So familiar to be holy!

Write about your first name: its meaning, significance, etymology, etc.

grayscale photo of clear drinking glass on tableMy first name is “Giuseppe” (in English, it’s “Joseph”). It’s a relatively common name in Italy, particularly in the southern regions.

It derives from the Hebrew יוֹסֵף, which means “May God help increase…” the wealth, number of children, richness, etc. If a Jew reads this post, they can kindly add their more expert comments. I only know that the root (from right to left) starting with the letter “Yod” is a way to indicate God in a pronounceable way.

This was the name of Jesus’s putative father; therefore, it’s common in Christian countries (e.g., “José” in Spain or “Josef” in Germany), but I also met people coming from Muslim countries with this name.

One thing is sure: it’s an ancient name, and it was “exported” almost everywhere during the centuries. There are plenty of Joes in the US, and one of them is trying to rule the world right in this period.

The other second sure thing concerns only myself (but I suppose it might have happened to other people, too): as it’s the name of Jesus’s father, an old priest, during my early childhood, used to repeat me “Giuseppe, il nome santo!”, which means “Giuseppe, the holy name!”

Sincerely, I don’t perceive any holiness (at that moment, I probably thought it was just my grandpa’s name) but rather a sense of frustration thinking about my “poor ancestor.” I still debate about the injustice of the Gospels in his regard.

Think about this young man who’s engaged with a lady (Mary) and discovers he won’t ever be able to be a birth father. On the other hand, he must take care of Jesus, who was often disrespectful.

A famous episode is told in the Gospels when his parents lost him in Jerusalem and, after three days, when they found him, Jesus answered that he had to mind his Father’s (God’s) business! Like saying: “You’re only an intern; the company can replace you in the blink of an eye!”

However, until now, even considering some bizarre episodes, the situation could appear strange but is always verisimilar. He works hard and receives the “holy order” (through an angel) to move quickly in Egypt because Jesus’s life is in danger.

He always obeys with patience. But now there’s a problem: these are the only available information the Gospels provide. Then, the four books continue telling the story of Jesus’s public life, and only Mary is mentioned again. Not a word for this poor man! We can deduce he died, but how come the very Jesus didn’t say anything?

He could remember his putative father, bless him, and thank him for what I did. Instead, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John don’t care. They also could have investigated a little more. It’s also a matter of curiosity!

Nowadays, a journalist reporting the vicissitudes of a story wouldn’t make this silly mistake. At least he can integrate later, for example, when someone asks. But the evangelists certainly do not have that option and could have thought twice before leaving out this detail.

But what can we do with the Gospels? Nothing. And the ones who attend the Mass have to listen year after year to a (boring) sermon where the priest explains why Mary didn’t betray Joseph.

Ok, she didn’t. Ok, on March 19th, the Christian world celebrates St. Joseph. But this isn’t enough for me! He deserved much more attention!

Wrapping everything up, in Italy, my name is familiar, so familiar, and shared to be holy, or maybe it’s the opposite. However, I have doubts that the great composer Verdi or the less significant (in my humble opinion) Garibaldi were called “Giuseppe” because of presumed holiness.

Holiness will likely be an add-on reserved for me, and after 45 years, I still have no interest in exploiting it! I’m open to advice or rental proposals!


 

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Important but damn dull

What’s your dream job?

person standing on rock formation near mountains under white clouds during daytimeIf you think I should write a short list like “dentist,” “taxi driver,” or “director of a panda nursery,” I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I have no alternatives.

I used to have several affine job positions for about twenty years (from consultant to vice-president), and they were exactly like every generic professional would expect.

What was precisely their nature? Every experience seemed acceptable initially but soon became tedious and often frustrating. Like a mathematical theorem, it seems there was no way out. I was a victim of the curse of “important but damn dull.”

To be completely honest, I remember some positive experiences, but, as I explained, they were isolated situations that lasted for a pretty short time.

On the other hand, my last job experiences were suffocating. The script was always the same: big expectations and a slow but continuous discovery of the truth. Boredom. Every single shade of kaleidoscopic boredom.

No, my dear friends, my dream job isn’t a dream at all. It’s my current reality that I reconquered after a long, painful preparation.

Now, I work harder than ever. I don’t want to sleep too much, and when I go to bed, I hope the night will pass by quickly because I want to continue my work.

Am I mad? I don’t believe so. I worked in a “standard” way to obtain a green card to access the freedom to be my boss.

No more useless meetings. No more cheap-talking. No more detestable presentations. No more projects where 99% of the time should be spent chatting and circling like hamsters.

