I have an inquiring mind, a proclivity for inquiring and I am inquisitive by trade. Discovering new stories, getting to know new characters, stimulates my imagination. Therefore, there is nothing better for me than surfing the net, going from a video to an article, a gossip, serious, semi-serious, or serial news. I always try to read between the lines and search for something interesting to learn and convey. Sometimes it happens that in my roaming I find pleasant things. And so it was when I discovered Ambra Mattioli. I happened to watch her in one of her videos while looking for David Bowie’s music tracks. Bowie’s birthday is on 8th January, and he died on 10th January, two years ago at the age of 69. I noticed Ambra Mattioli’s videos on YouTube, and I must admit I did not realize it was a woman singing. Incredible!, I thought. So, I went on reading a few articles on the web about her and her band, the Aladdin Insane, and I checked her website. Hence my interest in her. I tried to contact Ambra and she immediately answered. She was kind of surprised but available. And I understood that she is just like that. She is spontaneous and simple.

Then I discovered an uncommon person – although she does not like to be defined that way. She is a musician, singer, painter, writer, and also project-designer, cabinet maker of fine mahogany furniture and furnishing solutions. In short, an artist, or “art performer” as they say now, with many facets, passions and abilities.

I know that there are people who think that doing too many things ends up by making a dispersive enterprise, lacking definite features, especially in the artistic field, where it is so difficult to get one’s own recognized niche. But I do not think so. If there are – and there are – people capable of expressing what is in their mind in many different ways, they are welcome.

When Ambra was a teen, she went to London with her guitar. She washed dishes at Wimpy’s and supplemented her income by singing Bowie’s songs on London’s tube. It was for her a year of new thoughts and discoveries. Then she went back to Italy and she set up a band – the “Clips” – with some friends, which today are now all established musicians. The band played its own original music, progressive rock, on Ambra Mattioli’s lyrics and opened the concerts of Nico of the Velvet Underground on her tour in Italy. But Ambra was also working at RCA record company with Petrossi, Migliacci, Fea and Basile. And on top of that, Ambra wrote stories, a science fiction novel that she herself brought to the Mondadori publishing house in an adventurous way.

Life went on, she got married and had two sons. They are twins. She started to paint, unusual, thoughtful, and poignant paintings, somewhat funny. In any case, very unique. Her paintings were exhibited not only in Italy but also abroad and they were published in top-rated catalogues. Then, she cultivated her passion for design, for fine wood-working and largely used mahogany in letting loose this drive of hers, producing furniture and furnishings of value, craftworks with a distinctive design.

Nonetheless, the great love Ambra Mattioli had for music – and for that of David Bowie in particular – was never dormant. She founded another band, a tribute to David Bowie, a tribute to his art, the Lady Stardust & Diamond Dogs. When this experience ended, it lead to the foundation of another band, the Aladdin Insane.

I know very well that there are people who, in principle, say they hate those who make tributes, make covers of other performers’ music. People who maintain that this is not art because it is not original music, that these artists have no ideas, do not have real talent and, and being the reflection of other artists, they are advantaged by the reputation of the famous performers of reference. To all of them I want to tell a great truth: for centuries, other people’s music has been covered, sung and played. Just think of all the philharmonic orchestras in the world, all the opera singers and the more or less famous singers who sing other artists’ songs. I do not accept the axiom that in that case it is different. It is not! I think that the only discriminating element is whether you make good music or not, if you can really play and sing or not, if you know how to interpret without being a pseudo clone, if you know how to fascinate the audience, if you can make people dream. It is true that in this field, especially in modern music, there are some incompetent, smoke-sellers who are struggling just to earn a crust. But when there is passion combined with interpretation, ability, commitment, discipline and sacrifice, when performers are able to transmit emotions, behold! it is art, regardless of what is sung or played, and no debate on that point.

