Declaration of (Italian) American Independence

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“They all laughed at Christopher Columbus/When he said the world was round…” So begins the lyrics of Ira Gershwin for brother George’s 1937 composition “They All Laughed.” The Gershwins wrote the song for the movie Shall We Dance, starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Frank Sinatra famously included the tune in his masterpiece Trilogy album, where he sings the closing lyrics “Who’s got the last laugh now?” with a knowing wink.

From Christopher Columbus to Frank Sinatra, it’s clear that Italians and Italian-Americans have had a tremendous impact on America. Over the next three weeks, we’ll focus on those names history books seem to have neglected.

Did you know Italian-Americans played a prominent role in the founding of America? For example, three of the first five American warships were named after Italians. These were Continue Reading “Declaration of (Italian) American Independence”

The Secret to Winning: Look for Patterns of Success

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Would you like to know the secret to winning? It’s a system you can easily learn. It works every time. There’s only one trick. I’m guessing you already know what it is.

I’m a Frank Sinatra fan. That means, like any other Sinatra enthusiast, the song “My Way” inspires. (You can read my thoughts on that in “Ruling the World My Way.”) I thank my parents for this, for it was listening to their records that convinced me the Hoboken Hero deserved my attention.

Of course, I was born too late to experience Old Blue Eyes at his vintage best, but I was Continue Reading “The Secret to Winning: Look for Patterns of Success”

Ruling the World My Way

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As I write this, alone, past midnight on June 12/13, 2012, I listen to an endless replay of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, a tear welling in my eye, as I see my life passing before me.

For a long time, the song that most defined me was Sinatra’s My Way. Not Paul Anka’s My Way, but Frank Sinatra’s. I know it’s a cliché, and I’ve asked my family never to play that song as an homage to life at my wake. I’ve asked that primarily because it’s a cliché, not because it’s not appropriate, or, at least, wasn’t appropriate.

There was something about Sinatra’s defiance that makes his interpretation of Anka’s lyrics so alluring. Even as a high school teenager, I found myself attracted to the song and, in particular, Sinatra’s stiff chinned version. Sure, I liked the eternal optimism of The Impossible Dream, but that tune, without a definitive version, had only the poetry of its Continue Reading “Ruling the World My Way