40 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 to be expected when a mother and her 32 year old son team up to travel, it was a great trip.  We traveled to Rome, toured the Colosseum, visited the Vatican, took a train to Sicily, walked the beaches, drove the countryside, and ate gelato until our hearts were content.

Whether you’ve personally been to Italy or have only seen the beautiful country through photos, I think you’ll find a mother-son take to be a fresh perspective.  I previously posted 25 must see photos of Italy back in March.  This time I’m upping the ante.  Without further ado, may I present 40 must see photos of Italy like you’ve never seen before.

1.  My Mom taking a picture of an Italy tour guide book
001 My Mom taking a picture of a Italy tour book

2.  My Mom taking a picture of a map of Italy
002 My Mom taking a picture of a map

3.  My Mom taking a picture of me reading a brochure
003 My Mom taking a picture of me reading a brochure

4.  My Mom taking a picture of a pine tree
004 My Mom taking a picture of a pine tree

5.  My Mom taking a picture of a barren tree
005 My Mom taking a picture of a barren tree

6.  My Mom taking a picture of a TV
006 My Mom taking a picture of a TV

7.  My Mom taking a picture of a monk
007 My Mom taking a picture of a monk

8.  My Mom taking a picture of a nun
008 My Mom taking a picture of a nun

9.  My Mom taking a picture of Jesus
009 My Mom taking a picture of Jesus

10.  My Mom taking a picture of a severed head
010 My Mom taking a picture of a severed head

11.  Me taking a picture of a severed head
011 Me taking a photo of a severed head

12.  My Mom taking a picture of a fruit salad
012 My Mom taking a picture of a fruit salad

13.  My Mom taking a picture of a Coke can
013 My Mom taking a picture of a Coke can

14.  My Mom taking a picture of a McDonald’s dessert menu
014 My Mom taking a picture of the McDonalds dessert menu

15.  My Mom taking a picture of red chili peppers
015 My Mom taking a picture of chili peppers

16.  My Mom taking a picture of oranges
016 My Mom taking a picture of oranges

17.  Me taking a picture of bread
017 Me taking a photo of bread

18.  My Mom taking a picture of me eating pizza crust
018 My Mom taking a picture of me eating pizza crust

19.  My Mom taking a picture of me eating liver and onions
019 My Mom taking a picture of me eating liver and onions

20.  My Mom taking a picture of me dipping bread in olive oil
020 My Mom taking a picture of me dipping bread in oil

21.  My Mom taking a picture of me ordering cheese
021 My Mom taking a picture of me ordering cheese

22.  My Mom taking a picture of me eating cheese
022 My Mom taking a picture of me eating cheese

23.  Me taking a picture of my Mom ordering cheese
023 Me taking a picture of my Mom ordering cheese

24.  My Mom taking a picture of me sitting in a chair
024 My Mom taking a picture of me sitting in a chair

25.  My Mom taking another picture of me sitting in a chair
025 My Mom taking a picture of me sitting in another chair

26.  My Mom taking a picture of me looking at an iron gate
026 My Mom taking a picture of me looking at an iron gate

27.  My Mom taking a picture of me looking at a napkin holder
027 My Mom taking a picture of me looking at a napkin holder

28.  My Mom taking a picture of me contemplating suicide
028 My Mom taking a picture of me contimplating suicide

29.  My Mom taking a picture of a lady with a bag over her head
029 My Mom taking a picture of a lady with a bag over her head

30.  My Mom taking a picture of a police car
030 My Mom taking a picture of a police car

31.  My Mom taking another picture of a TV
032 My Mom taking a picture of another TV

32.  My Mom taking a picture of snails
033 My Mom taking a picture of snails

33.  My Mom taking a picture of a dog
040 My Mom taking a picture of a dog

34.  My Mom taking a picture of a cow
034 My Mom taking a picture of a cow

35.  My Mom taking a picture of a horse
035 My Mom taking a picture of a horse

36.  Me taking a picture of a seagull 
036 Me taking a picture of a seagull

37.  A close-up picture of a seagull 
037 A Close Up of a seagull

38.  My Mom taking 86 pictures of a sunset
038 My Mom taking 86 pictures of a sunset

39.  A picture of me and my Mom at the Trevi Fountain in Rome
039 Me and my Mom at the trevi fountain in Rome

40.  My Mom taking one last picture of a TV
040 My Mom taking yet another picture of a TV

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Poems By Ralph – “Lucky Stars,” “What A Pickle,” and “Puntin’ Or Gruntin'”

001 Lucky Stars

“Lucky Stars”

Alls I asked for on my fourteenth birthday
Was for a horse to go riding with him or her
Pap told me I was dreaming son
So I didn’t know if I would get one for sure

