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New World Holocaust

Holocaust – from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos: hólos, “whole” and kaustós, “burnt”. Most are familiar with the Holocaust of of the Nazi regime from 1941 to 1945 when six million Jews met their deaths. It is a tragedy almost beyond belief that still scars the world and its diverse cultures.

Lets turn our attention to another holocaust: The extermination of the Native American people along with their language and culture. From the time that the first explorers and colonists set foot on the American continent to the end of the 19th century, conservatively 50 million Native Americans were systematically slaughtered as Europe arrived in droves. Many put the number at 100 million. The colonization of the American continent resulted in at least eight times more deaths than the Nazi’s heinous crimes. But unlike the Holocaust of World War II, there were no war crime trials and in fact very little empathy from a newly formed American government and public.

History books tend to skip over the brutal details. Instead, they almost always focus on the “good guys” like George Armstrong Custer. There have been many good books that have spoken strongly to this subject including, “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”, “The Trail Of Tears” and even oddly, “The Last Of The Mohicans.” A reading of any of these is bound to leave you feeling uneasy and perhaps even a little angry. Aside from these narratives, there are a handful of Native Americans that earnestly try to keep their cultures alive. But in today’s world of cell phone mania, their small voices are often lost.

What has been lost has been chiefly lost forever. Yes, we have some written histories, a few names and the recollections by some of the very people who did the butchery. And yes, there were a few people like Lewis and Clark who tried to help preserve the cultures that are now in shambles. Even this author took a college course in the Lakota language and is still conversant in that tongue. However, what is left of the great horse culture of the American plains is left to the imagination. The only Native Americans you are most likely to meet today are selling blankets on reservations or selling you drinks at a casino. Adding insult to injury, almost all treaties that were forged between the American government and the indigenous people of the continent were broken by the Americans within months of their signing. The once proud and accomplished culture of various Native Americans was reduced to cigar selling “wooden Indians” and a brief portrait on the nickle from 1913 to 1938. Reservations? That would be an entire subject onto its own. Suffice it to say, reservations probably served as models for modern jails and Nazi work camps.

I am an American and I am proud to be one. Yet, I feel my government and many of its people have been way less than honest in dealing with our inexcusable history of genocide throughout many decades. čhaŋtéšilyA is the only Lakota word that comes to my mind. These are my thoughts; do you have some to share on this subject?

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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For My Mother

Two days from now, 96 years ago my mother was born in Fresno, California, the daughter of Elmer Leroy Allen and Edna Byron. Her father was a truck driver with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the family soon moved to North Hollywood, California. Leaving the rural area of Fresno behind, my mother fully enjoyed living in North Hollywood. After all, that’s where Rita Hayworth was discovered, right?

She spent most all her youth in North Hollywood and graduated high school there in 1942. Some years later she finally met my father. He had been recently divorced and lived across the street. He became a great fishing friend of my grandfather and was gradually attracted to his daughter. They were married in 1947.

As an adult, my mother was a quiet woman of great intellectual gifts. I remember her teaching me how to read and all the effort she put into activities such as Cub Scouts, school and the like. She was very active in the education of my brother sister and me. She is in fact was the very fountain of our intellect, creativity and curiosity. How can one thank someone for so many bountiful gifts?

I remember with great fondness so many times when we all went off camping together in the wilderness. Although my mother was a city girl by upbringing, she embraced the rugged life of my father. She was pretty good with a fly rod as well as pitching a tent. There really wasn’t much she couldn’t do.

Christmas and all of the holidays were great affairs in our house. Even though my father was frequently ill and out of work, a Christmas never passed without a ton of gifts for us children. I honestly don’t know how they did it. Though we were often without money, I can’t recall a single time when any of us had to do without.  I call it the gift of good parenting.

When I was in college, my father and I would often speak German (his first language) together when I visited them. With total consistency my mother would bellow at us both, “If you’re going to speak that junk, do it out of the house!” We complied but it wasn’t until some years later that I learned that she read German fluently but she just didn’t like the sound of the language. I was somewhat shocked and would often tease her with quips in German. She would just hold her tongue, smile and mutter, “Right….”

We often have a hard time picturing our parents in their youth. By the time we really get to know them, they’ve grown old. It is only in those photos from the past that we get a clue to what it was like for them to have been so vibrant and good looking so many years ago. My mother was actually a knock-out although her personality was a bit retiring.

I am one of those rare products of the 1950’s who admired their parents and in many ways wanted to be their equal. The good examples that my mother brought into my life are without measure. From the simplest of moments to the most complex conversations, I miss my mother in my life deeply every day. All things come to an end but a child’s love will remain forever.

The nice thing about my family is that there were no words unsaid. My mother knew I loved her because I told her frequently. The same was true with my father. So when they both passed away only three weeks apart, there was no feeling of regret; lives had been richly shared and feelings affirmed.

