Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] More Funny Valentine’s Day Cards

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Jersey Joe has another batch of funny Valentine’s Day cards, that may really tick off your lover!

Valentine’s Day – also known as the Feast of St. Valentine, occurs on February 14th in most countries of the world, but it is not an official national holiday in most.

The day was first associated with love during the New Middle Ages.  Some accounts connect the start of the day to St. Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for performing marriages.  Since the 1800s, handwritten Valentine’s Day cards have become a popular way to celebrate your loved one on this day.

THE 411

What: Valentine’s Day

Date: February 14th

First celebrated: New Middle Ages


Don’t look for these crazy cards in a card store near you!  You might want to find another way to share the love!

blog 78 funny valentines cards 2.00_01_38_22.Still005

[Parrot News]- The Pope, The Porn Star and The Parrot

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So, there I was, scrolling through my Parrot Google News update past all the Jimmy Buffet fan articles and articles about snowboarder Max Parrot (actually pronounced “Perro” and should rhyme with “French Canadian asshole”), and I come across this article from Fox News about Pope Awesomesauce the First blessing a parrot. So I click on it, and most of the article is about the animal rights activists that are protesting the release of doves from the Vatican window as a symbol of peace. Evidently, the doves Parrot News- 021814- dovesare domesticated and can’t survive in the wild and so two doves were killed by a crow and a seagull as soon as they were released. And I guess they’re all bent out of shape cause in one gory moment, an innocent symbol of peace and goodwill turned into a complicated lesson about martyrdom and a grim allegorical warning for aspiring peacemakers about the grisly death they will most certainly face- but hey- martyrdom- there’s nothing more Catholic than martyrdom! Who doesn’t love being a martyr? Apparently, not the doves. And, let’s be clear, it’s NOT FUNNY AT ALL. NOT ONE BIT.  “Fly, innocent dove of peace, fly free and spread your message of OH MY GOD NO!!!!” SHREEK SHREEK SHREEK. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP. BURP. Sorry about that. NOT FUNNY AT ALL.

Roger Ailes, meanwhile, was so moved by the story of the crow killing the dove that he’s considering making it the new logo for Fox News. Can you blame him? What other image more perfectly epitomizes Fox News’ core values of “Fuck peace” and “The black man is coming for our women”?

Anyhow, I’m reading this article, and I get to the bottom and see that the Pope blessed a parrot named Amore owned by a fellow named Francesco Lombardi. OK, great, hippie-dippie pope blesses parrot. Cute. Maybe some lame St. Frances joke and that’s Vatican Pope Birdsabout it. As I was reading more about the incident, though it became clear that Mr. Lombardi is a porn star and self proclaimed “world champion stripper” (he’s actually ranked 12th). Seriously, Fox News??? How did you leave that out?? It’s one thing to bury the lead- but you’re putting cement on its feet and throwing it into the East River. You’re chopping it up into pieces and stashing it in separate dumpsters all around town and I’m not just using these analogies because this story is in Italy and I’m trying to make some cheap Italian-mafia joke, but, hey, if the spicey meat-a-ball fits… Listen, Fox News, You want to report on the Pope kissing a Porn Star’s Parrot- you don’t lead with some bullshit wussy headline like “Animal rights activists ask Pope Francis to stop releasing doves” – you’ve got to do it like this or like this or like this or like this or like this. I mean, come on, Fox News- get your shit together. I know the Obama years have been rough on you, but I don’t know that I’m ready to live in a world where the Huffington Post has to teach Fox News how to be sleazy. It’s like Hilary Clinton teaching Karl Rove about racist smear campaigns.

Alright, so it turns out that after the Pope’s dove release scandal (Dovegate? Doveghazi? Hey- Fox News- a little help here) he saw the parrot in the crowd while he was cruising around St. Peter’s Square in the Popemobile looking for something to kiss, so he decided to bless the parrot. You know, so he doesn’t seem like such a heartless bird killer. He didn’t know that the parrot, named Amore, was owned by Lombardi, who’s stripper name is Ghyblj. Seriously, dude? You name your parrot “Amore” but you call yourself “Ghyblj”??? And you call yourself a “world Parrot News- 021814champion.” Have you never heard of the “first pet – first street” porn star name game? You could be Sparky Maplewood or Rusty Sepulveda or Rodolfo Via Veneto I guess since you’re Italian, whatever, – anything would be better than Ghyblj. How is the DJ at the club supposed to even say that? “And coming to the stage next we have…uhm…Geeh…Gibil….wait I got it….Dickface. Give it up for Dickface.”

