Sunday, August 02, 2020

The valley between the mountains

"Gone to look for America"

The assistant at the hotel reception desk in Farmington was Navaho. He bore familiar marks of his tribe, even shielded by a mask. He was friendly, asked me where I was from and where I was going. “Made it here from Texas. Dallas. Heading to the Pacific Northwest. Hoping to make it as far as Elko, Nevada today. Ruby Valley nearby, great place.” His attention had wandered after Dallas. Maybe he had other things on his mind. In New Mexico, where Native Americans are 9 percent of the population, they make up 75 percent of the state’s deaths. And with Covid19, that number wasn’t decreasing anytime soon, from what I witnessed the day before.

I was in for a long haul today and needed to get on the road. I had several states to plough through.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Looking for another mountain

"Gone to look for America"


Driving through the Texas Panhandle seemed interminable. Speed up, slow down, pass through a little town. Bogdanovich redux. And repeat. Until the border. The further north and west one goes in Texas, the more red-hot it gets. And flat. Not to say there’s no life out there. There must be some life worth preserving, why else would everyone need a gun, as the endless billboards proclaim? That part of Texas is locked in a scenario that time has passed by. Every town is portraying their version of Mayfield. Everyone’s parents are Ozzie and Harriet. There is no pandemic. There is no need for a mask. Move along, nothing to see here. Leave us alone. Go back home. Leave it to Jesus.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Finding a new Italy while "gone to look for America"

It must have been on the last leg of my road trip around America, when I realized the Italy I was missing was passing by me at 75 miles an hour. How could it be? I wasn’t in Piedmont or Tuscany, Sicily or Abruzzo. I was somewhere between Utah and Colorado. It was the American West, not the Old World. There were no ancient buildings. But there were scores of ancient rocks, mounds, mesas, mountains. It was a bit disconcerting. There were no plethora of wineries, although there were the occasional ones.

No, it was something else I had tapped into. It was the road. The trail. The journey.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Gone Fission....



Going off the grid for a bit. Nothing's wrong, just need to step away from the world and dip my pole in cooler waters - the rods have heated up and we're approaching critical mass.

Gone to look for America...back soon.


wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, July 05, 2020

What a Jesuit priest, a Zen monk and a Yaqui shaman taught me about life, wine and Italy

From the archives

“There is a crack between the two worlds.” – Don Juan Matus

In time, the perception of things as they are and as they seem are two sides of a wall. Spending one’s life piercing that wall is the work of ones who aspire to a simpler existence. People run around looking for all manner of things they think will fill their life with meaning, from fame and acceptance to wealth and material objects, from power and influence to a total abnegation of the corporeal and worldly. Three influences during my time of earth helped to re-shape and reinforce an inner sense that I was instilled with at birth. And as I walk the wine trail in Italy these influences have been instrumental in directing my attention towards destinations that these teachers intended.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The love of your life

Well, here we are. Some of us are alone. Some of us are riding this out with others, maybe our loved ones, friends, family. It doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere for awhile. Well, actually some of us have already vacated the premises. But for those of us who are still keeping the faith (and believing the science) let’s go back in time, back to Italy or wherever your heart desires. For this is about your heart’s desire. This is about the love of your life.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A Gen-Del Futr’spatch from Italy, Post-SARS-CoV-θ: "We Made It Through!"

Dateline June 16, 2080 – Father’s Day

Dear great-great grandfather,

I am writing this to you (or it is meant to seem like writing) because when we learned we could travel in time, or rather we could go back in time, not forward, or rather we could send things back in time, not ourselves (yet), this seemed like a good time send this communiquést.

First, Happy Father’s Day, for without you, I wouldn’t be here. Secondly, thanks to the advances that have been made in the last 60 years, we’ve been able to finally get past COVID-79 and hopefully a few years of breathing space.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Pool, a Piano and a Painting

The times have a way of changing what one thought was important, once upon a time. Now, more than ever, the highly charged and emotional turmoil we find ourselves immersed in has illuminated abstract concepts, like legacy, fairness and respect. Along with more mundane things, like a pool, a piano or a painting.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

The short answer? Not right now...

The longest period of time that passed between trips to Italy was in 1997. I hadn’t been back since 1992. Now, it has been a little more than a year, but who knows when we can return?

Looking at pictures from a livestream of Venice, it appears almost like it was in the 1700’s. Not many people, no large cruise ships in the water. A quiet, lilting kind of image, Venice has gone back to being La Serenissima. I’d love to see it like this. But not now.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Lost & Found - A letter from great-grandfather in 1920

During this down time, I’ve had the opportunity to go through boxes and papers, organizing my office. One of the packets I ran across were papers from my dad. My mom gave them to me before she died. In this packet there was a letter written to him in 1920 from my great grandfather. It was in Italian and was written in a beautiful script. His handwriting was meticulous. I gave the letter to a friend to translate. This is what it said:

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Under the Influence...

#1,500
We’ve all had lots of time to think. I’ve written a dozen dystopian blog posts in my head. And I’ve pondered over Italy and what it means to me and others. And still, I can’t help thinking, how have these past three months influenced what Italy means to me, going forward?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The top 10 destinations for Italian wine exports in 2019? Once again, China wasn’t one of them. In 2020, Quo Vadis?

Young Italian wine professionals had been posing wistful pictures on their Instagram and Facebook feeds, when travel destinations such as China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Singapore were de rigueur for building their Italian wine business. From first blush, one would think there’s a lot of business for Italian wine in Asia. I’m looking at the numbers from 2019 and prognosticating upon what the possibilities for growth in 2020 are.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

When darkness falls on the island

“It can’t always be sunny, even in Texas!” I remember hearing momma shouting out to me, many times. She would know, having been born a few years before the 1918 Pandemic, and living the early years of her childhood, in Texas, in an orphanage, because her father had abandoned her mother and five children, one a baby boy.

Nonetheless, my mom was extremely resilient all through her almost 102 years on this earth. I often wonder how she’d deal with this “where we’re at right now” moment. It would be her very own take on things, and no doubt, she’d survive.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Life on the Island - The World As It Is

For Marco Moltinomi

Lately, I’ve been watching Italian movies by Cristina Comincini, notably “Follow Your Heart” and “Latin Lover.” We’re back in an Italy that once was, the scenery, the subjects, the people sitting together at a table, eating, drinking and talking, sometimes arguing, crying and laughing. It’s a scene many of us have witnessed or experienced numerous times, all around the world. And for the time, that world has stopped.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Life on the Island – When This is Over – Promises to Keep

Palermo - Isola delle Femmine
If there is a theme to what has been scrolling past my screen lately, it is that there are many of us who want to do it a little differently when this wave passes. And while there are as many hopeful iterations for the future as there are of us, my thoughts today are with the hopeful and affirmative ones who understand that resilience is an unbounding strength, not only in these times.

So, how will things be different, when this is over? What does your crystal ball reveal to you? Here are some of the musings I’ve gathered.

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