So it happens on this day, like all others, that I remember my mother. Happy Birthday mom!

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Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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Of Horse Whisperers And Men

Hope you read this book soon!

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A few years ago, I published a novella titled, The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda. In the book, I traced the lives of horse whisperer brothers Lee and Edd Allen in an attempt to define what has made America so great. In the end, I came up with these four pillars on which rest the unique greatness of our country.

Grit – Grit is the gumption and will to do what needs doing. Some would call it guts or ambition but it is stronger and more intense than both of these. Grit is that stone-like hardened force that propels pioneers forward and each of us to our final destination. The Allens have never shunned getting their hands dirty or tackling a job that seemed too big to go after. Whether it was picking up and heading west or heading off to war, they had the grit to get the job…

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Lunedi Senza Parole #54

Indovina dove! Guess where!
Foto © Allen E. Rizzi

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Read my latest novel – Hey, Mister Publisher Available in paperback or e-book.

Follow songwriter Al Sapetello as he takes you through the back streets of the 1970’s music business on his way to the top. Where will the road lead him?The 1970’s music industry is explored from the inside out, exposing both the beauty and the ugly underbelly of the business. Presented with authority by veteran songwriter Allen E. Rizzi, Hey, Mister Publisher will give you a new understanding of music and the people who make it.

It’s A Family Thing

Sunday thoughts…

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I am sure that at least some of you have tired of my musical themed banterings. Four decades as a songwriter will do that to a person. But okay, excuses aside, let’s switch gears a little and talk about something we all have in common: mothers and fathers.

Over the years, I have heard hundreds of stories about parents from my friends. The commonality is that all of these fine people had strong memories, both good and bad, of their parents. I have never heard, “I don’t remember anything about them!” One friend told me that her father “didn’t die soon enough” so I figured she wasn’t a big fan of her father. More often, my friends have recounted that their parents were great people, great teachers but that perhaps they didn’t get to know their parents as individuals as they might have liked. One old friend even suggested that…

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The Story Of The Snails

When I was a small child, I was taught to be self sufficient. My allowance was small, a dime a week (ten cents for you millennials). I was also taught to be smart.

When I was five years old, I was already looking to seek my fortune. There were limited opportunities for someone my age. I made wooden planters out of yucca and sold them door to door. They were a huge success, perhaps not for their craftsmanship but rather for their puckish vendor. I was a child entrepreneur.

I had a striking idea when I was six years old. We had a pair of elderly neighbors next door. They had a beautiful garden that they tended like a well loved child. I would visit Mrs. Davis almost every day and watch her trim her flowers, water the irises and carefully caress each bloom. However, she often lamented that the snails were taking their toll.

I mulled her predicament over in my mind and came up with an idea. I told her that I would remove the snails from her garden for a penny apiece, put them in a jar and salt them to death in one operation. She joyfully agreed, thinking her wee neighbor would probably tire after five or so snails. The first day, I presented her with multiple jars containing 500 snails. “That will be five bucks,” I flatly stated. She was mortified. How could a kid of six find that many snails in her garden she asked. My answer was brief: “Patience!”

Mrs. Davis paid me for the first thousand snails and then conceded that perhaps either I was too good at my job or she was too poor to pay me. Either way, my snail slaying days had come to an end. However I had learned a valuable lesson in commerce, namely that persistence, innovation and a set of balls often pays off. I remember that early lesson every day as I go off to battle with the world.

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Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

The Library At Alexandria

Thursday Thoughts….

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What is the worst disaster to befall mankind? It’s not a trick question; there have been many. My answer is the loss of the library at Alexandria, Egypt.

Alexandria lies at the isthmus of the Nile River as it enters the Mediterranean Sea. It was founded by Alexander the Great as one of the many “Alexandrias” he fostered. It served as the capital of the new Hellenized Egypt after 305 BC under Ptolemy I.

The library was created by Ptolemy I (Soter) who was a Macedonian general and the one of the successors of Alexander The Great. Most of the books were kept as papyrus scrolls, and though it is unknown exactly how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, their combined value was incalculable even in ancient times. By some accounts over 400,000 scrolls were houses in this library, making it one of the largest libraries in the ancient word.

The library…

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Lago di Garda – Lake Of Lakes

Lago di Garda is Italy’s largest but perhaps not best known lake. It sits just north of Verona and extends northward toward the Italian Alps with a total length of almost 52 kilometers. When one thinks of lakes in Italy, Lake Garda’s neighbors Como and Maggiore often come to mind. These are located further west, but like Garda are fed from waters flowing south out of the mountains.

