Boing Boing: Costco offering Picasso originals online for $40K
Categories: Art, Humor, Italy
The Cosmetic Extraocular Implant (JewelEyeTM) "is 3.5 mm in diameter and available in the following shapes: ring, heart, star, ring" but the website advises, "In the Netherlands, a Cosmetic Extraocular Implant is not considered a medical device..."
Got this news item from last week's "Venerdi'" magazine put out by the newspaper La Repubblica, but apparently Boing Boing first had the whole unbelievable story eons ago:
"Transhumance is the seasonal movement of livestock between mountainous and lowland pastures. It occurs throughout the world, including Scandinavia, France, Italy, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland and amongst the Sami people of Scandinavia. This practice is based on the difference of climate between the mountains (where the herds stay during the summer) and the lowlands (where they remain the winter). Its importance to pastoralist societies cannot be overstated. Milk, butter and cheese - the products of transhumance - often form the basis of the local population's diet. In the past transhumance was widespread throughout Europe, in some areas - such as the Isle of Lewis in Scotland - within living memory. Today much of the Alpine transhumance is carried out by truck. In other parts of the world a more traditional approach is maintained; for regions of the Himalaya transhumance still provides the mainstay of several near subsistence economies - for example, that of Zanskar. Often traditional nomadic groups that have subsequently settled into a regular seasonal pattern are described by anthropologists as practicing transhumance."
In the meantime, please feel free to browse my archives or my subject categories... In three short months, I've posted over 250 goodies on Venice, Italy, History and Humor (among other "michellaneous" things!) Enjoy!!
Categories: Blogs, Italy
Whether you agree with the list or not, good news is that you can download all of these songs." (from The Presurfer - Your Daily Dose of Diversion)
Wow, from one extreme to another!
I'd say that surely the role of MTV is throwing things a bit off here, but I guess that mathematically that's just about right... but whether one agrees with specific songs on the list is another matter! Whatcha think?
Categories: Music, History
"Climate change has already hit Italy, said Antonio Cianciullo in Rome's La Repubblica. The proof is right there on the farms. Grain farmers have long been complaining that each year brings less and less rain, but scientists simply shrugged. Droughts come and go, and they aren't a good measure of global warming. Now, there's evidence that can't be ignored. The fruits are migrating. For centuries, hardy, hot-weather fruits such as lemons, oranges, and olives have grown only in southern Italy, while more delicate crops, such as apricots, thrived in the northern zones. Now we see citrus farms springing up all over northern Italy. And apricot production is all but gone. Last year, for the first time, Italy was forced to import apricots from Great Britain. Date palms, an invasive species, have pushed as far as the foothills of the Alps. This is an aspect of global warming we failed to predict. Local agricultural traditions, so dear to rural Italian life, are in danger of being lost."
Categories: Italy, Food
Makes a lot of sense, when you think about it, that the nearby glassmaking island of Murano didn't simply inspire Venetian painters just to employ bright colors, but also to use the very glass itself in their artworks!
"How did paintings by Tintoretto and other Venetian Renaissance artists get their special glow? Using an electron microscope, Barbara Berrie, senior conservation scientist at the National Gallery of Art, discovered one of their secrets: tiny bits of glass the artists mixed with their pigments." (from CNN.com - Venetian secret ingredient -- glass - Aug 25, 2005)
Simon Mays, skeletal biologist at English Heritage's Centre for Archaeology, said the find contradicts previous notions that medieval people got used to death. He said it suggests life was precious and people were prepared to carry out drastic acts to preserve it..."
- Contents of Paul's Refrigerator
- Teide Observatory Telescope
- PumaPaint, a paint-by-web robot
- The Telegarden, "tele-robotic installation allows WWW users to view and interact with a remote garden filled with living plants."
- Speech generation -- in Rob's office
Now, these mags are rather a "happy medium" between People and The National Enquirer. So, what was kind of humorous was that they were clearly at a complete loss about what was appropriately "gossipable" about the new pontiff.
As a result, they tended to focus on trying to reveal to their readers his favorite things, like music and cats, for example...
I particularly enjoyed the article on the Pope's favorite Italian food!
Apparently, as Cardinal, his favorite Italian restaurant in Rome was always the Ristorante al Passetto di Borgo (named for its proximity to the long, fortified passageway that leads from the Vatican to that great papal fortress in times past of Castel Sant'Angelo).
There, his favorite meal is apparently a medley of great Italian classics, and the magazine even gave its own recipes for each dish... I guess should you want to eat like a pontiff, or else in case he should ever just pop by for dinner! :-)
For first course... Pasta alla Carbonara
Second course... Roasted Veal
Veggie... Artichokes Roman-Style
And last, but certainly not least.... his favorite dessert is Tiramisu'.