And this is Ambra Mattioli, who continues to write and to publish her novels and short stories (they are on all on-line platforms), and goes on with her music research. In 2015, Ambra is the only one in the world who, for the twentieth anniversary of the release of Bowie’s album 1.Outside – which she considers an under-estimated masterpiece – performed the entire album at Rome’s Cross Roads Live Club. She even performed the spoken and recited parts, accompanied by professional musicians. 1.Outside is really complex music, but still cool and modern today, a difficult challenge that she described as exciting.

Bowie’s death deeply saddened her, like the death of a beloved one. Perhaps it is exactly because of her love for David Bowie, that she was driven to do even more. A part from the great shows followed by large crowds of fans (very beautiful performances at the Piper Club and at the Gay Village in Rome), Ambra Mattioli participated with her interviews in a short film entitled “Burning Tape” – which she herself produced and interpreted –  and in the Bowie Next project, a film that will be finally released in the coming months.

Ambra Mattioli is well known for her outstanding interpretation of David Bowie. Dave Thompson, writer and journalist, mentioned her several times in his book “The Freakiest Show: David Bowie cover versions” and in the last edition of his book, Thompson even included a few pages about Ambra Mattioli with photos of her.

Her talent in interpreting Bowie was also noticed by movie director Andrea Pallaoro, who wanted her in his film “Hannah”, presented at the 74th Venice Film Festival. Actress Charlotte Rampling, playing the leading role in the movie, was awarded the Volpi Cup for best female performer. In the film “Hannah”, Ambra Mattioli plays a famous Bowie’s song, a chance to make the Thin White Duke, living inside her, known to the world.

Ambra went on with her research. So far, Ambra Mattioli and the Aladdin Insane are the only band in the world that played – entirely live and in the original keys – the whole album Blackstar, the last David Bowie’s masterpiece. Blackstar – which Ambra Mattioli and the Aladdin Insane performed at the Cross Roads Live Club in Rome – is an album designed and conceived only for studio recording. It demands uncommon interpretative techniques. It was a live effort that required exceptional commitment and passion, a real new challenge for the band and an act of love.

And even in this case, they showed that theirs is not a simple tribute to David Bowie, but a real show, which offers a dream to the audience, to Bowie’s fans, to the lovers of good music.

Finally, here is what Ambra Mattioli always says with genuine emotion: “The applauses we receive are above all for him, for his music and only a small part is for us performers. We are just reproducing his music, as reflections in the facets of a diamond”.

Here are some links:

Web sites:      and

Youtube channels:     Ambra Mattioli  and  Aladdin Insane,

Facebook pages:        Ambra Mattioli  and Aladdin Insane


Translated by Caterina Ciuferri

The most venomous snakes you Must avoid!

The most venomous snakes you Must avoid!

There are some very dangerous animals in our world.

First of all, we must distinguish the adjective “venomous” from the adjective “poisonous“, since, believe me, people get them confused a lot more than expected. You can describe an item, food, animal as “poisonous” when it can poison you if you bite it or eat it. On the other hand, “venomous” can describe an animal that can poison you if it bites you.

That being said, when we think of venomous animals, the first thing that comes to our minds are snakes. There are tons of snake species and they all have different fangs, scales and lenght. Some of them are innocuous and some of them are really dangerous. Luckily for you, the ones you should avoid at all cost live in remoted areas (unless you live in those areas…).

Even snakes experts need to handle these ones with care. So here’s a quick list of 4 of the most dangerous snakes in the world:

  1. Saw Scaled Viper: this snake is a viper and lives mostly in India, China and South East Asia. It’s very fast and its bite can cause heart failures and septicaemia.
  2. Black Mamba: this snake lives in many areas of Africa and is the fastest land snake in the world. Just 0.25 mg/kg of its venom can kill a human in 50% of cases.
  3. Eastern Brown Snake: this snake mostly lives in Australia and attacks only if it feels threatened. It mostly stands still, but if it feels the need to defend itself it can chase and repeatedly attack its victim. Its venom is very powerful and even a youngling can easily kill a human with a bite. However, they hardly use venom in their bites.
  4. Fierce Snake: Also called the Inland Taipan, this snake has such a strong venom that even 110 mg of it can kill up to 100 humans. A single bite of the fierce snake can kill a human in 45 minutes.

