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The Godfather’s Priest?

“Bonasera, Bonasera. What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully?”

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Photographs are memories. I have a great many (15,000 plus) tucked away in my archives. Most portray days gone by when photographs were held in high esteem. They were once not merely snapshots of everyday living. From these photographs I have been able to draw a better understanding of my family and their lives. Photographs can form a collective memory of individuals that lasts a long time. In most cases this is a good thing. However….

The photograph that I frequently use for my online presence is one that was taken for the 25th anniversary of my marriage to my lovely wife. For this photo, we were both dressed in traditional Tirolean attire and I thought my individual photo looked fine until a couple of years ago.

My brother was on a Skype call to me in Italy from Mexico when he inquired about this photo. “Why are you dressed…

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The Confusing Sign

We live in a world of signs. They tell us useful information and also bog us down with meaningless information we don’t want. Through my many years I have seen millions of signs. Some were useful. Some were accurate. Some were amusing. Some were downright stupid. And yes, some were plain confusing.

In the useful category, I once saw a sign in Italy that said, “Don’t throw rocks.” It was located on a dam that overlooked a power station. It was good, useful advice, especially for children. In the accurate category, I always see signs on power lines in Italy that show a skull and cross bones with the words “Non Toccare.” I also remember going to the bathroom back in the 1970’s at a gas station in Barstow, California. A hand scribbled sign said, “Look up!” I did and there was a dead rat stuck in the ceiling heating vent. I guess it was amusing, well maybe disgusting is a better word. Lastly. I once saw a sign that said “post no signs.” That was fine but it was the only sign posted on a brand new barn door in the South Tirol. I class that one in the downright stupid category.

Then there is the confusing category. I have seen a few over the years that I just didn’t get. However, the prize has to go to a sign I saw a couple of years ago along North Carolina’s Green River. I had parked the car in a pullout and followed a poor path in an effort to see if it led to a fishing access of some sort. There was no such access as the path lead to a dead end drop off of some thirty feet above the stream. I backtracked the few yards to the pullout and there at the beginning of this rough path was a North Carolina Fish and Wildlife sign that proudly stated: “Disabled Accessible Blind.”

Wait a tick! What exactly did that sign mean to say? Was it a handicapped access for the blind to go walking merrily down until they fell to their deaths at the cliff’s edge? I couldn’t help but chuckle at the prospect and had my wife snap this photo. (Okay vision impaired people, don’t get mad at me; it’s a joke.)

Then I reconsidered. Maybe it meant that it was a handicapped access point to a hunting blind. No that didn’t work either as there was no blind and the whole affair was just steps from a major road. Since most blinds in this part of the country are up in trees, I scoured the trees. Nope! No blinds. I cringed at the visage of a quadriplegic trying to scale a tree to hunt a few feet from an asphalted main road. Besides, no animal was likely to pass between a road and a cliff above the stream, save an errant squirrel.

To this day, the best explanation I can come up with is that the access is intended for the sightless or visually impaired. But to what end and what cruelty? Again the path is uneven and leads directly to a drop off above the Green River.Or maybe there was a hunting blind put there years ago that no longer exists. In any event, it is a very confusing sign. If you are reading this and are from this area, please share your thoughts. This one has me stumped. Maybe I just didn’t get it.

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

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The Fear Of Being Milkless

The weather report calls for a dusting of snow. Gentlemen, start your engines!

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What a queer and delightful sight! Nearly the entire population of our tiny town rushes to the local market like a pack of lemmings to strip the shelves entirely of milk and bread. What brings about this strange activity? A calamity of biblical proportions? An imminent nuclear attack? No. In this small corner of the world, it is the mere mention of that four letter word – Snow.

I am not exaggerating here. When the weatherman predicts even the slightest chance of a dusting of snow, people here run to the markets and stock-up on milk and bread. I’ve often mused as to why milk and bread? Are they thinking of waiting out a blizzard making bread pudding? As crazy as it is, it is also very comical to watch.

But the fun doesn’t stop at the local markets. No indeed. Entire shopping malls shut down in the face of…

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Reblog: 104 year old USMC Vet looking for Valentine’s Day Cards

Do it folks and say “Thank You for your service!”

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Valentine’s Day is one-month from today!

Maj. Bill White served in World War II, survived the Battle of Iwo Jima and went on to continue a long career in the U.S. Marine Corps.

White keeps his proudest memories tucked away on his bookshelf and the 104-year-old veteran said he’s hoping his collection grows a little bigger this Valentine’s Day.

To read more about his story, click USMC Logohere.