This life isn’t for me. I needed time to realize it, but eventually, the process was completed. I became aware of what I already knew and determined to make a radical change.

OK, you’re probably wondering what my job is. I don’t want to make you still wait. My job is to be an utterly freelance musician and author.

In the past, I published four poetry books and several short stories, and I wrote a couple of long novels that I abandoned for unknown reasons (I refuse to think they bored me, too!)

Then, my hangover ended, and I published seven technical books. Two became best-sellers (in a niche, so please, don’t think I see myself like Stephen King), and I still receive royalties. I don’t hide that it makes me a bit happy because it confirms my innate eclecticism.

The truth is that I love creativity (any expression of it), and creativity loves to see its children. I’m not against, for example, a software project, but if I need to spend more time using the hated PowerPoint to repeat the same things a hundred times, I throw in the towel.

Again, this is not for me. I want to keep studying hard, working harder, and cradling the results like newborns.

I’m composing music (while studying new classical guitar pieces – my beloved instrument), writing poetry that I consider the best way to express what I have inside, and focusing on some philosophical questions I want to investigate more and more.

If you are so kind to follow me, you will receive almost daily updates on my work. This is the best way to know me and, hopefully, for me to know you!

I publish most of my works on my website both in Italian and translated into English. As I’m not a native speaker, I would be glad if you could add your (constructive) comments to my poems, short stories, essays, and posts!

At the end of the day, a consistent part of my job is indeed to reengage with the largest possible audience. And I’m stubborn enough to succeed sooner or later! You can bet your entire salary, which I hope to be considerable!


Photo by Julian Hanslmaier


 

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A conductor in the C-suite

What makes a good leader?

people sitting on chairs inside buildingI can make the example of a conductor. Is he a leader? Of course! He is a sort of “borrowed head” for an orchestra. All the musicians are professionals with long experience and don’t need another “head.”

However, they are not playing as soloists but together with dozens of other musicians. Everyone has a score, but it’s limited to the parts an instrument must play. The entire composition’s score is too vast and impractical to be shared.

Therefore, the musicians ask for a coordinator who controls the interaction between different instruments, checks tempo, speed, and volume, and keeps listening to the entire composition. Of course, a good conductor makes specific decisions regarding timbre, the dominance of a set of instruments in a particular part, or, for example, inserting a “rubato” in a phrase while keeping the original tempo in another. He’s an artist himself, not just a mechanical coordinator!

However, all decisions concern the entire orchestra, even when they only affect a few musicians. Remember that the conductor has been designated the leader, and his horizon is always the largest. He has to “take” the entire Symphony and gently bring it to the public.

In the past, this role was usually assigned to the first violin, a poor man who had to play while trying to send messages using his hands. Quite complex, isn’t it? I sincerely can’t imagine the result, and I suppose that good performances were the product of each musician’s hard work more than firm leadership.

Another common problem is that some instruments, e.g., oboes, don’t always play. In each score, there are indications about the number of pause bars before they need to restart playing. Remember, they are alone, and the orchestra expects them to start playing precisely after the end of the last pause bar.

If you have played a Symphony a hundred times, you can probably get rid of some indications: your ears and memory are probably more precise than a metronome. But at the beginning, you need a lot of information! And above all, you must pay the maximum attention to avoid delays or early entrances.

Everything is much easier if the conductor can look in a particular direction (i.e., where the musicians sit) when it’s time to start playing. Maybe he can also use gestures to indicate how the entrance is expected to be (soft, violent, “a tempo,” etc.) In other words, he can simplify the task and maximize the artistic result.

Now, think again about the concept of “head.” Is a musician a mechanical tool? No, he has his head and can make autonomous decisions whenever he wants, but sometimes delegating this task is preferable.

It’s not a pure matter of granting power or donating prestige (the latter is generally a consequence of successful hard work) to an external actor, but rather a rational necessity.

I finish by saying that a good leader is precisely like a good conductor. The greater his musicians are, the greater he can be. His responsibility is to maximize the sum of these values. Otherwise, the first criticism will arise from the orchestra itself.

That’s precisely what happened to Placido Domingo at the Verbier festival. He wasn’t prepared to “borrow his head” to the orchestra, which caused confusion and an abysmal performance.

All the musicians had a working head with solid expertise in their field. They didn’t need someone who screamed or decided to act without caring about the score. Nor did they need a conductor who took for granted that his orchestra would have played well anyway!

They needed a leader to give birth to a unique musical experience. This is a very accurate (if you think about it) example of good leadership that summarizes all the features usually listed in management books.


