On December 3rd, 1982 I achieved a first degree in economy, more exactly in business economy. I graduated from the urban university more or less in four years on a 4-year course of study. It required to get through 26 matters of exam at least before doing the final thesis.
The title of the thesis was 'Organizational effects on the office job automation'. It took several months in reading selected books, choosing the focal topic of interest, conducting interviews to some senior managers. Finally, after discussing the contents with the main professor, I wrote the master copy of the thesis to bind for the presentation. I myself typed one-hundred seventy-one pages with an #OlivettiLettera35  manual machine.
In working it out I followed the guide "How to Write a Thesis" by Umberto Eco, Italian semiotician, philosopher, critic, and novelist. The book is available in the translation edition published by The MIT Press.
This Eco's blueprint teaches the rules of the academic writing, i.e. punctuation, spacing, planning of chapters and paragraphs, quoting and credits. Today I conserve the original copy of the thesis plus a cardboard-bound edition. As well as the diploma on pergamene with the Sigillum Universitatis Mutinae that now seems to come down from the Middle Ages—just to provide a historical detail, the Late Middle Ages when the universities resettled across large cities.
After the university my first occupation would be for a short period as a door-to-door sales assistant. A job in the field where I learnt the rudiments of direct marketing... Until the military service called to say "I want you!"


Good morning, Europe!

The Black Friday has gone. From their social accounts some opinion leaders involved in the environmental issues have posted clear messages as follows: "don't buy from Amazon", while explaining the motivation. #Euronews.com relaunched the concept with this headline, "Black Friday is bad for people and planet". What can we do? Shop mindfully, shop small and locally, shop secondhand—the most common-sense suggestions.
Today the top tags on Euronews show different topics, as always 'Covid-19' and 'Coronavirus vaccine' just intertwined with the name of 'Diego Maradona' (RIP). But I've been amazed by an article that reads "EU agricolture reform pits farmers against environmentalists". Maybe other cloudy days are expecting the European Union. Here I'm tryng to condense the matter. The movement toward the Green Deal is warning to beware of industrial agricolture and mass breeding, as well as their employ of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, both being the real problem in order to make farming more sustainable. Green activists consider the Common Agricolture Policy (CAP) a right moment to change the way farming has been conducted so far, for these days the reform of the EU farm policy is a work in progress. Meantime the CAP simply keeps farmers in business and it means over a third of the EU budget!
So imagine Greta Thunberg and its followers against the lobby or interest groups representing millions of farmers along with assorted large-sized businesses. Between these two petitions it stands an European agricolture medium-term plan with 390 billion euro to allocate. It's an unfair match.
(A worst scenario is always possible. What if Amazon began to distribute fresh products, say vegetables and fruits, through its delivering system?)

PS. The traditional FOOD chain designed by the FAO ought to be changed after the prior evidences. It works better if you put ahead of it two main actors, i.e. EU Policy ↔ Intererest Groups → Farmers → Food Transports → Factory Workers → Grocers → Cooks → Family Members → You ↔ #Green Marketing (I would add one last arrow at the process end..;)

 [new entry]


Once in Jerusalem a man approached me saying "You should be an Italian tourist", since I was handling a green-covered guidebook while walking the Jewish quarter of that ancient city. He intended to offer his guideance to the four-synagogue tour!
Now we are managing the guidelines to pandemic too much, anything but the travel guides... Besides my personal duties to contend with the plague I keep the Dmlr's Web Guide updated. On this website listing recent new entries come from the sport sphere (Gatorade, Fischer, Sports Illustrated), others are inspired by real people (Camille Thomas, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Göçen Eke). In addition I'm used to reserve broad room to the nonprofit organizations. From that orbit I have chosen and introduced two hallmarks such as #FAO and #MSF —both NPOs clearly opt for the .org domain.
As for 'Médecins Sans Frontières' website I would suggest you to read their "Practiced Guide To Humanitarian Law", also a distinct resource available at www.guide-humanitarian-law.org.

PS. Would you endorse one website worthy of consideration on Dmlr Web Guide? Please write it via email.


My Olympic Games (pt. IV)

