25 Must See Photos of Italy

Three years ago, I took my Mom on a two week vacation to Italy.  It’s always been a dream of hers to visit the motherland, so I was happy to be in a position to finally see that her dream was fulfilled.  Despite a few tense moments that were to be expected when a mother and her 32 year old son team up to travel, it was a great trip.  We visited Rome, toured the Colosseum, saw the Vatican, traveled to Sicily, walked the beaches, drove the countryside, and ate gelato until our hearts were content.

Whether you’ve been to Italy or have only seen photos, I think you’ll find a mother-son take to be a fresh perspective on such a beautiful country.  So without further ado, may I present 25 must see photos of Italy like you’ve never seen before.  

1.  My Mom taking a picture of a flight status board. 
001 My Mom Taking a Picture of a Flight Status Board

2. My Mom taking a picture of tables and chairs.
002 My Mom Taking a Picture of Tables

3. My Mom taking a picture of a leaf.
003 My Mom Taking a Picture of a Leaf

4. My Mom taking a picture of rigatoni.
004 My Mom Taking a Picture of Her Rigatoni

5. My Mom taking a picture of a homeless person.
005 My Mom Taking a Picture of a Street Bum

6. A picture of my Mom holding an umbrella.
007 A Picture of My Mom Holding An Umbrella

7. A picture of me holding an umbrella.
008 My Mom Taking a Picture of Me Holding An Umbrella

8. My Mom taking a picture of the ceiling.
008 My Mom Taking a Picture of the Ceiling

9. My Mom taking a picture of candles.
009 My Mom Taking a Picture of Candles

10. My Mom taking a picture of flower arrangements.
010 My Mom Taking a Picture of Flower Arrangements

11. My Mom taking a picture of grass.
011 My Mom Taking a Picture of a Grass

12. Me taking a picture of grass.
012 My Mom Taking a Picture of Me Taking a Picture of Grass

13. My Mom taking a picture of peat moss.
013 My Mom Taking a Picture of Peat Moss

14. My Mom taking a picture of sand.
014 My Mom Taking a Picture of Sand

15. My Mom taking a picture of stucco.
015 My Mom Taking a Picture of Stucco

16. My Mom taking a picture of stratus clouds.
016 My Mom Taking a Picture of Stratus Clouds

17. My Mom taking a picture of rocks.
017 My Mom Taking a Picture of a Rock

18. Me taking a picture of rocks.
018 My Mom Taking a Picture of Me Taking a Picture of Rocks

19. My Mom with two guys that like wearing yellow.
019 A Picture of My Mom With two Guys That Like Wearing Yellow

20. My Mom taking a picture of me opening up a water bottle.
020 My Mom Taking a Picture of Me Opening a Water Bottle

21. My Mom taking a picture of restaurant menus.
021 My Mom Taking a Picture of Restaurant Menus

22. My Mom taking a picture of a fruit bowl.
022 My Mom Taking a Picture of a Fruit Bowl

23. My Mom taking a picture of me pumping gas.
024 My Mom Taking a Picture of Me Pumping Grass

24. My Mom taking a picture of me fed up with her taking pictures of me.
025 My Mom Taking a Picture of Me Sick of Her Taking Pictures of Me

25. A picture of stray cats.
006 A Picture of Cats

Select Emails – Freaking, Unbelievably Awesome!

Freaking Unbelievably Awesome

Okay, I said that I wasn’t going to make anymore posts until after the New Year.  Yeah, so I lied.

I’ve been cleaning out my email inbox these past few days.  A rather daunting task when you lack any semblance of organizational skills such as I do, and have allowed message after message to accumulate over the span of several years.  Facebook notifications, work emails, family emails, junk emails, political forwards, party invites, fundraiser reminders, and wow. I really, really need to develop a better system for handling my email.

I’ll tell you this though – and this is probably going to sound like bragging – but I am so freaking, unbelievably awesome!  Let me make it sound a little less like bragging by following it up with this. You are so freaking, unbelievably awesome as well!   You probably don’t even know it, or you may think that you’re only a 3/10 or a 5/10 on the freaking, unbelievably awesome scale at best.  Not so.  You are a 10 or at least a 9.5.  I don’t even need to have ever met you to form this assessment.  This is how I know.

Let’s say that you were a little lazy and scatter brained such as myself, and you let your email inbox fill up over the course of five or six years, and then say, one night when you had a break, you began the painstaking, mind-numbingly, boring task of sorting through your emails one by one.  This is what you would discover:

You are somebody’s friend, somebody’s significant other, somebody’s co-worker, somebody’s boss.  You are somebody’s mother, somebody’s father, somebody’s uncle, somebody’s aunt, somebody’s nephew, somebody’s niece, somebody’s cousin.  You are somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s brother, somebody’s sister.  You are somebody’s mentor, somebody’s inspiration, somebody’s source of laughter, somebody’s shoulder to cry on, you are somebody’s hero.  You are somebody to a lot of people. It may not feel like it sometimes, but truly, you’d be surprised at just how much you mean to so many people, and how much our lives intertwine with one another.