If you don’t like snakes, well, just hope you never come face to face with one of these guys!

Unconventional Ways People Got Rich.

Unconventional Ways People Got Rich.

People get rich, sometimes rather low-key individual can become millioners. It sure seems strange and unbelievable, but it takes only one good idea and a lot of force of will and anyone can increase their income to incredible levels.

In time, a lot of creative people became rich thanks to their weird and marvellous minds and here’s a nice and funny list where you’ll find amore about some of these geniuses.

  • Youtubers: this one was quite obvious. Everyone knows about YouTube and how many Youtubers got the opportunity to earn a steady income just by uploading daily videos online with a youtube partnership. One example is obviously PewDiePie, who can make up to 7.4 million dollars a year with video game walkthroughs.
  • Yogurt in an abandoned factory: this is the story of Hamdi Ulukaya, the inventor of the famous brand Chobani Yogurt. He started his business as an immigrant and started producing his yogurt in an old abandoned factory. In five years he earned 1 billion dollars in revenue.
  • Selling Pixels: Yeah, selling pixels. I mean, each site on the web is made up of millions of pixels. That’s what Alex Tew though in 2005. He was a student struggling to pay his college tuition, so he bought a 1 million pixels web space and started selling each pixel for a dollar to whoever was interested. Well, he made 1 million dollars in a few months.
  • Pet Rocks: Gary Dahl liked to decorate rocks with eyes and mouths. He started selling them as funny little fake pets and he sold 1.5 million pet rocks. Each one was 4 dollars.
  • Selling Garbage: Trining Climaco dropped out of high school and started sorting through garbage and selling what she found. She became rich in a matter of months.

When you read about these stories you might get the feeling that you’re missing out. Well you are! Get creative and rich. I mean, someone became a millioner by selling rocks with eyes, I think you can do better!

God bless cookies.

God bless Cookies.

Everyone loves cookies.

Cookies are among the most famous baked goods in the world. They’re eaten everywhere, from Europe to America and Asia, mostly thanks to big food company that sell standard quality take-out desserts.

A cookie is a baked good, usually small, sweet and flat, containing flour, oil or fat and sugar. The cookie dough is set out on a baking tray in groups of small balls that will spreaden and widen in the oven, forming the cookies. These sweet goods usually contain chocolate chips and chunks. They can also containa raisin, nuts, almonds or oats.

In many English speaking countries this baked goods are usually called “biscuits” and can be referred to as cookies only if they’re chewie enough. Cookies are sold in convenience stores, markets and vending machines. However, fresh cookies are sold everyday in bakeries and and coffeehouses.

Etimology and history.

The term “cookie” can be linked to various kinds of sweets and it’s usually referred to american or british specific baked goods. However, this term actually comes from Denmark, from the word  “koekie” which means “little cake“. The use of this term spread in America with the foundation of the first Dutch settlement of New Netherland in the 1600s.

According to scottish tradition and history, the term cookie derived from the verb “to cook“, a product of the ancient Middle Scots word “cukie“. There were many trades between scottish settlments and Danish people at the time and many traditions and words may have been influenced by these commercial and cultural exchanges.


How good is it to eat Honey?

How good is it to eat Honey?

Honey is good for your health, but why?

Honey is a substance used in sugary foods and it’s produced by social hymenopteran insects. These creatures, usually bees, need to collect sugary secretions from plants who produce floral nectar or aphid honeydew and then undergo a process of regurgitation, enzymatic activity and water evaporation.

Even though there are many kinds of honey produced by different animals and plants, the most common one is the honey produced by bees, because of its mass production and consumption by human beings. Honey’s taste is characterised by its distinctive sweetness, derived from monosaccharides fructose and glucose, very similar in sweetness to granulated sugar.

