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Lunedi Senza Parole #95

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

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Lake Molveno

Something for your Saturday…

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I have visited virtually thousands of places near my home in Northern Italy. Each has been enjoyable. However, one of the most unique is Lake Molveno, located in the Brenta Dolomites of Trento Province west of the large city of Trento.

It has been said that Molveno is Italy’s most beautiful lake. What it lacks in size is more than made up by its extraordinary color and commanding position, framed below the Brenta Dolomites. It is a special place that is unfortunately missed by most tourists who come to Italy’s Trento Province for vacations. It is somewhat off the beaten path and must be accessed by roads that are definitely not freeways. Sitting at 2,835 feet above sea level, it can only be reached by road SS421 which runs between the north end of Lake Garda and Spormaggiore in the Val di Non. Another road, SS45 will take you to…

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If A Tree Falls In The Forest….

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.

I live in the rain forest of Western North Carolina and I can assure you that when a tree falls and I’m around to hear it, it definitely makes a sound. It also makes a statement. With every crash of a falling tree, our environment gets just a little poorer.

We have lived in our current location for about 9 years. In that time, just in our neighborhood, I have seen over a hundred trees taken down. These were removed not because of imminent danger of falling onto houses, etc. but rather their removal was hastened by the irrational fear of newly arrived residents from other states who don’t understand the importance of trees. Trees are a natural and much-needed component of our planet. They supply the oxygen we breath, homes for birds, mammals and insects and provide the very beauty of our surroundings.

I saw the clear-cut mentality first hand when I lived in Oregon. There the motivating factor for tree cutting was simply greed and money. On any given hill, it didn’t look horrible. However, when flying into Portland, the nightmare became very real. Most of the western half of the entire state is checker boarded with clear cuts. The streams are silted, preventing salmon and steelhead reproduction. There is less oxygen production and the whole affair is just plain ugly. Oregon’s economy has always been wood but it had become overkill in every sense of the word.

Returning to North Carolina, yes we are the world’s supplier of toothpicks and I guess that makes the environment a little better in terms of bad breath. However our forests are rapidly being depleted in the name of progress and acquiescing to newly arrived out of staters from Florida, New Jersey and New York who are accustomed to flat, denuded landscapes and seek to impose this ideal on the local populace here in North Carolina. Yikes, even Californians are invading as I write this.

If a tree falls in the forest and the forest is in North Carolina, then surely the culprit is from the north or south (and west). People hereabouts have more sense!

PS – Just yesterday morning, an elderly family from Massachusetts took down 6 large Carolina Pines on their back yard. Why? Fear of falling toothpicks?

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Similies

Similes are metaphors that compare two things using the words like and as. However, metaphors that compare using the word than are also similes. They are lovely little bits of our language that I truly adore. Some examples from over the years:

Dumber than shit!
Colder than a witch’s tit!
Dryer than dirt!
Busier than a one-armed paper hanger!
Stupider than a stone!
Fatter than a whale!
Head harder than a rock!

(This list could fill many, many pages but you get the idea. Right?)

I, like many of my contemporaries, love to invent new similes. The first reason is to introduce some new texture into our language. The second reason is to exercise the gray matter a bit to keep it trim and in shape. After all, who wants to have a brain that has exceeded its expiration date? It could go stale or something.

Some offerings:

Dumber than a dead trout!
Colder than an ass on ice!
Dryer than Martian mushroom!
Busier than Hillary’s paper shredder!
Stupider than a tire valve!
Fatter than a Walmart shopper!
Head harder than a wet sand box!

So my fellow metaphorists, do you have any simile offerings of your own? I’d love to see some.

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Lunedi Senza Parole #94

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

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Driving – A Comparison

I have driven on several continents and seen many different driving habits. However I have been the most struck by the comparison of driving in the United States and Italy. Here are a few examples of what driving laws mean in these two countries:

