Ispirazione: Learning Italian through Instagram


I have a very special guest on Italophilia! We have known each other for over a year now and been in touch thanks to Instagram and Facebook. Peeps, say hello to my friend Elfin Waters! A passionate Italophilie who hails from Gaeta in Lazio, Elfin now lives in Cremona and teaches English and Italian at Italki. 

Today, Elfin will be sharing her thoughts and knowledge about learning a new language through Instagram. She has made this post simple for all readers and language learners so that the focus is more on understanding and listening the language. I am inspired by this lady so much because she pushes me to do little by little every day just as she trains and helps her students. Elfin’s focus has been on learning a language by watching videos on Instagram (IG) and making sure that no matter how busy you are…

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Favignana: “No. 13 Clearest Water in the World” tantalizes sun worshippers off Sicily’s west coast

Favignana's Cala Rossa, once the site of a great Roman victory in the 3rd century BC, now sport's some of clearest water in the world. Photo by Marina Pascucci Favignana’s Cala Rossa, once the site of a great Roman victory in the 3rd century BC, now sport’s some of clearest water in the world. Photo by Marina Pascucci
FAVIGNANA, Italy — I’m a sucker for world lists. The World’s Most Beautiful Mountains. The World’s Most Dangerous Highways. The World’s Best Restaurants. Facebook is filled with them every day. Being a water person, one list from made me stand up and look at my sunscreen supply: The World’s Clearest, Bluest Water.

I’m a scuba diver so water clarity is huge for me. Visibility is as important as water temperature. The water off Cozumel in the early ‘80s was so clear I could see a wall 100 meters from the one I was swimming along. The turquoise water in French Polynesia made it hard to differentiate the South Pacific from the sky.

Who knew that I could add to my…

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Personal Essay: Averting the Apocalypse, Quietly


Logan Goldberg, BFR Staff

pensThe Academy Award for Best Picture — arguably one of the most monetarily valuable honors given anywhere in the world, a fact which is itself absurd — was recently bestowed upon the wrong film. Tens of millions of people from around the globe watched as the most famous humans, with the biggest possible stakes, royally fucked up, a fuck-up which was, even more preposterously, not rectified for minute after minute of unadulterated stupidity.

More consequential stupidity, of course, has wreaked far greater havoc than this debacle at the Oscars. Indeed, as our species struggles to cope with catastrophic and self-inflicted crises like rapid climate change, shocking wealth inequality, and the ever-mounting peril of nuclear holocaust, all that we seem able to do in response is fight over the meaningless differences in the pigmentation of our skin, over the irrelevant distinctions between which sexual organs we prefer…

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Black lives do matter. Do Democrats?

Black lives do matter. Do Democrats?

There is perhaps no greater story ever told than the African “exodus” into the USA. If you go to many countries, such as Spain, Iraq, Bosnia, you’ll find minorities, and in every case, they’re fighting for autonomy. Their own land and their own government.

What have African-Americans fought for? Acceptance. We do not have a black separatist movement anywhere. That is, anywhere but the Democratic party.

Facts: largest population of middle class Africans? USA. Average IQ of an African? 20-40 points below a European. Average IQ of an African-American? The same as a European born in America. Percentage of African Americans in U.S. middle class? 80% versus 90% for European immigrant descendants. Average in Africa? Less than 10%, compared to 90% for European counterparts.

In fact, one African-American historian once said, “the problem we have is we have no mythology.”  The African “exodus” into the U.S. is a miracle, worthy of a chapter in the Bible.

And this represents the problem the Democrats have and why they control so little of the country. They have, effectively, no platform.

In the last three months, we’ve witnessed perhaps the biggest failure in political history. When Trump was elected, 73% of his own voters in one poll said they would have preferred another candidate. Since then, the left has launched the biggest frontal assault on the presidency in history. Aided by an unlimited budget, the worldwide envy of Americans, 90% of the wanker sucker parasites we call media, Hollywood, all 1,400 American universities, and literally thousands of charities, non-profits, the Deep State and thousands of PACS and “fact check” organizations, they have managed to accomplish nothing.

Trumps approval rating is the same 50% it was when he was elected.