Honey provides about 64 calories for one serving of a tablespoon. Honey is also considered to be beneficial for health problems, but it can be dangerous for people with weak immune systems, as it can rarely lead to bacterial or fungus infections.

This sweet substance can, however, be used to treat a cough, since it has good antimicrobial properties that can soothe the throat and kill bacteria. This is why honey is often used to cure sore throats as well.

Honey can also be used to improve the quality of your sleep if added to hot milk and it can also be applied to wounds as a first aid since it absorbs water and helps reduce swelling.

We should be more than grateful for the existence of bees and that’s why we should protect the environment that nurtures them.

World’s most expensive dollhouse.

World's most expensive dollhouse

The beauty of dollhouse is for everyone to see.

Dollhouse, lovely miniature reproduction of real mansions crafted by expert artists in different scales as children toys or for the pure joy of collectors: they’ve been around for centuries and some of them are true pieces of art with enormous monetary value.

There are plenty of examples of marvellous dollhouses furnished with fine miniatures representing real pieces of furniture from historical villas and castels, tiny paintings and embroidery of the highest quality. One of this rare pieces is the Astolat Dollhouse Castle, by the majestic Colorado-based artist Elaine Diehl.

This awsome miniature mansion is made up of 29 little rooms and it took 13 entire years to be finished starting from the 1980s. It wasn’t obviously a one-woman cretion, but Elaine was helped by many different artisans, from glass blowers to carpenters and goldsmiths.

The Astolat dollhouse is modeled after the Tennyson’s Lady of Shallot mansion and it contains pieces from the 1949 worth thousands of dollars alone. This miniature wonder is worth 8.5 million dollars and it was first displayed to the public for a benefic purpose in 2015: all the earnings from the show were donated to an Autism non profit association.

You may not be able to afford this piece of craftsmanship, but you can start with one of the many dollhouse kits for beginners available online!

The benefits of drinking coffee

The benefits of drinking coffee

Coffee is a real addiction for many people around the world. Many drink coffee in the morning for the help that Caffeine gives to stay awake or to start the day with a positive attitude. But drinking coffee can be beneficial for you for many other reasons and science is pretty clear about it.

Caffeine can, in fact, not only give you energy to get through the day, but it can also make you smarter. This substance is psychoactive and can be very useful for your brain activity. It is absorbed into bloodstreams and from there into the brain. It can lead to enhanced firing of neurons and to the increasing of many neurotransmitters.

Coffee can alsohelp you burn fat and is contained in every fat burning supplement and it can boost the metabolic rate. Scientific studies have proven that caffeine can burn 10% fat in obese people and up to 29% in people with normale weight.

Caffeine is good not only because it breaks down fat cells, but it also impoves you physical performance during sport, because it increases Epinephrine (Adrenaline) levels in the blood. Coffee is also full of beneficial nutrients for your body, like Magnesium and Potassium.

So, overall drinking coffee can be very good for your health, but it can also be dangerous: consuming too much coffee could cause permanent damage to your heart and also become a terrible addiction.

The delicious history of the Hamburger

The delicious history of the Hamburger

Hamburgers might not be too healthy, but they taste good.

A hamburger is a sandwich made up of one or two patties of cooked meat placed inside a sliced roll of bread. The term burger may apply to different kind of hamburgers around the world, like the bison burger, the turkey burger or the veggie burger.

The hamburger is very famous and eaten worldwide, however the history regarding its origin remains unclear. There are many claims in different areas of America and european countries, but noone really knows where it was first invented. “The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse (1758) actually refers to a “burger sausage” very similar to nowadays hamburger.

In 1869 a similar snack was also popular in Hamburg, by the name of “bread roll warm” (Rundstück warm), made up of two pieces of bread and meat on the inside.

In 1884 the Boston Journal discussed about the “Hambug Steak” and  on July 5, 1896, the Chicago Daily Tribune made a reference regarding a “hamburger sandwich” in an article about a “Sandwich Car”.

