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The Road Not Taken

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1916)

This is the 100th anniversary of Robert Frost’s famous poem and I wanted to post it here as a reminder to all to consider the road less traveled by. For me it has indeed made all the difference.

The road above is the “old road” from Tret to San Felice, Trento Province, Italy.

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Vini dalla Val di Non

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Ogni giorno beviamo un po’di vino. Beh, forse non solo un po. Vedi, noi viviamo in Val di Non. E’ quello che facciamo.

Allora, che cosa beviamo? Teroldego e Groppello (Gropel). Sono vini che non hanno familiarità a molti in Italia e all’estero. Sono grandi vini. Lasciatemi spiegare.

Teroldego è il nostro vino preferito. E ‘il vino principale che tutti noi beviamo. Le uve maturano intorno l’ultima settimana di settembre o la prima settimana di ottobre. Anche se Teroldego è abbondante nella nostra zona, è difficile da trovare altrove.

Mentre Groppello è comune in Lombardia, è particolarmente buono nella nostra valle. Groppello è un vino rosso dal sapore caloroso. Nel secolo scorso, era comune nella nostra valle. Ora è fatta solo nei villaggi di Revo’ e Cloz. Molto poco si produce e noi beviamo la maggior parte di esso. Fortunatamente, è fatta da mio cugino Valerio Rizzi a Cloz.

Ci sono anche molte altre varietà di vino della nostra valle e la vicina Valle dell’Adige. Così molti vini e così poco tempo. Si tratta di un destino che tutti condividiamo nella nostra valle.

Saluti!

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Here Comes The Bride

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We are all familiar with Here Comes The Bride. It has been played at millions of weddings in the western world for over 150 years. However, not everyone knows the origin of this popular tune. It is actually the bridal chorus from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin. It was first performed in 1850 and has since become associated with weddings everywhere. In its traditional form, it is much longer than the familiar wedding theme, although some ceremonies use part of the interlude as well.

Give it a listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7Su2qPT_P0 (This is the complete long version.)

If you want the entire lyrics, I’ll oblige in both German and English as follows:

German
Treulich geführt (The Bridal Chorus / The Wedding March)

Treulich geführt ziehet dahin,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr’!
Siegreicher Mut, Minnegewinn
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.
Streiter der Tugend, schreite voran!
Zierde der Jugend, schreite voran!
Rauschen des Festes seid nun entronnen,
Wonne des Herzens sei euch gewonnen!
Duftender Raum, zur Liebe geschmückt,
nehm’ euch nun auf, dem Glanze entrückt.
Treulich geführt ziehet nun ein,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr’!
Siegreicher Mut, Minne so rein
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.
Wie Gott euch selig weihte, zu Freude weihn euch wir.
In Liebesglücks Geleite denkt lang’ der Stunde hier!
Treulich bewacht bleibet zurück,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr’!
Siegreicher Mut, Minne und Glück
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.
Streiter der Tugend, bleibe daheim!
Zierde der Jugend, bleibe daheim!
Rauschen des Festes seid nun entronnen,
Wonne des Herzens sei euch gewonnen!
Duftender Raum, zur Liebe geschmückt,
nahm euch nun auf, dem Glanze entrückt.
Treulich bewacht bleibet zurück,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr’!
Siegreicher Mut, Minne und Glück
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar!

 

English translation
The Bridal Chorus / The Wedding March

Faithfully guided, draw near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, the reward of love,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
Champion of virtue, proceed!
Jewel of youth, proceed!
Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!
This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
now takes you in, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guided, draw now near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love so pure,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
As God blessed you in happiness,so do we bless you in joy.
Watched over by love’s happiness,may you long remember this hour!
Faithfully guarded, remain behind
where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love and happiness
join you in faith as the happiest of couples.
Champion of virtue, remain here!
Jewel of youth, remain here!
Flee now the splendors of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!
This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
has now taken you, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guarded, remain behind
where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love and happiness
join you in faith as the happiest of couples.

