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Dec 31, 2011

Episode 39: New Year's Eve in Sicily

My wife is searching for shoes to wear tonight. We're leaving in 15 minutes to spend a mystery New Year's Eve with ... well I met three of them this afternoon at the Bellini Opera House:
an Albanian Concert Pianist, a Cuban Baritone and a Mezzo from Armenia. I think it will be another evening of 3 languages

The Baritone showed me around the center today. Catania has the most amazing market, and so cheap.
Such a culture shock going from Belgium to Sicily. People are different here, louder, warmer more fun.
But it did take an hour in the mobile phone shop to buy a sim card....

Food is going to be great tonight. I think we are going to a restaurant in the country side...
More Photos Here

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Dec 15, 2011

Episode 30: The Vanna White Interviews for LionBrand Yarn

Vanna White sat with us one morning in November in her Beverly Hills home and chatted about her crocheting habit.

She looks amazing still, those cheekbones love the camera!

Videos by New York Video Service LLC 

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Dec 11, 2011

Episode 26: Bimini, Hemingway's getaway is changing

A momentary witness of a place that will change forever, I'm happy to have seen Bimini.

Our dive guide Devito drove us around the island in a golf cart, pulling over to pay his respects to his blind drunk mother-in-law and her staggering amber cohorts, lunch at the Triple A shack where I recognized the hotel merchandise girl working her 2nd job.. and a visit to the best Conch Salad shack on the island.

The aqua blue views from shambled concrete beach houses niggled thoughts of real estate: the proposed ferry service from Florida is going to bring Americans in droves.
Maybe the food will improve, they'll stop serving canned green beans and over-cooked seafood... but the beachfront property will eventually be snapped up by non-locals.

This was a working scuba trip for me (see pics), but there was time for an earful and a sticky beak at the life of the locals on an island in the Bahamas. 

A visit to the new hotel compound showed what to dread as I pointed my camera in vain at the bland new world that will overtake Bimini, the land that Hemingway loved.

Back to the rushing New York City on rude, cramped Delta Airlines. These seats must be intended for people without elbows or knees. The airline industry has been ruined by executive decision. You greedy greedy bastards. When will you ever learn that it's not about money?

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Dec 10, 2011

Episode 25: Ansil Saunders, boat builder of Bimini, Bahamas

Martin Luther King enjoyed Bimini back when even fewer black men held power.
MLK, who wrote much of his nobel prize acceptance speech in Bimini,  favored the hand crafted wooden bone fishing boats of Ansil Saunders, a God fearing, sausage fingered salt of the earth carpenter, whose boats are so beautiful that some people pay the $40,000 for a boat and keep it inside their house as a piece of art. Seems crazy, but the boats really are that beautiful.

Ansil Saunders, boat builder (picture with boat here: click )

During our visit with him after a morning's scuba diving, he regaled us with his stories of hanging out with Richard Nixon, Ernest Hemingway, and... he wanted to spend time with me in the future to make sure I don't go to hell for my evil life....
So that's my latest claim to fame: Ansil Saunders wants to save me from the devil.

His boats really are quite beautiful, and the island community treasures him as they should.
More Photos here

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Dec 7, 2011

Episode 22: Crowded House Royalty Check

Next to me, at the Fort Lauderdale airport, a 40-ish woman is listening to Crowded House with the volume so loud that her ear drums must both be calling their congressman.

I remember that I neglected to bank a couple of checks before leaving for Bimini: one for playing Vivaldi, the other is a royalty check for playing on Crowded House's "Woodface" album. It's for $28.
I guess that's what happens when you are young and stupid, or don't know how to negotiate.

Tim and Neil Finn, the brothers from the band, were lovely people, despite their fame. On the morning of the recording, Neil answered the door in his pyjamas, showed me in after realizing who I was and then "make your self at home" disappeared.

The periscope bolted to the ceiling was odd. Less surprising, somehow, was the huge pile of weed nestled in the open belly of a hardback Collected works of Shakespeare.

My memory of the recording is blank except for one surviving image of the entire band looking through the glass pane at me as I trickled violin lines into that expensive microphone.

I wonder what I'll spend the $28 on...

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