Tag Archives: U.S.

“The Greatest Of All Time…”

“In 2004, while living in NYC, my friend Gerald Bunsen called me up one weekend and asked if I was available to work security for a photoshoot (I had moved to NYC to pursue acting, but because of my size and character I often found secondary work as a bouncer and private guard). He wasn’t available to make it and needed someone he could depend on to replace him. ‘Of course,’ I said, ‘for who?’…’Muhammad Ali‘, he replied.”
“The photoshoot was for an adidas ad campaign. The team I was on had one job: to escort Mr. Ali from his hotel room down to the street where he would shoot in a car with a few children, then back up to his hotel room. During a meeting that was held before all of this happened, we were given details on how things would progress. Mr. Ali never spoke aloud to us, there was a gentleman with him (whose name I didn’t catch) who spoke with him directly, listened to his replies as they were whispered to him and then relayed the information to us. The photographer asked how long he’d have to shoot, Mr. Right-Hand-Man told him he’d probably have 5 minutes at the MOST to squeeze off a few shots. The photographer wanted more, Mr. Right-Hand-Man said that’d be impossible. When we walked outside I immediately saw why.”
“The second (and I mean literally the SECOND) we opened the front door and set foot on the sidewalk, Mr. Ali was recognized and surrounded. People smiled, laughed, cried, reached out to him, touched him, chanted his name, held out things to be autographed, held their children out to him to be kissed. The security team and I spent the next few minutes (Mr. Right-Hand-Man was right, we had less than 5) holding people back, keeping people calm and witnessing the madness. Although I had met a lot of celebrities while living in NYC, I had never met one as traffic-stopping as him. His presence alone captured the awe and attention of those around him. His smile was addicting…his silence was deafening.”
120327040752-mohamad-ali-famous-hoodie-horizontal-large-gallery

(photographer: Unknown)

“When we arrived back at the hotel room, everyone shook hands and began their goodbye’s. Mr. Ali was seated at a giant desk, signing autographs and photos for some of the assistants, staff and security team. As I was still a fairly timid newcomer to the whole ‘NYC scene’ and my job was done, I thought it best to simply leave. As I made for the door, my eyes caught Mr. Right-Hand-Man’s eyes. ‘Would you like an autograph before you go?’, he asked. I was never one to ask for autographs, I always felt that having someone’s name on a piece of paper or memorabilia could never fully describe the experience of meeting that person. And although I had a cell phone on me, technology had not yet caught up to where we are today, with our selfie skills and multi-megapixel phone cameras…so taking a photo would’ve required entirely too much time to set up. I couldn’t just let this moment slip by however, it was Muhammad Ali. ‘No thank you,’ I answered, ‘but is it possible for me to just meet him?'”
“Thirty seconds later I was sitting in a chair next to the Greatest Of All Time, introducing myself, shaking his hand and smiling like a 10 yr old. I never once heard his voice, I didn’t need to. Sometimes you don’t need to hear someone tell you about the years they’ve lived, the accomplishments they’ve achieved, the struggles they’ve overcome and the world they’ve changed…sometimes you can just tell.”
“Rest in peace Mr. Ali.”
– F
PS. This is a photo from that weekend…I found it online after some pretty heavy Google searching.
Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under A-List / B-List / No-List, New York City

“Hip Hop…Hooray.”

(Note: Webster defines Hip Hop as ‘rap music; also : the culture associated with rap music’.)

“When I first arrived to the U.S., Hip Hop quickly became my favorite genre of music. I had grown up in Germany and Italy and was therefore naive to most of it, American music was hard to come by overseas. I had also just entered my teenage years and could relate to most of the lyrics in most of the songs. Although I hadn’t grown up in the lifestyle that was often rapped about (drugs, violence, drug-use and life in an urban city), I could associate with the culture of it…fun, freedom, non-conformity and the expression of oneself through music and other forms of art. For many years recently, however, I’ve felt as if Hip Hop has changed into something that I no longer understand. It seems to be flooded with money, exorbitant living, disrespect to opposite sexes and races, and a bevy of one-time, one-hit, one-good-song artists. Not only has the music scene changed completely, but the culture associated with that music has also become unrecognizable.”