Today #Wired magazine has posted a tweet addressed to classic outdoor games for kids. Why? Emerging technologies can't replace the joy of playing in the backyard or street—that's my answer. In that article I have recognized Hide and Seek, Capture the Flag, Jump Rope, Hopscotch, all games I have played in the world of my childhood.
Here I'm writing about two sports I put behind me. Both were noteworthy when I was a twenty-year-old.
7. Pentathlon (1983)
At that time the military service was a 12-month period and obligatory for me who got absolutely good health. At the beginning I stood in the centre for new arrivals, aka C.A.R., where I had the opportunity to enter into the military pentathlon squad. I did five trials: swimming, running, precision weight launching, precision shooting, and warlike track racing. I didn't pass the selection because I resulted fair good just in swimming and shooting. So I left the recruits centre and joined the office in an artillery company... Surely I made many day-and-night guards from the watching posts. Making it hard to sporting for all the next ten months, I cheered me up by walking a lot. After the daily service I had been strolling up and down in Venice—after taking the six o'clock bus from the barracks—and sometimes attending the Reyer basketball games at the historical parquet named "Misericordia". Have mercy!
8. Tennis (1978-1988 ca.)
In the mid 1970s the fashion of tennis had exploded among the Italians pursuing the national team's players who achieved success in the Davis cup. Once in a while I was taken up by that general bustle of playing tennis. We were the pigs who entered into the temple of an aristocratic game! To host all that horde of beginners, the tennis courts were built up everywhere feasible—I saw many bowls grounds dismantled to make room for mateco surfaces. Many old sports left their social space in favour of the tennis fascination. I was going to play tennis with friends, beginners as well as me, or colleagues on the artificial courts. Neither clay nor grass!
We started with impromptu tennis dress then turned to branded outfits. I recall to have worn the iconic #Fila beige jersey with the clip-buttoned collar and a red-and-white #SergioTacchini livery as provided by our firm for the staff pastime including the business tournaments. Gradually I got over thanks to summary instructions from some older players. Rackets, balls, postures, and all that jazz. My coup de théâtre in tennis was the two-hand backhand for I was a model faker or a lowest-ranked player at the most!

This way I have told the attitude of going from a sport to another, dealing with all them eight as dillettante with great application that is typical of my generation, I think. We liked to experience a lot of sports and we could do it since the sport as an amazing way of life was allowed to young people like us as never before. THE END.
PS. Previous installments on 6th November (iii), 20th October (ii) and 30th September (i).


The Oxford Diary

There is a Covid-19 news disregarded by most of the blogs, not by me. The city hospital where I'm working (Modena) has been selected to test a vaccine for which #OxfordUniversity  is going to provide on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic. The trial will start on December 1st calling for 300 volunteers. The results are due this year in order to supply almost 3 billions doses in spring 2021.
1994 I went to Oxford for a week of total immersion in English. From that I gained not as much confidence in that language as the spur to travel deep into English. Before leaving Oxford I visited Stonehenge and bought at Dillons The Bookstore a 15-month diary including the complete academic and calendar year—128 pages and 40 colour photographs, of course included the notorious Radcliffe Camera!

PS. At present I have read and translated about 40 books from English or American-English. Whereas this blog is written in English then adjusted for Italian.


My Olympic Games (pt. III)

Once more the lockdown is just around the corner... Open air and individual sports will suffer lesser restrictions than team sports or those played inside the sports arena. Glancing through my photo memories I noted two highly different kinds of sports I have dealt with.
5. Skiing (1971-1980 ca.)
The white weeks are a period of the year when the people like to abandon the city to crowd the winter stations for skiing. My parents were not true mountain lovers but they had the good idea to send me to the white weeks that was possible thanks to the secondary school organization in late winter. For three years I went to the Alps with kids of the same age (I was 11 to 13-years-old) and finally learned to ski. I consdider skiing the most difficult sport I learned to perform because of the rigid environment around and the accurate technique to assimilate. I got out of that period as a fair good skier and later the young came back to the mountains with friends just for one-day excursions of downhill skiing—one time I tried for the Nordic style, just to swear like mad! Even though I didn't consider me a fan of this beautiful sport, I have preserved all my old-fashioned skiing equipment, from the #Fischer skis to the salopettes and ski boots.
Long live the mountains and the glaciers anyway!
6. Handball (1975-82)
I have been a handball player. The first medal I deserve in my sporting career came shortly after I had joined a handball team. It happened at the 1975 "Youth Games", a yearly meeting of all the junior teams playing in the province. As debutant and with a short training I was thrown in the game as left winger for I was 6 feet high but not robust enough to play in the middle. I kept on playing handball for several years in the local team that took part in the Italian championship. So it happened to play in the A-Series for a dozen of caps starting from the bench and scoring a bunch of goals by penalty, shot I was specialized in. The next year my handball club entered a period of financial difficulty and we restarted the competiton from the third division. Initially we were a group of friends used to play football everywhere who turned into regular handball players, just to try our hand at that new team sport. Soon the handball became my first sporting engagement. What should I remember here? The choice between the branded sporting shoes—I did consider the Universal by #Adidas the ideal type to play handball. The frequent changes in sponsorship to make survive the club. The difficulty to get room beside the most considered sports, pointedly the powerful voleyball. A short and pointless experience with a Rumanian coach and his bizarre name. The home matches played in the worst conditions, on an outdoor froggy playfield, while this is a sport for court. The away matches that brought me and teammates from Trieste to Teramo, always in very hot spots for the visitors... 1982 I defintively left handball while I was going to complete the university studies and without living the times of professional handball that came on shortly afterward.