Das Foto: Meine Frau und ich in unseren jüngeren Tagen

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The Tired Dinosaur

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I am the last of the Triassic era; I must be the last of the tired dinosaurs. When I turn on the television, I know that I am surely a museum piece. That becomes crystal clear with every commercial and every nuance of every news broadcast and every breath of every television show.

Yesterday morning, I turned on the television to help nurse a bad night’s sleep over a cup of coffee. I watched a plug for a new shoe that laces and pressurizes itself by using an app. I couldn’t help but wonder what the harm would be in just lacing up your own damn shoes. Would an Android application really make the task any better or quicker? Dino thinks not.

I also saw a news clip in which a person uploaded their credit card to Snapchat and then was surprised when $80,000 worth of fraudulent charges appeared within minutes. I know I’m an old reptile, but that just seems plain plumb stupid to me. With everyone trying to steal your very soul, why would you put your credit card up publicly on the internet? Things were better back in the Jurassic for sure.

Perhaps, I have been asleep for centuries or at least decades. Wanting to see if we were at war or under terrorist attack, I flipped on a different news channel only to be greeted with a series of Hollywood-esque promotions. One featured a bra with a built-in heart monitor. Where was that one when I was in Jurassic Junior High School? Where did my morning news disappear to? I need to know if it’s safe to go outside and the news is proffering smart bras. What gives?

Last night, I thought I would check-out the major networks for a television show. Yes, I know that only a dinosaur would refer to major networks; you know, those are the ones with non-jazzy acronyms like ABC, NBC and CBS. I think they were around in the days of the woolly mammoth. The first channel featured a new show based on DC Comics. I remembered DC Comics from my youth but not the digital drivel I watched: Something about a group of ass wipes with super powers. Hell, I remember when we all had super powers and got together as a nation to get things done. I changed the channel only to find another story based on futuristic fantasy. The old dino brain just didn’t get that one. The third try brought me to a crime series where people were getting shot at a rate of one per three seconds. This scaly old beast wondered if this could all have something to do with a population that can’t deal with reality and shoots one another instead. I wonder if the gun control folks have considered this. Probably not. It’s always the gun’s fault anyway.

Done with the television and its reflection of the world we live in, I ambled off to bed to dream of better days and soft visions of pterodactyls; these are the things I know well.

The above Brontosaurus was painted for the Sinclair Dinosaur Book by my great-uncle James E. Allen in 1934.

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Democracy

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November 8 has come and gone and here we are, a divided nation.

Americans are often proud that our country is hailed as the strongest democracy in the world. Democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. That means that all of us are responsible for contributing to and maintaining our government.

On November 8, once again we put our democracy to the test. As it has for so many years, it worked once again. However, this time around there was so much vitriol going into the election that it was a surety that half the population would be angry after the election. That too is a natural course of events. However, small sectors of our countrymen have gone overboard in declaring that they would move out of the country or profess that the duly elected president is not their president. One veteran even said he would no longer defend this country. Let’s take a look at this.

Eight years ago and four years, many including myself did not like the outcome of the presidential election. We were just as upset as the Hillary Clinton supporters are today. However, we did not threaten to pick up our marbles and go home. We accepted American democracy but in so doing, worked hard to change the next election. We did not flee the country nor did we hit the streets to disrupt and do property damage. To do so is not democratic but rather erratic. We stayed alongside those who voted for Obama and tried to change the future. We expressed our opinions, thoughts for the future, contributed and in the end we voted.

If certain celebrities want to leave our country because they don’t like who was elected, that is certainly their right. Most of these cream puffs have the financial means to do so. But deserting democracy is a coward’s way out and doesn’t address their anger. They would be better served by putting their collective angst into changing the next election results by articulating their positions in our open democracy forum. However, this takes work and some guts…. not exactly the stuff that celebs are known for. Actions do indeed speak louder than mere words. In the end, the planes and trains are waiting, engines warmed up and ready to go!