The people do not want to be ruled by an elite. They want to be represented by people who feel their pain, not people who refer to them as “deplorables” (Amazingly, there is no such word as “deplorables.” Hillary Clinton may go down in history as the person who created that word. Imagine that.) and “people who live in their parent’s basements.” (Bernie Sanders supporters.) The scary thing about our current “leaders” is not how many people support Trump, it’s how many of these “intelligent” elitists supported a woman who referred to her opposition as deplorables and basement dwelling losers. This elitist, banker and billionaire-financed ruling class couldn’t be less American if it originated with Russian oligarchs.

Who ever heard of a ruling elite in a constitutional republic? Leaving aside North Korea and Venezuela, name a country that would even imagine considering Chelsea Clinton as a viable congressman.

The biggest problem the left has today is not that Trump is going to be a bigot. If he actually tries to help clean up the crime in Cook County, Illinois, or Camden, New Jersey, what will the left do? Oppose it? If he tries to bring back manufacturing jobs to the Midwest, what are they going to do? Bring in the Keystone pipeline protesters and block it?

Do Black lives matter? If there were no blacks in America, who’d want to live there?

Do Democrats matter? Probably not.

Can you answer these 5 questions? (Conspiracy theory)

Note: I’m not being rhetorical… I simply have no clue

1) Why did Barack Obama use executive privilege…

to enact dicey last minute laws (the Cuban immigration ban, the change in College loan payback rules) that forced Trump to either execute them or revoke them?

2) Why are western countries so intent on sending war refugees…

from Muslin nations to non-Muslim nations? Why are they sending families from the cheapest cost of living nations to the most expensive ones? Are there no other places they could be housed more cheaply?

3) Why are Mulsim nations not accepting their own people as refugees?

4) Why is it that two political parties that can’t agree on health care…

taxes, gay marriage or anything else, are in complete agreement with the US going into yet another war?

5) Why is it that the government, that refused to allow the tea party to organize politically…

(that being the first time in history a group of people was denied the right to assemble solely based on race), never investigated politically affiliated non-governmental operations? (The Koch Brothers, Media Matters, The George Soros Foundation, The Clinton Global initiative, (Which actually doesn’t even have a legal status, Black Lives matter, etc, etc, etc, etc)



Alonso’s future at McLaren to be decided in summer

Life with F1

The future of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will be decided in the summer break, at his request, after the Spainard’s $40 million contract expires at the end of the season.

Alonso has also promised not to hold talks with other teams in the meantime, behind McLaren’s back.

Fernando has told us that he will not speak to anyone before he speaks to us,” McLaren boss Zak Brown spoke.

We are happy with that. 

“He is a great driver and he is working very hard. Relations are good.

There has also been some debate about Alonso possibly joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes’, after teammate Valtteri Bottas’ contract expires at the end of the 2017 season. Hamilton, however, is not so sure.

It’s not going to happen,” The Brit spoke.

Valtteri is fantastic here at the team. He was very, very fast at the last race [Australia].


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Why I love Queen Elizabeth. (And always will)


Most people, including many Brits don’t know Queen Elizabeth the way I do.

They think of her as if she is a Disney character. They see her western media portrayal, the golden carriages, the horse shows, but that’s the fantasy.

In the 80’s, I worked in an area of southern Saudi Arabia named Haradh.

If you look at in on a map, you won’t see anything because there’s nothing there. The 80’s though, were a time when the industry collapsed so the oilfield I worked in didn’t even have oil rigs. (Or camps) There was a gas station 50 km north in a camp called Uthmaniyah, but besides that it was a few locals, Bedouins that traveled north-south and sand.

My crew, myself, Helmuth, Itbar and Iqbal spent the week in the desert. They slept in the work truck and I slept out under the stars in the back of my pickup. At night, typically exhausted from the heat and 16-hour work days, I’d lay comatose on my piece of foam rubber and flip on my radio. I got one station. BBC world news. It was BBC that taught me who the queen was.

The middle east, and much of OPEC,  is run by monarchs.

There’s a king in Saudi Arabia, Emirs in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates and a Sultan’s in Brunei and Oman. After that were the Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia and old colonial outposts like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Mumbai. After that was a veritable laundry list of leaders from Africa and Asia. This was Elizabeth’s realm, these were her peers and she was the master.

This diminutive woman with her regal husband never went out of character.