“I used to wonder why my parents (and the generation they belong to) still listened to music from fifty years ago when so much more has been released since then…I understand now. To continue enjoying the culture that I found so dear to me, I find myself holding onto the music, clothing styles and social scenes that I was a fan of years and years ago. As a New Yorker, that was easy to do…I simply had to look up the music or crowd I wanted to mingle with and then go to that location. Now that I live in Italy…it’s not so simple. Most of the city (and the country, for that matter) doesn’t listen to Hip Hop. It’s true that there is a very large selection of American music around, in locales as well as on the radio, but for the most part it’s music that I don’t listen to. In the rare instances that I do find a place where they’re playing the music that I enjoy, the culture of that music is missing. The crowd remains completely, well, Italian. The Italy of today is exactly like the Italy I grew up in 30 years ago; Hip Hop-less. Or so I thought…”

1622046_10207529542572172_7903212440420885473_n

(photo: Samuele Storari)

“Two weeks ago I stumbled upon an event here in town. It was billed as ‘the newest Hip Hop night to hit Verona’ and cleverly titled ‘Hipology’. I was asked to be the night’s photographer, and I was looking forward to it because I was told ahead of time that my favorite local DJ (my good friend Carletto) would be there. So even though I could trust the music would be solid, I wasn’t truly aware of what the scene would be until I got there. Some of the nights out I had experienced during my first year here in Verona were filled with my kind of music, but as I mentioned before, the environments had been different. I wasn’t entirely prepared for what was in store for me, but I can safely say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least!”

IMG_6451     IMG_6454

“It was as if walking through the doors of the establishment was the same as jumping in a DeLorean and going back to 1995. Not only was the music exactly what I knew it would be, but he ambiance fit the bill as well. The attire was a recipe of 90’s dress code and NYC/LA outfits, with a pinch of the stuff ‘kids wear today’ thrown on top. Hairstyles, accessories and shoes were picked to match…with the occasional gold tooth and nighttime sunglass-wearer thrown into the mix.”

IMG_6462     IMG_6510

“Everything about the place screamed Hip Hop! The dance floor was packed, and counting the number of dance battles took two hands instead of one. Three separate DJ’s spun a never-ending supply of ‘that’s my jam!’ songs, interrupted only by a mid-party pause featuring a handpicked selection of some of the local b-boys and fly girls. The line outside was long, the bouncers were big and the VIP tables were perfectly typical: at first too empty, then before you could say ‘I’m on the list’, too few.”

IMG_6272     IMG_6672

“Finding Hipology not only proved that there is in fact a Hip Hop scene in Verona, but it gave me a taste of an Italy I had never seen. Black, white and mixed people were everywhere…there were no groupings of different creeds, colors or races. And even though Italian and English were the main languages spoken, many others had come out to play…giving it that NYC, melting pot feeling. I was happy to see a room full of multiracial friends, as well as multiracial couples, enjoying the night carefree…it made my job as a photographer not only easier, but more enjoyable personally. I’m certain it’s a bias, preferring to shoot environments filled with mixed race individuals, but I can’t help it…I am one myself.”

IMG_6631     IMG_6581

“Like the party flier said, the entire event mirrored the Hip Hop culture that I had adopted and made my own while in New York for fifteen years. No one was afraid to flaunt their own style, and those that were afraid flaunted it anyway…even as far as the race of friends you hung with or the person they called their own. Their people were their people, and their music was their music…period.”

IMG_6512     IMG_6385

“The only thing that mattered was Hip Hop.”

– F

* All photos by me, except the first *

Leave a comment

Filed under La Bella Italia, New York City, Nightlife

“No 9/11 Mosque? Tough Crowd…”

I love NY, and I love the fact that it made me the New Yorker I am today.
I also love my fellow New Yorkers, and not just because they all happen to live in New York, arguably the most well known, talked about, and sought after city in the world. New Yorkers are so much more than that. They’re all from other places, which makes them the closest thing to being European/American. This, as you guys know, is exactly what I am…so I hold a personal, biased love for them.
Um, I mean us.
Us New Yorkers also have the ability to be able to tell you exactly what we’re thinking, any time of day, all day, every day, twice, in very few words…which usually start with the letter “F”. It is this brass, forward, confident, self-empowering style that caused me to immediately fall for this big, bad, Apple.
* Note: I’d like to express a personal apology to all my friends in Kansas, but just because I went to college there doesn’t mean I’ll ever claim being a Kansan. I love you guys, and it was a nice place to live during some of my formative years, but I’m only Italian, or New Yorker…no Kansan. I’ve got a NY license and everything now, get off my back!! *
…but I digress.
It is perhaps due to the intimate relationship I have with the City (NY gets the big “C”) that never sleeps that I’m exactly torn down the middle of this “mosque being built near the 9/11 site” issue. Well, that and the fact that I’m half American, and probably bleed red, white, and blue…Italian white though.