Categories: Italy, Food
It's... a fungus..." (more from The Presurfer - Your Daily Dose of Diversion)
By now, I've been finding all kinds of things on blogs... and while I'm still frequently surprised, on the other hand, I've practically come to expect it.
But I have to admit that am still pretty amazed when I find that a major news outlet has an rss feed on what they're calling "Knife Culture":
"Scotsman.com News - Knife culture from the Web via RSS: A Scottish perspective on world events (Knife culture, knives, stabbings, crime, youths, swords, daggers)"
Hmmm... would this be the "cutting edge" of culture?
Because of this fateful calamity, however, these Roman towns would be sealed in time, forever frozen in that terrible moment.
Literally, as it turns out... as you can see from the plaster casts made of the victims' last, dying expressions, like in the so-called "Garden of the Fugitives" that you can see at left from W. Smith at Flickr.
Or in the original Pompeiian graffitti which captured the drama of the everyday lives of ordinary Romans.
Will history repeat itself? Let's hope not... at least two million people live in the shadow of Vesuvius now!
More information, together with eyewitness reports of the eruption which occurred almost two thousand years ago today, are available here.
Categories: Italy, History
Nobody knows where it's gone, or how or when it could have been removed without anyone noticing, or where anybody could possibly be hiding the darn thing!
More updates as the story develops...
Hadrian's neglected mausoleum 'close to collapse' (from The Independent Online Edition)
Categories: Italy, History, Art
Anytime you travel and try to learn another language, great stories about embarrassing mistakes are inevitable!
Some are just plain silly!
For example, instead of saying "good afternoon" ("buon pomeriggio") to a government functionary, I once wished him "happy tomato" ("buon pomodoro") !
A very proper friend of mine once declared that she was so tired because she'd "swept" all evening. Of course, she meant that she'd been housecleaning... but what she didn't realize is that "scopare," or "to sweep" in Italian, is used in a double-sense, just like the English "to screw"! Oops!!
And yet others come from so-called "false friends"... Foreign words that seem similar, but actually mean something totally different!
One of my professors, when he had first come to Italy, was at a cocktail party where they were serving a kind of brie-like cheese. He wanted to ask, "Can you eat the rind?" but didn't know "rind" in Italian. So, he thought, what is a "rind"? Why, it's something that preserves a cheese! Problem is, however, that Italians tend to use the word "conserve" to mean "preserve" in that sense, and instead use "preserve" with a more "prophylactic" meaning.
Yes, that's right... he wound up asking, "Do you eat the condoms?" !
"At an informal get-together, a Dutch woman introduced herself to a British woman. When asked what her profession was, the Dutch woman tried to translate 'Ik fok honden' (I breed dogs) - into English. Unfortunately, rather than 'breed' she used the English vulgar cognate of the Dutch verb "fokken." Calmly, she informed her shocked companion that her working relationship with her animals was extremely intimate."
Not to mention probably caused the person to marvel that apparently the Dutch could even get paid for this! :-)
Indeed, for this very reason, to this day, I never, ever, ever use the word "discourage" ("scoraggiare") in Italian, because it's just one letter off from "to fart" ("scoreggiare") ! Talk about a faux pas!!
What about you? Do you have any good foreign language faux pas stories?? Let's hear them!!
Categories: Language, Italy, Humor
Here's a fix, from the Portland Observatory Live Webcam!
Not to mention, for example, that my Italian husband didn't really start speaking Venetian dialect until he was a teenager, and so apparently Venetian and English are stored in the same compartment of the brain, since sometimes an English word will come up mid-conversation when speaking to, say, older Venetians who don't even know Italian, much less a foreign language!
For a mere three and a half bucks, you too can now satisfy your Parisian nocturnal hankerings for Homer's Odyssey, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, or--perhaps more appropriately at that hour--Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil.
Big sellers at the moment though seem to be French/English dictionaries (no surprise there!) and, oddly enough, cookbooks!
(From Boing Boing: Parisian book-vending machines & Repubblica.it: Comprare libri anche di notte a Parigi i distributori automatici)
"Take that, ya lousy asteroid! Yeah, how about that, huh?
There's more where that came from!
I hadn't even heard of this. The Japanese have this probe that's a month or two from making a landing on an asteroid... Apparently in an attempt to outdo NASA crashing that Deep Impact probe headfirst into a comet, this one actually has a gun they're going to shoot the asteroid with.. The point of the gun is to cause particles to fly up into a collection chamber. Then it's going to bring the samples back to Earth.
