A Series of (Maybe Not So?) Unfortunate Events

Some people are idiots. For those few who have not heard it told as of yet, Anthony Patti was one of them.

Some things seem to turn out horribly wrong with no sign of redemption. This, however, is a pernicious lie. The truth is that we are all blind fools, and like all blind fools are terribly short-sighted. In other words, there is a silver lining in everything. In other words, everything that has a sad ending actually has a happy ending. In other words, things are rarely as one suspects.

This tale is of this very last week, during which Anthony Patti suffered a series of most unfortunate events. Continue reading

Favorite Moments in Europe

1. Drinks with the Art of Manliness Himself

When I was in Brussels with my friends Tim Kenney and Katy Duffy, we visited a semi-famous independent brewery known for its careful preservation of the old method of making gueuze and kriek lambic, a fruity beer without carbonation. While there, we met a Canadian named Louis-Philippe Dionne, who had a fantastic moustache. The picture we took with him would have made the whole trip worthwhile even if Brussels hadn’t been awesome.

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The Best (and most Non-Mainstream) Places in Rome:

A lot of people have asked me for my favorite places in Rome. Everyone has heard of the big sites like St. Peter’s and the Trevi Fountain, so here is a list of off-the-beaten-track attractions that most people never visit (arranged in order from awesome to most awesome).

  1. Santa Maria in Trastevere – an old Church in the heart of Trastevere with breathtaking Byzantine mosaics
  2. Aventine hill – a quiet hill of gardens and houses overlooking the Colosseum.
  3. St. Maria di Vittoria – A personal pilgrimage spot for me since I’m a fan of St. Teresa of Avila, this Church houses the famous and brilliantly sensual statue of Teresa being pierced by an angelic arrow in divine ecstasy
  4. Tiber island – Once a leper colony and hospital, this small island takes 10 minutes to explore and is well worth the small effort. Be sure to go down the steps and walk along the river.
  5. Cross the Milvian bridge – Enter Rome as a victor ala Emperor Constantine. It’s a small bridge and easy to miss. Take a bike or a bus, because it is a very long walk.
  6. Borghese at night – the Borghese park/gardens is a breath of fresh air and provides an amazing view of Piazza dal Popolo. The Borghese Gallery is the largest and most illustrious private collection of art in the world. The Gallery has to be done by day, but the park should be walked at night for maximum awesomeness.
  7. walk around Gianicolo and visit Aqueduct park – Southwest of the Vatican is Gianicolo hill, which features tons of parks, including a massive, sunny park full of Aqueduct ruins. Gianicolo is quiet and peaceful, and shows a completely different side of Rome.
  8. attend the fire & music show at the Tiber – If it is available (it might have been a one-time thing), WaterFire put on an amazing spectacle on the Tiber. It goes to show that beauty is in simplicity; all they did was light braziers of fire on the river and play classical music over loudspeakers. The effect was out of this world.
  9. Cupola of St. Peter’s – Everyone goes inside St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum, but not many people think to climb the cupola  Yes, it costs money, but it is more than worth it. You will be treated to a panoramic view of Rome and a privileged view of the roof of St. Peter’s and the Papal gardens, as well as the eccentric experience of walking at a slant on the inside of a dome.
  10. Scavi tour – It may be cliche, but seeing the tomb of St. Peter was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, bar none. Religious or not, anyone can have their life changed by walking the ancient streets of Rome and seeing the burial ground of the force that determined most of Western history.

A Fresh Year (for once)

Not every New Year feels like a new year; most of the time the celebration and sensation feels recycled. This year, however, there is something different in the air. The old challenges are still there, the old demons still hide in the closet, the old fears still leave the old hopes unfulfilled, yet they are all being faced by a new man.

I tell you, something big is going to happen. There’s static in the air like before a thunderstorm.

My men’s prayer group just got our t-shirts that we made for ourselves. Everyone’s shirt has a scripture verse on the back. Mine is Isaiah 43:2, and I think it is a great verse to hold onto as I venture into this year so pregnant with premonitions:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.