Photo by Andrea Zanenga


 

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Escher knew the name of the game

If you could un-invent something, what would it be?

 

Unfortunately (or maybe luckily), un-inventing is impossible and wholly nonsensical. I could have written examples like atom bombs, rap music, or soap operas. However, there’s a subtle problem to solve.

Whatever you think is part of a reality where, sooner or later, it will be discovered. Hence, in-inventing implies transforming humanity into a group of partially numb people who cannot explore a particular knowledge area.

This philosophical issue arises because “inventing” is a non-invertible action. It’s just like the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the entropy of the Universe can only grow. The time arrow cannot turn back in any way.

When you know something, your condition is based on increased entropy during learning and discovering. This implies that the simple fact that you know something makes this “object” somehow indestroyable.

Maybe you can forget about it. The entire population of the world can do the same. But, unless there won’t be other newborns – i.e., a complete extinction of mankind, somebody else will be able to discover, learn, and invent just like you did.

I want a world without many things, but how can I formulate this concept? I take all my knowledge and write down a sentence where these things are negated. But if I say, “I don’t want rap music,” I first need to define “rap music.” If I don’t (I suppose not to be insane enough), how can I avoid that someone with tattoos inside his nostrils doesn’t conceive this idea?

Is it enough? Of course, it isn’t. I want to un-invent this question. That is to say that I want to invent the possibility of un-inventing. Moreover, I want to use this possibility to limit the ontological power of inventing!

I see my dog spinning day and night, trying to eat its tail. Oh my God! Can I un-invent it? I want to sleep! My little puppy is breathing neg-entropy to continue running forever! It’s not hungry or tired anymore! I’m becoming mad. If it’s alright for you, may I un-invent the entire Universe?

Silence.


 

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A solitary man

Can you share a positive example of where you’ve felt loved?

man walking on road at daytimeI feel I’m in trouble trying to answer this question. The reason is simple: I’m not ashamed to say that, except for my mother, I’ve never felt loved by anyone. Do you think it’s sad? Well, maybe. But it’s not a problem for me. Like Neil Diamond’s song, I’m a solitary man who can spend long periods alone. During the Covid lockdown, like many other people, I stayed alone in a small flat in Berlin. It was sometimes tedious, but I’ve never felt depressed because, for example, I couldn’t meet my friends.

Moreover, my relationships with women were always problematic. I love my freedom more than anything else, and, at the same time, I would like to have a woman with my own mindset. Therefore, I tend to project myself onto my partner, resulting in a complete mismatch. This makes me angrier, feeling nostalgic for my lost freedom. That’s why I keep saying I was born a solitary man. A different life might have changed my behaviors, but this is a nonsensical discussion as it’s a hypothesis impossible to test.

However, there was a moment and a place where I felt loved. The place was again Berlin, but I prefer not to disclose too many details. There’s nothing secret or strange. It’s simply a short part of my life when I could understand that nobody else could do the same things to help me. Thanks to the help I received, I could quickly leave Berlin after six years that I consider partially and inexorably wasted. I rediscovered myself immediately after returning to my hometown and soon started building a new life. After a long period of darkness, I saw the light again, thanks only to a pure act of love.

If I think about it, I begin feeling anxious about my last four years in Berlin. Even if I reached a climax in my career, I was paid to give back my health. I can’t forget the days I spent in meetings whose only purpose was cheap-talking. Something that I hate and stress me tremendously.

I’m very pragmatic, and anything based only on meaningless discussions in environments where everyone has to speak only to exhale air without any tangible (and practical) value drives me crazy. I can’t resist. It’s too much for me. I soon reached the top of the hill, feeling constantly low and close to burnout. I needed a helping hand to make me stand again and realize I was trashing my potential only to grow plantations of genuine frustration.

I can sincerely say that in Berlin, I felt loved. Maybe it was the first time I realized it. However, I appreciated it so much, and I’ll be forever grateful for what I received.

Considering all other aspects of my life, I’m convinced I’ll remain a solitary man, happy to be able to walk on his legs. I will quote what Andrés Segovia once said to express what I think about my future: “…the rest is in the mysterious stars of my firmament.”

Niel Diamond’s song is now mandatory!

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Photo by Jordan McQueen


 

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Einstein rules! He doesn’t clean up!

Where can you reduce clutter in your life?

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk a sign?”

(A. Einstein)

 

audio mixer setThis is not a common question. It’s an existential problem for me! If you read the “About me” page or the section I called “Parallel Universes,” you will immediately understand that my entire life is perpetually cluttered!