If bad movies have taught me anything (and they have), that's just the sort of thing that starts a zombie plague loose on Earth!
I'm a little skeptical this will all work out as planned, but I'm rooting for it.
*BLAM* 'That's for wiping out the dinosaurs!'
*BLAM* 'And that's for 50,000 BC Arizona!'
*BLAM* 'And that's for 1908 Tunuska! We will never forget...'
Oh, while I'm at it I might as well plug my Flash game where you try to save the Earth from an asteroid: Tomageddon..."
Boing Boing yesterday presented some alternatives for cheap, ecological, and--above all--portable housing:
Cows, after Russian authorities announced that bales of confiscated marijuana will be used to feed cattle over the winter. 'I don't know what the milk will be like after this,' one Russian official said.
Bad Week For...
Prognostication, after a psychic in Scotland failed to predict that the sun's rays passing through the crystal ball he left on his windowsill would set fire to his laundry pile and scorch his apartment building."
(From The Week Magazine, August 20)
(both long & short versions here!)
Pretty much what I expected, although in some areas where I was kinda hard on myself, it seems that I register as "average." But I guess that's good news! (I'll take it!!)
"Your score on Extraversion is low, indicating you are introverted, reserved, and quiet. You enjoy solitude and solitary activities. Your socializing tends to be restricted to a few close friends.
Your high level of Agreeableness indicates a strong interest in others' needs and well-being. You are pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative.
Your score on Conscientiousness is high. This means you set clear goals and pursue them with determination. People regard you as reliable and hard-working.
Your score on Neuroticism is low, indicating that you are exceptionally calm, composed and unflappable. You do not react with intense emotions, even to situations that most people would describe as stressful.
- Your level of anxiety is average.
- Your level of anger is low.
- Your level of depression is average.
- Your level of self-consciousness is high.
- Your level of immoderation is average.
- Your level of vulnerability is low.
Your score on Openness to Experience is high, indicating you enjoy novelty, variety, and change. You are curious, imaginative, and creative.
- Your level of imagination is high.
- Your level of artistic interests is average.
- Your level of emotionality is high.
- Your level of adventurousness is average.
- Your level of intellect is high."
How about you? Enjoy!!
Categories: Fun&Games, WeirdScience
ANSA.it - Morso da serpente, salvato da siero
But during the rest of the year, you can count on that of the digestivo, or the alcoholic beverage that's supposed to help you digest the massive Italian meal you've just consumed.
In the North of Italy, the after-dinner drink of choice is grappa, a potent little elixir actually made from the fermented and distilled remnants of the wine-making process, like grapeskins and vines.
In Southern Italy, limoncello's the choice... It's a liqueur infused with lemons, which can grow to be nearly as big as your head on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast south of Naples!
Now, between the two, I admit that limoncello sounds hands-down the most appetizing. I unfortunately have always found it to taste a little too much like lemony cough-syrup. But then again, I've hung out primarily in the North, where some hardy souls even drink grappa in their morning coffee (nicknamed, interestingly, a "corrected coffee" in most of Italy, or ironically enough, particularly in Venice, a "fog-cutter"!)
Considering that it'd probably violate a few dozen federal laws, I won't pass along any recipes for grappa here. But I did run across a recipe for Limoncello today. I have no idea how tasty the recipe is, but--lemme tell you--as a cough remedy, it oughta put Nyquil to shame!!
Categories: Italy, Food
- Opportunity for literary immortality arises online:
Authors auction chance to name characters on eBay
- Stephen King will kill you, if you can afford it
- AuctionCause eBay
- First Amendment Project
"What if Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights had been named Jimmy? Or can one imagine J.D. Salinger’s Fanny as, say, Sarah? Authors frequently spend long hours determining the appropriate names for their characters and readers often develop a close bond with these personas as they begin to develop throughout a novel or short story. In a very interesting twist, a number of contemporary authors are selling the right to have a character named by the highest bidder all for a very good cause. The characters will be featured in a forthcoming literary work, and the monies raised by this online auction will go directly to the First Amendment Project, a nonprofit group that promotes freedom of information and expression. Some of the authors participating in this project include Stephen King, Dave Eggers, Amy Tan, Michael Chabon and Nora Roberts. Of course, the authors have given some very specific requirements as to what may befall the character in each work. Ayelet Waldman notes that the name of the character in question will appear at least once in the next Mommy Track mystery, while Michael Chabon notes that the name will appear at least once in his next novel, but that he also reserves the right 'not to use the name if it is offensive, mischievous, ill-intentioned or inappropriate.' The first link will take users to a news story on this rather compellingauction as offered by the Houston Chronicle in this past Tuesday’s online edition. The second link leads to quite an entertaining piece on the auction by C.A. Bridges, writing in the Dayton Beach News-Journal. Bridges even remarks that 'I want to be a Chuck Palahniuk character with an entirely new pathology, maybe something involving floss.' The third link leads to the homepage of the auction, where visitors will want to check out each author’s specific requirements for the character 'to-be-named'. The fourth link leads to the homepage of the First Amendment Project..."