Half of me is proud of the fact that Mayor Bloomberg and “the gang” want the mosque to go up based simply on the fact that we’re America (hell yeah), and anyone can be American (except illegal aliens, terrorists, and a few select folks in Arizona), and everyone has the right to worship who they want to worship (unless the person you want to worship is David Koresh) here in America.
We’re fair, that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. We have to be stand by what we said, and we have to lead by example, and be right…even when that means doing something that may seem wrong. That’s the way that we, as Americans, are going to do things around here because we have rules…AMERICAN rules, and those will never die. Born in the U.S.A. Talk to me Goose. Some folks were made to wave the flag, ooooh, that red white and blue.
The flip-side of that coin however, is me thinking “You wanna build a mosque WHERE..?” Not because the people building it are Muslim, or Arab, or believe in a different God than I do…or whatever else it is everyone who’s against them is complaining about. I just think it’s a little sketchy because it was folks from that way of life (allegedly), representing that nation (supposedly), and claiming to be followers of that religion (probably) that most of us here in America don’t follow.

Call me crazy, but folks who have all that in common with the terrorists that caused one of the most tragically memorable moments in America’s history would have to have some major balls to just want to build their place of praise…well…right there. Wasn’t there some other block in this gigantic City that they could’ve chosen..?? That’s kind of like the relatives of the person who killed your kids asking you and your spouse if they can move in across the hall from you.
This is officially the first time I’ve ever ended one of my blog entries with a question, but as I have no official position (because I’m having trouble choosing one), and I really don’t know what else to say, it seems like just this once, it may be the correct thing to do.
…what do you think?
-F

6 Comments

Filed under Controversy...Ya Gotta Love It, New York City, Religion

“Apparently Soda CAN Kill You…”

Hey gang.

I just had to re-post this email that my Dad sent me a while back (and my response to it). I just couldn’t stop laughing..!

– F

PS. Love you Dad!!!!!

——————————————————————————–

*The Email From My Dad*

From: Hosea Amos
To: Fidel Amos
Subject: FW: Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee be carefullllllllllllllllllThis is Serious!!!!!!!!!

Hi Fidel.

This story is true. It is not restricted to soda cans, it pertains to all cans. Mama and I wash all of the can foods and
drinks before we open them. Please do the same.

Love You,

Daddy


——————————————————————————–

*The Original Message*

Happy Holidays To All!

Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee be carefullllllllllllllllll

This is Serious!

This incident happened recently in North Texas .
A woman went boating one Sunday taking with her some cans of coke which she put into the refrigerator of the boat. On Monday she was taken to the hospital and placed in the Intensive Care Unit. She died on Wednesday.
The autopsy concluded she died of Leptospirosis. This was traced to the can of coke she drank from, not using a glass. Tests showed that the can was infected by dried rat urine and hence the disease Leptospirosis.
Rat urine conta ins toxic and deathly substances. It is highly recommended to thoroughly wash the upper part of soda cans before drinking out of them. The cans are typically stocked in warehouses and transported straight to the shops without being cleaned.
A study at NYCU showed that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than public toilets (i.e).. full of germs and bacteria. So wash them with water before putting them to the mouth to avoid any kind of fatal accident.

Please forward this message to all the people you care about.
(I JUST DID)


——————————————————————————–

*My response*

Dear Dad,

It saddens me to actually think of all of the precious time that you’ve lost sending me this “Warning: You might die” email. It must have taken at least 3 sweet minutes out of your importantly busy, retired, italian style day to paste this into an email and hit ‘forward’.

Dad…

…you could have been doing so much more with your time.

Like taking a walk, enjoying the people, practicing italian, eating a merendina, smooching on my Mom (gross!), watching a western, reading the Bible, cooking spaghetti, eating Nutella, taking nap, taking TWO naps…

The point is, next time, just shoot me an email that says:

“Hey son, heard there were some knuckleheads out there dying…sucking on dirty soda cans. Ha! Ok. gotta go, your Mamma’s callin me.”

And I’ll laugh about it with ya, and then be on my merry way. It only takes 30 seconds, and then you can spend the other 2 and 1/2 minutes doing the stuff that I mentioned before.

Because come on, of all the things that I do, ONE of them is not sucking on dirty soda cans. Geesh. How many times have I heard it “Wipe the top of that can boy…don’t make me jump on you. And even if you didn’t teach me as well as you did (and let’s face it, you did), my simple life experiences and personal hygiend standards would keep me out of that particular bracket of imbecils.

Come on, North Texas? On a boat? On a sunday..??

You know me better than that…I only drink Diet Soda. She was drinking a regular Coke.

Ha! Death by Aspertame!!