Lago di Garda was formed in the last ice age when huge glaciers pushed southward toward what is now the Po Plain. At one time, the lake was actually a fjord of the distant Adriatic Sea. Today it is one of the grandest jewels in all of Italy and a frequent tourist destination for Europeans. But what about Americans? Although a few Americans do find their way to its shores, Lago di Garda is often overlooked as Americans often travel between Milan and Venice seemingly without time to stop for a visit. The next time, find the brake pedal…. it’s worth exploring.

Lago di Garda was famous even in Roman times when it was known as Lacus Benacus (the beneficial lake). In the year 268, the Romans defeated the Alamanni in the famous Battle of Lake Benacus. The southern lake features the Grottoes of Catullus, a Roman villa of huge dimensions located at Sirmione. Throughout modern and pre-history, the lake has been inhabited by fishermen, traders, and military leaders. In World War II, Benito Mussolini established the capital of his Italian Social Republic at Salò. Other Roman and prehistoric dwellings dot the lake’s shores and are a reminder of the lake’s long endurance throughout history.

The west side of the lake is generally very steep and is reached by a roadway with dozens of tunnels. The east side is mildly hilly until it joins the west side at the bottom of the lake where it is very flat. In between, there is every imaginable type of water, landscape, food and culture to explore and enjoy. The northern part of the lake is frequented by a large number of German tourists and hence the German language is found everywhere from hotels to restaurants. The southern half of the lake is more Italian in feel and is close to the towns of Verona and Brescia. However the entire lake in international in every sense of the word so all visitors feel welcomed and virtually all languages are spoken.

Now for the personal touch! Since I live just an hour and a half north of Lago di Garda, I have been a very frequent visitor over the last 15 years. I have gotten a good feel for all of her towns, large and small, and the people who inhabit her shores. Without writing a travel book, here are a few personal suggestions for towns to visit and things to do in each:

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Limone sul Garda – Located on the lake’s northwestern shore. Small, quaint, steep terrain are the key words. Great hotels, restaurants and a lovely public beach. There’s also fishing and water taxis to take you all over the lake. Don’t forget the public market on Monday!

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Campione sul Garda – Located on the lake’s northwestern shore. This is one of the premier wind surfing spots in the world. But bring a wetsuit, the water is cold! The town is reached by a series of tunnels and is truly an unusual experience.

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Malcesine – Located on the northeastern side of the lake. This is currently home to a magnificent castle and an amazing two stage cable car system that will transport you to 5,741 feet above sea level for great views of the entire lake. Bring a jacket and remember that the Etruscans were here in 500 B.C.!

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Salò and Gardone Riviera – Located on the southwestern part of the lake. This is a quiet part of the lake and a great place to dine and enjoy the history. Make sure to see Mussolini’s old digs!

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Sirmione – Located on a peninsula at the south end of the lake. This is home to the Grottoes of Catullus. The old ruins of this immense Roman villa are worth visiting.

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Desenzano del Garda – Located at the southern end of the lake. Here you can visit a restored Roman villa and enjoy more shopping and dining. There’s also a lovely harbor area to explore.

There are dozens of other towns to see and a car ride above the western shore also provides even more places to visit along with spectacular views of the lake. Maps are available for free so all you need is a little gas and guts! If you get to this lake of lakes, enjoy and remember, “La vita bella è di tutti i giorni!”

PS – The photo through the arch was taken at the Hotel La Terrazzina. It’s located at Via della Repubblica 102, 25084 Gargnano, Italia, Italy. It is a great place to stay and dine! All photos copyright: Allen E. Rizzi.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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Madison Cawthorn – The Change That Congress Needs

Today is the day! Please get out and vote for Madison!

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This post is directed primarily at Western North Carolina residents living in Congressional District 11. This candidate has my full support and endorsement

As you know, our current Congressman Mark Meadows is not running for re-election and will be moving on, most probably to a role in Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. He was a no-nonsense legislator who will be missed.

The March 3rd primary is nearly here and there are several people running for this seat on the Republican ticket. The choices are even a bit confusing. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce and endorse Madison Cawthorn and ask that you consider his background carefully and give him your support.

Madison will carry-on Mark Meadows’ work in Washington while also bringing a much needed perspective and change to congress as a whole. Is he conservative? Yes! Will he work to protect Second Amendment rights? Yes. Does he…

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Lunedi Senza Parole #53

Indovina dove! Guess where!
Foto © Allen E. Rizzi

Please follow this blog by clicking  follow below. Your comments are always welcome.

Featured Image -- 7254

Read my latest novel – Hey, Mister Publisher Available in paperback or e-book.

Follow songwriter Al Sapetello as he takes you through the back streets of the 1970’s music business on his way to the top. Where will the road lead him?The 1970’s music industry is explored from the inside out, exposing both the beauty and the ugly underbelly of the business. Presented with authority by veteran songwriter Allen E. Rizzi, Hey, Mister Publisher will give you a new understanding of music and the people who make it.