Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lightning Strikes Venice!

(Venice, Italy) Wendy Taylor, the Editor of from Six Apart, "a new site that helps readers find great blogs and helps blogs find new readers," asked me to contribute to their Guest Top 10 lists "where bloggers, writers, celebrities and big thinkers pick their 10 favorite blogs on a topic." They have some prestigious guests, such as Chris Andersen of The Long Tail, Marc Andreessen of Ning and Netscape, Stephen Baker of Businessweek, etc., and I readily agreed to do the Top 10 Venice Blogs. You can find my list here at Cat Bauer's Top 10 Venice Blogs:
Find the best blogs at

Since there are so many blogs about Venice these days, I tried to find blogs that were pretty much up-front and without hidden agendas. (I spend way too much time fending off attacks against my blog feed and other annoyances -- right now Google reports that I have 379 URLS restricted by robots.txt, which, apparently have been attached to all of my labels. If the Internet had been around during Shakespeare's time, he probably would have had robots.txt restrictions attached to The Merchant of Venice! )

In any event, I am happy to see most of you intrepid readers keep finding your way over to Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog. I am free to update my Top 10 list at, so if anyone has stumbled upon any interesting blogs that feature Venice, please drop me a line.

I suppose these shenanigans can only be expected, since Venice is teeming with celebrities these days, and competition is growing fierce. Salma Hayek just had her big second-wedding bash with husband François-Henri Pinault, and we were packed with stars -- even Bono made an appearance (that image you see is by Luigi Costantini). Other celebs to arrive in our little Magic Kingdom were actor Woody Harrelson, Ed Norton, French president Jacques Chirac, Olivier Martinez, the designer Philippe Starck, Valeria Golino, Penelope Cruz, Charlize Theron, and, of course, Francois Pinault himself, among many others. The rehearsal dinner was at the Punta Della Dogana, which Pinault owns; the wedding was at Palazzo Grassi, which Pinault owns; and there was a big bash last night at La Fenice -- which, last I heard, Pinault does not own:) To read the People article click here:,,20274683,00.html

I've had a conversation with Francois Pinault, and I was impressed. It was at the opening of Palazzo Grassi, and even though he was surrounded by VIPs clamoring for his attention, he gave me his full attention, made direct eye contact with me, and had a very firm handshake. Someone pulled him away in the middle of our conversation, and he came back within moments to finish it. I found him polite and respectful -- simple human qualities that I greatly appreciate.

Not to be outdone by the French, Prince Charles himself and his wife, Camilla are scheduled to arrive here on Tuesday, up from Rome where The Prince is meeting with The Pope (wouldn't you like to be a fly on that wall?). They, too, are scheduled to visit La Fenice for a tour, and then enjoy an evening concert. In the afternoon, Prince Charles is supposed to attend a conference about our Beloved Lagoon, while Camilla heads over to the Guggenheim. I've heard some gossip through the Venetian grapevine that The Prince is thinking about "living like a Venetian" for a time. Now that is ONLY GOSSIP, not fact! Imagine how much the real estate would skyrocket in Venice if the Prince began living like a Venetian! When I lived in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, Madonna (who I think is cool) moved into the neighborhood and the prices of houses increased by about $200,000 just by her "presence!"

With all this international commotion, I think it's time for a little American anecdote, featuring Benjamin Franklin, my greatest hero, and the man who captured lightning. Having been hit by lightning myself as an infant, I have a bit of an affinity with electricity. (I would credit that image if I could figure out who shot it; I think it's someone in Texas.) Ben Franklin wore an old blue suit to sign the French Alliance, the same suit he had worn four years earlier when he had been ridiculed by the British:

On Feb. 6, 1778 he and Silas Deane went over to the French palace to sign the Treaty of Alliance with the King of France. Instead of his usual brown suit, Franklin was wearing a faded blue one, and Deane questioned why he wore old clothes to such an important ceremony. "To give it a little revenge," was the answer. "I wore this suit on the day Wedderburn abused me at Whitehall." The true depth of Franklin's feelings would never have been known if Deane had not asked.

To read more about that fascinating moment in history when Founder Benjamin Franklin was verbally abused and humiliated in England by Alexander Wedderburn on January 29, 1774 -- an event that occurred the month after the original Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773 -- head on over to Philadelphia Reflections, "The musings of a Philadelphia Physician who has served the community for nearly six decades" and read the article entitled "Poor Richard Plays Hardball With Finesse."

Even more detail is provided by Brian Deming in an entertaining article entitled, "Ben Franklin's Very Bad Day in London" over at Suite

The worst day of Benjamin Franklin's life might well have been January 29, 1774. That's the day Franklin stood in an amphitheatre in London's Whitehall Palace and heard an hour-long tirade of abuse against him before the council of King George III, various members of the court, and a packed and sneering gallery.

In this Story-That-Never-Ends, I like to remember another one of my favorite Ben Franklin quotes:
Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky" by Benjamin West

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - Venice Blog


  1. Oh. You didn't like those comments. Okay.

  2. Denn, I AGREE with your comments! It is an all-out war here and they are trying to destroy me! They are trying to throw me out of my apartment for La Biennale!