The issue is hidden in the meaning. I don’t consider my clutter as something to get rid of. In other words, my “mess” is like raw material that will, sooner or later, collide in a big bang. That moment is generally a triumph for my creativity because something new will arise from old material I can’t use anymore.

To be precise, I remove clutter to create a further one and fill my life with several activities to improve each. It seems weird, but I need clutter to focus on something. I need other mental hooks to hang my will on.

Therefore, my answer is straightforward: I won’t ever remove any clutter; if I need it, I will create a new one immediately!


Photo by Martijn Baudoin


 

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Sweet like my Nutella, funny like a baby panda!

What is your favorite animal?

When I lived in Rome, I had many tropical fish, twelve turtles, and a brown bunny named Nutella. I’m not an animal lover but loved my little zoo and cured it daily.

I left Nutella free in the apartment and soon learned how devastating a bunny can be. Almost all electric cables were gnawed, the bites entirely damaged several books, and two new doors were scratched irreparably.

However, I was relatively quiet and accepted those as collateral effects that I used to hope to see disappear one day. As you can imagine, that day never came.

To answer the question, I would say that I prefer intelligent animals (i.e., dogs), but I love fluffy puppies, elephants, and pandas.

I tried to book a guided tour of the panda nursery in Tokyo, but it was closed to the public then. I still enjoy the YouTube videos where nannies have to cope with little, fluffy pandas messing around, attaching to their legs, and ready to play any game, like babies.

They are so tender and humane! Like small children, they never stop, and it’s almost impossible to reprimand them. I also saw the giant mothers (who spend most of the day eating bamboo) caring for the cubs, cuddling them, just like a human mother does with her babies.

two white-and-black pandaUnfortunately, adopting a panda is impossible (just a silly fantasy, considering how big they become). Otherwise, I’d add another impossible item to my utopian wishlist.

You can wonder why I don’t get a dog. I want to be honest. While I love them, I don’t have the patience to walk them out at least twice daily, with sun and rain. I know myself: this is too much. But I would adopt a puppy if I lived in the countryside, with plenty of meadows and open spaces.

One thing I consider not pleasant is their lifespan. It is long enough to get attached but too short when you are significantly ahead in years.

I still remember the moving scene in Family Guy when Brian died. I know it’s only a cartoon, but this doesn’t mean its content might be accurate. I don’t think I will be ready to load myself with such a burden, at least not alone.

I’m convinced that animals are much better than humans living together in peace. We all should learn from their behaviors. Dogs, cats, ducks, bunnies, pork, hens, chickens, etc., can be seen together, playing, sleeping, one lying on the other, and never fighting with malice.

In the wild, there are different rules. Animals must survive, and predators can’t just renounce killing their prey to continue to survive. This is part of the game, but it’s much more fair and equitable than what we read daily in the crime news.

Eventually, I can summarize my thoughts by saying I like fluffy, cute animals. In particular, all those who easily understand humans and show emotions and the most sincere empathy!


Photos by Giuseppe Bonaccorso and Pascal Müller


 

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Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal: destination Bintan!

Think back on your most memorable road trip.

Bintan, Indonesia. A wonderful resort for the most excisting business trip of my life!About 15 years ago, I worked in a large pharma firm in Rome. It was a fascinating professional period of my life, with many activities and responsibilities. I had a managerial role and enough freedom to organize my time, travels, customer visits, etc.

Unfortunately, in the same period, I had some personal problems. It was nothing serious, but the result was like living in Dr. Jekyll’s and Mr. Hide’s lives. My mood was constantly negatively affected by a crush that wasn’t evolving as I wanted, and I couldn’t consider myself as personally and professionally wholly fulfilled.

Of course, I couldn’t forget my delusions while at work, but strangely, I succeeded in avoiding conflicts or negative impacts. In the past, similar situations were much more annoying because I couldn’t stop thinking and focus on my work. But, in that case, everything went relatively well because I was pretty satisfied with my job.

As I was part of an international team, and I used to meet my peers periodically in different cities, I eagerly awaited the communication of the next destination.

I was surprised when I read the email and discovered two meetings had been joined. There was also a more extended meeting in Singapore, and our American boss decided to organize our restricted meeting a few days before at a nearby location.

I had no idea about the place: Bintan, Indonesia. However, I saw the pictures of the venue, which was a typical tropical resort, and immediately called the travel agency to book my tickets.

I still remember the moment when I boarded the Boing 747 in Rome. It was like passing through a magic gate. I forgot everything immediately and started thinking about the trip.