Categories: Books, Fun&Games
How much I wish that back then there'd been Italy: Instructions for Use... The Personal, On-Site Assistant for the Enthusiastic but Inexperienced Traveler!
As its author, Venetian resident Nan McElroy explains,
"here's the catch: since you've never been, we guarantee you won't know all the questions you have until you actually arrive. And once in Italy, because you're completely unfamiliar with the environment, language and way of life, information--and therefore understanding--can be that much more difficult to come by."
So, in a single book, little more than 4 by 5 inches and weighing just a few ounces, Nan has assembled TONS of easy-to-look-up helpful hints on everything from planning a visit to Italy to getting around on all kinds of transportation; from how to pack and where to stay to ordering in restaurants; from handling money to the best ways to shop! And throughout, right there in the book, is all the basic vocabulary that you'd need to start navigating your way through this fascinating country! Let me tell you, Italy: Instructions for Use is no small accomplishment!!
To explain why, I think Nan herself put it best,
"There's more than one reason we've used lots of color throughout our guide. It's not only to help you locate information easily... But more importantly, we also hope to convey the fact that in Italy, nothing, but nothing, is black-and-white. You may notice extensive use of the words usually, often, likely, frequently, sometimes, normally, may and perhaps, while a world like always will appear far less frequently. Although we've written detailed guidelines based on personal experience and extensive research, to truly enjoy your time there, understand that in Italy, perhaps more than anywhere else, the exceptions are the rule."
Precisely because Italy is so hard to nail down, it is really tough to try to provide explanations to cover every possible contingency here. And yet, every single time I was reading Nan's book and thinking to myself, "Yes, but what if this or that happens (or doesn't)?" Nan was there, explaining exactly those common pitfalls and giving you valuable understanding to help you roll with the punches while travelling in the bel paese. That takes not only experienced knowledge of the country, but also great organization, imagination, and sympathy for the first-time visitor to Italy!
I wholeheartily recommend Italy: Instructions for Use! In fact, I envy those people coming to Italy for the very first time who can now enjoy this great little book!
(And for more "instructions" and installments in her ongoing adventures in Italy, be sure to check out Nan McElroy's blog,
"Living Venice... and Beyond"!)
IFILM - Viral Videos: William Shatner Interprets "Rocketman"
(via Planet Tom)
List of amusingly-named towns (from grow-a-brain)
Talk about when life gives you lemons!
Personally, I like the story about the tiny village in Austria,
"whose sole industry consists of allowing tourists to have their photo taken alongside the town sign on the main road. In fiscal 2003 (the last year for which figures are available), the town made €32,980 in photo fees - remarkable because the town only charge €2.00 per photo. Unfortunately, the town spent €48,250 to replace stolen signs..."Categories: Humor
"You've Got Mail (From the Pope)" from Deutsche Welle
(via Boing Boing)
Viking ship built with 15 million ice cream sticks - Yahoo! News
UPDATED (Aug. 18): Hey, apparently the thing even floats, despite the fact that it's held together with more than a ton of glue! The official website's here...
Categories: Humor, History
"Your motto is service. Back on the farm, when I heard that the bull was 'servicing' the cows, I looked behind the barn. And, gentlemen, what the bull was doing to the cow is exactly what you people have been doing to the public all these years."
--Will Rogers to the Board of Directors of Standard Oil,
as quoted by Morris K. Udall, 1988
And if you thought only humans spoke in various dialects, you should know about the ducks!! (from Mirabilis)
And what do you get when you cross farm animals with foreign languages??
A: You get the "Quack-Project"! Enjoy!!
(For example, roosters in English go "cockadoodledoo,"
while in Italian they go "chichirichichi"! Go figure!!)
Categories: Italy, Language, Fun&Games, Dogs&Cats
As a public service to all would-be "writerz," here's a testament of love that's portable and Venice-friendly...
Want more? Don't spray paint that Renaissance statue!
Try the Graffitti Creator instead!!
The assault on "indecorum" (and usually that of the tourists) continues in Venice...