Those who seek to block interstate highways, disrupt and loot are doing so for the reasons they always have: They are chiefly composed of criminal elements in our society who constantly bitch but have no fortitude to participate responsibly in our democracy. Their contribution is chaos and name calling. They are merely barnacles on the prow of democracy. They need to put down their rakes and torches and work to incorporate their ideas into our government. To just sit on the sidelines, hurl insults, call names and complain accomplishes nothing. Blocking highways only hurts honest people who need to get to and from work, see a friend or even get to a hospital. Being pissed to the point of violence that your candidate didn’t win is beyond being a sore loser. It runs contrary to our democracy and the very fabric and history of our country.

Whatever your beliefs, we all owe our President-Elect Donald Trump the opportunity to prove himself. If we don’t like what he’s done after four years, we’ll have the opportunity to vote him out! That’s called democracy.

A little PS to the veteran who said he would no longer defend our country: While I don’t agree with you and think you are full of it, I like many others thank you for your service to our democracy. We honor you and the rest of our veterans this Veterans Day. That’s what we do in a democracy!

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Apartment For Sale In The Italian Alps

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After many wonderful years in Italy, we are selling our apartment in the Italian Alps. For those who may have a serious interest, here are the details:

– All wood construction “clima house” consisting of four apartments (built in 2003).
– Our apartment is the upper right side “mansarda” (under the roof with open beam construction).
– Approximately 75 mq (808 square feet), excluding balcony, garage and cantina.
– Two bedrooms
– One bath.
– Kitchen, living room, winter garden and balcony.
– Garage, cantina (cellar), private external parking place and huge garden.

The location is in the village of Tret in the Val di Non of Trento Province, Italy. Shopping is in nearby Fondo (7 km), Merano (34 km) and Bolzano (42 km). Hospitals are located in Cles (20 km), Bolzano and Merano.

The small Lake Tret is situated above the property and can be reached by foot (40 minutes).

Nearest airports include Venice, Verona, Munich and Milan.

The apartment is being sold by owner as “turn key” and includes all furnishings, beds, bedding, kitchen, appliances, TV, washer, garden tools, lawnmower, etc.

The price has been reduced to 225,000 Euro (US Dollar price varies with exchange rate.)

Serious Inquiries Only: Please contact Allen and Rachel Rizzi at this blog site by leaving a comment.

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Living Room

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Kitchen

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Master Bedroom

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Guest Bedroom

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Bathroom

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Winter Garden

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Balcony View

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Garden

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Black Cats Matter

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I live in a world of cats. High in the Italian Alps, my home is also the abode of many feral cats. Ten years ago, our cat population was 22. These were all “forest cats” who were largely left to fend for themselves during our harsh winters. Like typical Americans, we adopted them all.

Most all of these cats were gray. But the grandmother of them all was a black Manx. She is still alive at almost 15 years, a very tidy sum for a wild cat. We call her “Black Mama.” She is matriarch of most of our entire cat world.

Of all her offspring, our favorite was a gray female we called “Cione” (ciccione means fatty in Italian.) She trusted us the most and was a frequent visitor in our house. She was smarter than most and knew the value of a warm bed and hand-fed sausage. She became tame (only inside our home) and in the process, I suppose our pet. Unlike most feral cats, Cione loved to be picked-up and held tightly. It seemed as though our heartbeats made her feel comfortable. She was a good friend for many years and one who enriched our lives a great deal. One day she wandered off to the mouse house in the sky, never to return. We miss her.

Cione’s mother Black Mama gave birth to many a gray cat but only one black one, named Blackie. Black Mama’s daughter Cione, in turn, brought us many others, all gray, including: Malfat, Thwarticus, Foots, Brother, Fluffy and others. Many of these would joyfully jump on our bed after sneaking into our bedroom and play hide and seek in our bean garden. These were all a merry band of feral forest cats who often entered our home as invited guests. They are mostly gone. Only Fluffy and Foots are still around. They have become too shy to visit us. The Italian Alps have a way of isolating cats as well as people.