I mentioned in a recent letter that I wrote to my father in prison that “I’m just tiny, old me.”  I believe that sentiment to be true.  It’s good to remain humble and to realize there are over 7 billion other souls on this planet that are somebodies, too.  But don’t ever underestimate just how much you mean to all of the somebodies that are in your life past or present.

Maybe it’s the holidays, maybe it’s recently celebrating my 35th birthday, or maybe it’s the excitement that comes from beginning a new year, but I’m feeling rather sentimental.  I thought it would be cool to share a few excerpts from emails that I turned up over the past few days.  I had sorta forgotten about a lot of these exchanges to be honest, so it was pretty special to revisit these conversations.

I’m keeping the names anonymous, otherwise I may have a few less somebodies in my life that might not be too thrilled if I made our exchanges public on a blog.  I just felt it important to share some of their words as a reminder to myself, and maybe as a revelation to you that we have so much impact over one another’s lives.  All the times we’ve sent a compliment, shared a joke, sent encouraging words, offered condolences, carried on respectful debates, shared pieces of knowledge.  All of those things add up over time.  I’m sharing a few excerpts from my inbox, but it’s your inbox, too, in a way.   We’re all in this thing together, and boy are we ever freaking, unbelievably awesome!  Surely a 10/10.


“I read your blog once in a while for a nice laugh. Or when I’m feeling selfish or sorry for myself. You’re a breathe of fresh air! You see beauty in the most simple things, and I love reading your updates. They help me see things differently and grow in new ways.”


“I’m having a pretty bad morning. I had a really rough night last night and I was hoping I’d feel better in the morning, but that didn’t happen. I don’t even know why I’m telling you. I guess I just needed to tell someone.

I just feel like an idiot sometimes.”


“So, um, yeah!  Just a random person that you’ve seen a handful of times writing to say that she thinks you’re wicked talented.  And you seem like a pretty good guy, too.  I know I don’t know you very well and I know this might sound weird, but don’t change too much, ok? It’s nice to know there are people like you out there.”


“I’m thankful for you, Chris.  You’re a remarkable person.  And a very dear and good soul.  You make my heart smile.  And i’ve missed you.  I just had to tell you that.

I also have to tell you that the word blog sounds as if someone is trying to throw up.”




“LOL. please promise me you will never change. The world needs more pants poopers. Well no it doesn’t but it needs more people with so little inhibition that they will confidently say they have pooped in their pants and be so charming about it they can make friends. :)  You are my hero Chris Hinton.”


“Hi Chris:  Hope you had a nice restful Thanksgiving break.  I want to thank you again for including Will.  It was a highlight of his holiday and he loved being able to tell his friends about his experience on the set of Love And Other Drugs.  You all provided him with a great opportunity and as a parent, I truly appreciate it.  If we can reciprocate with a home-cooked meal some evening when you are free, we would like to do that.  Do you have a break coming up this month? Thanks again.”


“Chris, everytime I see you, you make me laugh and I’m able to forget about anything on my mind. You are a unique creature with unmatched charisma. Happy to know you. I will miss you. Pittsburgh is lucky to have you. Best always.

Ps I’m not trying to get in your pants..”


“You are amazing and I feel blessed to call you a friend.  Do you know how amazing you are?”


“C Snatch you are such a solid writer witty ,original and heartfelt! So happy to have found your blog.”


“Dear Chris
I like you.
Do you like me?
Pick one:    Yes      No”


“Dude you got sexy legs!!”


“LMAO…So having a not so great day I randomly check out your FB page and can’t stop laughing at comments / posts, etc. Just wanted to thank you 4 the smile! Hope you are having a great day.”


“I hope you are having an amazing time in Italy. I just finished reading your blog – and man, you provide some awesome inspiration. It is weird how you can go on living your life and forget that you are connected to amazing people (if only for a short time). Your writing is amazing. I forgot how funny you are. I hope you keep writing. The way you connect with complete strangers and aren’t afraid to talk about your faith really inspires me. I need to be more willing to step out of my comfort zone and connect with those around me.”


“Can’t wait for the next chapter, Chris!  I’m glad I read this before heading out for my guaranteed-to-be-stressful work day.  I chuckled, cackled, and hysterically sobbed!  Now I’m ready to face the world!”