That is all.

Out.

– F

PS. Oh, and WHO did you get this information from, ANYWAY..? You sure do trust a lot of emails from a lot of random people. I mean, look at the can in the picture…it’s in Japanese. I thought the girl was in North Texas..?? And look at that warehouse…that does NOT look like an officially licensed Coca Cola storage facility..! Nope. It looks like a Costco…or a Super Wal-Mart…and yeah, those are kinda dirty.

PPS. And I don’t care WHAT that survey said that was taken at NYCU (and where the HECK is NYCU anyway??)…but I will never, ever, EVER believe that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than public toilet seats!! Ha!! Seriously???? I live in New York city…I’ve seen public toilet seats so scary, grown men would rather go in their pants and just clean it up when they get home.

PPPS. …I’ve seen public toilet seats SO scary, you have to be 21 just to look at them.

PPPPS. …I’ve seen public toilet seats so scary, they wear Phantom of the Opera masks.

PPPPPS. (Yep, still going) …I’ve seen public toilet seats SO scary…the restroom attendant has to blindfold you before you enter the stall.

(Ok, I’m done.)

3 Comments

Filed under Mom & Dad...Gotta Love 'Em, Really America?

“Why Americans STILL Don’t Watch Soccer…Even Though They SHOULD.”

* NOTE * –> “My father is American and my mother is Italian, so I spent most of my life in Europe before moving here to NY in 2002. Having an Amerian/Italian point of view qualifies me to say what I’m about to say…however harsh it may sound. Just remember, it’s MY point of view…it doesn’t have to be yours.”

____________________________________________________

“Soccer is the greatest sport in the world.”

“It’s been played for hundreds (and arguably thousands) of years by millions of people in thousands of countries. Every four years the World Cup is watched by billions (yes, BILLIONS) of people. To compare it to any American sport (especially friggin baseball) simply does NOT do it justice…so I won’t even try.”

“I will, however, put in my two cents on why I believe it’s less popular and less watched here in America than everywhere else in the world. As I mentioned before, having lived in multiple countries throughout my life has really opened up my eyes to the cultural differences BETWEEN those countries…socially as well as recreationally. With all that said…here are my theories on the matter.”

“THEORY #1: America is one of the youngest countries in the world…only about 300 years old to be exact. Most of the other countries in the world are 10 times that old…at LEAST. Those older countries are the ones that have been living, learning, and fighting over which cultures, practices and social activities will live and die on this planet…and most of those decisions were made while America was still in the womb, in a manner of speaking. So, since the rest of the world has been learning how to play soccer before the US, it’s only natural that the US is worse at the game than other countries. The problem is America loves winners. They love dominating, scoring, and defeating the competition. They don’t like losing. They don’t like following teams that lose. And they don’t like playing sports that they lose at. And since they can’t play soccer as well as the rest of the world (because they learned it 100’s of years after everyone else), they would rather just not follow the sport as much.”

“THEORY #2: Americans have no patience…at all. They want it all, they want it how they want it, and they want it now. Since soccer is a game of fewer goals, fewer points, and fewer scoring opportunities than most other sports in the world, Americans begin to develop international A.D.D., and simply choose to stop watching.”

“THEORY #3: America’s world of sports is run more by money and corporations rather than actual fan-base, honor, and love of the game. Ads create money. Endorsements create money. And it’s because of this that during the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, NHL Finals, and the World Series, hundreds of TV time-outs, ad time-outs, and commercial endorsement time-outs are plastered in and around the game. Stopping the game, pausing the game, reviewing the game, rewinding the game, and re-playing highlights from the game is how America likes to watch its sports. Americans simply can’t comprehend playing a game for 45 minutes without commercial interruption, having a small halftime, and then playing 45 more minutes of un-interrupted 2nd half.”

“I have a PLENTY of other theories on soccer, but they don’t relate to the topic in the title of this blog, so I’ll spare you all any of my personal thoughts on the matter. My love for the game of soccer supersedes that of all other sports. The Italian gene that controls what sporting event I will and will not watch has definitely overpowered the American one in my body.”

“I don’t mind football (college of course, the NFL’s has ceased to amaze me since I followed the 49’ers in the early ’90’s). Baseball’s fun to play but absolute torture to watch most of the time…even Americans admit to this. Tennis is ok live…something about the 1-on-1 of it all. Boxing I won’t even get INTO to…let’s just say I’m not a fan. And I’ve never actually SEEN a hockey game, tennis round, polo match or rugby game played in their entirety.”


