Tuesday, January 26, 2021

My Thoughts on Christopher Columbus Statues

I received an email today asking me, as an Italian-American to sign a petition about preserving statues of Christopher Columbus which are being removed from various locations because they are reminders of the oppression and genocide against Indigenous Peoples of America.

This was my response:

As a 72 year old proud descendant of Italian immigrants (all four of my grandparents came from Southern Italy) and as one who daily celebrates my culture with food and music and even with how I plant my garden, I am not inclined to expend much energy, emotional or physical, in defending Christopher Columbus or statues of him.

Yes, he is a historical figure whose life and work served prominently in the story of the Americas. But I, for one, am not ready to canonize him as some sort of Italian "saint". I don't particularly need any heroes or saints other than my brave grandparents who also sailed the Atlantic in search of a new land.

I now live in New Mexico where the tensions between Indigenous Peoples, the descendants of the Spanish settlers, immigrants and descendents of Mexican descent, the "Anglos" and just about everyone else are sometimes very obvious and easily ignitable. 

So, if a statue serves, rightly or not, as a reminder of genocide, enslavement and suffering then it is not worth fighting to keep it in any prominent place, regardless of the ethnicity of the person so cast in bronze or stone. Some revered book has warned us against raising up idols and graven images.

My grandmother used to tell me the story about my grandfather who worked in a factory along side individuals of many other ethnic groups. One day after work he invited a co-worker home for a glass of wine. He and his black friend sat and chatted and drank wine together. 

After his friend left, my grandmother, took the glass that the black fellow drank from and threw it into the trash, because, well, it was "dirty". 

My grandfather scolded her, "What-a you do that-a for? He's a man-a just-a like-a me." He took the glass out of the trash and said, "You wash-a this, just a like-a mine." 

And grandma understood and took the lesson to heart. (And passed that on to me.) They owned a six tenement building and during the depression they not only didn't collect rent, but grandma fed their tenants until her own family lost the house to the bank. These are the values I was taught and believed all Italian-Americans held sacred.

As an Italian-American, what DOES embarrass me and fill me with shame are those Americans with Italian surnames who are a disgrace to our ancestry and to the values which I believed we shared. Values such as taking care of the less fortunate, being truthful, holding learning, education, medicine and science in high regard, being of service to society without regard to personal reward. 

But so many have drifted away from those core values and chosen instead to serve an ideology of superiority and privilege. Or should I say, serve the devil?  (https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-paesano-of-shame-trumps-italian-american-consiglieres/)
and  (https://italicsmag.com/2020/10/28/donald-trump-and-his-italian-american-supporters/)

We so quickly forget that our Italian ancestors were considered "darkies" and worse, by white America. And that we as an ethnic group had to earn our white privilege. 

So now, having become white, do we now also become comfortably racist? (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/12/opinion/columbus-day-italian-american-racism.html

And does our worship of Columbus become, rather than a badge of honor, a symbol of divisiveness? 

Yes, we are proud of our Italian heritage. (Oh but there was a time when even Northern Italians despised and looked down upon those dark, Southern Italians - remember, Christ Stopped at Eboli).

But we are AMERICANS first. Let us not allow a few statues to get in the way of that.

New Photo Format HEIC on iPhone????

 Just a note for Russ in case you didn't see my reply:

1) for some reason I cannot reply to individual comments

2) My camera is my iPhone SE 2nd generation which I recently purchased because I was having issues with my old phone.

3) the other "new" issue is that sometimes the photos taken with the new iPhone are JPEG and sometimes have a new format called HEIC (High Efficiency Image File) whatever that is. I don't have clue why some photos are in one format and some are in the other...if in HEIC format, I have to convert them to JPEG in order to upload them to the blog ....just more steps and hoops. 

Anyhow this was from today's hike around the trails in our town, Cochiti Lake.

Our Little Town

Monday, January 25, 2021

Getting Back To Life As We Once Knew It (Kind Of)

 Some photos of what we've been up to since we aren't on edge about politics so much, although with COVID none of us are really back to "normal" yet.