So, right, anyhow- Ghyblj or Lombardo or whatever the hell his name is was deeply moved by the fact that the Pope blessed Amore because evidently he’s “in love” with the Pope. And, Pope Francis (who insists they are just friends) was able to put his bird killing scandal (Monica Doveinski? Come on, Fox News I’M GETTING NOTHING, HERE) behind him because if there’s one thing the Italians love more than birds, it’s porn stars (Prime Minister Ghyblj? You’d better believe it). And what could be a better symbol of peace and tolerance than a Pope, a porn star and a parrot named “Love”. Now THAT’S Amore.

Arriving to Verona in Style

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The Italian train system is difficult to fathom. I don’t pretend to know much more about it now than I did three months ago, except that: there are some trains that you need to reserve and some you don’t, the seat maps on the ticket machines look nothing like the actual seats configurations on the trains, don’t get on a crowded train 1 car down from your assigned car, it’s nearly impossible to purchase train tickets on the seemingly helpful (but actually not) trenitalia website, oh, and the same trip can cost you $50 one way and $15 back.

Our tickets from Venice to Verona were the only tickets we successfully bought before our arrival in Italy. It’s not necessary to buy train tickets ahead of time, especially in February, but you might be able to take advantage of the elusive “Amica” discounted fare if you do, and it’s a certain piece of mind to have the tickets purchased. Train stations in foreign countries can be chaotic intense places and I always believe in arming myself for such experiences with the most information I can. When I bought the train tickets online I noticed that the 1st class tickets were only a couple of euro more than the 2nd class, so I decided to go for it.

We felt a little ridiculous in our glass encased, blue suede covered 1st class train compartment on the way to Verona. We tried to look like we fit in with the Italian business people that shared the compartment with us. We didn’t though. Have I mentioned my Italians as sharks analogy? I’ve noticed that Italians need to talk like sharks need to swim, if they stop they’ll die. Fortunately the two women sitting next to us kept their voices down, but you have to admire the sheer uninterrupted stream of conversation they were able to maintain for the 90 minute trip.

Arriving in a new city is disorientating, Verona was no exception. It took us a while to figure out where to buy the bus ticket to get us into the city center. Rick Steves made it look so easy. But we found it (the Tobacconist-duh!) and we packed into a stuffed bus and tried not to fall over into any unsuspecting Veronese’s lap. Everything worked out, we found our hotel which was, to our delight, outfitted with a tub and we hit the streets.

My first impressions of Verona were the beauty of the buildings. I’m a sucker for the details on architecture- wrought iron, frescoes, pretty windows with shutters. Verona had it all and you’ll see as you go through all my Verona pictures that I had a hard time discriminating when it came to documenting the sights.

The best way to view the pictures (in my opinion) is to click on the first one which opens a larger view, then click Next in that new window. This way you can also read the captions.

Oh Frari, where art thou

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Frari (from the word Frati, meaning brothers) was the major landmark in our neighborhood. We were continually orienting ourselves by the enormous Gothic church- walking towards it, around it and behind it. We could see the bell tower from our window and hear the bells throughout the day.  Entering the cavernous space, I was drawn down the center aisle, past the neo-classical pyramid (originally designed by Canova as a tribute to Titian, later constructed by Canova’s students as his tomb) through the rood screen and the intricately carved stalls of the monk’s choir and towards Titian’s radiant painting Assumption of the Virgin. Framed by stained glass windows, the painting glows in shades of red and gold. As the afternoon sun gradually moved lower in the sky, the light through the windows continually changed the appearance of the painting- alternately revealing and concealing figures and details in the painting. The effect was paralyzingly beautiful, and I found myself standing in front of it watching it blaze with life still illuminated by the artist’s passion after almost 500 years.

There are other two other significant works of art in Frari- Donatello’s sculpture John the Baptist and Bellini’s painting Madonna Entombed with Saints. Both are great examples of the transition from the Gothic era’s flat symbolism to the humanism and perspective of the Renaissance. Seeing works from this era still hanging in their original context, exactly as envisioned by the artists gave me an appreciation for them that I have never gotten from even the best museums I’ve been to. Instead of racing through one track-lit sterile gallery after another, giving maybe 3o seconds to each painting, I could stand in one place, transfixed by a masterpiece as the cold afternoon outside turned to night.

The best way to view the pictures (in my opinion) is to click on the first one which opens a larger view, then click Next in that new window. This way you can also read the captions.


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I’ll be out of the office and unavailable by phone or email from 2/14 – 24. If this is an urgent matter please contact ___. Otherwise, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I return.

 Are there any more beautiful words in the English language? It’s like a lovely little Haiku:

Out of the office
Will be back eventually
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

 I think that’s 5 – 7 – 5.  Is “whoop” one syllable.