“Soccer will forever remain the beautiful game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a UEFA match on XBox, a Serie A match on TV, a pick-up game outside my apartment, or the World Cup in person…I’m there, and I’m LOVING IT.”

– F

3 Comments

Filed under Really America?, Soccer

“Hell Hath No Fury Like A Naval Wife Scorned.”

The United States Navy announced yesterday that after years of maintaining tradition, they’re finally deciding to remove one of the last military-related sex barriers, by allowing women to serve on submarines.

This is the first time that women will be stationed on submarines since 1994, the year the Navy began allowing them to serve on all surface ships.

The only people to protest this change..?

The wives of the sailors.

The surprising part, however, is that their primary concern wasn’t their husbands cheating on them, but that unqualified female sailors might potentially take jobs from their husbands.

REALLY..??

Come on now…THAT’S the reason you’re worried..?

– F

1 Comment

Filed under Blog Quickies, Love Life, Really America?, This...I Just Don't Get

“Give me a screwdriver…I’m taking the door off this stupid closet.”

I awoke this morning (ok, it was 3pm, but you get my drift) to an article on Yahoo stating that Ricky Martin has decided to come “out of the closet” after all these years and announce that he is gay.

I wasn’t sure if it was just me, or if perhaps I was jumping the gun years ago when I first saw his “She bangs” video…but I thought he was gay ALREADY. How is this a new development..? Granted, we could discuss the accuracy of my “gay-dar” for hours, seeing as I’m not homosexual, or lesbian, or bisexual (for those of you not hip to the hip talk, “gay-dar” is “gay radar”). For that matter, we could discuss the accuracy of a homosexual’s “gay-dar” as well, as I’m sure even THEY are wrong sometimes. Hell, while we’re at it, we could digress altogether and discuss the stereotypical assumptions of humanity as a whole, and question why anyone even HAS a “gay-dar” in the first place…accurate or not. That’s not what I came to talk about today however…because I don’t want to be here all day writing just as I’m sure you don’t want to be here all day reading.

What I DID come to do today was ask a simple question: “Does anybody really care..?”

I understand that as humans, we generally like to know what’s going on in the world…especially in the case of celebrities. People like to be up on their gossip. They like to have information on certain subject matter because it gives them the upper hand in conversation. As soon as you heard that Michael Jackson died, you felt the need to tell someone immediately. But no one wanted to be the first person to HEAR that Michael Jackson had died.

What I don’t understand however, is why someone being homosexual/lesbian/bisexual is STILL news..??

It’s 2010 for crying outloud! A woman won the Academy Award for directing for the first time in history. Our President signed a law finalizing health care which could change all of our lives significantly. Earthquakes are killing people by the hundreds of thousands. Our natural resources are depleting every single minute of the day. Our economy is garbage…not trash…GARBAGE.

…and Ricky Martin being gay when I already thought he WAS gay is the first thing I read about when I wake up?

I was halfway through the process of calling a few gay friends of mine and asking them: “Why would homosexuals even feel the need to stay IN the closet? Why not just tell everyone the moment you find out? Why not just live your life normally regardless of what other people think of you?”

I mean, I don’t go around all day telling people that I’m a heterosexual. I don’t make announcements to the general public that I’m a Christian. I don’t hold press conferences in the wee hours of the morning to tell the world that I’m a mulatto.

So why hide ANYTHING..?

Then it occurred to me…it’s not gays that are afraid to come out of the closet. It’s the U.S. as a whole that is afraid to accept the fact that there even IS a closet.

Seriously America, do we really still care about an individual’s sexual practices?

So your male neighbor sleeps with men. Who cares? How does that affect your day to day activities? So you know a girl that sleeps with girls. So what? Are they having sex with one another on your lawn? On your couch? IN YOUR BED? Can you hear the Elton John music blaring through the walls of their apartment? You can’t..?

So what do you CARE?

Haven’t we, a nation BUILT on maintaining ones rights, religions and beliefs…surpassed this way of thinking? Can’t we, a veritable melting pot of nationalities, thought processes and dirty secrets, just keep our mouths shut and ACCEPT that we can’t control who other people have sex with??

I can’t say this for sure (as I have no idea what the exact statistics are), but if I had to guess I’d say that the U.S. is the leader in cursing, fornication, porn, theft, larceny, erotic asphyxiation, abortions, rapes, murders, envelope-pushing television, porn, and “Skin-amax”.

Maybe we could get over a few folks’ desire to sleep with the same sex…no?

Or maybe I should just get my “gay-dar” checked…

– F

3 Comments

Filed under Controversy...Ya Gotta Love It, Really America?, This...I Just Don't Get