Once in Singapore, I took a taxi to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal, and in about an hour in first class, I arrived at this green island with a temperature of at least 38 degrees Celsius (I left Rome in February with a maximum of 10 degrees).

A welcome service had been organized, and I was driven to the resort with a flower necklace and a smiling local guy explaining all the benefits included in my booking.

The day after was the first day of the meeting, and the first thing I did was fall asleep because of the jetlag. In the afternoon, I walked around, visiting a small zoo, a fantastic swimming pool, and a spot where it was possible to see the beach and a sea flat like in a painting.

I forgot all my problems and started thinking about what I had to discuss during the meeting. At night, other people arrived: my boss with her manager and a couple of my peers.

We had a relaxing discussion while sipping a few cocktails, and, at the end, we went to bed after having set the starting time for the morning after.

Cocunut, a refreshing juice after a trip in the tropical forest!The next day, the entire team was gathered in the hall, and my boss arrived in shorts and without any bag or laptop. We all looked at her, waiting to know where the meeting room was, but she smiled and said: “There’s no meeting, you were fantastic in the last year and this is a prize!

I couldn’t believe it! We had a complete package with all the benefits and some guided tours in a forest and a typical Indonesian village.

I can’t write down everything that happened during those few days of the trip. Still, it’s enough to say I was so happy and far away from my everyday routine that I enjoyed every moment of the journey and forgot my delusions.

I still remember that trip as my best one. Not because I haven’t visited other beautiful places but rather because it was like a cathartic process, an inner transformation that impacted my psyche more than any other thing.

I never returned there, and now I don’t know if it would work like the first time. However, this memory lives in me, and I learned that escaping any mental trap is possible. Not necessarily with a trip, but it’s possible, and the effects may be stronger than expected.


 

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The Queen is alive. Long live the Queen!

What snack would you eat right now?

close up photo of pizza with cheeseIt can appear strange, but I’m Italian and haven’t eaten pizza for a long time. This might disappoint some foreigners, but it’s true, I swear!

Hence, I would probably have a “Capricciosa” pizza with tomato, mozzarella, ham, eggs, and mushrooms. It’s my favorite, and I’ve always chosen it.

However, some time ago, I watched a YouTube video where two pizza maniacs (from the USA) visited the oldest “pizzeria” in Naples. I don’t remember its name, but there’s always a long line, and you need to take a number when you arrive and then wait for a server to call you.

I had the chance to eat a pizza in Naples only once, which was excellent. But when I saw the couple having an original “Margherita,” with the typing gummy thin dough a little burned at the edges, I could taste its fragrance through my smartphone!

So, what would I grab now? An original Neapolitan pizza! No doubts!

Addendum: I found the original video! It’s by The Gone Gurl YouTube channel:

YouTube player

Photo by Pablo Pacheco


 

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I play at work and work by playing

Do you play games in your daily life? What do the words “playing time” tell you?

Work and Play yellow neon signI must admit, though reluctant, that I never play. I am not caught up only in “serious” commitments; I judge myself as the most scattered human being. I don’t like to play.

Everything I do must have value beyond the pure play aspect; otherwise, I get bored very soon. Maybe that’s just the way I play the game.

Moreover, if playing implies having fun, I am not far from the same condition. If what I’m doing doesn’t entertain me and give me excitement, I cannot last long.

I still wonder how it is possible to accept a boring routine with enthusiasm. But, of course, this is just my point of view, and I am also convinced that far too many people are slaves to their routines and have no way out.

I still remember a statement by Carmelo Bene on the Maurizio Costanzo Show (a very famous Italian talk show), “The greatest success of society is to emancipate man from the yoke of labor.” It is a harsh sentence and quickly criticized if misunderstood.

Work is certainly not bad, but how fulfilling (and romantic) it would be to do only what you like! In this sense, man should pursue the cause of emancipation.

You probably wonder what this lucubration has to do with the original question. The answer is simple: work that fulfills a game is the same as done with the utmost professional seriousness.

So, ultimately and subverting in part what I stated at the beginning, I play at least 12 hours a day, and I do not know the difference between weekdays and vacations, as well as the one existing between work and vacation.

In that sense, I consider myself very fortunate. However, the transition from a frustrating (albeit quite prestigious) condition to the life I live now was challenging and required considerable willpower.

Ultimately, I succeeded, although I am constantly striving toward ambitious goals. Will I get to where I hope? Of course, I do not possess a crystal ball or believe in hand lines.

However, I know I can be tenacious when necessary, and despite everything, even if you lose a run of the game, you can still checkmate even when all hope seems lost!


Photos by Antonio Gabola


 

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