Moon Over Cochiti Lake (or Moon Over Neighbor's Roof)

Inauguration Evening

My Version of Chili con Carne

Not Bad, Actually
On the Way to Faywood


Gila National Forest

One of the Pools at Faywood Hot Springs

Leon and Benni Lounging at the Cabin - Faywood Hot Springs

Benni Late Afternoon in the Dessert

Home by the Hearth

Pond at Botanical Gardens

Leon, You Have a Surgical Mask Hanging from Your Ear....

Ducks and Koy

Pond, Japanese Garden, Botanical Gardens Albuquerque

Pond, Japanese Gardens

Pond, Waterfall, Japanese Gardens

Feral? Horses by the Rio Grande, Pena Blanca

Post script...this blog is a chore...I cannot upload more than three photos at a time because one always fails and if one fails, it will not allow me to insert ANY of the ones that uploaded! So I have to do it in small batches. And then, ocassionally two photos will "stick together" and it is a nightmare trying to separate them.

Time for a New Diet...NO! WAY!

 Now that you-know-who is out of Washington and the news is not a matter of what new atrocity has been perpetrated by the Commander in Chief....and I can relax and pursue my food hobby....

I can now watch more FOOD and COOKING VIDEOS on Youtube.

Many of you may know that cooking is my main hobby, next to eating, that is. And I have been doing the Mediterranean diet for years. 


Lasagne like Mom used to make

The problem is that we, Leon and I, eat way too much of the Mediterranean diet (and unfortunately, New Mexico is not known for fresh seafood, so we probably eat too much meat.) And also too much in the sweets department... muffins, cookies, danish...oh, you say Denmark is not in the Mediterranean? Oh well...

We do eat lots of veggies - tons of broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms, kale, cabbage, chard, escarole, celery, carrots, onions and of course a major staple, garlic.

And we eat plenty of pasta, homemade tomato sauce, homemade bread, homemade pizza, and cheese, preferably parmigiano reggiano, mozzarella and provolone, as well as muenster, cheddar, etc.

Well, back to the world of YouTube where there are all kinds of Doctors and Nutritionists and Quacks touting the healthiest diets that will cure every ailment and make you lose pounds and regain your youth and make you wealthy or whatever. Among them are several that espouse the Keto Diet. 

I will freely admit that I've never actually WATCHED any Keto Diet videos. Just the thought makes me ill. I do not claim to understand the "science" behind Keto, nor am I inclined to research it. All I really know is that in the Keto Diet, Carbs are poison. 

And as the Italian proverb goes, "Un giorno senza pasta/vino/qualcosa e come una giornata senza sole." "A day without pasta/wine/whatever is like a day without sunshine."

So I came across this cute video by a cute couple, Ava (a native Italian) and Harper (her cute American husband) who live in Maine and do a series of cooking and food videos some of which compare foods from both sides of the Atlantic. And some in which Ava is introduced to American foods, usually ending with severe critiques.

If you are into Italian cooking as I am you may find some of their cooking themed videos delicious.

In this one Harper is half-halfheartedly trying to get Ava to try the Keto Diet.

And here's another video all about Eggplants - Melanzane:

Thursday, January 21, 2021


 This pretty much sums up how I feel (the actual Fireworks, not the song, as I cannot understand but half the words she sings...I think I have chronic "lyric impaired hearing" especially for voices like this that are shrill and piercing...and painful).


Now, Lady Gaga, I understand perfectly.  Her voice is gorgeous, and has a range that is pleasant and dynamic and filled with emotion. Probably the best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that I've ever heard. No exaggeration.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Some Thoughts on Current Events

 Our neighborhood has a social media platform with some rules about keeping political and certain other topics confined to sub-groups so as not to offend others. I deliberately broke the rules on Wednesday in the midst of the TV coverage of the Nation's Capitol. So did others who responded. There were only a few, but they seem to reflect what many others were saying and thinking.

I wrote:
And I don't care if I am breaking any Nextdoor rules but there is no place in our democracy for this kind of violence. This is TRUMPISM in action; he is knowingly and deliberately adding fuel to the fire. He is intent on destroying our democracy before Jan 20th.

How ANYONE can or could have supported this maniac is beyond me. and that's all I have to say about these sickening people and these horrible events. For now.

