#51 Salt & Pepper


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Daddy died March 29, 1962, over a half century ago. I was 10 years old. He was 62.

Now I am 62.

You can imagine March 29 this year has been on my mind a lot lately. I am healthy, still feel young and strong (until I do something stupid at this age), so it’s hard to imagine my dad looking like such an old man when he passed away at only 62 years old.

But he always looked like an old man to me, and I loved him for it. That’s one reason I’ve always respected my elders. You see, my dad was 51 years old when I was born. Already he had salt & pepper hair, and still a full head of it in the casket. That’s how I’ve always seen and remembered him: with this beautiful, wavy salt & pepper hair that I wanted when I grew old. Well, I have it. Mine’s more solid gray, but that’s okay. It still reminds me of Daddy. (I never called him Dad, always Daddy as I was only 10 when he died. So if it sounds silly that I still call him Daddy, well that’s okay…it just sounds right to me.)

I could tell you a lot about this man I loved and admired, and I will. But one thing that is absolutely fascinating is that Andrew J. De Simone was born December 31, 1899. That’s the last day of the century before last! Which meant he was always the same exact age as whatever year it was—to the day. That’s why it’s a little confusing to comprehend he was 51 when I was born in 1951. And he was 62 when he died in 1962. (more…)

#57 Early & Late


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You’ve heard the expression “always early, never late.” Or is it “never early, always late”? Well, the other day I was both — which inspired AmperArt #57, Early & Late.

I was going to meet a new friend at the movies, and she said she’d be there at 7:15 (the show started at 7:25). Not wanting to make a bad first impression, I arrived at the theater at 6:55.

Only to discover I had forgotten my wallet. (more…)

#38 Form & Function

Form follows function, form meets function, form & function. It’s all about efficiency, simplicity & aesthetics.

Lamps that double as sculpture, sculpture that you can sit on, even a cool graphic that’s really a calendar. Probably the most ubiquitous example of form & function is the wristwatch. The rarest could be the 3 that doubles as an ampersand (sort of) in the latest AmperArt edition.

Form & function is everywhere: our clothing, a building (although some are so ugly they are merely functional, & some are so poorly built they don’t really function).

Another example of form & function is a beautifully decorated serving of food. How about some writing instruments? And of course my favorite, my Mickey Mouse coffee mug. Fun to look at & very functional.

chaz sez:
Movie Night

Recently I discovered the IMDb, or Internet Movie Database. It lists the top 250 movies by popularity according to the general public, and it is constantly fluctuating, especially re-ranking the newer flicks quite frequently.
I have traded in my habit of reading several (actually, too many) chapters of suspense and mystery novels every night that I’m not pushing pixels, for watching every movie on the 250 list.
So far I have been truly delighted with oldies like Charlie Chaplin’s “On the Town,” Laurel & Hardy in “Babes in Toyland” as well as the later Disney version starring “Anette.” I’ve enjoyed “The Sound of Music,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “Harvey“–a real delight. Also saw for the first time “The Godfather”–surprisingly, since I’m Sicilian. Pazienza!
But the most alluring and captivating movie I saw from this list–or from my entire life on this planet–is “The Fountainhead” from 1948. It expresses exactly how I feel about design where every surface, angle, color and detail must have a damn good reason to be there. The movie is about not giving into society, not giving up your principles, living your dream in the face of ridicule and even condemnation–just because one artist is too brilliant for the masses. The movie also features mid-century modern architecture, my absolute favorite (aside from futuristic architecture–but back then it was futuristic).

Perhaps you’ve guessed that movie inspired my “Form & Function” AmperArt piece.