PS. (#ADV) Fight the growth of bacteria and microbes by EverFresh. Shop at everlast.com!


A Shopping List

Not even the ancient Romans did provide to the people food at km. 0. Most of the grains came up to the "eternal city" from Akragas (Sicily). We all find it appropriate to eat bananas from Guatemala or cod fish from South Africa, drinking tea from China or coffee from Brazil. But... there is a matter of principle we have better to face up to.
According to #FAO (Food and Agricolture Organization)—by the way it turns 75 this year—about 14% of food produced globally is lost between harvest and retail, with significant quantities wasted also at the retail and consumer level (source: Radical Party newsletter #96, 2020). So reducing the loss of food represents one of our personal goal within the pattern for a sustainable development.
Said that how do I behave when I go shopping for food? Check out this recent products I paid for:
Bread 400g €0.99
Tomato Pulp 690g €1.15
Bananas 775g €2.25
Sweet Peppers n.2 €1.15
Grapes 1kg €2.48
Pasta 500g €0.65
Carrots 200g €0.89
Mixed Salad 450g €1.35
Golden Apple n.4 €2.29
Tagliatelle 250g €0.99
Parboiled Rice 1kg €1.29
Fresh Milk 1l €1.36
Totalling €16.84
These items are packaged goods—as marketers  are used to say, featuring added services, i.e. washed and portioned vegetables—most of them branded, including the "Fair Trade" guaranteed ones. And they represent about an half of the real receipt, for other items are getting about an equivalent cost of the previously listed food. Indeed this is an average shopping list for a whole spend of 30-35 euro each time, obviously as a single shopper. If I have completed the purchase of groceries with such a proportion (50-50) I consider my behaviour as careful as possible. The notice on a product being sold through a basically controlled distribution chain, and even better Italian, is well described by the VAT beside the product price. The first group is marked by 4% VAT while the beverages, the proteins of animal origin or highly elaborated food are usually charged by 10% to 22% VAT. This is a simple rule I embrace during my weekly purchases in order to respect the principle that every living being depends on the ground-based agricolture.

PS. Visit fao.org to read about the centrality to our lives of well-functioning food supply chains in the next quarter century!


My Olympic Games (pt. II)

If I had lived in Benelux, perhaps I would have been a cyclist—I'm thinking so while the pros are riding on Da Ronde van Vlaanderen (2020 Tour of Flanders). This annual round is a vision limited on the box because of the contagious hazard. Therefore people are not allowed to stand along the stone sidewalks and encourage their favourite two-wheelers being fatigued by the pavé ramps. Only some shy residents appear seldom behind their masks at the Paterberg. That's the way sport goes on.
And this is the second volume dedicated to the sports I did properly to get a life.
3. Cycling (1970-today)
This is probably my second attitude in sport if I think about how much I have pedalled in my lifetime—at a rough estimate at least 40,000 km. I always used the bicycle daily to move in a small town but in my fantasy I thought to be a real cyclist and the Netherlands orange jersey replica had been produced by Mom for the cycling boy! The favourite times on the bicycle were the long excursions to the hills and low mountains. Out of the playground, I easily started as a teenager going by bike with friends of an age, for the culture of the territory was pregnant with the bicycle. It was like an initiation when we went out and reach the first hills around the city to show courage, strength and resistance. Since the heights could be 30-35 Km far from the town center, you guess how much could be difficult the first adventures by the bike—a standard bike for kid with mudguards, no gear and no helmet (just the pleasure to go and tell the parents about the excursion)! Even later I never entered a cycling team, so I was just an amateur tout-court. Growing up I improved my own bicycle by adding the gears to the city model but never bought a real racing byke. Neverthless in the 1990s I started to go very far and cover total distances of 150 Km per day. For a long unemployment period cycling had become my first occupation and I eventually got as far as the seashore in a single excursion. The bicycle I rode too fast across the region was a model Alicanto by Bianchi —that one day was stolen from the street signal pole where I had left it locked for a while (it followed a prolonged mourning).
Today the final stage of my cycling as active sport finds me engaged in short routes out of the way with the mountain bike. Of course I like the cyclo-cross through tight tracks in the woodlands!
4. Volleyball (1974-1978)
At secondary school and over the so called Physical Education was a matter like mathematics and history. We made exercises of gymnastics, but the fun came out from experiencing for the very first time some sports as sprint running and high jump, then volleyball and basketball played possible in the school palestra. At the high school we were much oriented to volleyball by the teacher. He was actually the coach of the local most important team, winner of several Italian championships and best known as PANINI from its sponsor name. So that I learned the volley fundamentals, i.e. those of ball practice and reception, from the right person. I have been playing volleyball within the school walls but didn't express any interest otherwise. Sometimes on the beach I found very fun to play volley again as summer pastime.
Just for the record.