  • The stop sign. In The US it means stop, period! In Italy it is an informal suggestion that one follows if they’re in the mood.
  • No passing. In the United States most people obey such signs. In Italy, the same signs challenge the driver to spin the wheel of fortune and see what happens.
  • Yield. This is usually taken to mean that the “other guy” has the right of way. In Italy, it doesn’t mean a thing at all.
  • Work Zone. In the US all vehicles must slow down in posted work zones or face huge fines. If one slows down in a work zone in Italy, they are usually shouted at by the workers themselves and told to get moving.
  • Passing a School Bus. Passing a school bus in the United States pretty much guarantees a loss of your license along with huge fines. In Italy, it is pretty much the same as the work zone.
  • Following Too Close. In the US, we tend to use the old adage about a car length of space for every ten miles per hour of speed. So if we are going 60 MPH, we should keep 6 car lengths behind the car in front of us. In Italy, it is slightly different. They keep a model car’s length between themselves and the car in front of them.
  • Whether it’s a lane change or a turn, we are required to use a signal in the United States. In Italy, you’re lucky to see one blink for a lane change right in front of you and turning? Forget about it!
  • Hand Signals. They are still used in the US, quite often by rural drivers with tractors, etc. In Italy the only hand signal you will ever see is the middle finger extended gracefully in your direction.
  • In the US, parking enforcement is pretty strict in most areas. Whether it’s parallel parking or pull in parking, people tend to be courteous and follow the laws. In Italy, people park wherever and whenever they want to: On the sidewalks, in the middle of the street, blocking exits, in three parking places or whatever suits them.
  • Staying In Your Lane. Let’s just say that Italians seem to think they are driving a slot car. They have no sense of center and no matter how wide the lane is, they find it impossible to stay in the damn thing. Driving down the middle of lane markers, they seem to be pulled along by a tractor beam.
  • Right of Way. In Italy there is none. He who pushed forward is always the winner.
  • The speed limit. Okay, you’ve got me here. No one pays any mind to a speed limit anywhere in the world!
  • Cell Phones. Ditto!

On a reverse note, driving with your lights on between towns and on highways is required in Italy and most people follow this rule. To the contrary, most US drivers fail to turn their lights on even in a driving rain with zero visibility. In Italy autostrada exits are marked very well with signs above the road and painted on the asphalt. You would have to be blind to miss them, In the United States, freeway exit signs are often missing or confusing at best.

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Mi Lasci Morire

Un po’ di poesia scritta in Val di Non, Italia dal mio libro Prescriptions from the Rhyme Doctor:

Mi Lasci Morire
© 2001 Allen E. Rizzi

O, Signore!
Mi lasci morire sulla questa montagna,
La montagna delle mie genti, di mio padre
La montagna che l’amo.

O, Signore!
Mi lasci giaccia quaggiù sotto degli alberi alti,
Gli alberi che incorniciano il cielo dello Tirolo azzurro,
Gli alberi che stanno in piedi proteggermi.

O, Signore!
Mi Lasci rimano accanto a queste acque calme,
Le acque Alpine dalle quale le mie genti dedussero vita.
Le acque quiete che mi chiamano alla casa.

O, Signore!
Non mi prendi dalla città ma dalla questa montagna,
Questa montagna dove il cervo è libero,
Questa montagna dove anche io sono libero.

O, Signore!
Mi Lasci morire sulla questa montagna,
La montagna delle mie genti, di mio padre
La montagna che l’amo.

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What Is Your First Memory?

What is your first memory? I mean your very first memory, the very first thing you can recall from your past.

Our minds are capable to remembering things from a long, long time ago. However, everyone’s memory seems to have different limitations on how far back they go. Some can remember things from their infancy and others only recall their lives beginning at various ages in childhood, often in grade school. Still others seem to block everything out before a certain point. Where do you fit in?

Personally, I can recall quite vividly stomping on cockroaches in Des Moines, Iowa when I was very, very young. How young? According to my mother, I was six months old and just learning how to walk. I recall the basement of the house where we lived. It had a grated drain in the middle of the room where an old washing machine was located. I remember that machine as well. It was one of those hand-cranked roller affairs that disappeared all together in the late 1950s. Around the grate, I would see cockroaches. Being a barbaric toddler, I would try to crush them with my little Buster Brown shoes.

My father claimed to have remembered his older sister changing his clothes on a granite table in Austria. In fact he remembered the incident vividly, including the surroundings in the room at the time. However, his sister died when my father was six months old. His memory too must have extended into the first few months of his life. It is interesting that his memory of such an early event stayed with him for over 88 years.

In checking with others, I have found that memories usually coalesce about the time of kindergarten. Some are fuzzy and some are crystal clear. Again, I remember spilling soap on a young girl’s dress when I was in the first grade. Her name was Sandy and I was reprimanded for being sloppy. On the other side of the memory scale, I have spoken to many childhood friends and they recall nothing that I remember from over 60 years ago.

Take a minute and think back as far as you can. What is your first memory? Let us know here on this forum.

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CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi — Pacific Paratrooper

While my father, Smitty , was training in North Carolina, fellow blogger Allen Rizzi’s  father, Eugene Valentine Rizzi, entered the U.S. Army on December 21, 1942.   On route to China via India on an aircraft carrier, his company was strafed by Japanese aircraft. resulting in huge causalities. After making it over “the Hump,” Eugene […]

CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi — Pacific Paratrooper

Lunedi Senza Parole #93

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

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