“Dear Chris,

Thank you so much for the delicious Italian chocolate.  After the first bite, Mom said “this is very delicious ” , and I said “mmmm” then after another bite Mom said ,  “oh this  is good”  and I said “mmmmmmmm”.   It was better than American chocolate—- the perfect gift for chocolate lovers like us.  I hope that you got some for yourself.  We appreciate so much that you gave it to us —-sweets from the Sweet!

Also you certainly helped touch Michele’s heart with the rosary you brought her.  She called me tonight and was still talking about her dear Willy remembering that she always said that she wanted a rosary from the Vatican and how you were so wonderful to do this for them.  She was overwhelmed.  So again Chris you have spread your special kind of happiness to those who are blessed enough to know you.”


“dude ur shit kills me.. when im feeling down i just read ur page and laugh and laugh.. who would have thought u were funny.. haha”


Hello, my darling Unicorn.

Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I adore you. You’ve been so sweet, kind and empathetic toward me knowing ****** is gone and the adjustment I’m having to experience.

It’s pretty much the last thing you need to worry about but I wanted to acknowledge you, your effort and your sweetness. I hang onto every word you say.

Love you, boo. Truly & madly.

ps. If I was in the Burgh, I’d be shit-faced drunk with you RIGHT MOTHERFUCKING NOW. Hugs!


“I would like you to know that you have successfully made me laugh, out loud, for 2 days in a row! Thanks Chris!”


“You make me laugh Chris! You make me laugh.”


“Thank you for being who you are. Your words have inspired me. Thank You! Thank You! And if there’s ever anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate. I mean it. Be well.”


Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Miss you!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 minute Air hugs without letting go!!!!!!!!!!


“OMG! Are you serious??? I laughed my head off! I always new you had issues and I always knew I loved you because if them but this.. …

Chris would you marry me?”


“You are C A R A Z Z Z Z Z Y!!!!!”


“Chris you smell like Old Spice and you love shiny short sleeve shirts… And I still love you more than ever!”




“Be Kasual” Featuring Snoop Lion

I was staying at my friend’s cabin out in Big Bear, California a few years ago.  It was winter and work was slow.  I spent seven weeks of near isolation mostly writing, meditating, reflecting, hiking, exploring, and breathing in that fresh, mountain air.  It was nice to get away from it all and to refuel.  I was thankful to my friend for the opportunity.

During one of my late night writing sessions by the fire, I came up with this Jewish, hardcore rapper persona called “The Kasual Kid.”  I started writing these lyrics – or flows – about a pair of room mates that got into an intense argument because the one guy was using the other guy’s loofah without his permission.  The lyrics were along the lines of something you might expect from The Lonely Island or Flight of The Concords.  But amongst the silliness, The Kasual Kid would sometimes get cerebral and write about more serious topics.  So much for keeping it casual.

In the wake of the terrible tragedy that happened today in Connecticut – 27 dead, including 18 children – I felt like sharing some lyrics that were written during one of those quiet, late night sessions spent by the fire. The intent of this song was to serve as a retort to the glorification of violence that’s prevalent in the rap culture, but the message can also apply to these heinous school shootings that seem to be occurring more and more often: Put the guns down. Bury them. They’re killing our youth.

My heart aches.  There’s no sense that can come from these senseless shootings, but hopefully there is some eventual peace that will come from the victim’s families.

Be Kasual2

“Be Kasual” featuring Snoop Lion

Verse One:
Rappers be talking hard
Talkin’ bout guns
And life behind bars
Talkin ‘pimp this shawty’
And ‘ho that shawty’
I shot my shawty with a shotgun Shawty
Sha, forget it man
I got a different plan
I don‘t need no guns
To prove that I’m a man
Go ahead
Call me a pussy, you cats
I’m fine wit that
Cuz while you doin‘ nine years locked up in the slammer
This kitty be livin’ nine lives of the glitz and the glamor
Oo, take it easy Kid
Let’s break it down
Time to get Kasual
Time to turn up the sound

Be casual
Be casual, kids
Cuz casualties
Ain‘t no way to live
So be casual
Be casual, ya dig
Bury your guns
Don’t bury your kids

Verse Two:
I’m a straight shooter, Pops
Imma tell it how it is
Yeah, tell it how it is
I don’t need no guns
To handle my biz
I got a great, big mind
More bullets than a nine
And if you ever fired yours
Might surprise ya at what you‘d find
Yeah, you’re right
Shootin’ guns is a better way to fight
But you end up dead
And what good is it dead
And what good is it gone
Am I right
Or am I wrong?
I’m tired of singing this same old song
Oo, take it easy Kid
Lets break it down
Time to get Kasual
Time to turn up the sound

Be casual
Be casual, kids
Cuz casualties
Ain‘t no way to live
So be casual
Be casual, ya dig
Bury your guns
Don’t bury your kids