However, the only two cats who never ventured into our home were Black Mama and Blackie. They both are reserved and timid and were so even from the start. Cautious is a better word as both accepted food but kept their distance. As the seasons have come and gone, Black Mama, Blackie, Foots and Fluffy are about the only remnants of original band. Even our beloved Smeagol died last year. He was the only other cat who loved to be picked-up and held. Like Cione, he was an opportunist with a keen nose for Luganica sausage, chicken and about anything else. We miss him as well. There are others roaming about, but we don’t seem to be close friends. Cats are a lot like people and the other way around. Sometimes, after a great relationship that ends in death, you just don’t feel like risking another too soon. Time will tell.

Black Mama and Blackie are still well and with us. Because of our longstanding relationship, we accord these two survivors all of our hospitality and affection. They stay their distance but a bit but know in the end that we are their friends. After all of these years, why do we still bother with these two? Why? In addition to our many gray feline friends, Black Cats Matter!

The above photo is of Smeagol on the left and Blackie on the right.

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Bill Clinton’s Third Term?

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This week’s blog is my personal attempt to ask all you voters NOT to vote for Hillary Clinton. The reasons are many, but despite the scandals and dishonesty, they can be summed-up in the fact that most Americans don’t want a third term for Bill Clinton. Dynasties are for England and greater Europe. We here in the United States deserve better! Please vote for one of the other three candidates: Trump, Johnson or Stein. (I strongly recommend Trump.) The future of American democracy will be glad you did.

To reinforce my point, I am republishing two earlier blogs here as follows:

Hillary The Forgetful

Poor Hillary Clinton! It seems she’s become quite forgetful. Is it the brain tumor that comes and goes at will? Or is it her advanced age? (Too old even to be president of the local Rotary Club.) What’s the deal with poor Hillary?

It seems Hillary forgot about Benghazi, forgot about the classified emails she sent from her “private” server, forgot about Whitewater, forgot about her Midas touch in futures trading and just about everything she’s ever been involved with. Yikes! That’s a lot of memory to lose for a presidential candidate. Is it really the brain tumor thing or senility? Neither seems to be an option for the President of the United States. It’s enough to make Vince Foster get up from the park bench and say “who done it.”

Hillary’s battle with forgetfulness has a very long history conveniently couched between disarming smiles and claims that it is always a “right wing conspiracy.” The smile has been re-capped about a million times and conspiracy theories largely ended with the JFK assassination. Are we really talking about forgetfulness here? Again, what’s the deal with Hillary? The public should help poor Hillary out and remind her of her many memory lapses. It is the only decent thing to do.

Question: When does forgetfulness just become just plain old-fashioned lying? This is a very good question for American voters to ponder in the coming months. The familiar buck-toothed smile can not continually contradict facts. Important questions can not be forever ducked with “Oh Barbara, really?” Accusations aimed at Republicans and convenient illnesses can not be foils against truth. The question of integrity needs to be considered when listening to the debates and looking at the past as a predictor of future behavior.

Forgetful or just another liar…. You decide, but please do it soon.

Ode To Hillary

(Normally I try to stay away from politics on this blog. However, the “devil” made me do it!)

Oh Hillary, must we believe
You and Bill won’t deceive?
A thief, a liar, an arrogant ass:
Should we believe all this will pass?

Is it Hillary or Billary now?
The skinny finger or the old cow?
Is it the conspiracy of the right
That makes you bark instead of bite?

What happened to your imaginary stroke?
Will the press now ask or poke?
We doubt it because they never do.
They give a pass to Bill and you.

Enlighten us if you will,
Why should we vote again for Bill?
He’s transferred all his villany
Into the person of old Hillary.

