Amelia And The Magic Glasses

Amelia and the Magic Glasses by Giampiero Ambrosi 
I recently wrote a children's book which started as a bedtime story that I told my daughter when I learned that she would need to wear glasses. Through stories of pirates, undersea creatures, and mischievous monkeys, Amelia came to see her glasses not as a tiresome annoyance, but as a special treasure with magical powers. After that, she never refused to wear her glasses again. All profits from this book are donated to New Eyes for the Needy, an 85 year old organization that purchases new prescription eyeglasses through a voucher program for adults and children in the United States who cannot afford their own. New Eyes also accepts, recycles, and distributes, donated glasses for poor people overseas.

On March 27, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) will be holding its annual conference in San Diego and we are proud to be donating our book to the physicians through the Children’s Foundation of the AAPOS. Founded in 1970 the Children’s Eye Foundation (CEF) is the official foundation of AAPOS, the world’s largest physician organization dedicated to children’s eye care and adults with strabismus.



Cavria View
My belovedCavria – Doss del Sabion, Madonna di Campiglio and the Dolomiti di Brenta in the view.

My beloved Cavria – SEE THE NEW CAVRIA1890.COM SITE! Doss del Sabion, Madonna di Campiglio and the Dolomiti di Brenta in the view. This is the view from Cavria, our beloved historical chalet at about 1500meters above Carisolo. My great great grand father and brothers built this chalet in 1890 as a place to take animals to summer pasture. In the 50 and 60s when many people emigrated across the world, places like this fell into disrepair. I’m proud to say that now Cavria has been restored to it’s former glory and then some – while maintaining the rustic dignity that makes such places special. My father has been rebuilding the place over the last 20 years and I’ve been proud contribute.

See more of this incredible place





John Muir Trail and Whitney Summit


In August 2013, my buddy Dennis and I decided to hike about 70 miles of the John Muir Trail (JMT), summit Mt. Whitney, and have a great time. It took some doing, but it was definitely one of the best hiking trips of my life.  Dennis was a trooper. He even carried a 1 liter platypus bottle of scotch for a few days until we decided the extra 2 lbs of weight wasn’t worth it. You really don’t feel like scotch when you’re hiking with a pack on all day at altitude. RIP Laphroaig.  SEE THE PHOTOS and COMMENTS.

Grandview Trail To Horseshoe Mesa

Horseshoe Mesa
Horseshoe Mesa

Hike Date: March 28, 2014.  Since having a baby 4 months ago, I’m not really as able to take longer overnight hiking trips at the moment. Still that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a little adventure and fun. My wife, Denise and I have resolved to keep on traveling and keep on doing things – even if having a baby changes things up a little.  Now that the baby can get out, we’ve been taking longer and longer road trips. This time around, we decided to go to the Grand Canyon. I hadn’t been in over 20 years, and the timing – early spring would be less crowded and still warm enough.  The Grand Canyon rim drive  and ‘village’ atmosphere isn’t really my idea of a hiking trip, but the scenery is undeniably one of the most incredible things on planet Earth. Everyone should go there now.  Going with wife, baby and mother in law means that you want to pick a place that has some services and is cool even if you’re not hiking. Check out all the photos and trail report here….

John Muir Trail Tips

At Sawmill Lake
At Sawmill Lake

Last Summer, I hiked about 70 Miles of the John Muir trail with my buddy Dennis Smith.  In preparation for the trip, I did a ton of research about the trail, the Sierras, trekking, gear and light hiking ethic.  There was a lot of information out there and it was sometimes hard to track down. I’ve pull together some of the most useful tips in a real short bullet point format. Here it is in case people find it of use.

Vinnie Jones Tried To Whack Me!

Vinnie Jones in "Lock,Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels."
Vinnie Jones in “Lock,Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.”

Soccer in LA and in the US is a very funny proposition all together. The best thing about it is that it is probably the most international and democratic pursuit you can do in the US. In LA, we play against clubs of immigrants from all over the world. Latino teams – mostly Mexican and Salvadoran, but also Colombian, Chilean, Honduran, Guatemalan, Costa Rican , Argentinian. Armenian teams, Persian teams, African teams, Bajan Teams, English Teams, Irish teams. My team is like the UN. It’s made up of Italians, Americans, Englishmen, Germans, Mexicans, Chileans, A Nigerian, a French/Indian guy, and Israeli etc. You’ll also see Westside white boys arriving to a field in El Sereno in their BMWs to play a Salvador team of guys changing out of garage and janitor uniforms.  Now in LA, the international stuff also gets mixed up with Star Sightings.

The first time I went to play in the new league back when I first arrived in LA, I was sitting in the stands watching the game before ours finish up. There was some guy with spiky frosted hair playing and I jokingly turned to my friend and said who’s the jerk o**  who thinks he’s Rod Stewart? Well he said. “that would be Rod Stewart.” We played against him a few years ago and for a 50 year old guy I gotta give him credit. I played against him a few times and kept kicking him in the legs and singing, “hot legs!”