If you would like to send White a Valentine’s Day card, you can address it to:

Operation Valentine
ATTN: Hold for Maj Bill White, USMC (Ret)
The Oaks at Inglewood
6725 Inglewood Ave.
Stockton, CA 95207

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O-gyee

Language is beautiful Thanks for reading / nitsíniiyi’taki
náátsi no’tokááni are always better than one!

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O-gyee. Nee-dahn ikoo Allen. (Hello. My name is Allen.)

As you can see, my prowess with the Blackfoot language is rudimentary at best. However, I am attempting to learn this language completely. Why? That’s a long story but here’s the short version:

Over a hundred years ago my grandfather, Lee Allen, grew up in Anaconda, Montana among miners, loggers and the Blackfoot Indians. He had learned some of the language in his contact with local tribe members from a very early age. These same people helped my grandfather gain a deep respect for the earth, its people and resources. This relationship started when my grandfather was only five years old in the year 1899. In that year a local Blackfoot family gave my grandfather a gift of a pair of moccasins as a thank you to his family for being kind to them. (See Blackfoot Moccasins.) I still…

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Lunedi Senza Parole #30

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

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Baked Zucchini With Luganica And Cheese

Three years on, we are still enjoying this dish.

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Most of us have had zucchini in salads or perhaps fried. Here’s a new twist for the adventurous: Baked Zucchini With Luganica And Cheese. You can use a traditional large zucchini or, as I prefer, the large round version.

Now for a little background. Luganica is an Italian sausage found in the northern provinces of Trento and Bolzano. If you are not in these regions (who is?), you can substitute and decent pork sausage. Here’s the recipe:

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1. Cut the top of a large round zucchini as you would with a Halloween pumpkin. Discard the top. If you are using a standard zucchini, cut it in half lengthwise.

2. Scoop out the pulp and the seeds. Discard the seeds and put the pulp aside in a bowl.

3. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).

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4. Pre-cook one large luganica or other sausage with a little garlic…

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Where Is Tret?

Most of you know that I live in the small village of Tret as I have referenced this village in many of my books and blog posts. Many of you have asked the same question, “Where is Tret?” Let me give answering that question an honest try.

Tret is located at the extreme top of the Val di Non in the Northernmost part of Trento Province, Italy. In fact our garden is just a few hundred feet from the neighboring Bolzano Province. It is isolated, the closest community being Sankt Felix in the adjacent German speaking province. The nearest town in our province is Fondo, some 7 kilometers to the south. We sit at 1,400 meters on the southern flanks of the Dolomites. We are just a few miles from the Austrian border to the north and northwest.

The village of Tret was originally a pasture and stables for the nearby town of Fondo during medieval times. The village’s name comes from the German word Tratten which means “hoof tracks.” Gradually, some of the summer workers at this location decided to live there year round. The first documented full-time resident of Tret was one Giovanni Bertagnolli, born in Fondo in about 1528. The church of the village, dedicated to Saint Anna, was built around 1610.

Tret is currently a frazione of Fondo (a municipal administrative subdivision). Its current population is roughly 140 (not including cats). Yes, I do know each of these people quite well and they know me. It has been home since 2003. We are Tirolean in origin, neither Italian nor German. Or language is mixed. We speak primarily Nonese (low old Latin dialect) combine=d with Italian, German and Tirolese (low old German dialect).

I have enlisted the help of my friend David Dalsis to help illustrate where Tret is located visually. From our balcony, we can see where this photo was taken, some twenty miles away on the ski slopes of Madonna di Campiglio. This photo is looking north towards our home with the Dolomite Mountains in the background.

If you think you will be in the area, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to show you around our quaint little villages and its surroundings. Until then: Ti vedis! Ci vediamo! Wir werden dich sehen! Bis bald!

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Me And The Munk

A little break from world tensions and war:

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“Son of a bitch! He fooled me again!”

This refrain has been heard around our house for a couple of years now. As I gaze out my kitchen window, my nemesis has once again eluded me and hopped happily into the waiting forest. Again I think aloud, “I have lost another battle of wits to a rodent with a brain the size of a dime.”

My nemesis? A simple chipmunk who frequents our yard way too often. He depletes the bird seed that I put out for more deserving creatures: the cardinals, wrens and their many friends. He is one crafty little creature. He can shinny up a steel shepherd’s hook, grab his booty and then disappear in an instant.

My wife says, “Make him walk the plank!” She is referring to the old chipmunk dispatching trick of placing a small baited stick over a pail of water. But I…

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Lunedi Senza Parole #29

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

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