I’ve always found it somewhat amazing that, when someone finds out their partner has been having an affair, that person often attacks the person who has been with their partner and not their partner.

I don’t understand.

You can’t blame the “other person”. If your partner has strayed then the problem is surely with either your partner or your relationship or you or all of the above. Therefore, to attack the “other” seems quite stupid and unproductive.

I’m reminded of this by this morning’s online Daily HateMail. It suggests that the Guardian were wrong to print details about the NSA story and even more wrong to allow the “sensitive personal details” of UK agents to be carried across borders. In fact, it is calling for the Guardian to be prosecuted.

And, to me, this is a little like “my partner’s having an affair so I’ll attack the other person”.

If any prosecutions were to be made let’s go to the source of the problem.

The Guardian got the data from Snowden. Snowden was a contractor working for a company that was employed by the NSA. In fact, many, many contractors work with the NSA. If one of the contractors took some information, surely the responsibility for that lies with the NSA. The NSA have the responsibility to make sure that everything they do and everything they hold is “secret” – i.e. not available to the public. That’s their job, isn’t it?

So, whether it’s right for them to obtain this data in the first place is not the point. If their job is keeping secrets safe, and some of those secrets got out, it makes them:

a) crap at the job they’re doing and
b) responsible for the leak.

So, surely, they’re the ones that should be sued?

But, of course, the British Government can hardly sue the secret agency that the British secret agencies are helping. I mean that would be stupid, wouldn’t it?

However, bringing it back to my analogy, surely one should be looking at the “relationship” and trying to fix the problem with that!

Dino Forever

Some time ago (about March of this year), I spotted something in one of the UK newspapers. It was about a company that made silver jewellery using a mould of your dog’s (or cat’s) nose. Apparently, a dog’s nose is a little like our fingerprint – unique to every dog.

Of course, given F’s love for Dino, I had this immediate image of, effectively, keeping Dino forever – at least for him.

I ordered this model of Dino’s nose.

Some time later I got the plasticine-like stuff and instructions on how to get the imprint.

There were two coloured plasticine-like balls, one blue and one white. You had to mix them together, split them into two and take two imprints.

You had to be quite quick with this as, once mixed together, the stuff became solid.

I did it and sent them off.

Back came an email saying that the moulds weren’t quite good enough – I hadn’t really got the whole nose. They sent me another impression kit. I tried again but, really, wasn’t so happy with the result.

Having sent these off, they emailed to say what they had was good enough.

However, if I were to do it again, given that my dogs are medium-large, I wouldn’t split the stuff in two. That was the problem. If it had been kept as one piece, I think the result would have been much better.

Eventually, the token arrived. As this was going to be a present for F, I had it made into a keyring – he doesn’t wear any jewellery. But, for me, the necklace would have been nice.

It arrived just after the summer holidays which was perfect timing as it was our anniversary yesterday and, obviously, this was the perfect anniversary present. And it was very well received.

So, here is a picture that F took last night:

Dino's Nose in solid silver

Rather excellent, isn’t it?

F was really delighted so it was worth it in terms of time spent and the money (for it’s not really cheap).

If you would like to get one, go to Snozza’a website.

If you want any advice BEFORE you take the imprint, give me a shout :-)

In the meantime, as it was so successful, I’ve just ordered the cufflinks from the dogs’ paws. This time there will be one of the cufflinks with Dino’s pawprint and one with Piero’s pawprint – reduced sizes, of course! It’s for Christmas. I think he’ll like it :-)

Pizza – is that a female pizzo?

Today I learnt ……

Some years ago, V and I, having got very friendly with a shop assistant in a designer shop, were invited to her house for dinner. OK, that’s not normal but she was English and therefore we developed a kind of friendship, as one does.

During that dinner, they told us about their lives including the bit about having a bar/club. They were approached by some rather unsavoury persons to pay some “money” for protection purposes. They refused, of course. They were then threatened with closure. But, the club wasn’t burnt to the ground, rather, the place was to be found heaving with drug pushers (inside and out) and the police came and made a raid and, effectively, closed the club (for the unsavoury guys?) Or it was something like that.