So ban me, Nextdoor! (My post and comments were removed but I copied them)

Talk about a year that has brought me to tears so many times...sad, angry, tearful. This is disgraceful.

AB replied:
Today’s event showed me the hypocrisy by allowing these terrorists to do what they did AND no police or law enforcement of any kind stopped them. Yet for Black Lives Matter protestors who protested for the killings of so many black people being killed daily…

For Native Americans who protested the pipeline on their lands who were brutally attacked with rubber bullets, bullets, teargas, yet today pice stood by and did nothing. Curfew was set, protesters still walking around!

Tell me how we are continuing to tolerate all of this! Sad that people of color do not matter

CD said:
Yep, you are very right. I know this but a part of me just doesn’t want to believe it. No denying it now. Am sickened as well. I’ve spent time in DC and on Capitol Hill over the years. This is what sickens me: The Capitol Police, who spent the summer wearing full riot gear and using tear gas, flash bangs, and rubber bullets against genuinely peaceful protestors blocks away from the Capitol, are now not even arresting Trump supporters who have forced their way past every security line, invaded the Capitol, and even injured police. It’s why they were able to breach the building.

I said:
I will be the first to admit that as an aging "hippie" I am not a flag-waving patriot and I have some issues with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or any prescribed display of patriotism, mainly because such things have been, for so long, associated with right-wing politics.

However, that is not to say I am un-patriotic. It is, as is my nature, more quiet and reserved. But at times like this, when everything this country is about is violated, I feel the need to speak out my truth to whoever might hear, regardless of whether my speech will be banned. (My comment was removed)

Anyhow, thank you for your kind words. Let's all look toward the future with hope and optimism.

EF said:
Amen, Frank. The beauty of who we are as a country is that you can be anything you choose. If it is your choice not to wave a flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance then God Bless You. It’s all about freedom. With this evil troll who presently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and his idiotic offspring, it’s all about hate, and destruction.

And my 2 cents on Impeachment and the 25th:

Impeachment at this point is both a necessary step and also ultimately symbolic. It can not come to fruition/conviction by the Senate in the limited time available even if there were enough GOP Senators willing to convict. Even if willing in spirit, they are mostly cowards when it come right down to casting that vote. 

As for the 25th Amendment, it all depends on the VP who has given no indication of his willingness to go that route; even if he did, is there a sufficient number of cabinet members to follow through? It seems that resignations are their way to avoid having to deal with that possibility.

So, I don't see either of these options as viable for stopping the maniac from causing more harm and destruction to our democracy. There are, I believe, Executive Orders still in the works and a slew of "pardons" to be issued, no doubt, among them, his own. The shit show, I'm afraid, will continue until Biden/Harris are sworn in.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Cucumber - A British Gay TV Series

OK, HAPPY NEW  YEAR. And that's all I'm going to say about that. We'll see.

An Amazon Prime pick for binge watching this weekend.

We have Amazon Prime for another week or so until our free month runs out. We probably won't renew as there doesn't seem to be a lot of good stuff to choose from and we don't order a lot of stuff for free delivery to make the subscription price worth it.

But while we have it, here is one pick that some readers might enjoy. "Cucumber"


The series follows two middle aged gay men Henry and Lance who have been together for nine years but have never been on the same page sexually. Which gives the writer the premise to explore gay sexuality among a group of ordinary gay men in, non-romantic, and often non-erotic contexts. 

The series exposes some real-life complexities, hang-ups and fears and fetishes men have about sex in contrast to their ideal fantasies, desires, and hopes about what might be. There is humor as well as some darker moments in the lives of the characters. This is more true in later episodes.

The Brits' penchant for reticence or politeness often gives way to very strong, pent-up emotions and shouting matches between Henry and Lance as they try to alternately mend and end their relationship. Very well written, great dialogue, good acting, interesting cinematographic techniques and an intriguing theme.

My only negative is that for some of the characters their accents, both English and various other ethnic-English accents are often difficult for me to understand. Add fast talking and throw in references to pop English culture and other specifically English slang, you may have to concentrate a little harder to follow some of the conversations/arguments.



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