Verse Three:
Shots fired
Another one down
Buried that bitch
Nine milliemeters underneath the ground
C‘mon now
You a bunch of clowns
I’m callin’ you out
Time to step up
Time to put ’em down
Cuz I’ve handled the steel
Yeah big deal
What’s the thrill in how many bodies somebody can kill?
Shot full of lead
Yeah, shot in the head
How‘d Timothy die?
He was shot full of lead
Yeah, shot in the head
Like a broken record
Tryin’ to talk to these dregs
Nah, take it easy Kid
Lets break it down
Time to get Kasual
Time to turn up the sound

Be casual
Be casual, kids
Cuz casualties
Ain’t no way to live
So be casual
Be casual, ya dig
Bury your guns
Don’t bury your kids


Be casual
Be casual, kids
Cuz casualties
Ain’t no way to live
So be casual
Be casual, ya dig
Bury your guns
Don’t bury your kids

Newtown, Connecticut

Update, Brute By Fabergé Men’s Cologne Ad, YOLO, Lame Excuses, Ect.

Dearest Fellow Dimwits,

Congratulations.  You have just witnessed the first Dimwit Diary vanishing act.  So what did you win?  What’s the reward?  How about a fake Brut By Fabergé men’s cologne ad featuring yours truly wearing a fur vest that I purchased in the women’s section of a local thrift store for a mere $12.  WARNING:   Mega, ultra sexy.  Ad may cause severe heart palpitations, fainting, dizziness, shortness of breath, temporary paralysis, and in some rare cases, may even cause strong, uncontrollable urges to leave your boyfriends and husbands.  Bam.real men wear brut

Yep, I’m still a complete and utter wang just in case you were wondering.

I do apologize for not posting more regularly, but to those followers of my past blogs, you should be familiar with how things work by now.  To the newcomers, let me break it down for you.  Generally I will go on an erratic wave of posts containing anything from unicorns, to zombies, to rants, to poems, or to whatever happens to be rattling around in my rattle-ey brain at the time.  Madness, really.  And just as I’ve begun to pique your interest and you’ve gotten into the habit of checking out my blog regularly while dropping the kids off at the pool during your morning bathroom routine, there will be a sudden absence of posts for several weeks or months on end.  Sorta the antithesis of clockwork.  So it goes.

I realize it’s a somewhat frustrating way to go about things.  All I can say is this.  Every once in a while a writer needs to put down the pen and paper, crawl outside of their heads, muck it up a bit, and simply live their lives, otherwise, what life experiences could they possibly have to draw upon?

So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing lately.  Living my life, happy and free.  Luncheons and dinners with long, lost friends, visiting with family, teaching my goddaughter 1990’s catch phrases like “booyah” and “getting jiggy wit it”,  attending birthday celebrations, holiday get-togethers, gearing up for cookie exchange parties with divorced, suburban ex-housewives, attending music concerts, volunteering at events, being suckered in to watching the new Twilight movie by a group of maniacal friends, working, lounging, housesitting for a friend, taking long drives to Nowheresville, posting late night, drunken political rants to my Facebook wall, followed by deep pangs of regret in the morning.  Ah, snap.  I do rather enjoy the many splendors and spices this life has to offer.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve checked in.  I felt compelled to at least say hello and to let you know that all is well in my small, insignificant corner of the world.  I can’t say when, but I have much more madness to share with you all.  This rattle-ey brain never seems to give it a rest and the next wave never seems to be too far away.

In the meantime, I hope that you all are living your lives, and enjoying the many splendors and spices of life as well.  You know what they say.  YOLO – you only live once, or as someone recently pointed out to me, the saying should rather be you only die once.  You live everyday.  Man, tell me if that’s not some deep, philosophical stuff to ponder upon during your next morning bowel movement.  And on that note, I bid thee farewell for now.  I hope to get back to posting more regularly in the near future.  Thank you for your patience.


Chris Hinton
The Captain of the Dimwits

Shakespeare’s Sonnet #73 – Hinton’s Sonnet #69

Sonnet #73
William Shakespeare, 1609

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.


Sonnet #69
Christopher Hinton, 2012

Holy schnikes,
Tis’ Autumn season yet once again
Where in the h-e-double hockey sticks doth the time go?
Answer me, thou canst not my dear, wise friend.
Why, just last week it was summer, warm
And the week before twas a lively spring,
Dagnabbit, I found a gray hair in my beard
Tweezers and dyes hath I, but it mean’ith not a thing.
The color of leaves turn to orange, to yellow
To red, from whence they were once vibrant green
The photosynthesis of life is a real mothertrucker
If you know what I mean, jelly bean.
So live thou life from the greens, to the grays
Liveth all the colors in between
Until winter washes white, peaceful and gentle
Until final seasons thou will sing.