He Who Controls The Gate Controls The City

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Back then, this mattered. I saw it with my own eyes.

I never knew what the city of my grandfather looked like. We only had a picture of his house. It was a small two-story country villa built beneath a horizon of hills. It stood alone, triumphant, defiant.

My first thought was, given those traits, how would anyone not expect my father’s father to look at those hills – actually a ridge of small mountains – and wonder, “What’s beyond them? What’s on the other side?”

Truth be told, if he ever did venture deep into the valley below his house and up those mid-sized mountain ridges, here’s what he would have discovered upon reaching the top: Continue Reading “He Who Controls The Gate Controls The City”

What’s Your Dream? (Here’s How To Capture It)

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The vision of the three mountains

The original vision that was my “sure winner” in the Florence Brasser art contest. It didn’t win. Then. But The Vision ultimately prevailed.

You have a dream. It may be new. It may have been lingering in the back of your mind for years. Either way, you have a dream.

And it’s compelling.

If you’re like most people, you’re wondering “How can I achieve this dream?” If you’re ambitious (and who isn’t?), you’re wondering, “How can I accomplish my LIFETIME Dream?”

Many years ago, I wrote a column about an ironic first-place award I received in an art contest (see, “Sometimes Second Best Turns Out To Be the Very Best,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, March 20, 2016).

I say “ironic” because the winning drawing was a throwaway picture not meant for the Continue Reading “What’s Your Dream? (Here’s How To Capture It)”

The Italian-American Triumvirate: #2 – Country

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As mentioned last week, October is Italian-American Heritage Month. Not only do we take a day (either the original October 12 or the second Monday) to celebrate Christopher Columbus, the Italian that most influenced America, but, like other ethnic groups, we spend the entire month honoring those who immigrated to the United States centuries after the first Italian discovered a brand new world.

This is the second in a series of columns on “the Big Three,” the three institutions that, though they to some extent describe all Americans, speak especially to the cultural heritage of Italian-Americans.

Recall the meaning of “Italian-American.” It represents an acknowledgment that you are Continue Reading “The Italian-American Triumvirate: #2 – Country”

The Italian-American Triumvirate: #1 – God

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Each October we celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month. The month is obviously chosen in honor of the Italian that most influenced America: Christopher Columbus. Of course, Columbus’ discovery of the New World predated the creation of the United States by about three centuries, but our country long ago adopted his journey as an inspiration for the nation.

Columbus has since been joined by many Italian immigrants who would become Italian-Americans.

That’s an important distinction: “Italian-American.” It recognizes that you are, in fact, an Continue Reading “The Italian-American Triumvirate: #1 – God”

My Grandfather’s Garage

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More than a half century ago, at the dead end of a not quite rural road, a garage was built. It was a plain but sturdy garage. Made of concrete block. With a solid concrete floor. And a peaked roof high enough to form a spacious second floor. Perfect for storing planks, loose building materials, and a few other odds and ends that existed in that limbo somewhere between trash and treasure.

It was my grandfather’s garage. My father and his father built it the way you’d expect bricklayers to build something. More masonry, less wood. They used concrete block because it was less expensive than brick. It also took less time and work to build with Continue Reading “My Grandfather’s Garage”

Day 2: Saturday, July 9, 2011 – Roman Connection Comes Through

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Here’s what strikes me right away: the landscape. Leaving the confines of the Leonardo DaVinci airport finds us quickly on an expressway heading towards Rome. Being a good distance from the city, farm land and open fields surround the airport. It’s that landscape which first struck me twenty-one years ago that entices me once again. I Rome_Umbrella_Pines_300can’t tell you what it is. I’ve only been here once before but I feel so… at home. Maybe it’s the soft hues of subtle shades of green and aromatic amber. It’s like the feeling is on the tip of my tongue, and then I see it.

It’s a string of umbrella pines stretching across a small hill to our right. These trees. These trees have been part of me my whole life. I don’t know why I say that. They’re not indigenous to Western New York or even America. They are native to Mediterranean climes. Vague memories stir within the oldest parts of my brain. I faintly recall a home movie – perhaps from my grandfather? – shot through a window of a moving car, showing this exact scene. It’s odd. I don’t know if it’s Continue Reading “Day 2: Saturday, July 9, 2011 – Roman Connection Comes Through”

Day 2 – November 15, 2009 (Sun): Create Your Background Image

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Start of Day Twitter Stats: Follow:   0  Followers:  0  Listed: 0

Missed yesterday? Go here to read what happened on Day 1 – November 14, 2009 (Sat): Sign Up and Settle In

twitter_power_joel_comm_150In his book twitter power, Joel Comm says to create a background image on day 2. In reality, I created it on day one. I wanted to choose something to acknowledge the respect for my forebears as well as my gazing into the future. Without a degree in graphic arts, I simply spliced two pictures together: One I took of my grandfather’s house in Fontecchio, Italy and the other a star field. I did not add the usual verbiage only because I didn’t know what to say. Perhaps later.

In addition, I choose a picture icon. My good friend Neil has a desire to get back into photography, so he showed up at the book review presentation I performed at the FreeNet group meeting in October at the Pittsford Community Library. He took several pictures. I used an “in-action” pose (hmm, how could it be a “pose” if it was “in-action”) for the “About” page of ChrisCarosa.com. He also had me take a more casual looking mug shot. I decided that made a good Twitter picture and uploaded it.

How many followers do you think I’ll have after 30 days? Click here to enter your guess on my Survey Monkey survey “Chris Carosa’s 30-Day Plan to Dominate Twitter Experiment.” There’s no prize, but the fan who guesses the closest correct number the earliest will “win” and I’ll mention you if you want me to.

Find out today’s results on Day 3 – November 16, 2009 (Mon): Read Around