Tell us again it doesn’t matter
That Benghazi’s blood will ever splatter.
Tell us again there is no reason
You should be charged with high treason.

A computer server in your home?
Never the truth, the same old tome.
There’s something fishy in your every move,
Like a record stuck in a groove.

White Water and your Midas touch
Really don’t reveal all that much,
Except that you are certainly a crook;
Your life of crime could fill a book.

What’s the deal, tell us Hill?
Or should we speak with sleazy Bill?
Hillary or Bill, which is newer?
They both crawled out of the sewer.

Vince Foster’s ghost tells it true:
There scammy one? It is you!

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RU Miseducated? – LOL

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Well into my sixth decade on this planet, I have to say I am really disappointed with the miseducation of today’s young people. It’s really not an old person thing, so I probably should leave out the part about six decades; it’s a today problem and one that affects all of us.

A few years back, a young dinner guest hit me with a barrage of LOL over dinner. Like many of her age, she likes to ride older people for being stupid and out of touch. She thought I didn’t know what LOL meant. I did. However, when I asked her if she knew how to spell the word laughing, I was greeted with silence and the very facial expression that sums up today’s education experience in America: Vacuous.

Over the last few years, I learned that today’s young people are woefully lacking in communication skills. Most can not write a coherent paragraph, all but a few simply don’t listen when someone is speaking to them and their reading lists are chiefly comprised of emails, photos and texts. Trying not to embarrass younger people, I avoid any references to novels, classical music and virtually everything that Mr. Webster has published. It makes me wonder and fear for our very future as a society.

Likewise I was completely floored when I learned that local schools no longer teach cursive writing. What? Not possible! Sadly, it is not only possible, it’s a fact. Then my mind flashed back to the days of penmanship, exchange letters, love letters and dear diary entries. I suppose these have been relegated to the Smithsonian but I fear we are no better off for it. Granted, I am typing this off on a computer keyboard but guess what folks? I can still write it down with pen and paper just as easily. Fortunately I was not miseducated.

Then there’s the practical side of miseduaction. If you are going to eventually have a job, I suppose it would be handy to know not to start a letter or business correspondence with 2 U. Of course, the argument supporting this vacuum in our education system insists that computers will do all the work in the near future. Great! What about conversations, you know, where you have to speak and respond to someone else. Are we to be left with just grunting sans facial expressions? The Neanderthals would be proud that we have come full circle.

I look back with considerable pride to the time I spent as an English teacher. My students certainly did learn communication skills. All were able to write, speak, read and listen. I wonder how those folks are coping with their children these days. I honestly believe that the people who went to public schools in the 1970s were the last people to have acquired good communication skills. Today’s teachers as well as their students don’t seem to put a high priority on communication – 2 Bad! And grammar? Don’t get me started!

Youth is rebellious by nature. I sure was rebellious when I was young. My parents and grandparents thought my music, idiom and way of thinking was a bit strange, even unacceptable. The feelings were mutual. I didn’t think they were very boss or bitchin’ either. That was natural. But like them, I was at least educated, enough even to write this blog entry.

The next time you see one of our lightly educated youths fiddling with their phone, you might want to text them a quickie: “2 U – RU miseducated? – OMG – Y – LOL 2!”

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Wo Ist Es Gegangen?

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Schöne Dinge nicht dauern. In der Nähe unseres Hauses, hat ein Holzschnitzer viele schöne Arbeiten an der Hauptstraße gemacht. Jedoch ist ein Paar von ihnen wurden von Dieben weggenommen. Warum?

Vor Jahren gab es eine wundervolle Schnitzerei eines Kaninchens. Jetzt ist es nur ein Stumpf. Die Fahrt nach Meran ist nicht so schön, wie es einmal war.

Ein schön geschnitzt hölzernes Kaninchen an der GampenpassStraße. Jetzt kann man nur fragen “Wo ist es gegangen?”

Foto von Allen Rizzi (Tret, Nonstal)

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