter of choice.

We sometimes find ourselves living in different versions of the truth; in different realities. It takes major shocks, and sometimes different amounts of saltwater (enormous masses or tiny drops), to step over the singularities, the points of discontinuity that separate one reality from the other.

The result is, of course… a realization. Which is no surprise… but which comes as a surprise in itself!

And so in skipping from one reality to the other, we guide our lives between the places and the people around us, trying to make room for all. Because sometimes, if one is lucky enough, one reality is just not enough.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

isolated incidents

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locust tree

An acquaintance left work at 2:30 in the afternoon, like every other day, and set off on his motorcycle to pick up his wife. He drove about five blocks and the city started spiraling around him. He stopped somewhere along the street, and flagged the attention of some old men cooling it outside the cafeneio. “Get me down,” he said and lost consciousness at once. They helped him off the bike, and off with his helmet. They found his wife’s number on his cell phone; they called her and an ambulance. It was quite a scare, but in the end, they all got to be heroes: he for not being as sick as it seemed; they for saving a stranger; and she for keeping her cool after “seeing it all” in those few hot minutes, and then long hours in a long cold corridor, of not knowing what had happened.

There was a power cut at school. The lights went out at the exact moment a student finished reading a paragraph about the inverse proportion between consumer demands for energy and the existence of non-renewable sources to provide it. We all complained when the room got hot.

I helped a linguist by editing an article in English. I learned that drug druga means “each other” in Russian. I’m proud of that. I’m hoping that a little comprehension will compensate in equal measure for my being subjected to every single word -- spoken, shouted, or sung -- by my noisy Russian neighbors. It’s summer. We all keep our doors open.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Out of time man

I'm walking out for love
I'm walking bad, really down
like a cool breeze

I'm gonna be late again,
'Driver wait for me please!'

I'm running all in vain,
trying to catch this fucking train

"Time don't fool me no more"
I throw my watch to the floor,
was so lazy

Time don't do it again,
Now I'm stressed and strained
with my anger and pain
in the subway train

Now it's half past two - Long gone the rendez-vous
Now it's half past three - Time made a fool out of me
Now it's half past four - Baby can't you see
No use in waiting no more - It's a timing tragedy

I think it's nine
when the clock says ten

This girl wouldn't wait
for the out of time,
out of time man

-- "Out of time man", Mano Negra, King of Bongo (1991)

retreat into splendor

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“There is no power on earth that can prevent your criticizing and despising mediocrity -- nothing that can stop you retreating into splendor and beauty.”
-- E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

I had advanced my campaign as far as it would go. At an impasse too long, I sounded the retreat.

And then I attended one. It was a religious experience in a quiet place, a time for contemplation and prayer. I called God’s name many times, made a little too much noise. He may have answered; I can’t be sure. I’m still soliciting his help.

I forfeited what was required, to prove that I was worthy. But he knows I’m more devoted than devout, and I’m certainly not worthy. In the end, all I did was face one version of the truth and retreat into another -- into splendor, into safety, and into myself.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Saturday, July 09, 2005

I love my bike!

What can I say, I just do!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Everyday I Love You Less And Less

Everyday I love you less and less
It's clear to see that you've become obsessed
I've got to get this message to the press
That everyday I love you less and less
And everyday I love you less and less
I've got to get this feeling off my chest
The Doctor says all I need's pills and rest
Since everyday I love you less and less

Unless, unless

I know, I feel it in my bones
I'm sick, I'm tired of staying in control
Oh yes, I feel a rat upon a wheel
i've got to know what's not and what's real
Oh yes I'm stressed, I'm sorry I digressed
Impressed you're dressed to SOS

Oh, and my parents love me

Oh, and my girlfriend loves me

Everyday I love you less and less

I can't believe once you and me did sex
It makes me sick to think of you undressed
Since everyday I love you less and less
And everyday I love you less and less
You're turning into something I detest
And everybody says that you're a mess
Since everyday I love you less and less

Unless, unless

I know, I feel it in my bones

I'm sick, I'm tired of staying in control
Oh yes, I feel a rat upon a wheel
I've got to know what's not and what is real
Oh yes I'm stressed, I'm sorry I digressed
Impressed you're dressed to SOS

Oh, and my parents love me

Oh, and my girlfriend loves me
Oh, they keep photos of me
Oh, thats enough love for me
Oh, and my parents love me
Oh, and my girlfriend loves me
Oh, they keep photos of me
Oh, thats enough love for me

--- "Everyday I love you less and less", Kaiser Chiefs, Employment (2005)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Parole Importanti


Parole importanti.

"Marca Budavari, marca Budavari, marca Budavari, marcalo, marcalo, marca Budavari..."

Nanni on the set.

Chi parla male, pensa male e vive male. Bisogna trovare le parole giuste: le parole sono importanti!
--- Michele (e Nanni).

"Palombella Rossa", by Nanni Moretti, 1989.

Monday, July 04, 2005

people watching

... in Santorini.

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sexy model

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clever guy with funny hat

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young girl with journal (and brother)

Friday, July 01, 2005


This happened a couple of days ago:

and it reminded me of music I have pretty much grown up to.

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story

--- Something for Nothing. Rush - 2112 [1976]

random searching

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found art

"There is reward simply in the act of finding something, regardless of its value. The coin we pick up in the street means far more to us than the twenty we already have in our pocket. All these are manifestations of a deep-seated urge we have to search for things -- an urge we owe to our scavenging forefathers."
(from Omnivore, by the great Lyall Wilson)

There is pleasure in pursuits of all sorts. That pleasure is tempered, of course, or ignited, by a looming sense of dread, if the object that we’re searching for, even if we’re not sure exactly what it is, eludes us just a little too long. Nothing is more frustrating than searching without finding. And nothing is more exciting than finding without searching.

I’m sure you’ve seen it -- someone glued a coin, a euro I think, to a cobbled step somewhere in the heart of Fira. I’ve stopped myself to pick it up, many times, only to be confronted with my own predictability, greed, impulsiveness, pride. It all happens in a flash, that irresistible flash of gold. It’s funny. I saw someone doing the same trick in America (maybe I saw it on TV) with a dollar bill. It was lying on the ground, in a park or some other public place, and as soon as someone would bend down to pick it up, the trickster would pull it by an invisible thread. Such a shock and a laugh. But what should we do in that case? “Finders keepers” is, sometimes, perfectly just and fair.

I was taught that it’s bad luck to pick up a coin unless it’s face-up. Maybe the law of averages, and a little superstition, can keep greed to a minimum. I’ve got a number of things I feel guilty about finding (and/or keeping) -- a silver bracelet, a small plastic dog with an oversized head, a tiny glass duck, a whole collection of coins. The search, however pleasurable, is not the goal in itself. To be satisfied, you have to find something, and sometimes a way of keeping it.