So, a few years ago. I was playing a game against Hollywood United, an English team, not exactly known for being a class act. They bring in celebrity players and the odd ex-World Cup winner* occasionally. Anyway. I was having a pretty good game, and had scored a goal.  From the side line I started hearing a cockney accent shouting, “nail that number 6. Get stuck in to that number 6” (Number 6 is me.) There’s a free kick and just after I run to receive a pass.  The next thing I know, I get whacked brutally from behind. Even without seeing the guy come at me I could tell that it was a cheap foul without even pretending to go for the ball. I go flying and get up pissed off to find…Vinnie Jones and the ref showing him the Red Card. He had been on for all of 60 seconds!

In case you don’t know him, Vinnie Jones was a professional football player for Wimbeldon in England. He was banned by the English FA for constant violent play and that violent streak has served him well in a burgeoning movie career.  You may have seen Vinnie as a tough East London killer and criminal in hit movies Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gone in 60 Seconds among others.

Vinnie’s most famous appearance however, for the Football Fans out there is the famous picture of him Grabbing a handful of Paul Gascoine’s baby makers. And fat Paul wincing in pain.

Vinnie vs. England Great, Paul Gascoigne
Vinnie vs. England Great, Paul Gascoigne

About par for the course for Vinnie. Jones holds the record for the fastest-ever booking – three seconds, in a clash between Chelsea and Sheffield United in 1992.  He was fined £20,000 for  making the video Soccer’s Hard Men, in which he demonstrated a series of techniques on how to commit fouls and get away with them. One of the most astonishing performances is when totally unfancied Wimbledon, nicknamed “The Crazy Gang,”  went on to beat the great Liverpool team in the FA Cup Final in no small part because of Jones’ intimidation.  At the first kick off, Vinnie Jones ran straight to John Barnes and kicked the shit out of him. That really set the tone and Wimbledon went on the win 1 – 0, Anyway, so after the game, I went over to shake Vinnie’s hand. “At least you didn’t grab me in the nuts,” I said.

Not long after the game, an article appeared on the BBC Website about what old Vinnie was up to. At the bottom of the article, they refer to me and my pal Vinnie. Strangely enough, two days after the game, I ran into Vinnie at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. I told him…”Jesus, man, are you following me?” He just chuckled.


Sunday, 22 August, 2004,

Colchester defender Stephen Hunt won’t forget his debut in a hurry.The teenager lasted just 59 seconds before being sent off against Chesterfield. Hunt, on as a 65th minute substitute, got his marching orders for chopping down two-goal striker Tcham N’Toya. But it wasn’t the quickest sending off of all time. Oh no, not by a long chalk. That dubious honour belongs to Walter Boyd, who officially lasted for zero seconds flat when he played for Swansea against Darlington in 1997. The Jamaican star came on as a substitute seven minutes from time after Swansea had been awarded a free kick. But before his team had a chance to take it, Boyd elbowed Martin Gray and was promptly given his marching orders. Referee Clive Wilkes had not restarted his watch so, in effect, Boyd was never really there. Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Kevin Pressman only managed to stay on the field for 13 seconds after handling outside his area against Wolves in 2000, while Italian defender Guiseppe Lorenzo lasted three seconds less playing for Bologna against Parma in 1990.

And what of our old favourite Vinnie Jones? The hardman was sent off a dozen times during his fiery career but his record for rapidity came after he had packed his bags for Tinseltown. Jones came on as a sub for celebrity team Hollywood United and 15 seconds later was heading for an early bath after almost cutting an opponent (G: That’s me) in half.

As he ran off the pitch he turned to the crowd and shouted: “It’s just like the old days!”


* I actually nutmegged former World Cup Winner, Frank LeBoeuf

I Love Kathie Lee and Hoda

On the Today Show With Guest Host Tori Spelling
On the Today Show With Guest Host Tori Spelling

Over the last few years, I used to go on the Today show to talk about travel subjects. I’m not really a TV watcher and wasn’t familiar with the ladies, but I have to say, I found them really charming, professional and good at what they do. Sure it’s just chit chat, but that ain’t easy either. Also, believe it or not, Tori Spelling was actually really nice. We talked for a little while after the show, and I told her to come visit our office sometime because it used to be in the same movie studio where the new Melrose Place was shot.

My Traditional Cliff Jump

Jumping off a Cliff at Le Colonne Sardegna
Jumping off a Cliff at Le Colonne Sardegna

This is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s Le Colonne on the coast of Isola di San Pietro not far from Carloforte. It’s a huge cliff, I’d guess about 50 feet or so. Everytime I go to Sardegna, I try to get over here and jump. Everytime, it’s pretty nerve wracking. I’m not so worried about doing it, but I always wonder…what if some new rocks fell and that place where I’m landing is now 3 feet deep. Whew! Word of advice. Gentlemen, if you do such a jump, keep your legs together 😉