Well, turns out I got a ballcap instead
But Gram was nice enough to make me a deal
She said just down the street was this old guy named Fred
He told Gram I could pet his horse anytime I feel

I shook hands on that one with Gram
I says, “You’re on” and then I marched down to Fred’s
The old geezer had this sleek, brown horse
I guess he named the horse plain old Ed

Now, I didn’t tell Fred nothing
But I thought that name was kinda raw
I renamed Ed “Lucky Stars”
He was the prettiest horse that I ever did saw

Lucky Stars was a true character
He was always makin funny faces
I knew we was goin to be best friends
I told the horse we was gonna go some places

Fred told me Lucky Stars wasn’t meant for riding
He said he would turn nasty mean
One day when Fred wasn’t lookin
I jumped on that sucker like you wouldn’t believe

Turns out Fred was right after all
Lucky Stars got these mean old buck teeth
He turned into a total grouch ever since that ride
Then the poor Lucky Stars had to be put to sleep

(in remembrance of Lucky Stars)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

001 What A Pickle

“What A Pickle”

Before you was a pickle
You was a cucumber on my Gram and Pap’s farm
I seen them care for you
I seen them keep the critters from causing you harm

Now you are a pickle
Gram keeps you sealed tight inside a mason jar
I bet you are daydreaming
Of when you was a cucumber buried underneath the stars

I asked Gram how’s come she done this to you
She told me she was busy, so go ask your Pap
So when I seen him in the living room
Of all the things
He had that mason jar resting on his lap

Pap reached his grubby paws inside the jar
He offered me the biggest pickle that I ever seen
Now what a pickle
Should I eat you or just leave you be?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

001 Puntin or Gruntin

“Puntin’ or Gruntin'”

“Yinz puntin’ or gruntin’?”
Uncle Rodger point blank asks me and Pap
“What do yinz think?” I asked him
“We was goin to just lay down and take a nap?”

I drawed up a play in the huddle
But I seen Uncle Rodger was tryin to hear
“Hey, cut it out yinz cheaters!”
I yelled to Uncle Rodger and his friend he calls Bear

“Bring it on you fudge packers.”
Uncle Rodger says right back to me
I shouted, “Yinz are dead meat!”
We was surely about to claim our victory

Me and Pap was ready for the play
I called out, “53 blue right, set, set, hut, hike!”
Then I chucked the ball through the air
But before Pap had a chance to catch it
Uncle Rodger set him flat on his derriere

Boy, was I fuming mad
I called Uncle Rodger every name in the book
He says to, “Calm down you Nancy.
Yinz were the ones who grunted and now look.”

We got into a major scuffle
I gave Bear a good one smack to the face
Uncle Rodger was livid
He was throwin haymakers all over the place

When the tussle was over
Pap said givin us a redo was the only fair thing in this case
Uncle Rodger agreed on that one
“Yinz puntin’ or gruntin’?” he asks us
Then I punched Uncle Rodger square in the face

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

001 Ralph Poems

Funny, Outrageous Reviews – Stank & Sawdust

Sometimes I get drunk on Franzia boxed wine and submit funny, outrageous online product reviews.  It is awesome.  This installment of reviews is about stank and sawdust.

vca_animal_hospital

Citysearch Review:   VCA Animal Hospital 

I heard some good things from several friends and co-workers about the VCA Animal Hospital on Library Road, and decided to give it a try when my cat, Molly Mittens, was acting very strangely when I got home from work one evening.

BIG MISTAKE.

It turns out Molly Mittens had to have an emergency surgery, which meant that I had to leave her at the hospital overnight.  Naturally, I was concerned and had some questions for the staff.  You would’ve thought that I was asking them to donate a kidney or something.  After asking a few general questions regarding follow-up care for Molly Mittens, and receiving no answers, one of the staff members abruptly told me to “Zip it, chatty Kathy.  Can’t you see I’m trying to watch Biggest Loser?”

WELL EXCUSE ME FOR TRYING TO BE A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER, MR. LOSER!  I was furious.  I demanded to speak to the head staff in charge.  As I waited nearly 45 minutes in the lobby with TVs blaring and rap music blasting, I overheard one staff member say to his colleague, “Yo’ shawty.  Do it stank like animals up in this piece?”

OF COURSE IT SMELLS LIKE ANIMALS, TUPAC SHAKUR!  It’s called an animal hospital!

Lets just say that the staff was very rude and I don’t think that they even like animals.  To top things off, when I went to pick up Molly Mittens the next day, I noticed that she wasn’t acting quite herself.  At first, I thought it was because she was groggy from the surgery, but when I began to give her Eskimo kisses and started playfully scratching her underbelly, that’s when I noticed that the morons had given me the wrong cat.