The truth might have been uncovered by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who believes the famous hamburger was first created in America by Louis Lassen, a danish immigrant, who had a diner in New Haven, Connecticut.

Even though we might never truly uncover the misteries regarding the origins of this marvelous and delocious food, the most important thing is that we’re still able to enjoy this fat delicacy filled with cheese, bacon and lettuce.

Strangest jobs you didn’t even know existed.

Strangest jobs you didn't even know existed

The Strangest Jobs Available.

There are so many job opportunities around and each one can be more or less suited for different personalities and characterial features. Each one of us aspires to get a nice and well-paying job or maybe a less time-consuming one that can help us earn something for side expenses. For whatever reason you’re looking for a job, the world is full of clever people who came up with the strangest ideas for a job application.

Nowadays you can practically pay someone to do anything for you: to walk your pets, to cook for a family dinner, to plan your party, your wedding or even style your wardrobe. All these jobs seem funny and clever, but there are some that are even stranger and, sometimes, rather curious.

  1. Iceberg Mover: this one pretty much explains itself with its name. You move icebergs from their original location in the ocean to another one. This job became available shortly after the events of the Titanic in 1912. There an International Ice Patrol, part of the US Coast Guard, that monitorates and moves icebergs if needed.
  2. Snake Milker: Tired of being a “boring famer” milking cows? Then why not switching to snakes! Their milk is used in laboratories for research and to create anti-venom.
  3. Professional Cuddler: In some countries people can get paid to cuddle their lonely clients during cold nights. This has nothing to do with prostitution apparently (excuse my sarcasm), but it still is a weird job indeed.
  4. Professional Bridesmaid: If you’re a bride in need of some serious and pofessional bridesmaids that can replace your unorganized and clumsy real friends, why not paying one? Professional bridesmaids are becoming more and more popular, offering all kinds of services for brides-to-be.
  5. Dog Surfing Instructors: If your dog cannot surf properly you MUST hire a professional dog surfing instructor to teach him. Yeah, you can spend money they way you like, I guess…

This is just a quick list but you can find more and more ideas online, be sure not to miss any of this “wonderful” opportunities!

Cupcakes that will win your heart!

Cupcakes that will win your heart

Everyone knows about cupcakes!

Cupcakes are one of the most famous cakes in the world. They’re, as the name suggests, small cakes just right to serve one person and they’re also called “fairy cakes” or “patty cakes” in different variations of the English language. Cupcakes are usually baked in thin paper or in an aluminium cup. They’re very similar to muffins and what truly distinguishes them is their colourful icings usually decorated with delicious sprinkles on top.

These awsome mini-cakes were first mentioned in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons (1796), the first american citizen to write about cooking in a book of recipes. The name “cupcakes” was given to this dessert since in centuries previous to the 19th people didn’t really have molds to bake such tiny cakes, so they just used cups and pottery.

Why are cupcakes so popular?

Cupcakes are becoming more and more reknown thanks to globalisation and social medias. With the possibility to travel around the world and sharing traditions and food, many people are given the opportunity to try out these delicious mini cakes in America and Great Britain, spreading their fame in their homeland when they go back. Cupcakes are also becoming more and more popular thanks to social medias, since their funny, joyful and colourful appearance is perfect to be shared online with friends, followers and fans.

However, the main reason why cupcakes are so popular and trendy is because they taste delicious and contain less calories than a real cake (they’re little so less fat! Or are they…?). The standard cupcake contains: butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Their smaller size also helps with baking, since they can bake way faster than normal desserts and cakes. The best way to make a cupcake is to fill them with more icing, fruit or pastry cream and you can choose whatever you want!

There are thousands of good recipes online and you can make so many different types of cupcakes that you can basically eat for thousands of years. Indulge in your gluttony with these heavenly small cakes and stop caring about getting fat, at least you’ll be doing it right.

Other interesting variations of the standard cupcake include: ball cake, cake in a mug, cake in a jar, butterfly cake and gourmet cupcake. Bon appetit!