This time, the city has graffitti writers in its sights... and, after seeing some of the culprits' handiwork at "Og's Odd Chronicles of Venice" at the beginning of this month here, who would blame them, you may ask?
Actually, in this case, it's the Venetians who aren't totally enthusiastic!
Take a look at last week's headline from Il Gazzettino newspaper (translation mine):
"Urban Decorum - The City Warns: He who dirties the walls risks prison... even those who write 'I love you'"!
Ah, you've got to love Italians... they're so romantic!!
(And I thought it was just an American south thing... You know, as in Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if you've ever had to climb a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister's honor!")
Categories: Venice, Southern
While I couldn't quite appreciate the spirit behind this year's Italian pavilion (which, in the end, wasn't very Italian!), the other national exhibitions in the Biennale gardens were pretty enjoyable! Perhaps I'll post more about them later, but I found that the pavilions of Australia, France, and Hungary particularly stood out! (I'll freely admit that this year, with a preponderance of video clips, I was a sucker for anything that was three-dimensional!)
But, in the end, I have to admit that my favorite modern art (just like most of my favorite anything) has a smart sense of humor...
That's why my favorite works at the other half of the Biennale at the Venetian Arsenal were those right at the entrance by the "Guerrilla Girls." Of course, you don't necessarily have to agree with them to appreciate them! But this mega-poster they made about women artists in Venice certainly makes a point...
"It isn’t La Dolce Vita for female artists in Venice.
Over the centuries, this city has been home to great artists like Marietta Robusti, Rosalba Carriera, Giulia Lama, and Isabella Piccini. They and many others succeeded when women had almost no legal rights and rules were set up to keep them out of the artworld.
Where are the girl artists of Venice now?
Underneath . . . in storage . . . in the basement...
Of more than 1,238 artworks currently on exhibit at the major museums of Venice, fewer than 40 are by women.
Accademia: 2 women in collection, 2 on view
Quadreria: 0 women artists in collection, 0 on view
Ca’ Rezzonico: 6 women artists in collection, 4 on view
Museo Correr: 15 artworks by women in collection, 0 on view
Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art:
120 artworks by women in collection, 2 on view
Guggenheim Venice: At least 18 women artists in collection, only a few on view inside Peggy’s house — including one in the bathroom!"
They went very nicely in the same room with what was probably my husband's favorite artwork of the day, "The Bride" by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, a beautiful, enormous, absolutely stunning, glistening white chandelier...
Spotted these tees in a shop today.
The front of the first one, on the right, isn't really too bad...
The second one below is however really rather unfortunate!
Categories: Italy, Humor
Venice, city of Renaissance, Italy in Virtual Reality
There's another recent food commercial that's so typically Italian (and that I don't think you'd ever see starring Americans in the States).
I can't find a link to it on the net, so I'll just have to give you the synopsis here:
Andrea, a space engineer, has friends over for dinner. He serves them box wine (which often in Italy is actually quite passable!) They're marvelling at its good ol' fashioned flavor in its new-fangled packaging, when one of the friends says, "Andrea! This would be perfect for space!!" Scene shifts to Andrea in a space capsule, sitting down to an abundant plate of spaghetti and pouring himself some wine. But while the pasta seems to ignore the laws of gravity, the wine doesn't... and floats off in small globules to be gulped up by another astronaut. No wimpy Tang for these guys!! (Somehow, though, I just can't imagine the astronauts on the space shuttle sitting down to enjoy a good chianti with their freeze-dried meal before landing...)
Actually, you know how in Star Trek there were always all these myriad ethnicities all over the place? Well, you still practically never saw an Italian (unless of course he was a hapless redshirt!) "Why is that?" I always used to tease my Italian husband. "Are there no Italians in space in the future??" Finally, I decided that there must be, and that somewhere there's actually a U.S.S. Garibaldi (or maybe the U.S.S. Dolce Vita?) but it's the most laidback ship in all of Starfleet, with everybody almost always on cigarette or coffee breaks (not to mention aperitifs!) Hey, can anybody come up with a better explanation?
In the meantime, more Italian food in the news (from Zoomata)...
- Italy: where food fairs are sacred
- A Passion for Pasta: Italians Love Tradition
- Italians more passionate about pasta than sex
Categories: Italy, Food
"Project Seeks to Preserve Dying Languages" from Yahoo! News
Categories: Language, History
This family did! (from Mirabilis)
Categories: Italy, History
Just take a look at these numbers about college graduates in Italy...
- Only "9% of Italians graduate before age 25"
- "7 years average time to get degree" (more)