Will there be a ‘no deal’ brexit?

In hindsight, it seems that this was the Conservative Party’s plan all along:

  1. First by recklessly triggering the Art. 50 declaration without knowing what kind of Brexit it wanted, and not even establishing a dialogue within the UK Parliament or the UK public;
  2. Then by setting up a series of artificial red lines which are impossible to achieve without multiple breaches of International agreements and/or disruption of current wealthy status quo of the UK economy and well-being and/or disruption of any remaining good-will with the other EU-members;
  3. Then by agreeing a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and misleading the EU that this Withdrawal Agreement would have had the support of the UK Parliament while instead showing that the UK Government had simply the head in the clouds of Fantasyland all along;
  4. Now time is almost over: there are no Parliamentary days (nor political will, to be honest) to actually reopen the Pandora’s Box and renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, even with a three-month extension (probably even a 300-months extension would not be enough to square the circle).

My understanding is that there will be further exercise in pantomime from the Conservative Party, ever more detached from reality and legal obligations and imbued of fantasy, unicorns and exceptionalism, until the end of March 2019.

Then I’m afraid there will be either “no deal” Brexit or Brexit will be scrapped (only if Theresa May and her Tory party find a way to save face and blame somebody else).

I’m sorry for my beloved British friends, to be honest.

What are some famous black slopes (ie. for expert skiers) that you would recommend?

The beginning of the Forcella Rossa

I personally recommend the legendary Forcella Rossa slope on the Tofane Dolomites, in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

How to get there

From Cortina d’Ampezzo (Socrepes) take the two cableways to Col Druscie’ and then to Ra Valles. Once out of the arrival station, turn right and take the right hand lane, initially following the Pian Ra Valles chairlift line. Pay attention, you will find a passage not particularly large to your right.

The Forcella Rossa slope starts here with a sign in Italian on the middle of the slope: “Pista per sciatori esperti” (slope for expert skiers only — see below.)

The “Slope for expert skiers” sign. Now it begins…


The second wall (the “funnel”) and the beginning of the third wall

In the shadow of the Tofana there is a track considered really difficult not so much for its steepness in itself (72% on the third, more difficult, wall) as for the reduced width of the track, combined with a generally difficult snow (when it’s icy, the slope becomes dangerous even for expert skiers). The panorama is of the highest quality, descending between the characteristic dolomite rocks.

You are entering the Forcella Rossa slope (n. 51 on the Tofane ski-map).

After the hill the track begins with a fun wall with some rocks on the right side and a wonderful view of the Cortina valley in front of you. After a while you will realize you are actually descending into a funnel with the wall gradually tightening until it is closed by an imposing rock to your left.

The track, now very narrow, around the obstacle on the right side pointing decisively to the right. The track widens first and then retreats into a challenging wall followed, after a 90-degree bend, by another wall, even more challenging, albeit wider. After this second wall, the most complex stretch of the slope ends and it now points decisively towards Rumerlo passing under the cables of the Col Drusciè – Ra Valles cable car.

Does the current Brexit deal benefit both Europe and the United Kingdom? Or is it one sided?

I may have a contrarian view but I believe that the current deal is a great win for the British Government and a big political loss for the European Union.

Thanks to the Northern Ireland issue, Brexit in the current form designed by the tentative Withdrawal Agreement delivers for the U.K. both the end of freedom of movement and also keeps the U.K. in the single market. Continue reading “Does the current Brexit deal benefit both Europe and the United Kingdom? Or is it one sided?”

Villa Lysis soundtrack


If you have been recently to Villa Lysis in Capri after they respectfully renovated it to its old splendor, you may remember hearing a CD playing in the background.

The mix of the acoustic guitar playing and the beautiful voice of the French singer were fantastic and absolutely perfect for Villa Lysis.

The CD is the following: Les Amants Solitaires by Nicole Renaud. She’s a French soprano that recently moved to live permanently in Capri. Continue reading “Villa Lysis soundtrack”

Palais Ephrussi in Vienna

View on Instagram https://ift.tt/2wkvWGo

Today we sneaked into the Palais Ephrussi and walked upstairs until the top floor where I came across a nice lady who looked at me and asked me: “are you here because of the book?” ☺️ She was very kind and explained to me the history of the building (now split in two, and the old Ephrussi part is actually not accessible as it is now occupied by a law firm), its renovation after the Nazi seized it and its current tenants. If you have read the ‘Hare with the Amber Eyes’ and happen to be in Vienna, I recommend you to visit it, my friends. 🇦🇹

If DuckDuckGo does not track us, how come it is not as successful as Google?

For the following reasons:

A. Both are free for the user but Google provides consistently better quality results. DuckDuckGo is the underdog in this field and it is difficult for it to become more popular than Google given that the results it provides are less efficient than Google’s. This is the same problem that Yahoo and Bing are facing: they are not able to match Google’s quality of results and for this reasons users — always in a hurry and hating wasting time on useless pages — keep using what they know works best. Continue reading “If DuckDuckGo does not track us, how come it is not as successful as Google?”

Do you think someone that makes USD 900k a year is rich? What kind of lifestyle can this person afford?

It depends. Being rich is one of the most subjective things that exist.

I have a friend who is a lawyer in his late 40s and makes sensibly above the 900K USD yearly threshold (let’s say approximately 80k USD a month) and he surely does not believe to be poor but he pointed out to me the following details attached to that figure:

A. Slightly less than half of that sum goes away in taxes (40k USD). There is no way around it as he works in a big law firm which does not allow any room for tax avoidance schemes or under-reporting of revenues, which are quite common for solo practitioners and smaller firms; Continue reading “Do you think someone that makes USD 900k a year is rich? What kind of lifestyle can this person afford?”

How did you lose your wealth?

My uncle (the brother of my father) never got married. He was born in 1950 and always lived the good life: he never had kids, not one Euro of debt, drove fast German cars, had amazing girlfriends (women literally adore him), made exotic travels, had tailor-made suits, knew literally most of the Bel Paese best restaurants in big and small cities alike, etc.

He started working in the Italian branch of a British company (at the time based in Naples) at 21 as a clerk and became a top manager in his late 40s. He was suddenly fired in the late 90s because of a restructuring and since he was already in his late 40s it was impossible for him to find a similar job at a competitor. Actually he could not find any job at all. Once out of the job market for a few years he basically gave up on looking for even a low-level job. Continue reading “How did you lose your wealth?”

What are the 10 or fewer good habits for a 24 year old to make life better?

My top 8 suggestions are the following:

  1. Sleep 8 hours a day, consistently.
  2. Save money: after you have set up a good emergency fund in cash, invest everything else in one or more low-commission, index-tracking, ETF funds, as soon as possible. The Vanguard 500 ETF is a good starting point. This must be a priority. Because compound interest takes time to produce its amazing results, the younger you start, the better. (I also recommend to Google: compound interest + dollar cost averaging).
  3. Stop eating outside: learn to cook your own meals and eat at home most of the times. Cooking at home will naturally push you to learn new recipes from different countries: many of these new recipes that I learnt turned out to be new “classics” at home. Delicious! Continue reading “What are the 10 or fewer good habits for a 24 year old to make life better?”