I immediately went back to the hospital, and of course Tupac was outside smoking a cigarette.  He was the first staff member that caught the wrath of my fury.  When I asked him what in the hell was going on and why they gave me the wrong cat, he blew a puff of smoke and casually mentioned that my cat died, so they spray-painted another cat black hoping that I wouldn’t notice.

WELL YOU BETTER BELIEVE I NOTICED BUDDY!!! I told those cat killers that they’re going to have a lawsuit on their hands.  I’ve already been in touch with my lawyer and have began the proceedings.  I couldn’t believe it.

DO NOT BRING YOUR PET HERE IF YOU EXPECT TO TAKE THEM HOME ALIVE!

Pros:  comfortable seating
Cons:  killing cats and spray-painting them black

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

mancandles

Amazon Review:  2X4 Yankee Candle

I can’t stand all those fru-fru scented candles like Meadow Showers, Honey Dew Drops, and Fairy Rainbow Elves.  My ex-broad use to buy that crap, and it’d make me madder than a bobcat caught in a piss fire.  If I wanted candles to smell like a damn fruit or a flower, I’d just go buy a damn fruit or a flower.  If a candle should smell like anything, it should be the smell of railroad tar or engine grease.

So my buddy tells me there’s this new line of man candles, or mandles as he calls them, and he’s going on about it.  Shoulda’ heard him.  Son of a gun was happier than a bucktoothed gopher in a pile of soft dirt, so I figured I’d try ’em out and see what all the fuss was about.

I bought the Riding Mower and First Down scents, being that I’m a general sucker for the smell of fresh cut grass and leather spiked balls, but they wasn’t anything to write home about.  Better than Honeysuckle Cinnamon Truffles or Sunkissed Cookie Freckles, and all that other crap.  But the scent that made me harder than a woodpecker’s lips pecking away at a pine tree was the 2X4 scent.   It filled the whole house up and made it smell just like I was down at Pappy’s lumber mill.   Sawdust.  Now we’re gettin’ somewhere.

I got a new old lady, and she says the 2X4 scent makes her hotter’n an ol’ settin’ hen, settin’ eggs in a wool basket in the summertime.  As long as the old lady’s a happy camper, I’m a happy camper.  I’d recommend this mandle to all the fellas.

So that’s a 10-4 on the 2X4 good buddy.  5 stars, 3 cheers, and a perfect 10 for the sawdust scented mandle that’ll leave you happier than a puppy with 2 peters

Photoshop Lessons – How to Photoshop Yourself In a Pop Up Tent With A Ferocious Wolf

Well, I don’t know about you dimwits, but I like wolves.  Always have.  In elementary school, the teachers were always going around asking questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” I’d shrug my shoulders.  I don’t know, “Blue.”  “Whad’ya wanna to be when you grow up?”  Once again a shrug.  Never gave it much thought, being that I was 8 1/2 years old and all.   So I’d say, “A school teacher so one day I can ask awesome questions just like you.”   And then the teachers would finally get around to asking the real gritty, meaty questions.  “What’s your favorite animal?”  Without hesitation, I would confidently respond, “Wolf.”

So as you can see, ever since I was a little kid I always liked wolves.

001 The Dimwit In A Pop Up Tent With A Ferocious Wolf

Today’s Photoshop lesson, I will be teaching you how to Photoshop yourself in a pop up tent with a ferocious wolf.  I know what you’re probably saying to yourself, “Man, that’s impossobile.  I can never learn to Photoshop myself in a pop up tent with a ferocious wolf.”  Wrong.  You just gotta believe, and with the aid of this tutorial, you’ll be off and howling in no time.  To the moon we go.

Step 1:  Put On Some Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet”

Whenever I’m Photoshopping myself in pop up tents with ferocious wolves, it’s all about setting the right mood.  The sound of rainforest and pan flutes are always a nice background music to work with,  but it’s not quite wolfy enough for this lesson.  We need something that howls.  Something that screams and gets the blood pumping a little.  I’m talking Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” circa 1986, ladies and gentlemen.  Let’s get wild in the streets, shall we?  We definitely shall.

Step 2:  Lasso The Head Of A Smoking Hot Blond

002 The Dimwit With A Smoking Hot Blond In A Pop Up Tent

Above is the original, untouched photo that I’ll be working with for this tutorial.  As you can see, it’s me in the women’s changing room pop up tent with a smoking hot blond. While I have nothing against poking my head out of a pop up tent with a smoking hot blond, for this demonstration, we will be replacing her smiling face with a ferocious wolf.

