The Blob

Friday, July 16, 2004

What is Love?
I just came across a lovely little film created by a talented amateur videographer. Titled What is Love? the video is a small documentary of children being interviewed on the subject of love and what it means to them. The video was created in Apple iMovie, a very simple yet powerful video editing program. The subject matter is compelling, the characters charming, and the movie nicely made. You can see it online (Apple Quicktime required) here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Italy smiled at me

It's taken a while, but after too many nights of editing over 2,200 digital photos in Photoshop, I've finally posted a site of photos of a trip we took to northern Italy. Our journey took us to Lake Como (Bellagio, Menaggio, Como); Lugano, Switzerland; Florence; villages in southern Tuscany; Bologna; and Milan. After a harsh winter and equally rainy spring, our arrival was blessed with sunny days for each of the twelve days we were there. I can only say we got to Heaven earlier than planned.

Given the outpouring of popularity around the world toward Americans, I left home with trepidations. I quickly left my worries and cares behind. To an individual, the Italians welcomed us with open arms. They were helpful. Courteous. Funny and warm. And their dispositions were as sunny as the weather.

I only hope that my photographs do such a wonderful place justice.

I've always heard about how high the taxes are in Europe. This trip brought home for me what we in the U.S. take for granted: much of the taxes paid go to preserve the beauty that is Italy. For example, in Bologna, everywhere we looked in this medieval city, there were construction and renovation projects focused on preserving the 12th to 14th century architecture that makes this city so special. Even in the small villages of Tuscany, it was apparent that individual homes and buildings had been cleaned or sandblasted. Often, the facade of old buildings is retained, braced and inside, the building may be completely gutted and a highly modern building constructed inside. Or, artisans will work for years on completely restoring the incredible work of centuries past, repainting frescoes in ceilings, carefully repairing cracks and structural stress, all in the name of preservation.

In the U.S., such dedication is a rarity. Sad. Demolishing our past is a way of life.

The cost to keep up a medieval building must be staggering. But it's a commitment that Italians believe in, one that costs a tremendous amount in taxes. It is not unusual to walk through a public building, even a department store only to encounter a section of floor covered in Plexiglas. Below, you can see work on an excavation of an ancient Roman village. That is dedication.

In future blogs, I will share more observations of these remarkable people and their beautiful country. Thanks, Italy!