Few monarchs in history could match her style when she cruised into a port in the HMY Britannia but Elizabeth was anything but the precursor to the Kardashian’s.

People seem to forget that after WW2, the Brits were not exactly popular. They were downright hated in India and the new kid on the block was the United States, but she single handedly turned that around. She was a woman you couldn’t hate. A war veteran in her own way, she was incredibly powerful and influential and everywhere she landed, literally the entire nation of England landed. Every night, I’d lay in my truck listening to BBC anchors (They call them presenters) and follow her movements.

I remember one particular meeting with the Sultan of Oman which occurred near a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The entire middle east was there but the Queen was the event. She had a sense of place and time that was magical and she literally oozed sincerity, making it near impossible for anyone to say no to her. She was (and is) also the queen of England which, by her presence, elevated the status of all the other Kings, Emirs, Sultans and Prince Abooboo’s in the room. In fact, even the US, who fought a war to cleanse the county of kings could not ignore her.

Under her rule, England went from poverty and near bankruptcy to one of the most powerful nations on earth.

They became a major export nation in pharmaceuticals, metals, oilfield equipment, airplane engines, ships and vehicles. They export intelligence as Oxford and Cambridge grads are top people in governments and companies in almost every civilized country and have integrated themselves into sports in much of Asia in soccer, squash, equestrian, tennis, formula one racing and cricket. Not bad for a country most of the world hated.

I don’t consider myself a patriot, but must admit, if I was British, or even as an American, I would have gone to war for her. I recall once being invited to a party in Bangkok for the sailors on a British ship that was returning from the Falkland’s war. (By one of my old embassy buddies) These guys must have toasted the queen 100 times. Elizabeth is as great a leader as I have seen in my lifetime.

Unfortunately, Charles isn’t but England seems to have this knack for producing the right leaders at the right time

Though I’m the eternal skeptic, I’m pretty optimistic about William especially after his choice of wives. The people I know who have met him think he’s the real deal. Luckily, he’ll follow Charles and not Elizabeth, who would have been a tough act to follow by any king or queen.

The 20th century saw some of the greatest leaders of all time, Churchill, Reagan, Pope John Paul, Konrad Adenauer, Eisenhower, to name a few but none of them ever quite attained the level of perfection of Elizabeth. She was, like Victoria, a singularity of her time. The world already misses her, and she’s still here.

Note: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. British sailors will use any excuse to drink but the first 15-20 toasts seemed sincere. Tough bunch, they let me in because I was a US Marine.

For a good easter read, this book is free on Amazon for three more days. (Click on Image)


At 47%, Trumps approval rating should scare the shit out of democrats.


For most of his presidency, Barack Obama’s approval rating hovered at 50+ percent. But if you look behind the numbers, there are a few sticking points.

– The pools heavily poll democrats

– The pools are rigged by democrats

– Many of the polls are “informational.” That is, non-scientific.

Neither political party seems to understand what’s going on.

Like college professors who run “studies” on students so they don’t have to leave campus, politicians stay in Washington.

For the Democrats though, the problem is more acute.

As George Bush recently said on GMA, “back when you guys mattered,” the Democrats keep playing to a media that is no longer relevant.

If Trump is polling at 47%, you can bet your ass he’s as popular as Roosevelt.

(Who, by the way, polled very poorly in his first election.) The attacks in the press, not just in the US but on every corner of the globe are unrelenting, trivial, stupid, inside the beltway issues that pertain to a tiny percent of the population.

What did the Democrats gain from Schumer’s supreme court sequester? What are they gaining from Elizabeth Warrens constant “we want to see Trumps tax returns” rants? What are they getting from LGBT bathroom legislation, black lives matter, Pepsi commercials and Amy Schumer’s vagina jokes?

Nothing… nada… squat.

Coming into the next election cycle…

where they’ll be defending seats in 14 senate races, their party is being run by a socialist and white hating bigot.

Of course, they’re opposition is the war mongering Republicans. Even though they’ve gone for the anti-globalist, anti-war candidate in every election since Nixon, (yes, Bush was an antiwar candidate) they continue to run the same story. Cut social spending and spend the money on wars.

But, in my opinion, even the P90X congressman Paul Ryan can’t screw this up as bad as the Perez, Clinton, Schumer, Warren cabal. It’s going to be interesting.

For a great spy thriller, click below.

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