PS. Next we will enter the field of the alternative sports!



When I came of age I began to lend a hand with some local non-profit organizations. One was a cinephile association, the kind you find in a small city to promote the distribution of quality films by restoring to life second-hand movie theaters. As filmgoer I had already joined the club, then I became an active member so engaged in running the ticket office and getting the entrance hall ready for the evening projections. In the end ushering a latecomer into the darkness between the scarce legroom seats. Meanwhile I could grow tall by viewing films by the most grounbreaking movie directors from different cultures, all included in a program with "no concession to the Market"—the French Nouvelle Vague, Jancsó and other overlooked East-Europeans, Kurosawa, the Junger Deutscher Film, the American low-budget indipendent films, and so on.
I rested in this affair until the year I left for the military service. I kept on going to cinéma d'essai even during the year in the army. Being located for the final 10 months of the service very close to Venice, at the free exit from the barracks now and then I went to the cinema on the lagoon where it awaited me... a film by Von Trotta, Wajda or Greenaway. That was in 1983!
When many years later I started to write haikus on Twitter, I wasn't sure if someone liked that small poetry but I guessed that a post did reach a vast audience. Neverthless I could get through some players of the movie business and when I quoted their films in a poetry, both #AngieCepeda ("Pantaleón y las visitadoras", 1999) and #RosarioDawson ("25th Hour", 2003) kindly replied to confirm they are in fact behind the account, not a robot. Hope they will give always good movies to real cinephiles!

PS. My haiku collection has now got to almost 1,700 items during a 8-year period.


My Olympic Games (pt.I)

In the 1970s the working class had improved its living standard thanks to further rights conquered on the workplace. So my parents could let me study until I was at least in the university, therefore differently from what they had done thirty years before for they started working after the primary school... Meantime I could play sports too and I did it a lot!
This is an excursion through the sports I have seriuosly taken on during my school years and over, in order of appearance in that good lifetime.
1. Football (1965-1990 ca.)
The football was what I learned to play as soon as possible. At the beginning I had a ball made of pieces of cloth well assembled and sewed by Mom as a round woollen bundle! No rumor and no damage when I played it inside home. Outside I was a street boy with many companions and a plastic ball to play mainly on the concrete sidewalks between two sides of the street—main door to main door, the road was the midfield! Every time a car driver came close to, a voice shouted: "machine!" and the match was arrested... Sometimes I did play football on the nude land after the oratory or in the lawn of the parks when some parents led us away out of our neighborhood. The problem was always to fix the posts and give appearance of certain rules to the game we were going to play (the goal). The posts came out from pieces of garnments or things left by us the kids to mark the goal limits; outward from the church the post was usually designed on the parochial wall sustaining the aisle. And so on. The second issue was the referee but this is the same problem occurred to the professional matches. The friendly games didn't actually need referees, just gentleboys' agreement, but many discussions were in the order of the day and broke down in long suspensions of the game—the only "super-partes" could be considered the priest from the cathechism. After those naive years, I met a young amateur club to become a regular player but, ever completely sweated, I went back home to find my Dad furious about my many hours out of studying. This is the reason why my football career stopped with not even a start. I rested a budding player, enthusiastic but not trained, good for evening match with grow-up friends. A kind of revenge will come in the middle of the 1980s and I would explain it. At the end of the after-work football tournament my company team went up to the final—then I did work in Bologna—and I got the opportunity to play the ultimate match in a real stadium classified for the Italian championship, i.e. 105x68-metre field and capable of hosting 35,000 people. The grass, the posts, the lines, and the field distance were the regular ones of the professional Serie A teams. That time my #Valsport  shoes were on the pitch. I did play as right back just to use an old football term. I passed the midfield line 4-5 times because the pressing was not in fashion. Good match and great sensations under my feet: for 90 minutes I felt to stand in my natural habitat! (The result doesn't matter).
2. Swimming (1970-2020)
When I was teen-ager I went to the swimming course for a few years continually. The family addressed me to a complete sport and sure it completed my balanced growth—you know that by swimming one uses left and right sides of the body at the same time and with same intensity. The swimming was initially hard for me, in winter too cold and in summer too long the 50-metre lane to be finished. Hard work but it was well worth it and I turned into a very good swimmer with no attitude for the competition. Swimming is now my favourite sport in summertime. A seasonal sport and a great effort in pushing arms and legs. I alternate three styles for a whole hour and this is my standard session in the water the days at over 30°C, despite the age. Ultimately I need to protect much my delicate eyes with special #Arena  goggles. And I keep on going into the same Olympic pool where I have been learning to swim fifty years ago!

PS. The story so far... Next time we will go cycling!


To be continued...

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