If you’ve had a chance to read the sparkly vampire Twilight poster tutorial, then you’re aware that not only do I have a fondness for wolves, but I also have a deep appreciation for magnets.  So crank up some Jovi, whip your hair around like your all time favorite glam rocker, loosen up those neck muscles a bit, give a couple monster leg kicks, another hair whip or two, take a swig of water to stay hydrated, and go to the upper, left hand corner to select the Magnetic Lasso Tool, in that specific order.

003 Lasso The Head Of A Smoking Hot Blond

Once you’ve selected the Magnetic Lasso Tool, you’ll want to trace an outline of the area you want to remove.  Carefully make your selection of the smoking hot blond, then hit the delete button.  Boom shakalacka.  The smoking hot blond is no more and you should end up with a layer that looks like so.

004 What The Shit Is Bon Jovi Doing Here?

Hey, what the shit Jon Bon Jovi?  Well, sorry about that Photoshoppers.  Seems there’s a little cockblocking going on here, and somebody is having a little difficulty letting go of their glorious, glamorous, hair thrashing past.  Sorry Jon Bon Jovi, but you and your 7 foot tall, hair sprayed, lion’s mane need to go.  We have some more wolfing to do.

005 Get The Shit Out Of Here Jon Bon Jovi

Step 3:  Let’s Go Hunting For A Ferocious Wolf

So first things first.  We need a ferocious wolf.  I know just the place to go find one.  Do a Google search for “Ferocious Wolf” and select an image you like.  The more ferocious the better.  I would suggest choosing the wolf showing the most teeth to get the most of that ferocious look.  Here is the photo of the ferocious wolf that I have selected to use.

006 Ferocious Wolf

Step 4:  Lassoing The Head Of A Ferocious Wolf

Similar to how I lassoed the head of the smoking hot blond, I will be lassoing the head of the ferocious wolf.  Crank that mutha’ up about 10 decibles, give another whip of the hair, show that GD wolf who’s boss, and select the Magnetic Lasso Tool from the upper, left hand corner once again.

Carefully trace around the ferocious wolf head, and make a new isolated layer.  And no, Jon Bon Jovi, you’re not invited to the wolf head party.  You and your tight, leather pants and unbuttoned shirt need to stuff it somewhere in New Jersey.   Preferably in the bowels of the sewers of New Jersey, which shouldn’t be too hard to find since the entire state is a sewer.  No offense to anyone that lives in New Jersey.

Your ferocious wolf head isolated layer should look like something like this.

007 Isolated Layer Of The Ferocious Wolf Head

Step 4:  Blend The Ferocious Wolf Head In A Pop Up Tent

I’ll keep this brief.  Slippery When Wet clocks in at a mere 42:22, so we don’t have a whole lot of time for goofing.  Not when we’ve got some wolfing to do, so let’s finish this sonofabitch up.  So now that we got rid of the smoking hot blond, and have an isolated layer of the ferocious wolf head, it’s time to blend the two images.

And man, honest to God, these next 100 steps are so incredibly, freaking boring, and it’s probably the whole reason that I never went to my graphic design classes in college in the first place.  I”m just.  Do you ever regret things in your past?  Like, sit around and ever wonder how things would be any different today if you had made just a few different choices when you were younger?  If you would be living in a different state?  A different country, even?  Have a different career?  Maybe be with someone different, somebody at all?  If those few different choices would’ve made you wealthier, more successful? Happier?

Christ, Bon Jovi is giving me a pounding headache, so I’m gonna skip about the next 12 steps if that’s cool with you dimwits.   I knew I should’ve gone with White Snake, but it’s too late for that now.  We’re committed, so let’s wrap this up and send Jovi home packing.

So basically, I did some more lassoing, and traced the pop up tent so I could make a new layer, I added in a few slash marks to the pop up tent cause I thought it looked pretty cool and more ferocious, I added a layer mask and…

You know what.  I can’t even do it.  I can’t even pretend anymore.  Photoshop sucks the will to live right outta me.  Leaves me shriveled, dying, and makes me feel a little less of a human being every time I click on that smug looking PS logo.  Every time I see that bouncy ball opening up the program as if he’s excited, and knows that with each and every bounce, a little more of me dies inside.   I’m smashing this stereo.  Bon Jovi is really grinding my nerves.  Here’s your photo of the cockblocking, cock knocker Jon Bon Jovi, you dimwits.

008 The Bowels Of The Sewers Of New JerseyWelp, there you go.  Congratulations on making yourself in a pop up tent with a ferocious wolf.  Hope it was as wonderful of an experience as it was for me.  Join me next lesson as I teach you how to Photoshop Jon Bon Jovi’s Olivia Newtwon-John  looking hair into the bowels of the sewers of New Jersey.  Time for me to go howl at the moon with about a gallon of Jim Beam and a case of Milwalkees Best.