Although it was a little “shocking” to us innocent Brits-just-landed, it was, kind of, expected in this Land of the Mafia.

And, last night (rather than today), I learnt that this money is also paid if you have a restaurant. It’s called “pizzo” and is not the masculine version of pizza.

In this case, I was told, the restaurant owners were “lucky”. After some three visits by some suitably unsavoury characters, on the third visit when the threats were getting rather more severe, “luckily” the conversation was overheard by a regular customer who “fixed” the problem as he “belonged” to a different “clan”.

This wasn’t 20 years ago but rather more recently (like this year). The blame (by the others I was talking with) was put on the heads of the politicians but, of course, it’s not quite as simple as all that. Especially as the politicians, like Berlusconi, are probably in hock to these people and, therefore, the country is, most likely, really run by the “Mafia” anyway.

Instead, of course, one must blame “the people” since, by continuing to accept that pizzo is the norm, validate and give this “tax” a continuity that, by not paying it, it would not have, they are truly “responsible”.

It’s easy for me to say. If I were in the same situation, would I be prepared to lose all my money and hard work (as in the first case) or pay up and keep my place? More importantly, would you? In fact, could you? Could you lose everything you’ve worked for just because you didn’t want to pay the pizzo?

Difficult questions in a difficult country. And, remember, we’re not talking about the unruly South here. We’re talking about the International Finance/Fashion Centre that is Milan!

Solve this problem and Italy would be a different country.

p.s. by using the term “Mafia”, I refer to all the clans that make up the underworld in Italy.

Some more “funding” that I’ve done recently

I’ve mentioned before that I have funded (or attempted to fund) some things by way of Kickstarter.

Unfortunately, the first time was not successful – but I was doing it to help a friend out here, in Milan. It was rather a lot of money to raise but it’s still a shame that he didn’t make it.

Then I discovered “film”. And with that came my first “success”, Nina Forever, in that it was fully funded and so, in theory, sometime about this time next year, I will receive a DVD copy of the film, my name listed with heartfelt thanks on the Nina Forever website, Facebook and Twitter, 24 unique jpeg frames from the film, a personalised letter-pressed thank you card and a Nina Forever temporary tattoo.

I am, of course, terribly excited about the tattoo!

I recently funded How To be Dead which is an expanded version of How to be Dead – The Death Guide to Life which I enjoyed very much. The target was £400 and it’s easily beaten that.

For backing this book, I will be getting a digital and paperback copy of How To Be Dead, a mention in the Thank You section, a business card and badge, a letter of thanks from Death himself, a mug for tea drinking while reading, and a Death logo t-shirt.

Probably the mug is the deciding “prize” here :-)

Although it is already fully funded you can, in fact, for the next couple of days and for a few pounds, get in on the act. It closes on Friday. As I’ve said, it’s already fully funded (almost 10 times overfunded) but the things you get for your investment are, as an American would say, AWESOME!

Today, I have pledged something for Renata Road, another film that looks quite interesting.

If they get funding, then I will get my name in the film’s credits, a digital download of the final film, a DVD of the final film plus 4 original shorts from Beyond The Bar that led to the creation of The Renata Road, my DVD will be signed by the cast and director AND I will receive signed photos of the cast and director PLUS a signed copy of the script (writers, cast & director). Which will all get to me about this time next year – IF it gets funded. It needs slightly more than £1000 per day being pledged to get to the target and, like How to be Dead, it finishes on Friday.

So if you want to try it out, be my guest.

I find it kind of addictive and a little like gambling except that, if it doesn’t reach its target, you don’t lose any money.

If I’m honest, I try to fund those that are British and I like the idea of physical stuff (DVD or book) so I have NOT funded those which, for instance, offer only a digital download.

Anyway, it’s fun.

Let’s hope Renata Road gets the money it needs!


1 in every 2 to 3 are unemployed.

That’s young people.

It’s a disgrace both for Italy’s politicians but also for everyone else in Italy (employers, trade unions, etc.)

It doesn’t bode well for the future of Italy but this is a country run by old men (even older than me!)

It’s a disgrace, I say.